s939 nForce4 board recomendations

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Operandi
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s939 nForce4 board recomendations

Post by Operandi » Wed Oct 26, 2005 9:51 pm

I'm going to be build a higher-end S939 system and need some recommendations on solid nForce4 boards that would be well suited to a powerful yet as near silent as possible system. Here are few of my requirements.

1. At least two controlled fan headers.

2. SpeedFan support, and/or good dynamic BIOS level control over of CPU and system fans.

3. Room for a large passive northbridge heatsink specifically the ZM-NB47J.

4. Quality, from a known reputable manufacture.

stromgald
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Post by stromgald » Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:12 pm

Do you really need to replace the motherboard northbridge if its already passive? :)

For non-SLI the Abit AN8-Ultra comes to mind as a passively cooled board with nForce4. The ASUS A8N5X and ASUS A8N-E are good boards, but have active cooling. Both have the northbridge spaced pretty far away from the graphics slot, but I'm not sure if you'll be able to stick a large heatsink on it. It depends on how long the video card is and how high the GPU heatsink is on that end of the card. However, I can vouch that ASUS usually has very good BIOS control of CPU and system fans.

For SLI, the ASUS A8N-SLI Premium and Abit AN8-SLI (not fatal1ty version) are both good options. Both are passively cooled, so you don't have to worry about squeezing in that northbridge heatsink.

Most modern motherboards should have two fan headers. Even my SFF's motherboard has two.
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Post by Ackelind » Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:01 am

The A8N-SLI Premium has got lots of fan headers. CPU, NB (since there is no NB fan, this one is available too), Chassis 1, Chassis 2 and PSU. Most of them can be controlled with ASUS Q-fan, except for PSU and perhaps one of the chassis fans. NB is set to follow CPU.

I have this board and i really love it. It has been totally stable, although the NB runs extremly hot, but that is because of my fanless Ninja design.
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Operandi
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Post by Operandi » Thu Oct 27, 2005 10:17 am

I was originally looking at an Aopen nForce4 board.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813137066

Typically Aopen has be good about offering a good amount of control over system fans, as well as being very high quality. This board also places the northbridge in an idle location that won't interfere with the PCIE graphics card. However I've been reading about a highly inaccurate CPU temp reading (28C+) that I have a feeling will cause problems maintaining proper fan control.
stromgald wrote:Most modern motherboards should have two fan headers. Even my SFF's motherboard has two.
I know every board is going to have at least two headers but I need two that are controlled as a minimum. One for the CPU and the 2nd for the exhaust fan.
Ackelind wrote:The A8N-SLI Premium has lots of fan headers. CPU, NB (since there is no NB fan, this one is available too), Chassis 1, Chassis 2 and PSU. Most of them can be controlled with ASUS Q-fan, except for PSU and perhaps one of the chassis fans. NB is set to follow CPU.
Ok, so the A8N-SLI Premium is an option. It seems to have all the features required, the multiple controlled fan headers is a plus, and the heat pipe northbridge heatsink is great. The only problem is the SLI (which will never be used) putting the board in the upper end of the price spectrum. One potential issue however; we were planning on installing this system into a Lian Li V1100. This case has an inverted motherboard design, so the heat pipe on the northbridge will basically be upside down; will this cause problems?

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Post by stromgald » Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:15 pm

The inverted positioning of the motherboard in that case would greatly reduce the effectiveness of the heatpipes on the ASUS and Abit motherboards. Personally, I like ASUS boards better and would go for the ASUS A8N-E Deluxe. The northbridge positioning is also better than that of the AOpen IMO. A large passive heatsink on the back of the graphics card (such as those on a Gigabyte 6800, or the Zalman ZM80 series) would interfere with a tall northbridge heatsink on the AOpen. Then again, a long GPU board with a large aftermarket heatsink such as the Zalman ZM80D-HP may interfere with a tall NB heatsink on the ASUS.

Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131530
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Post by Operandi » Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:21 pm

stromgald wrote:The inverted positioning of the motherboard in that case would greatly reduce the effectiveness of the heatpipes on the ASUS and Abit motherboards. Personally, I like ASUS boards better and would go for the ASUS A8N-E Deluxe. The northbridge positioning is also better than that of the AOpen IMO. A large passive heatsink on the back of the graphics card (such as those on a Gigabyte 6800, or the Zalman ZM80 series) would interfere with a tall northbridge heatsink on the AOpen. Then again, a long GPU board with a large aftermarket heatsink such as the Zalman ZM80D-HP may interfere with a tall NB heatsink on the ASUS.

Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131530
To your knowledge has anyone actually tried the A8N-SLI Premium in the V1100? Typically the orientation of the heat pipes makes little difference in terms of performance. The one factor here that worries me is the length of the heat pipe may hinder performance when it is inverted, though I haven't seen proof either way.

I do see your point about the northbridge being rather close to the top of the PCIE graphics slot. In fact we were planning on a passive Zalman heatsink for the graphics on X800GTO, tentatively anyway. A Zalman VF-700 + large passive northbridge heatsink should be an expectable configuration however.

The A8N-E Deluxe looks like an option except for it's lack of Firewire (forgot to mention that as a requirement).

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Post by stromgald » Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:40 pm

Well, heatpipes are usually ok in just about any orientation, except where the heatsource is above the radiator/fins that the pipe leads to. Heatpipes are basically just copper or aluminum pipes with a fluid inside. As it is heated, the fluid evaporates (or it might stay in its state and just get less dense) and becomes lighter. The gas can then easily move to the cooler part of the heatpipe where it condenses and drops back down. Pressure also helps since at higher temperatures, the pressure is higher and it pushes the fluid towards the cooler end of the pipe. This is ok if the pipe is horizontal because liquid would pool at the bottom half of the pipe, and the top half of the pipe would be for gas flow. Plus the pressure will help it along. But in a vertical position, the pressure would have to work against gravity, so IMO the heatpipe should be kept so that the heatsource is below the radiator/fins.

I have no personal experience of this, but it just seems logical from knowing how heatpipes generally work. Length shouldn't matter much unless you don't have enough working fluid in the pipe.
Brother's: Antec 3000B, C2D E6600, ASUS P5K, XFX 6850, 4GB DDRe RAM, 160GB Seagate 7200.8 & 2x 2TB Caviar Green, ASUS 16X DVD-ROM, Sony DVD-RW, Corsair 400W, Thermalright HR-01, 2x Scythe 120mm Low Speed Fans
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Trip
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Post by Trip » Tue Nov 01, 2005 11:33 am

ASUS A8N-SLI Premium - could you fit an SI-120 on though?

Also, Asus should be coming out with A8N32-SLI Deluxe soon.

And DFI's LANPARTY UT nF4 Ultra-D might be a bit cheaper, albeit without passive cooling...

I don't like Abit, anandtech reviewed the P4 version of the A8N32-SLI Deluxe very positively, and the DFI boards are probably the best available atm. I haven't looked into the Abit board, so it might be good...

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Post by Operandi » Tue Nov 01, 2005 11:04 pm

How much control dose Asus's fan control BIOS and/or software offer? I'd like to have specific control of at least two fan headers, more is welcome of course.

What dose the A8N32-SLI offer over the A8N-SLI besides the improved SLI abilities (which won't be used)?

I don't think I'll be considering DFI anytime soon, Abit is probably out as well.

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Post by autoboy » Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:12 am

Why Nforce 4 anyways? If you are not going with SLI is there a big enough difference in the VIA and SiS chipsets? Except maybe overclocking. It seems most Via boards are passive. I was looking at this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813180068

stromgald
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Post by stromgald » Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:56 am

autoboy wrote:Why Nforce 4 anyways? If you are not going with SLI is there a big enough difference in the VIA and SiS chipsets? Except maybe overclocking. It seems most Via boards are passive. I was looking at this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813180068
VIA and SiS chipsets are usually passive because they split the tasks between a northbridge and southbridge chipset. In nVidia's solution there is only one chip in the chipset. This usually requires a big heatsink or active cooling.

