Questions about NForce based mobos.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Justin Ward, Mar 15, 2003.

  1. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    I am seriously considering going with an nForce based motherboard for a PC I hope to build. I have a few questions about the sound on this motherboard ABIT- NF7-S (nFORCE2 S-ATA+8XAGP+DDR400+1394+LAN+6CH AUDIO+333FSB)

    1) Is it appropiate for a budget oriented PC?
    2) Does the Dolby Digital encoding hurt the speed of the system?
    3) Could it still pass PCM audio for listening to stereo PCM files?
    4) Can it pass DTS from DVDs?
    5) Are there any games that won't support this motherboard for multi-channel sound?
     
  2. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    1) yes, with the high quailty integrated sound it saves a lot of money, it's one of the few times where high end pcs and low end pcs have similar components in their arsenal.

    2) no, if you read any reviews of any motherboard with the soundstorm audio on it, you will notice they suffer no real performance loss because of the audio solution. This is do to the audio be a hardware implementation (doesn't completly rely on the cpu).


    3) yes, you can, if you turn off the DD5.1 encoding in the nForce properties it will just pass a stereo PCM signal through over the digital coax.

    4) yes, when I use powerDVD for watching DVDs I tell it to use the s/pdif connector (Digital coax) and it will pass a DTS signal through.

    5) no, the dd5.1 encoding is done by the soudstorm APU, it's purely independant of the game, if the game is only stereo than the apu will encode appropriatly or if the game uses a popular 3d format like EAX then it will encode that appropriatly as well. I have never had any difficulties playing any video game with soundstorm.

    hope that helps you out some.
     
  3. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    Excellent. It looks like I may be able to build a decent PC without spending as much as I thought might have to. Are Athlon PCs still as finicky as they were a couple years ago?
     
  4. VinhT

    VinhT Second Unit

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    Athlons were never finicky, they don't give you any problems. I'd recommend getting the retail version of the processor, so it comes with a fan. Aftermarket fans will usually be louder.
     
  5. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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  6. Belgarath

    Belgarath Agent

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  7. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    yes I agree, Via is the devil when it comes to their chipsets, there have been soo many problems with the northbridges off of Via solutions it's maddening. But Nvidia has come out with a great chipset that runs great, almost everyone who has problems with them is trying to make the motherboard do something it wasn't made for.
     
  8. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I've had 3 friends buy Nforce2 boards recently and all crap out quickly. From what I understand the chipset is rather new too so It might be prudent to wait.
     
  9. Belgarath

    Belgarath Agent

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    This is not the fault of the nForce chipset (or motherboards with Via chipsets).
    Until today I have not heard of a motherboard that died because the north- or south-bridge burned out.
    When a motherboard dies it is due to the fact that substandard parts were used, or just a bad design.

    Belgarath
     
  10. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    You still need to be careful what RAM you are using in today's motherboards. Be sure to stick with Crucial/Micron or Corsair to guarantee minimum problems with nForce motherboards. Samsung is good for the nforce1 chipsets, not quite so good for the nForce2 if you want to overclock.

    The Asus A7N8X motherboards have been getting a bad rap lately however. Quite a few BIOS or hardware issues have been widely discussed in the http://www.nforcershq.com/ forums. I have an A7N8X Deluxe, and it works well, but then again I have been to afraid to update the BIOS. I sometimes have trouble getting the machine to hibernate, and every 2nd or 3rd reboot my keyboard is not recognized properly. My previous Asus A7N266C (nforce1) was the best motherboard I had ever owned (gave it to my brother-in-law...that computer is gonna last forever!).
     
  11. JeffDurbin

    JeffDurbin Auditioning

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    I have an Epox EP-8RDA+ which I got for $108 and I have overclocked an XP1700+ by 330MHz to 1.8GHz (XP2200+ levels). There is a guy on www.techimo.com who has OCed his XP1700/EP-8RDA by 800MHz. The nForce2 boards are wonderful but there are a few things to know.

    1) The reference specs said to build them a certain way and most manufacturers cut a corner on the jumpers that may cause your board to hang up if you overclock it too much. (I think MSI was the only to correctly do it) It is not a fatal error but you have to restore your CMOS by pulling the battery or something like that. Go to the Inquirer for a complete discussion of the story and the resolution. nVidia and the mobo manufacturers are rushing out a BIOS update to help out those who overclock too recklessly. One of the reasons why some think that these boards have too many problems is because EVERYONE who wants to overclock gets one of these so you tend to have some selection bias in the sample.

    2) Examine the sound output jacks very carefully. The main reason I bought the 8RDA+ model instead of the RDA was to get the six channel sound. BUT, Epox and most nForce2 manufacturers use the three standard jacks (line in, line out, mic in) for the six channels. I found out that my ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder card needs the line in jack. Therefore, my six channel sound doesn't work. I have a sound card on the way as a result. There are a few nForce manufacturers that use separate jacks which allow you to use your line in for line in and use different jacks for the surround sound. Just keep this in mind.

    3) Both me and Endobiotic (800MHz overclock) are using two sticks of Crucial PC2100 DDR 256MB. We both had problems with it when we set the memory timings at 5-2-2-2 so we each backed off to 5-2-2-2.5 which made sense because that Crucial is rated with a latency of 2.5. You can get this for about $25 a stick at Best Buy after rebate (keep your eyes open) or just go to Crucial and buy it there. It might be a little more but there are no rebate headaches and you get lifetime warranty with Crucial. You can pay a little more for PC2700 but I don't think it is necessary. You do not want ECC or parity or buffered.

    4) I am building another home entertainment center PC with the Cooler Master ATC610 case because it matches my audio equipment. Problem is that it only holds a micro-ATX motherboard. I got the Chaintech M712F for it but I have not installed it. The user manual is clearer though so I am optimistic about the board. It not only has integrated audio but it also has integrated video as well. MX440 chipset is mediocre if you want to game but if you want a home theatre PC system then it is fine. PLUS, CompUSA has the PNY GF4 Ti-4200 video card for $79.99 after rebate. That is a steal. The board ROCKS. About $50 less than anywhere else. They are out of stock on the web but check inventory at your local store and rush out and snag one.
     
  12. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Most of the current issues with the Nforce2 boards seem to be down to drivers and wobbly BIOSs. It'll settle down in time. I've just built two boxes on the Asus A7N8X (non-deluxe). The one machine, which is on pretty much 24/7 and handles all of my media files, DVD burning, MP3 encoding and runs an FTP server is solid as a rock on Windows XP.

    The second box has W2K on it and is solid apart from a weird boot-up problem. When the W2K splash screen appears only the first five blue 'blocks' appear and it wont go any further. After a few hits of the reset switch it kicks in OK. I've tried running XP on the same box and apart from having a problem with the Matrox graphics drivers (fixed by using latest version) it's fine.

    There has also been an issue recently with Crucial memory modules - specifically the 512mb PC2700 version which was supposed to be 'incompatible' with Nforce2. I spoke to a Crucial tech yesterday who said the they've done a lot of testing in the US labs and couldn't find any conclusive evidence of a problem with the memory sticks, so they're back on the 'recommended' list again.

    It's always the same when a new chipset starts getting popular. A few months of wobblies then the bios and driver updates settle down and it runs fine.
     

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