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AMD - Asus A7V600

Asus is probably the best known motherboard brand in the world. One of the reasons why Asus is so famous is that it was one of the first motherboard manufacturers that pushed the envelope and added overclocking features to its products. This, as well as high quality, reliable products has put Asus to where it is today.

The A7V600 stunned us a bit, as it is not what we’re used to from Asus.
It’s a fairly basic board, although it has the features you would expect.
As it’s based on the VIA KT600 chipset you’ll find S-ATA as standard, but Asus hasn’t added any secondary S-ATA or IDE Raid capabilities to the A7V600.

There is of course 5.1-channel audio, this time courtesy of an Analog Devices AD1980 chipset that offers excellent sound quality and electrical S/PDIF output.
It is however not the best solution for games as it lacks a few of the more advanced 3D audio features sported by other chips like the C-Media. A 3Com Gigabit Ethernet controller rounds off the basic set of features.

An interesting optional upgrade is the Asus WiFi 802.11b card that fits in a special Asus slot next to the sixth PCI slot. It is however unclear if this would give you any benefit over a normal 802.11b PCI card and as the price for the Asus model is as yet unknown we can’t comment on whether it’s a worthy upgrade or not.

The manual is fairly basic and makes this motherboard a less than an ideal choice for a first time buyer, but it does cover the basics that you need to get the board up and running. We did however encounter some problems with the A7V600, as it didn’t like the Corsair PC3200 memory we where testing the motherboards with and we had to change it for some Crucial PC3200 memory instead. This should be addressed in a future BIOS upgrade, but it’s still a surprising problem from a company like Asus.

The benchmarks weren’t too kind to the A7V600 either, although some of this is due to the fact that the Crucial memory isn’t as quick as the Corsair modules we originally tried to use. As a result, the Asus finds itself languishing at the bottom of most of the benchmark graphs.

It’s a shame that Asus didn’t manage to come up with a more impressive product for this group test, but at least the price is reasonable at just over £70. That said, there are other more competent boards on offer in roughly the same price bracket.

Verdict

For an extra £4 you can pick up the Recommended Award winning EPoX 8RGA3 board. Enough said.

{table:asusamd}

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