Monday, January 26th 2009

ASRock nForce 3 Motherboard Supports Phenom II

With the AMD K8 architecture, AMD had made it very simple for CPUs and motherboards to get along. Memory support being purely subjective to the memory controller on the CPU, the only thing the motherboard chipset was left to do was to connect the rest of the system to the CPU using the HyperTransport interface. With the introduction of the DDR2 supportive AM2 socket that was mostly pin-compatible with socket 939, motherboard vendors took to cost-cutting using older s939 and s754-"supportive" chipsets such as the NVIDIA nForce 3. ASRock is one of them. The company used the nForce 3 in the AM2NF3-VSTA motherboard.

Having bought that motherboard in its time, might just pay off now, with the company including it in its latest socket AM3 CPU compatibility list. The motherboard might go on to support the latest Phenom II X4, X3 series; Athlon X4, X3 series, and other processors in AMD's 45nm desktop CPU lineup. That will also add to the reputation of the NVIDIA nForce 3 chipset being the only platform core-logic to span across three generations of CPU sockets: socket 754, socket 939, and socket AM2. And supporting AMD processors from three generations of sockets: AM2, AM2+ and AM3. This is what AMD originally conceived when designing its socket model. Unfortunately, vested commercial interests and "sandbagging" have plagued many a motherboard manufacturer who continue to discriminate CPU support within the AM2/3 socket series, to create new product lines, and to keep their sales up.

Source: Silicon Madness
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32 Comments on ASRock nForce 3 Motherboard Supports Phenom II

#2
stinger608
Dedicated TPU Cruncher & Folder
by: suraswami
wow! that is awesome.
Man, I have to second that!!! Makes me wonder if some of the other board manufactures will follow along?:toast:
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#3
Hayder_Master
amd nforce , i think this nforce mobos become disappear
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#5
kysg
doesn't matter, if someone bought that board I can tell they would be very happy right now that they at least have 1 shot at upgrading.
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#6
wazzledoozle
Nforce 3 has serious issues under windows vista. The driver support just isn't there from Nvidia, you have to use the Microsoft RTM drivers.
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#7
eidairaman1
that or User Drivers off NForcersHQ etc, hmm i wonder if NForce 4 is that way.

i use Unified Remix for the IDE drivers and the rest are the NF 5.10 drivers.

apparently Windows 7 is doin pretty good at even a beta stage, lets hope that positiveness winds up being the final product.
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#8
wazzledoozle
Nforce 4 is the oldest chipset supported by the unified driver.
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#10
wazzledoozle
Well you can't modify what doesn't exist.

"To date, Nvidia has not released a complete chipset driver package for nForce3 and Windows Vista. However, Nvidia has posted individual pre-release networking and audio drivers for Windows Vista Beta 1"


Not trying to argue, it's just anyone who has tried to run Vista on an Nforce 3 chipset is painfully aware of the issues that plague it. There is no MCP driver, so a lot of things don't work properly.

Yet another reason why I buy only AMD/Intel now :toast:
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#11
AlCabone
A five years old chipset supporting the latest processors. :respect:
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#12
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Technically, every chipset ever made for AMD K8 processors are capable to run a Phenom II (with DDR3). It's just that motherboard vendors expect you to buy a new board every 1~2 years or so, to proceed with the upgrade path. Look at GheySUS for example: Having three 790FX (DDR2) boards already, they turned up the M4A79 Deluxe, which is the same as the M3A79-T, except for the chipset cooler, brandishing AM3 support.
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#13
kysg
by: btarunr
Technically, every chipset ever made for AMD K8 processors are capable to run a Phenom II (with DDR3). It's just that motherboard vendors expect you to buy a new board every 1~2 years or so, to proceed with the upgrade path. Look at GheySUS for example: Having three 790FX (DDR2) boards already, they turned up the M4A79 Deluxe, which is the same as the M3A79-T, except for the chipset cooler, brandishing AM3 support.
Dunno mobo's seem to get turned out like there candy every single year. Except for matx which I think is slower.
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#14
InnocentCriminal
Resident Grammar Amender
by: wazzledoozle
Nforce 3 has serious issues under windows vista. The driver support just isn't there from Nvidia, you have to use the Microsoft RTM drivers.
Code 43!

If ASRock can fix the issue I'll be pretty freaking pleased. VIA and SiS were able to, nVIDIA pussied out and blamed ATi.

