Shuttle AN50R packet
Shuttle AN50R has been greatly appreciated product by many overclockers since its release. Strange enough it hasnt actually collected that many awards on reviews conducted on various hardware sites as one could have expected. Shuttle sent us the motherboard and in this review we are going to check it out thorougly and compare it to other Socket 754 motherboards that have been visiting our test bed.
NVIDIA nForce 3 150 is somewhat unusual chipset as it consist only a one chip that handles all the required operations. This is mainly due to the integrated memory controller on Athlon 64 processors, which allows simple chipset design. However most Athlon 64 chipsets still have two chip design and so nForce 3 150 chipset and motherboards based on it differ from other Athlon 64 chipsets and motherboards quite a bit.
Perhaps biggest drawback of nForce3 150 chipset compared to other Athlon 64 chipsets is the slower data bus between processor and chipset. That bus it called HyperTransport bus and for example on VIAs K8T800 chipset it is 16-bits wide on both ways and works at 800MHz speed. On nForce 3 150 things are little different since uplink is only 8-bits wide and both uplink and downlink work at 600MHz clock rate.
Narrower and slower HyperTransport bus isnt the only thing affecting the usage compared to other chipsets. Most important and wanted feature is perhaps the SATA-controller. And it is missing. This is going to be fixed on upcoming nForce 3 250 chipset, but this time there is no motherboards based on nForce 3 250 chipset available. Most users miss also the SoundStorm audio features of nForce 2 chipset, which has been removed from nForce 3 chipset.
|CPU:||AMD Athlon 64 Processor|
|Chipset:||NVIDIA nForce 3 150|
|Memory:||3 DDR200/266/333/400 Memory Sockets|
|Expansion Slots:||1 x AGP8X (1.5V only)|
5 x PCI
|Storage:||2 x UltraDMA 100/66/33|
2 x Serial ATA, RAID 0 ja RAID 1
|LAN:||Intel RC82540EM Gigabit & NVIDIA MAC ja Realtek 8201BL 10/100|
|USB 2.0:||4 onboard, 2 optional|
Power and reset switches onboard|
- djustable CPU frequency by 1 MHz increment, Adjustable Vcore, VAGP, VMemory for overclocking|
- Adjustable FSB/DDR ratio and AGP/PCI clocks
Shuttle AN50R connectors
Shuttle has succeeded to collect most used and needed integrated features on this motherboard despite of some lacks of a nForce 3 150 chipset. Especially dual LAN draws attention. In addition to chipsets 10/100 Mbps MAC, Shuttle has added Intel's excellent Gigabit LAN. Firewire is also present as well as few SATA ports controlled by Silicon Image Sil3112. Audio features arent exactly same quality as other integrated features, but nevertheless Realtek ALC650 provides 6-channel sound and bunch of other features.
Overclocking features are comprehensive and Shuttle has even added onboard power and reset switches. And most important is the fact that nForce3 chipset has locked PCI clocks and adjustable AGP clocks unlike any other Athlon 64 chipset.
- Ultra ATA IDE cable
- 2 Serial ATA cables
- 2 Serial ATA power cables
- USB bracket (adds 2 ports)
- Firewire bracket (adds 2 ports)
- Floppy drive flat cable
- I/O shield
- Manuals and driver CDs
Most needed cables and manuals come with the motherboard, but for some reason only one IDE cable is bundled. Cable and connector selection is going towards SATA so two SATA cables with power adapters are bundled. With two-port USB bracket all six USB ports can be utilized. There is one Firewire connector onboard, but with bundled Firewire bracket as many as three ports come available if needed. Only things missing are digital outputs and inputs for audio. There is connector on motherboard for S/PDIF bracket but it wasnt bundled so you just cant use the feature out of the box.
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