The reason people seem to be big on nVidia, at least my take on it, is good overclocking ability, and a few important non-performance features such as ActiveArmor Networking Engine and ActiveArmor Firewall (a hardware firewall rather than a software one). The performance features such as SLI support, RAID support, tweaking/OC ability, and native gigabyte internet are all in the latest Via, Sis, and nVidia chipsets, but those additional non-performance oriented features that nVidia offers tip the scale for me.
Brother's: Antec 3000B, C2D E6600, ASUS P5K, XFX 6850, 4GB DDRe RAM, 160GB Seagate 7200.8 & 2x 2TB Caviar Green, ASUS 16X DVD-ROM, Sony DVD-RW, Corsair 400W, Thermalright HR-01, 2x Scythe 120mm Low Speed Fans
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Post by Operandi » Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:40 am

autoboy wrote:Why Nforce 4 anyways? If you are not going with SLI is there a big enough difference in the VIA and SiS chipsets? Except maybe overclocking. It seems most Via boards are passive. I was looking at this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813180068
VIA SiS, and ATi all have adequate chipsets, SiS in particular seem to have some pretty good ones. The problem is nVidia seems to have cornered the high end market leaving the others to the lower end boards or 2nd tier manufactures like that Soltek.

I'm not apposed to non-nForce chipsets but Soltek is not a really a consideration. If there is a good Asus, Aopen or MSI board that uses a SiS or VIA chipset let me know.

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Post by TD22057 » Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:46 pm

FYI: There are several threads on the Abit forums with people talking about inverted MB's with the heat pipe system on the northbridge. It doesn't work well at all. People have set their cases upside down and done tests which show that the heat pipes on these MB's only work in the "proper" orientation.

Having said that, I use a Lian V1100 which has the inverted MB. I'm planning on getting the Abit AN8 Ultra and removing the heat pipe and replacing it with a cut down CPU cooler for passive operation.

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Post by stromgald » Wed Nov 02, 2005 4:08 pm

operandi wrote:I'm not apposed to non-nForce chipsets but Soltek is not a really a consideration. If there is a good Asus, Aopen or MSI board that uses a SiS or VIA chipset let me know.
Moving away from nForce 4 opens up some more options. Here's a few passive ones:
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDe ... ode=247018
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813127187
However, both of those have chipset heatsinks close to the CPU. Depending on what CPU heatsink you get, there might be interference. However, if there isn't any interference, you'll get nice airflow over the chipset :) .
Brother's: Antec 3000B, C2D E6600, ASUS P5K, XFX 6850, 4GB DDRe RAM, 160GB Seagate 7200.8 & 2x 2TB Caviar Green, ASUS 16X DVD-ROM, Sony DVD-RW, Corsair 400W, Thermalright HR-01, 2x Scythe 120mm Low Speed Fans
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Post by autoboy » Wed Nov 02, 2005 11:58 pm

The Asus board at zipzoomfly looks interesting. I am looking for a board that can support X2 processors and i am not interested in graphics. I heard that the Via chipset does not support dual core. This looks like a SE or second edition that does support X2. The soltek and abit boards seem to be first edition.

Ok, since it seems like i don't know as much as I thought about these boards, I want to ask everyone here what I should do. I am building a new computer for my brother in law who works finance. He wants to multitask and have at least 2 monitors, maybe 3 or 4 in the future. Right now his poor 1.2Ghz laptop is running constant 80% cpu 1Gig of ram with all the programs he runs. This is what i was thinking:

