More AM2 Motherboards

While NVIDIA made a point of launching the new nForce 500 series chipsets along with AMD's AM2 processors, there are quite a few manufacturers using previously released chipsets that still support AM2. You give up features in some cases, but given their lower prices, some of these boards definitely represent attractive solutions for buyers interested in Sempron CPUs.

At the moment, we're seeing three nForce motherboards with nForce 430/61x0 integrated graphics. Only one of these boards uses the faster nForce 430/6150 chipset combination, the Asus M2NPV-VM [RTPE: M2NPV-VM] which is currently going for $93. This is a micro ATX motherboard, but along with the integrated graphics it also supports four DDR2 DIMMs, four SATA 3.0 Gbps ports, two IDE ports (up to four devices), and it even includes FireWire 1394A. It also includes both DVI and VGA output ports, so if you're looking for something for a new HTPC configuration, this is definitely an interesting option.

Talking about faster performance with integrated graphics often seems a bit silly -- do you want "slow" or "slower" 3D performance? We've got two motherboards that have opted for the 6100 chipset, both from Gigabyte. The Gigabyte GA-M55plus-S3G [RTPE: GA-M55plus-S3G] is on sale for about $94 shipped, while the Gigabyte GA-M51GM-S2G [RTPE: GA-M51GM-S2G] is going for about $85 shipped. Comparing these two motherboards, you'll find that the S2G is a micro ATX board while the S3G is a full-size ATX board. The larger size means the S3G has more expansion ports, so it includes two PCI-E X1 and 4 PCI slots versus one PCI-E X1 and two PCI slots on the S2G. Note that neither Gigabyte board offers DVI output and both also include FireWire support.

Dropping from the nForce 430 chipset to the nForce 410, we have the recently released Biostar TForce 6100 AM2 [RTPE: TForce 6100 AM2] which is on sale for about $80. As with all AM2 motherboards, you still get full support of the high-end Athlon X2 processors and 2GHz HyperTransport technology. This board also features four DDR2 800 memory slots with support for up to 4GB of memory total, a single PCI-E X16 slot, two SATA 3.0Gbps ports, and two IDE ports (four devices). It also drops support for Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, and high definition audio. In short, it's nothing fancy, but for a low-end AM2 board with onboard graphics it's a decent deal.

While these boards aren't currently showing up in our pricing engine (that will hopefully be corrected in the near future), Newegg at least is selling two nForce4 based AM2 motherboards. One is from Biostar, the TForce4 AM2, which is a full-size ATX board with four SATA ports, two IDE ports, and a price that's under $80. If you're after an extreme budget AM2 motherboard, ECS makes the nForce4M-A with similar features, only the price is under $70.

AMD AM2 AMD – Socket 939
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  • Boushh - Monday, June 26, 2006 - link

    Asus is offering the P5WDH Deluxe (based on the 975X chipset) and the P965 based P5B and P5B Deluxe. All offering Core 2 Duo/Extreme support. One Dutch etailer is offering the P5WDH for 211 Euro (including VAT, excluding shipping), delivery in 2-3 days.

    Your text is not clear about Core 2 Duo capable boards. On the one hand you say: 'If you need a replacement motherboard, however, there's no reason to wait.'. Suggesting that Core 2 Duo boards are available, but they are not listed in the price guide !! And on the otherhand you say: 'One big question that remains: which socket 775 motherboards will officially support Core 2 Duo once it becomes available?'. Saying that you actualy don't know which boards can support the Core 2.

    It would have been nicer if you would list the boards that absolutely DO support the Core 2 (like the above mentioned Asus boards), and list the boards that MAY support the Core 2 (the list of 975X boards).
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 26, 2006 - link

    "One Dutch retailer..."

    That's the problem: we know there are some boards that are scheduled for retail availability very shortly, including the ASUS board you mentioned, but they're really not shipping in any reasonable fashion yet. It's also a little unnerving that no motherboard manufacturers are coming out beating the drum and saying how great their motherboards are because they offer Conroe support. We may see something like the 945/955 product launch where even though it was technically possible to run dual core chips on older chipsets, the only way to officially get such support was to buy one of the new motherboards.

    Personally, there's no way I'm going to spend over $200 on an Intel motherboard right now unless I am absolutely certain it will support Core 2 Duo. The motherboard manufacturers all have test chips internally by now (and have for some time), so I'm a little curious as to why no one has been able to come forth stating which boards can support Conroe. Perhaps they are just under strict NDA from Intel and are not allowed to make such statements until the official launch has passed? If so, Intel certainly isn't doing any of the motherboard manufacturers any favors.
  • Boushh - Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - link

    I see what you mean.

    Asus says that it supports: 'LGA775 socket for Intel Core2 Duo, Core2 Extreme and next generation Mulit-Core CPU'. But if you look at the CPU support, the list is empty. So that means that the Core 2 would fit in the socket, but without the CPU support list it's unclear if it will actualy work.

    And with the Core 2 officially still a month away, I do understand your point for not adding these boards to the list (just yet) ;-)
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - link

    They'd be added to the list if we could find them at US retailers. :) Probably another week or so....
  • Quiksel - Monday, June 26, 2006 - link


    'If you need a replacement motherboard, however, there's no reason to wait.'
    This doesn't imply that C2Duo boards are out, it merely states that if you have a dead board, you probably need a replacement, hence, no reason to wait... Sure, some might not want to use their dead computer for a couple of months, but I know I would want it up and running.

    As for C2Duo support on existing mobo's goes, it is certainly fair to say that we aren't sure what will end up being supported since the procs aren't out and tested just yet. No reason not to be on the safe side, especially these guys when they are recommending products. Certainly they would not want to be on the receiving end of an angry customer finding out a board that Anandtech said would work with Conroe ends up being not compatible in the end. Let's just reserve judgment when the chips arrive, shall we?
  • shabby - Monday, June 26, 2006 - link

    Why dont these charts ever appear correctly when you click on print this article?
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 26, 2006 - link

    Probably an error in the code that generates the tables. I have passed it on to our website administrator to have him look at it.

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