I'm actually surprised ASRock have done this, must have had some nForce3 chipsets lying around doing nothing. :rolleyes:
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#15
LittleLizard
is just great as u can have a 3850 agp , 4 gig of ram and a phenom ii on a shitty board and still it would be a great rig
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#16
eidairaman1
by: InnocentCriminal
Code 43!

If ASRock can fix the issue I'll be pretty freaking pleased. VIA and SiS were able to, nVIDIA pussied out and blamed ATi.

I'm actually surprised ASRock have done this, must have had some nForce3 chipsets lying around doing nothing. :rolleyes:
they probably put the effort into fixing Nvidias Fuckups.
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#17
InnocentCriminal
Resident Grammar Amender
I hope so. Otherwise a lot of people are going to pissed off even if the documentation stating compatibility is there.
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#18
eidairaman1
eh they dont claim ATI cards are supported via their mobo driver, yet i do recall the GART having nothing to do with what videocard was used, it was only meant to make the Slot properly working.

http://www.asrock.com/mb/note/AM2NF3-VSTA.html#Phenom

im pretty sure the reason they stated that is because

1 they didnt test ATI cards
2 they did test the ATI cards and were getting DX fails, because they dont know about the hotfix driver (Which works for 9500-3850)

Because im pretty sure GART access is about the same across all AGP boards, and the driver they state to use is for the motherboard to make the slot work

ya btw BTA, i agree with you on Asus, they pump out so many boards that they wind up neglecting ones with problems in the firmware, where if they took their time their reliability would be better across the board, performance is there yes but reliability not so much.
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#19
Mad-Matt
The Vista AGP Gart issue could have been partly ati's fault as well as nvidia's. Last working catalyst version is 7.7 on my vista based Abit NF2 system. Ati changed (broke?) something in cat 7.8+ and nvidia wouldnt issue a gart update to help things along and ensure full vista NF2 chipset support.
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#20
InnocentCriminal
Resident Grammar Amender
The Shuttle I built for my Dad for Christmas one year is nForce3 based and I've used a lot of ATi cards in the rig with Vista without any issue because I've used a single core CPU. nVIDIA later on released a statement saying that the nForce3 chipset wasn't designed to utilise multi-core CPUs and left it at that, unfortunately I can't find that document anywhere on nVIDIA's site, however this was an interesting read.
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#21
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: InnocentCriminal
I'm actually surprised ASRock have done this, must have had some nForce3 chipsets lying around doing nothing. :rolleyes:
This board was released way back when AM2 came to be. Sadly others such as Asus/Gig/MSI aren't giving AM3 support to their old AM2 boards which fall in the same price-range and dating back to this board, which is what makes it fascinating.
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#22
OnBoard
Here's a example of releasing the same motherboard all over again:

http://www.techpowerup.com/tags.php?tag=AMD+790FX

First 790FX came with SB600 southbridge and was a AM2+ board, next they upped the southbridge to SB700 and then made it to a AM3 board with SB750. At least they should all support AM3 processors.

Last step is of course with DDR3, so that's ok, but talk about a "new" board when the chipset came in 2007 :)
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#23
CDdude55
Crazy 4 TPU!!!
Dats pretty gangsta.:pimp:
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#24
Thefumigator
I had both the AM2NF3 and the K8Upgrade NF3 which are escencially the same motherboard but one is AM2 the later is 754 upgradeable to 939/AM2.

However, only the AM2NF3 supports phenom due to its larger bios (4MBit)

My experience with AGP were OK when using the Athlon X2... but once I installed the Phenom X4 9550, the AGP stopped working, as nvidia never released the CPU to AGP bridge compatible with quad cores. As a first result a blue screen, then I uninstalled the nforce CPU to AGP bridge and installed the standar CPU to PCI bridge and voilá, my ATI 1950GT would work as a charm, but performance dropped like 50%. Stability on XP had no problems.

I think that despite the low cooperation from Nvidia side to release such drivers, the motherboard is great to a point that I upgraded to a Nforce 7 mobo (ECS 8200/nforce730) and I haven't noticed any performance improvement over Nforce 3, despite going from HT1.0 to HT3.0 (OK, my phenom may not be the greatest thing). But anyway, the new SATA 2.0 ports came handy as well as PCIexpress and now I'm a happy owner of an ATI 4670 which is twice faster than the 1950GT AGP.

EDIT: corrected
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#25
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
I had that board and it erm broke by itself. :(
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