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Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra Motherboard Review

Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: There's little doubt that if you're thinking about buying a new system or parts right now, Socket 939 Athlon64 + PCI Express is the way to go.
 79% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Chaintech Apr 20 2005   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra

Overclocking the Chaintech value board

With a 1 GHz HyperTransport link to the processor that is 16-bits wide both up and downstream, the nForce4 Ultra chipset can get quite hot. To tackle this problem, Chaintech has used a medium sized chipset cooler which works quite well, yet remains very quiet. During testing, the chipset fan did not make any noticeable noise and would not be audible when enclosed in a case.

Before we started to overclock the Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra, we first lowered the CPU multiplier to 8x and the memory controller to 166 MHz mode. This way neither the processor nor memory would hold us back when overclocking. For these tests, we want only the motherboard to be the limiting factor.

Starting at 200 MHz, we began to raise the motherboard clock speed in 5 MHz increments. At the 220-225 MHz range, things started to become unstable, the board crashing now and then during boot up and while running SiSoft Sandra.

Increasing the chipset voltage to 1.6V seemed to fix the problem so we continued pushing it faster.

The VNF4 Ultra again started to show signs of instability at around 235 MHz. This time around we needed a bit more voltage; we had to go up to 1.7V to stabilize things. The Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra hit its maximum speed at 247 MHz. Not the highest overclock we've ever seen, but very good for a budget board.

Inside the BIOS

In the DRAM configuration menu, we find our memory timing tweaks. There are not as many options as we've seen with other nForce4 motherboards, but then again this isn't an overclockers-only mobo. There are enough options for the mainstream user.

In the Frequency/Voltage Control section, we find the overclocking options. We can change the motherboard frequency from 200-400 MHz in 1 MHz increments but cannot simply type in the value we want. We can also change the PCI Express frequency but that is best left at stock speeds. Athlon64 users can select lower multipliers while FX users have full multiplier control. Maximum CPU voltage is 1.7V, memory 2.9V and chipset 1.7V.

PCStats Test System Specs:
Processor:

AMD Athlon64 4000+

Clock Speed:

12 x 200 MHz = 2.4 GHz

Motherboards:

ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR (ALi M1689)*
Soltek SL-K8TPro-939 (K8T800 Pro)*
Epox 9NDA3+ (NF3 Ultra)*
Albatron K8X890 Pro II (K8T890)**
Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 (NF4 Ultra)**
Epox EP-9NPA+ Ultra (NF4 Ultra)**
Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI (NF4 SLI)**
MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI (NF4 SLI)**
DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR (NF4 SLI)**
MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum (NF4 Ultra)**
Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra (NF4 Ultra)**

Videocard:

Asus X800XT/VTD*
MSI RX800XT-VTD256**

Memory:

2x 512MB Mushkin PC3200 Special Ed.

Hard Drive: 40GB Western Digital Special Ed
74GB Western Digital Raptor SATA
CDROM: AOpen Combo 52x
PowerSupply: Seasonic Super Tornado 400W
Software Setup

WindowsXP Build 2600
VIA 4in1 4.55V
Forceware 6.10
Catalyst 4.12

Workstation Benchmarks

SYSMark 2004
Business Winstone 2004
Content Creation 2004
Super Pi
SiSoft Sandra 2004
PCMark04
3DMark2001SE
3DMark05
AquaMark3
Comanche 4
X2: The Threat
UT2003
UT2004
Doom 3

We just got a couple of 74GB WD740 Raptor hard drives in which have replaced our trusty 40GB WD IDE HDDs as test drives. Please keep that in mind when viewing the office and disk benchmarks.

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Contents of Article: Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra
 Pg 1.  Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Overclocking the Chaintech value board
 Pg 3.  Benchmarks: SYSMark 2004
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2005, Super Pi
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, AquaMark3
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 10.  You can't beat its value!

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