nForce 590 Motherboards: Asus & Foxconn
Asus as usual is one of the first to market with a motherboard built around NVIDIA's new nForce 590 chipset and in typical Asus fashion their offering looks completely dialed.
Copper-finned coolers and heat pipes adorn the nForce 590 SLI chipset on this board, such that there is literally no clue as to what lies beneath them. The board has a pair of X16 PEG slots, a X4 PCI Express slot, as well as a X1 slot and three standard PCI slots. NVIDIA's nForce 590 SLI MCP has built-in dual Gigabit MACs and the board employs a pair of external Marvell PHY chips for dual Gigabit LAN connections. This configuration also supports NVIDIA's "DualNet" technology with built-in teaming and fail-over functions. The M2N32 SLI Deluxe also carries 6 SATA 3.0Gb/s capable ports courtesy of the NF590 SLI MCP, that support various RAID configurations including RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD.
M2N32 SLI Deluxe BIOS:
The BIOS menu options found in the M2N32 SLI are abundant and highly configurable. If you look through the screenshots above, you'll see some familiar options for overclocking and tweaking memory timings, etc. But you'll also see some of the new items mentioned on the preceding pages, like LinkBoost for example.
During a recent briefing at an NVIDIA Editor's Day event, company representatives said, "To build great core logic, you need to build a great motherboard." To that end, NVIDIA designed an nForce 590 SLI motherboard that incorporated all of the hardware and software features offered by the chipset, as well as all of the BIOS hooks necessary to fully utilize nTune v5.0. That reference design was then taken by Foxconn and spun into the motherboard you see above.
Foxconn's C51XEM2AA supports all AMD AM2 based processors and DDR2 memory. It also features six SATA 3.0Gb/s SATA ports, a pair of PCI Express x16 PEG slots, a single PCIe x1 slot, one PCIe x4 slot, and a pair of standard PCI slots. The slots are configured in such a way that if two double-wide graphics cards are installed, the PCIe x4 slot and one standard PCI slot are still available. The nForce 590 SLI SPP, which is manufactured on TSMC's .09 micron line, is outfitted with a simple aluminum finned heatsink. The MCP, which is still manufactured at .13 micron, however, features an NVIDIA designed, low-profile active cooler.
Other features of the C51XEM2AA include handy on-board power and reset switches and a Xilinx POST code error reporter. The nForce 590 SLI's dual-GigE MACs are complimented by a Marvell PHY, HD audio support comes by way of a Realtec audio code, and a Texas Instruments chip brings with it support for IEEE1394a and IEEE1394b. We'll be following up this article with a full review of the C51XEM2AA in the not-too-distant future.