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Chaintech Zenith ZNF3-150 nForce3 Motherboard Review

Date: Tuesday January 06, 2004
Category: Motherboards Author: Colin Sun
Manufacture: Chaintech

Take it from me, with the "regular" Athlon64 'K8' processor you get about 95% of the Athlon64 FX performance, for about half the price.

Cbox3 and 7.1 Channel Audio

Another nice thing that Chaintech does that we must applaud is the interchangeable face plates. There's a beige, silver and black plates to choose from depending on what colour your chassis is. This just goes to show that Chaintech are really thinking about the end user when they include these goodies.

The cables for the Cbox3 are about 60cm long, but that may be a bit tight for some users with full tower cases. Other then that, the CBox3 really is a useful addition to the Zenith ZNF3-150 motherboard.

Also bundled in with everything else is a full set of bright orange rounded cables. Rounded cables are an easy way to improve air flow and cable management within the case, and they generally look a lot better if you have a window in your chassis too.

Chaintech also included the good stuff, not the cheap rounded IDE cables that most mom and pop type stores carry. The ones that come with the Zenith ZNF3-150 are extremely soft and flexible!

CMR, what the heck?

As you've probably noticed the Chaintech Zenith ZNF3-150 has a small brown slot at the bottom of the motherboard; this is the CMR (Chaintech Multimedia Riser) slot.

It's a proprietary slot for Chaintech motherboards only, but do not fear, the ZNF3-150 comes with the necessary CMR device.

The CMR card is simply an extension of the devices on the motherboard, there are two IEEE 1394 ports as well as three audio ports (which together with the others in the I/O area realize the full 7.1 channels) and a SPDIF out connector. An optical SPDIF cable is included, along with an adaptor so that you can directly connect your PC to an SPDIF-equipped stereo right out of the box.

We've been critical in the past of manufacturers for including low quality AC'97 software based sound cards on motherboards. Even I can hear the difference between the CPU sapping software codec and a hardware PCI based sound card.

The new VIA Envy24PT hardware sound card deals with a lot of these issues, and in fact they one of the first on the market to introduce a sound card that supports 7.1-channel audio.

The Envy24PT supports 24bit audio resolution with 96kHz sampling which is right up there with the Creative Audigy 2 ZS in terms of audio quality. Things don't stop there, the audio controller also has support for Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES. The chip is definitely up to your home theatre/DVD needs! Lastly because the Envy24PT is a hardware based solution, it drains very little CPU resources from the processor which should mean better overall performance for gamers everywhere.

Page 1: Chaintech Zenith ZNF3-150 nForce3 Motherboard Review
Page 2: Up close with the ZNF3-150
Page 3: RadEX Cooling System
Page 4: Cbox3 and 7.1 Channel Audio
Page 5: BIOS and Overclocking
Page 6: System Spec's and Benchmarks: Winstone and Sysmark 2002
Page 7: Benchmarks: Winbench 99, SiSoft Sandra 2004
Page 8: Benchmarks: PCMark2002, 3DMark2001
Page 9: Benchmarks: Quake III Arena, UT2003
Page 10: A well rounded motherboard!

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