Sapphire announces RD580 CrossFire motherboards

— 5:28 PM on March 2, 2006

DigiTimes is reporting that Sapphire Technology has announced two new motherboards based on ATI's recently released CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset. The boards, dubbed Pure CrossFire PC-A9RD580 and Pure CrossFire Advantage PC-A9RD580ADV, will both have dual x16 PCI-E slots running at full speed, much like the Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe we just reviewed. However, unlike the Asus board, both Sapphires will use ATI's SB450 south bridge over ULi's M1575. While this could help avoid potential supply problems now that ULi is owned by NVIDIA, the SB450 is unfortunately beginning to show its age. In addition to having well-documented USB and PCI performance issues, the ATI south bridge also lacks support for 300MB/s Serial ATA transfer rates and Native Command Queuing. Sapphire appears to have made up for some of the south bridge's shortcomings with an auxiliary Serial ATA controller, but the board's performance could still suffer due to the SB450's other problems.

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