Asus's A8R32-MVP Deluxe motherboard

ATI's CrossFire Express 3200 chipset arrives

ASUS HAS BEEN on a nice run lately, cranking out motherboards for different CPUs based on various chipsets with all of the boards sharing a similar look, a happily tweakable BIOS, and a largely common set of features. They've got enthusiast-class motherboard design down to a formula, and they're executing quickly on that formula, oftentimes delivering boards based on new chipsets weeks before the competition.

The latest bit of core logic to get the Asus treatment is ATI's CrossFire Xpress 3200, a brand-new north bridge that allows Radeon cards to ride in dual PCI Express x16 slots, each with a full complement of 16 lanes of PCI-E connectivity. The goal, of course, is to accelerate the working of a pair of Radeon cards in a CrossFire configuration, bringing even more performance to an already potent dual-GPU setup.

The CrossFire Xpress 3200 is the second wave of ATI's bid to win over PC enthusiasts to its chipsets. ATI's first attempt, the Radeon Xpress 200, saw limited success, but established some strong credentials as a decent performer and an excellent overclocker. If the CrossFire Xpress 3200 can continue that tradition and round off some of its predecessor's rough edges, ATI could have a definite winner on its hands.

So, the questions are: has Asus done it again with the A8R32-MVP Deluxe? Can the CrossFire Xpress 3200's additional PCI Express lanes make the fastest dual-graphics setup in the world—a pair of Radeon X1900 cards—even faster? How well does this mobo stand up against its arch-rival from Asus, the A8N32-SLI Deluxe, based on NVIDIA's nForce4 SLI X16 chipset? Let's have a look.

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