The chipset cooler has been lifted from the Mempipe model with the result that the heatsink on the Northbridge is a peculiar block with channels and female threads that are ready to accept the non-existent Mempipe accessory. It looks unusual and it also rang alarm bells as Nvidia chipsets have a deserved reputation for running worryingly hot so we had rather hoped to see a huge cooler with lots of fins to increase the surface area. That said, the M4N82 behaved itself impeccably during testing and the chipset cooler maintained a steady temperature of 50-55 degrees Celsius.
When it comes to cooling Asus has included a total of four fan connectors; one four-pin for the CPU cooler and three three-pin connectors labelled up for two chassis fans and the power supply. That’s perfectly reasonable but we were staggered to see that two of the fan connectors are directly in line with the second graphics slot where they will be blocked by any graphics card bigger than a GeForce 8800 GT. This isn’t one of those esoteric problems that will only affect gamers who run triple GTX 295, it will hurt anyone who runs SLI and fancies the idea of running more than one case fan.
The weird thing is that the fan connectors on the M3N-HT Asus were located down by the third graphics where they were out of harm’s way.
The rest of the layout doesn’t throw up any surprises as the other components are located sensibly and have plenty of room. On the I/O panel there are two PS/2 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, one Firewire port, a SATA port, optical and coaxial digital audio outputs and surround-sound mini-jacks.
Asus includes a fair stack of software on the DVD. In addition to the usual drivers and copy of Acrobat reader you’ll find AI Suite for overclocking and Asus Cool ‘n Quiet to monitor CPU frequency and voltage. For some reason there isn’t a copy of the AMD OverDrive overclocking utility, though.
AI Suite promises great things as it allows you to configure the power button on your PC case as an overclocking tool. No, honest, it’s true. The feature is called Q Button and you can configure the power button to run one of three factory profiles called Race Car, Jet Plane and Rocket. The default is Rocket i.e. the fastest, and we were keen to see the toy in action. We opened AI Suite, chose our settings, pressed the power button and watched an icon pop up on the screen. We braced ourselves for massive performance so you have to imagine our disappointment when the CPU performance increased by a mere five percent.
Thankfully we did somewhat better with our efforts at manual overclocking and increased the speed of our Phenom II X4 810 from 2.6GHz to 3.38GHz without any trouble. This is the same clock speed we achieved when we reviewed the Asus Crosshair III Formula though performance wasn’t quite so good. However, the difference is only in the order of a few percent so this rather old and crusty nVidia chipset still did a decent job.
We’d like to see nVidia deliver a Socket AM3 chipset that marries DDR3 memory with SLI graphics but something tells us that is unlikely. In the meantime the Asus M4N82 Deluxe delivers decent performance and a reasonable list of features that is topped off with Tri-SLI.