Antec p150 with NEO HE power supply of course
athlon64 3800+ X2
2GB mid range RAM
Passive Video Card with dual DVI (only ones I found are 125-$150+)
PCI video card for extra monitors (never done this does it work?)
Zalman 7700 or 7000 AlCu(will this be enough to run at 5v-7v)
Passive PCI-e motherboard of high quality(I was looking at the Soltek but I guess it is not high quality and X2 compatible)
Raptors in RAID 1(maybe just one, I think he uses a server for important data)

I guess I don't really have much picked out yet just the general specs. I am not going for the quietest machine ever (it is not for me) but I am trying to keep a budget so $65 heatsinks and Nexus fans are out. I like the Zalman heatsinks because they are inexpensive, work well, and provide cooling to the passive components of the motherboard. I don't want this thing to overheat because it is not my computer. Any sugestions are welcome.

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Post by stromgald » Thu Nov 03, 2005 1:09 am

autoboy wrote:I am looking for a board that can support X2 processors and i am not interested in graphics. I heard that the Via chipset does not support dual core. This looks like a SE or second edition that does support X2.
From my understanding all Via K8T800, K8T800Pro, and the K8T890 all support dual core, at least according to ASUS' website. The first two just don't have PCIe I think. The 890 chipsets should have all the latest and greatest features. The SE is an ASUS moniker and has nothing to do with the chipset.

If you're trying to keep a budget, I'd suggest leaving out 1GB of RAM and getting 7200rpm drives instead of the Raptors. That will save you a significant amount of money, and on regular (non video encoding, non gaming) tasks, it should work just fine. With those savings get yourself a decent SLI motherboard like a ABit AN8-SLI/KN8-SLI or ASUS A8N-SLI+Zalman heatsink. For video cards just get one of the eVGA 6600GTs with dual DVI and stick a Zalman Vf700Cu on it.
Brother's: Antec 3000B, C2D E6600, ASUS P5K, XFX 6850, 4GB DDRe RAM, 160GB Seagate 7200.8 & 2x 2TB Caviar Green, ASUS 16X DVD-ROM, Sony DVD-RW, Corsair 400W, Thermalright HR-01, 2x Scythe 120mm Low Speed Fans
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autoboy
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Post by autoboy » Thu Nov 03, 2005 9:37 am

Why do I need SLI except maybe if my PCI graphics card idea for 4 monitors is no good? I don't care about graphics at all. If I could find a motherboard with built in graghics and dual DVI outputs that would be awsome. Sadly, it does not seem like most motherboard makers understand this easy concept. Obviously, if I am going with a dual core chip and P150 I am not overly burduned with a budget, however, I would like to keep the costs and complexity of cooling the rig down by staying stock. Remember, this is not my rig.

My brother in law already uses all 1GB of ram in his laptop. It would be dumb not to go 2GB. The reason I want Raptors is that they are relatively cheap at Frys right now and he does not need a 300GB drive. I want him to be blown away with the speed of this rig and the hard drive is a huge bottleneck in the snappiness of the operating system.

I wanted a passively cooled, reliable, motherboard at reasonable cost. No overclocking ever. Yes I could go SLI for 4 monitors but this seems excesive for a work rig and the vast majority of these boards use fans. I currently use a Via K8T800 chipset in my rig and I am very happy with the performance. I made the mistake of going AGP knowing that the interface was never the bottleneck and I don't want to do that again so I want to go PCI-e this time.

I do like those Abit boards and it seems like they are the popular choice here but I don't like the idea of loosing the parallel port and serial ports. I use mine all the time still. He probably does not. Abit may be my only option but I was wondering about the availability of non-nvidia chipsets on higher end boards. Thx for your input.

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Post by stromgald » Thu Nov 03, 2005 12:02 pm

I just dont like the idea of having monitors on PCIe and PCI slots. The PCI interface may pose a bottleneck and synchronization of graphics between the two cards may suffer.

Motherboards with built in graphics don't have dual DVI because its not economical to do so. On-board graphics usually targets more low end systems because of the cost savings. For higher end systems, you need extra cooling, and people like to choose their graphics cards. The market for a dual DVI motherboard is pretty small.

