First off we would like to let you in on something that you might have missed out on if you own an Athlon 64 system. AMD offers a utility called Cool â€˜nâ€™ Quiet, which takes advantage of the integrated PowerNow features of the Athlon 64 processors.
Quoted from AMDâ€™s website â€œAMD Cool'n'Quiet! Technology allows the system to dynamically and automatically select the CPU speed, Voltage and Power combination that match the instantaneous user performance need. These changes can happen as often as 30 times per second.â€ You can download the utility here
This is not a new utility and it was launched together with the CPUs, but itâ€™s not something that AMD has made a lot of noise about. Does it work? Well, yes, but the question has to be, do you need it? If your motherboard supports variable fan speeds depending on the CPU temperature, then it would help to lower all round system noise. This utility does not work on all motherboards, so give it a go and see if it works.
Letâ€™s move on to the conclusion of this roundup of Athlon 64 boards now.
As with any other type of motherboard, it is never easy to pick the right one, but there are two boards that stand out in terms of features and they are the Gigabyte and Chaintech. Both of these boards are however quite a lot more expensive than the other three, which is an issue. But if money was no object the Chaintech ZNF3-150 would be the top pick as in our opinion the Cbox3 is far more useful for most people than the extra power regulator and IEEE-1394b offered by the Gigabyte board.
Of course if youâ€™re spending money on a cutting edge CPU like the Athlon 64, youâ€™ll probably be happy to spend a decent amount on a good motherboard to accompany it. In that case either the Chaintech or Gigabyte will suite your needs.
Also worth a mention is the Leadtek WinFast K8N since itâ€™s sub Â£100 and offers a good set of feature and performance to boot. However, the MSI board is a good alternative if you prefer the VIA chipset, but youâ€™ll have to buy a retail processor in order to get the heatsink retaining mechanism.