RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [08.30.04]
Manufactured by: Abit, DFI, Foxconn, Gigabyte


And there you have it - four motherboards that you can get in stores now, or very soon.

As you saw, performance doesn't vary at all when you're looking at boards using a high end chipset. There just isn't much headroom for manufacturers to tweak.

You saw my conclusions on board layout, onboard features, accessories, CMOS features, and software utilities throughout the review, so you know where each board excels and falls behind. But for those who skip to the last page (I would too on a 20 page article! but it couldn't be helped!), here is a quick recap:

Abit AA8 - An acceptable board layout, with some smart features like the numeric diagnostic display. Nothing special in terms of onboard components, but REALLY excels in CMOS and Software features, thanks to the uGuru chip. This would be a killer overclocker if you can ever manage overclocking on this platform.

DFI Lanparty 925x-T2 - As usual, the Lanparty is the nicest looking board, and thanks to all the onboard components added by way of the new chipset, it has never looked better. DFI went out of their way to include goodies that other motherboards don't come with. In some ways they succeeded (SATA adapter that works with any PATA device) and in some ways they failed (external DAC module that creates more noise than it prevents). The layout was wonderful on this board, but software was lacking. CMOS Reloaded was Reloaded again to make for the best CMOS profile system ever.

Foxconn 925A01 8EKRS - This was the second 925x board to be released, right after Intel released theirs. This brings us to the conclusion that Foxconn is making Intel's boards for them now. Luckily for Intel, they do a great job of it, and this board stands up as a rock solid performer. However, it isn't designed all too well, and is lacking many advanced CMOS and software functions from the other boards.

Gigabyte GA-8ANXP-D - Probably my favourite board overall. The layout was truly hit and miss - the bottom half of the board is nearly perfect, while the top half is marred by horizontal IDE and Floppy ports (that's right, the same style you saw on your Celeron 300 system) and poor 2x2 P4 pin layout. This board had a lot of nice accessories as well, such as a Wireless G PCI card. With dual BIOS and some great OC features, it's tough to beat this board.

So as you can see, each board has its own strengths and weaknesses. If you are looking for a pure tweaker/overclocker board, look no further than the AA8. If you want the flashiest board possible, with a lot of extra cool goodies to show off, get the Lanparty. If you want the most robust system with features like 8 SATA connectors and Wireless G lan, then the Gigabyte is for you.

If you want a 925x motherboard that is... well.. colourful... try the Foxconn.

Price-wise, it's tough to call it right now, as most of these boards are literally brand new (I just received the Lanparty last week) and prices haven't quite been established yet (they are as high as they'll ever be right now). We did find the Abit AA8 for $154 at MWave or $160 at NewEgg. It can be found at dozens of other stores as well.

The Foxconn board has been out for a while, but Foxconn hasn't exactly established themselves as a big motherboard brand yet. MWave does carry it though, for $175. NewEgg has it too, for $180. Looking at those prices, there really is no reason to choose the Foxconn over the Abit AA8.

After some searching, I was able to find the Gigabyte board! has it for $257, and NewEgg sells it for $249. Wow. Well, it does come with the most onboard features and accessories.

And guess what - NewEgg does have the Lanparty 925x T2 listed on their site! For just $218, it's a killer deal compared to the Gigabyte! Consider that it's only around $60 more than the Abit board, and it is starting to look more appealing than ever!

One thing that is common across all boards though, is the performance. For better or worse, no matter which board you choose, you will be getting roughly the same performance as any decently-designed board on the same chipset. You might be able to squeeze a bit out of the Gigabyte, Abit, and Lanparty though, as they offer some extra tweaks at your disposal.