I'd be very surprised if your brother is using all 1GB of the RAM on his laptop, especially with just finance work. The bottleneck in his system probably is the CPU, and his hard drive speed may be limiting the effectiveness of virtual memory he's using. Generally, even for high end systems, it is difficult to justify getting more than 1GB of RAM. If the Task Manager in Windows shows he's using up all his memory, he should think about resizing his windows paging file/virtual memory, not necessarily getting more RAM.

The only other passive non-nVidia motherboard with all latest features (Gigabit LAN, SATA, RAID, etc.) that I can think of would be the ASUS A8S-X based on the SiS 765 chipset. I haven't seen it around in stores much, and I can't vouch for stability or performance, since I haven't read any reviews on it at all. FYI, I think almost all the SLI boards are nVidia. The only other chipset that I think supports dual PCIe slots is the ATI Radeon Xpress 200. But, they use crossfire graphics cards, which aren't as popular or readily available.
Brother's: Antec 3000B, C2D E6600, ASUS P5K, XFX 6850, 4GB DDRe RAM, 160GB Seagate 7200.8 & 2x 2TB Caviar Green, ASUS 16X DVD-ROM, Sony DVD-RW, Corsair 400W, Thermalright HR-01, 2x Scythe 120mm Low Speed Fans
Mine: Antec NSK3480 w/EA 380W, i5-750, Gigabyte P55M-UD4, Sapphire 5750, 4GB DDR3, 60GB OCZ Agility & 500GB Seagate 7200.8, Xigmatek HDT-S964

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Post by nici » Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:44 pm

Four monitors eh..? Maxtor has cards wich support up to four displays, but they are not cheap. im talking 700$ not cheap..

Thats probably the best option, not considering the price. They also have another interesting card wich isnt even expensive, the new Millennium G550 PCIe, uses a PCIE x1 slot , supports two monitors, and costs 139$ according to maxtor so street price is probably even lower :)

Now using two of those shold be no problem since it can use any PCIe slot from x1 to x16 :) Oh and they are passive of course :wink:

He could get one of these cars now and another one later, or go for a ATI or nVidia card with dual DVI and later add one of these matrox cards, and you dont even need an SLI board as they use pcie x1 slot :) I think thats its possible anyway, i apologize if im mistaken.

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Post by autoboy » Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:08 am

I'll check out that Asus board with the SiS chipset. It looks more like a value board and the Gb Lan is only PCI. Are there really no high end boards without Nforce 4?

Those matrox cards look sweet and I love the 2D performance from those cards. However, i've heard you can't use two different makers of video cards. If you go Nvidia then you have to stick to Nvidia for the extra card. I could be wrong on this. Two of these could be very interesting.

He is using aproximately 800MB on a regular basis. Not sure what he is running but it is some real time investing software, some live TV, email, word processing, excel, powerpoint etc. Some people are good at closing other programs they don't use all day. He is not one of them. I use 1.3GB when playing BF2 so I disagree with your statement about only needing 1GB. Thats what I thought too until BF2 came out.

I think there is a large market for dual monitor support on workstations and most are using built in graphics. Why they don't do dual DVI when analog is part of the DVI pinout is really what annoys me.

As for the PCI interface for graphics, I'm sure it works fine for 2D applications and what are we trying to sync anyways. He is not going to be watching a movie spanning two monitors. I'm not sure I understand where you are going with that one.

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Post by Operandi » Fri Nov 04, 2005 9:25 am

TD22057 wrote:FYI: There are several threads on the Abit forums with people talking about inverted MB's with the heat pipe system on the northbridge. It doesn't work well at all. People have set their cases upside down and done tests which show that the heat pipes on these MB's only work in the "proper" orientation.

Having said that, I use a Lian V1100 which has the inverted MB. I'm planning on getting the Abit AN8 Ultra and removing the heat pipe and replacing it with a cut down CPU cooler for passive operation.
Ok, so the V1100 and A8N-SLI Premium isn't going to work well together. That leaves changing to a different case or the Asus A8N-SLI Deuluxe.

