Feeds

Sapphire Pure Innovation PI-A9RX480 mobo

Overclocker's dream - or too expensive?

Verdict

Sapphire's aim in producing the PI-A9RX480 was to create a performance-oriented motherboard that offered the enthusiast everything they wanted: speed, stability and overclocking in large portions.

ATI's Xpress 200P chipset seemed like a strange choice, as previous partners' motherboards fell short in almost every department when compared to the established duo. However, with the mix of RX480 North Bridge and SB450 South Bridge, Sapphire has added its own mix of design flair and an enthusiast-friendly BIOS to create a motherboard which is strong in most areas. PI-A9RX480's subjectively stunning looks are complemented by a decent layout and reasonable feature-set, and general performance is good, whilst overclocking performance is just stellar.

The Sapphire Pure Innovation A9RX480 sounds like the Socket 939 motherboard to own, then? Well, as good as it is in certain areas, it's simply not competitive on others. What's problematic is not Sapphire's implementation but rather the underlying core logic. USB 2.0 performance is still significantly slower than the competition's. SATA II support needs to be added via a discrete ASIC, something which is already built into Nvidia's nForce 4 variants, and adding discrete ASICs to make up for a lightweight South Bridge just pushes up the price.

Speaking of which, what also detracts from the package is the asking price of around £135. That's a lot of money for a motherboard that doesn't feature CrossFire. One can buy another motherboard, based on a different chipset, with a similar feature-set and similar performance, albeit perhaps with not quite as much voltage adjustment, for substantially less than the asking price for the PI-A9RX480.

We applaud Sapphire for releasing an ATI-based Socket 939 motherboard that performs well. We'd recommend it if the asking price was around £100. However, at £135, and with due note of just what's available for less money right now, the Sapphire Pure Innovation A9RX480 is just too expensive to be a real contender. Mind you, if individuality and monstrous voltage adjustments are just what you're after, save up the pennies and invest in one. Our ultimate advice would be to wait for a CrossFire Edition, however. So not the absolute best Socket 939 motherboard we've come across, but it has to suggest that Sapphire's foray into high-end motherboards won't be an isolated one.

Review by
Hexus.net

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.