Chaintech VNF4 Zenith VE - Page 8

..:: VNF4 Zenith VE Conclusion ::..

Well, we’ve seen what Foxconn has to offer with the Chaintech VNF4 Zenith VE. Stability wise, as we have found with all of the previously reviewed Chaintech branded motherboards, we did not experience any stability problems. The system was quite stable under overclocked conditions, far better than other boards we’ve dealt with thus far. The stability of the VNF4 Zenith VE at stock levels was exactly what we were looking for as well.

The VNF4 Zenith VE product package wasn’t anything special, and certainly had its down sides. On the hardware side of things, I was expecting at least an additional IDE connector and perhaps a USB 2.0 expansion bracket. The manual was far from what I would expect with any product, no matter whether or not it’s a budget product or not. This manual is also used for the nForce4 Ultra version of the board, so clearly that board suffers from the same problem. The software suite was nice, and makes up for some of the hardware problems, but Chaintech really needs to address this manual issue.

As far as the general layout and design of the VNF4 Zenith VE goes, I’d say that Chaintech has put a simple, clean board onto the market. The different design did help lower our chassis and CPU temperatures by a degree or two, but not much more. With a higher end, and therefore hotter, processor the aid from improved airflow would be felt a lot more than with a 3200+. The main item I don’t like with this board is the 24-pin ATX connector location. The best part is that a heatsink of substantial size can be used for cooling the chipset without worrying about a large graphics adapter disrupting flow. I would’ve preferred that Chaintech used some form of thermal material on the chipset though. Clean design, simple layout, but nothing earth shattering.

Overall, we were pleased with the BIOS that Chaintech has chosen to utilize with the VNF4 Zenith VE. Given that the board really isn’t geared towards the high-end crowd, I was slightly surprised to see the voltage adjustment capabilities that we found. The voltages that Chaintech supply should be more than enough to get a little extra oomf out of that Athlon 64 and your RAM as well. I was looking for an option for fan speed control based on system temps, but it was not to be found. Chaintech has provided a simple and effective BIOS for budget buyers and new builders. Now, if only they did this type of job with the manual.

Well, the highest FSB setting for the VNF4 Zenith VE is a sizeable, yet unattainable 400.0MHz. Throughout testing, I found that the highest stable FSB that was achievable was around 235.0MHz. As the FSB was raised from this point on, some stability problems began to appear and become more frequent. At 235.0MHz and below, the system was still rock solid. By decreasing the HT speed, the overclock went up, but not many out there are looking to do this to attain a few extra MHz. This is better than the two Foxconn boards we’ve reviewed thus far for overclocking, though overclocking wise, this still isn’t up to par for the high performance crowd.

Given that the Chaintech VNF4 Zenith VE comes with a price point of only $84.00, it certainly gives the two budget Foxconn boards we’ve seen thus far a run for their money. The Foxconn boards come with slightly better product packages, and surperb manuals in comparison to the VNF4 Zenith VE, but the VNF4 Zenith VE offers identical or better performance for the same price range. The design of the VNF4 Zenith VE was pretty solid as well, though it wasn’t anything spectacular either. All in all, if you’re looking to upgrade to an nForce4 board that offers more overclocking capabilities that the other nForce4 boards we’ve seen thus far, the VNF4 Zenith VE could be what you’re looking for. Thanks goes out to Computer Geeks for supplying the review sample.