Can anyone comment on Asus's ability to control system fans from either the BIOS or software? I need to control at least 2 headers.

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Post by stromgald » Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:17 am

I think, my ASUS A8V Deluxe has 3 fan headers that are controlled by the BIOS. The only concern I might have with the ASUS Q-fan control is how low it can lower the voltage to the fans. The lowest setting I think is [11/16], which is about 8-9V. I just stuck a Fanmate between the fans and the fan header to solve that problem.
Brother's: Antec 3000B, C2D E6600, ASUS P5K, XFX 6850, 4GB DDRe RAM, 160GB Seagate 7200.8 & 2x 2TB Caviar Green, ASUS 16X DVD-ROM, Sony DVD-RW, Corsair 400W, Thermalright HR-01, 2x Scythe 120mm Low Speed Fans
Mine: Antec NSK3480 w/EA 380W, i5-750, Gigabyte P55M-UD4, Sapphire 5750, 4GB DDR3, 60GB OCZ Agility & 500GB Seagate 7200.8, Xigmatek HDT-S964

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Re: s939 nForce4 board recomendations

Post by nim-nim » Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:30 pm

operandi wrote:I'm going to be build a higher-end S939 system and need some recommendations on solid nForce4 boards that would be well suited to a powerful yet as near silent as possible system.
The Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra9 is fully passive and has bios control of at least the CPU Fan (I have Nexus fans here which don't react a lot to speed change commands so it's basically useless in my case Not that you need variability with Nexuses)

It's XP-120 compatible (with the special backplate) so basically you can use any heatsync you want (the XP-120 is HUGE)

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Post by Trip » Fri Nov 04, 2005 11:28 pm

the two sites I visit when considering a purchase are SPCR and anandtech.

Anandtech article on Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe

I'm reading the article now, but all I can recall about it is the 8-phase power, improved looking heatsink, and the fact that it's newer... I'll post anything else that comes to mind after I've read it.

autoboy,

Anandtech article on interesting Gigabyte board
This motherboard's primary design feature is quad graphics capability with the ability to drive 10 displays by utilizing two Gigabyte GV-3D1-68GT revision 2 cards, which support up to four displays per card, and then including an additional NVIDIA based PCI Express video card. You can also install four PCI Express video cards and one PCI based video card in order to reach the maximum ten display configuration, but this defeats the purpose of utilizing the latest video card technology in a performance oriented board. The above image was supplied by Gigabyte and is meant to show the 10 monitor capability. We were unable to test 10 monitors due to the lack of the revision 2 Gigabyte GV-3D1-68GT video card.
Dunno if that's a decent option or not, but I thought I'd point it out to you.
Last edited by Trip on Fri Nov 04, 2005 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: s939 nForce4 board recomendations

Post by Operandi » Fri Nov 04, 2005 11:33 pm

stromgald wrote:I think, my ASUS A8V Deluxe has 3 fan headers that are controlled by the BIOS. The only concern I might have with the ASUS Q-fan control is how low it can lower the voltage to the fans. The lowest setting I think is [11/16], which is about 8-9V. I just stuck a Fanmate between the fans and the fan header to solve that problem.
Thats good to hear. I assume one is for the CPU the other system/or northbridge temp, but what is the 3rd fan tied to if anything? I don't think 11/16 speed should be too much of a problem as long as slow enough fans are used to begin with.
nim-nim wrote:
operandi wrote:I'm going to be build a higher-end S939 system and need some recommendations on solid nForce4 boards that would be well suited to a powerful yet as near silent as possible system.
The Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra9 is fully passive and has bios control of at least the CPU Fan (I have Nexus fans here which don't react a lot to speed change commands so it's basically useless in my case Not that you need variability with Nexuses)

It's XP-120 compatible (with the special backplate) so basically you can use any heatsync you want (the XP-120 is HUGE)
The passive northbridge is nice but it seems a bit small. Besides I need atleast two controllable fan headers, one won't cut it.

