Summary & Conclusion
Benchmark Summary: The Radeon Xpress 200-based Sapphire Pure Innovation PI-A9RX480 traded victories with an nForce 4 based Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI throughout our entire battery of benchmarks. Technically speaking, the nForce 4 had more first place finishes, but the differentials were quite small and fell well within the margin of error in most of the tests. For all intents and purposes, strictly from a performance standpoint, the Radeon Xpress 200 is just as "fast" as the nForce 4.
We really liked the Sapphire Pure Innovation PI-A9RX480. This motherboard has a lot of things going for it in our opinion. We especially liked the look of the white PCB in conjunction with the red and maroon UV reactive slots / connectors. The PI-A9RX480 also proved to be a very competent overclocker, it has a very well appointed, enthusiast friendly BIOS, and the integrated HD audio is better than most other socket 939 motherboards currently available. And throughout all of our tests, this motherboard also proved to be an excellent performer. Our only real gripes have to do with pricing and availability. We've had this board in the lab for a few weeks, and as of yet we are still unable to find it for sale at any on-line resellers. We also think the MSRP is a little high at $179. For less than that, you could purchase a high-end nForce 4 SLI board that ships with a far beefier bundle, not to mention the other option of a sub-$100 nForce 4 Ultra board. We suspect street prices will fall below the MSRP rather quickly though, as more enthusiast-class CrossFire enabled motherboards hit the market in the coming weeks.
All things considered, we think the Sapphire Pure Innovation PI-A9RX480 would make a nice foundation for an all-ATI based system. We think Sapphire has done a good job with the PI-A9RX480. Had the bundle been more complete and the MSRP been a little lower, we would have rated this board higher on the Heat Meter. As it stands today, we're going to give it a solid 8 and look forward to seeing what Sapphire's got coming down the pipeline.
•_Very Complete BIOS
|•_MSRP Too High
•_SB450 USB Performance