NVIDIA nForce 590 + AMD FX-62 -
The Verdict ..
Woah .. it took a lot of work to get this review done. So you now have arrived at the last page which we like to call the guru's verdict; so here we go then. Fact is that if you buy an nForce 590 SLI mainboard with no knowledge at all you can tweak your system to new heights on the new nForce 590 based platform solutions, all mainboard manufacturers producing 590 boards MUST include all the BIOS functions we discussed today, otherwise they'll forfeit an NVIDIA certification.
And once you have this mainboard .. sure, you need to have every component right to overclock & tweak like we did. But whether you do it with the nTune software "real-time" in Windows or simply play around with the SLI-Memory options in the BIOS really does not matter to me at all as long as it works relatively easy for everybody. For me .. within seconds after installing this mainboard I simply used the SLI-Memory function, set it to max. and gave the CPU and memory a little extra voltage and bam .. the first processor used (Athlon X2 4000+) was running at 2 GHz (default) and now is running at 2.66 GHz .. yeah that's Athlon FX-60 comparable performance people. It was quite a shock to see that happing.
But hey .. let me try to stay on track here, back to the FoxConn mainboard. Let's first address some minor negatives. There always are a few of them. Again, this is purely targeted at the FoxConn mainboard:
- The capacitors around the processor area are welded onto the mainboard really dreadful. Push them a little and they will break off, definitely something FoxConn must look into.
- Frontpanel connectors .. oh dear Gosh .. it finally was becoming such a nice standard. Please color code them.
- The graphics card retention clips .. once you installed a 7900 GTX for example .. you'll sweat for ten minutes as it's nearly impossible to unlock the graphics card again . You can't reach the retention clip as the MCP chipset cooler is blocking your fingers from reaching it.
But honestly ... that's all there is to moan about as FoxConn is delivering high-quality goods, and that certainly shows.
I really have to say a few words on how impressed I am with the FoxConn mainboard here. Not only do they deliver a top notch mainboard that worked flawlessly from day one, they also made something really special didn't they ? Next to everything we mentioned I just loved the details. The sexy black PCB, really cool cables, debug LED display, power/reset on/off micro switches, layout. Yeah only one word comes to mind .. sexy.
Another thing I have to mention is that when it comes to overclocking you can bring your PC to great heights with the nForce 590 boards. You do need to have your decisions in components right though. The mainboard without a doubt passes the test greatly. But bare in mind you'll need a good PSU as you have an already high-end system tweaked ever further. Most certainly not the least is obviously memory. The memory used today was provided by Corsair, and they are doing a top-notch job with the supplied modules as we got it to run at the absolute fastest clock, 1066 MHz. This CM2X1024-8500C5 memory can handle a clock frequency of 1066 MHz with 5-5-5-15 timings, which obviously are slightly slower than common timings compared to low latency memory at 677 or 800 MHz. This memory impressed me extremely. Crazy stuff, EPP profiles most definitely helped me as we setup the system overclock within seconds with everything configured right resulting in awe-inspiring overall system performance.
I must admit that the move towards DDR2 with Socket AM2 processors made be a tad weary when I saw the first results leaked onto the web. Performance was okay and nothing more than that compared to the balls of steel memory controller we see on the CPU's for DDR1. Thing is .. with SLI-Memory capability you are allowed to run memory at very tight timings or overclocked at a very high frequency. The products from Corsair we tested in today's article are therefore extremely recommended, watch that SLi Ready memory sticker on the package .. if it does have it .. it has EPP and it can help you overclock the system way more easy and guarantees system stability even with higher clocks. This is a very nice initiative from Corsair and NVIDIA, the hardcore tweakers however will probably never use the extra performance profiles as they would take it to yet another higher level.
The FX-62 CPU we used today was supplied by AMD (for a couple of days). It's obviously is a fantastic CPU and even more apparent the fastest available to date. I was surprised that we could easily tweak another 350-400 MHz out of the CPU with just air-cooling. Hey it's done in seconds with the 590 mainboard (high frequency memory highly recommended here btw). Then there's that X2 4000+ processor we used. Dang .. it's a third of the price of that FX-62 yet with performance close to the FX-60 once overclocked. That really is impressive. So laying down a grand in the PC shop for the FX-62 seems something you really need to think about when using a 590 mainboard. The cheaper processors run a lower frequency/voltage and often can be overclocked much better then high-end processors (if that is your goal of course). On another note, I believe that AMD is making the right choice to go for DDR2 support.
So there you have it, there's nothing really negative to say about the FoxConn 590 SLI product, the memory or even processors used. Do remember though that an enthusiast PC like we have shown you today might be so expensive that you have to sell a kidney to be able to afford it. A system like this is not for everyone. But one you own one .. it'll bring a smile on-to your face from Europe to the land down under.
So the last line, if you have everything right components wise the nForce 590 SLI mainboard will offer you massive performance and a bucket load of additional features you'll be impressed with as it is exactly that, impressive. Mind you that overclocking and tweaking like we did today is not for everyone and you will pay premium price for this flagship mainboard. It's a new product, yet 100% stable. How often do you see a product launch with a product that works 125% straight from the beginning ? .. exactly. The gear used and tested in this article are all HIGHLY recommended by yours truly.
Nice job NVIDIA, nice job FoxConn, nice job Corsair and nice job Zalman and for innovation, options and high performance we grant the FoxConn mainboard, NVIDIA chipset and Corsair 1066 MHz memory with EPP an editors choice award.
So my final saying would go like this: The nForce 590 series is an extremely fast, tweakable and resourceful platform for the aficionado high-end PC user .. anything else is just a mainboard.
Should you be interested in building the system as shown in this review, the components used in this review are:
- Foxconn C51XEM2AA-8EKRS2H (Socket AM2 nForce 590 SLi)
- AMD64 Athlon FX-62 processor (Socket AM2)
- AMD64 X2 4000+ processor (Socket AM2)
- Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 (SLI-Ready) DDR2 DIMMs (CM2X1024-8500C5)
- Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4 800MHz low-latency (SLI-Ready) DIMMs (CM2X1024-6400C4)
- Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 cooler
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