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Post by Trip » Fri Nov 04, 2005 11:41 pm

anandtech article wrote:The A8N32-SLI is blessed with a unique and very effective design that truly works. The 8-phase design behaves gracefully under extreme loads and remains much cooler than other 3- or 4-phase designs. This yields excellent stability and headroom that we have not seen before on an Asus Socket 939 design. Asus claims that the board is up to 15°C (36°F) cooler than conventional solutions, and we saw nothing in our testing to make us doubt this claim. The board remained cool and stable under the most difficult test conditions.
:D I want 8 Phase!!

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Re: s939 nForce4 board recomendations

Post by nim-nim » Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:20 am

operandi wrote:
nim-nim wrote:
operandi wrote:I'm going to be build a higher-end S939 system and need some recommendations on solid nForce4 boards that would be well suited to a powerful yet as near silent as possible system.
The Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra9 is fully passive and has bios control of at least the CPU Fan (I have Nexus fans here which don't react a lot to speed change commands so it's basically useless in my case Not that you need variability with Nexuses)

It's XP-120 compatible (with the special backplate) so basically you can use any heatsync you want (the XP-120 is HUGE)
The passive northbridge is nice but it seems a bit small. Besides I need atleast two controllable fan headers, one won't cut it.
I didn't say they weren't
They're not bios-controlled but you can try to software-control them
But you have to use something else than Nexuses - my XP 120 nexus only changes its speed by ~ 5% when ordered by the bios

Anyway variable speed fans are not always a good idea sound-wise. Better use quiet fixed-speed fans than louder variable fans. NAD made the mistake of using variable speed fans in its T752 and it was a disaster on the accoustic front. (they switched back to fixed speed in the next generation) When a variable fan ramps ups it's terrible. Especially considering they ramp up when you do stuff ie when you don't want them to.

You'd be better of with an adequately cooled setup which never needs to ramp up

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Re: s939 nForce4 board recomendations

Post by wundi » Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:32 pm

nim-nim wrote:They're not bios-controlled but you can try to software-control them
But you have to use something else than Nexuses - my XP 120 nexus only changes its speed by ~ 5% when ordered by the bios
Uhmm. Did you try controlling the fans by software? A 5% change tells me of a pretty inefficient BIOS feature. The Nexus should react to lower voltage just like any other fan. (Note that I don't have any experience of the MB in question but this just caught my attention.)
nim-nim wrote:Anyway variable speed fans are not always a good idea sound-wise. Better use quiet fixed-speed fans than louder variable fans.
Why would one use loud variable fans? I think the basic idea would be to control the already quiet fan to approach silent levels. If we take the 120mm Nexus for example, the difference of 5/12V operation is 16/42CFM and <17/23dBA/1m according to SPCR measurements.
nim-nim wrote:When a variable fan ramps ups it's terrible. Especially considering they ramp up when you do stuff ie when you don't want them to.

You'd be better of with an adequately cooled setup which never needs to ramp up
Naturally the fans will ramp up under load and not when the pc sits idle. :) Most people don't mind hearing some air movement when gaming as much as when sleeping, for example. The "adequately cooled setup" might however be way too noisy for them to bare when they don't really need all that cooling power. Of course the usability of such a feature depends largely on the quality of the controller. It's a good thing we have software like CrystalCPUID and SpeedFan to back us up.

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Post by Operandi » Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:25 pm

After further research the leading canadate is the Abit AN8 Ultra. It seems to have a good layout, nice Rubycon caps, and all the required features including three controllable fan headers.

About the only downside I see is that the fans can only be brought down to 7-8v so careful fan selection may be a concern.

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Post by nici » Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:49 pm

operandi wrote: About the only downside I see is that the fans can only be brought down to 7-8v so careful fan selection may be a concern.
Add a fanmate in series, it will drop the viltage abut 1.5V. Or get some Diodes.

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