Our Summary & Conclusion
Benchmark Summary: The Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe, with the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset at its heart, performed very well throughout our entire battery of tests. With virtually all of the benchmarks we ran, the A8R32-MVP Deluxe and its nForce 4 SLIX16 based counterpart swapped victories, and performed at very similar levels. Whether running office-type applications, content creation apps, or games, the CrossFire Xpress 3200 and nForce 4 SLIX16 offered comparable performance in many areas. In general, the CrossFire Xpress 3200 and Radeon Xpress 200 also performed similarly, but in all of the game tests, and multi-GPU graphics tests, the CrossFire Xpress 3200 produced the higher scores.
ATI is on the right track with the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset. Performance is competitive with its main competition, and although this is a new and inherently immature product, the Asus motherboard we tested that was based on it, remained rock-solid stable throughout all of our testing. In combination with the ULi 1575 southbridge, the chipset as a whole offers a very complete feature set that includes true dual PCI Express x16 slots for full bandwidth CrossFire support, SATA 3.0Gb/s RAID support and HD audio. In addition, the chipset also seems to have a plenty of "headroom" left, as is evident by our excellent overclocking results. One potential issue that could affect adoption of the CrossFire Xpress 3200 has to do with NVIDIA, however. NVIDIA recently acquired ULi, and we doubt they'll be too keen on supplying 1575s to ATI's partners for use on CrossFire Xpress 3200 boards much longer. ATI's own SB450 southbridge is still an option, but that product's relatively poor USB performance and its lack of SATA 3.0Gb/s support limit its appeal in the enthusiast community.
Frankly, we'd be surprised if ATI didn't have something up their collective sleeves for a new Southbridge solution, in the coming months, but that remains to be seen.
A handful of ATI's partners, including DFI, Sapphire, Abit, PC Partner, and Asus, will be introducing motherboards based on the CrossFire Xpress 3200 shortly. Hopefully, they will all be as robust as Asus' offering. The A8R32-MVP Deluxe that we tested handled everything with threw at it with nary an issue. The A8R32-MVP Deluxe was high-performing, feature rich, stable, and overclockable, just about everything enthusiasts look for in a motherboard. Street prices will likely hover in the $225 dollar range, which falls at the upper end of the pricing scale, but enthusiasts on the cutting edge always end up paying a premium, so that's nothing new. At this point, these two leading multi-GPU platforms look very competitive and equally compelling on paper and in the benchmarks. We're sure both camps, red and green, will be raising the bar once again however, soon enough.
|•_True Dual x16 PEG Slots
•_Complete Feature Set
•_ULi Now Owned by NVIDIA