ASUS M2R32-MVP vs ECS KA3 MVP Extreme: CrossFire Xpress 3200 Shootout
Features and Layout - ASUS M2R32-MVP
The ASUS M2R32-MVP is rather subdued when it comes to appearance. Built on a typical brown PCB, the M2R32-MVP focuses more on function and resigns itself to a workstation appearance. This isn't to say the board lacks in features, however. The CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset enables support for all socket AM2 AMD processors, from Sempron and Athlon 64 up through Athlon FX and X2 series chips. The board also supports DDR2 memory up to 8GB in speeds of 533, 667 and 800MHz. Note how ASUS positioned the DIMM sockets perpendicular to the rear console rather than in the typical parallel configuration. This aides in improved layout of the boards components, helping to maximize the main PCB's real estate.
For expansion needs, ASUS balanced the old with the new nicely. Along with two PCI Express x16 slots that are CrossFire ready and offer a full 16 lanes per slot in CrossFire mode, the board also sports two PCI Express x1 slots and standard PCI slots. For storage, ASUS relies almost solely on the SB600 Southbridge, delivering two ATA 133 IDE ports and 4 SATA II ports capable of RAID 0, 1 and 0+1 natively. Additionally, a JMicron 360 controller is included for the exclusive task of powering the board's integrated eSATA port on the rear console.
The rear console houses the majority of the external inputs/outputs of the M2R32-MVP. Starting from the left are two PS/2 ports for legacy keyboard and mouse connections followed by a single serial port. Adjacent to the Serial port is an integrated eSATA port, which we mentioned a moment ago. Next are two banks of USB 2.0 ports totaling four ports in all. Atop the first bank is an IEEE1394 port while the second is topped with an RJ-45 port delivering Gigabit Ethernet via a Marvell 88E8001 controller. Rounding out the rear console is the audio inputs/outputs consisting of a Coaxial SPDIF output and six analog connections. A SoundMAX ADI 1988A 8-Channel CODEC delivers High Definition Audio and supports such features as Universal Audio Jack which automatically detects the device type connected, helping confirm the proper port was selected.