M2N32-SLI De Luxe is the most high-end socket AM2 motherboard from ASUS, targeted to the new Athlon 64 CPUs supporting DDR2 memory. It is based on the new NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI chipset, supporting SLI technology. Let’s see how the performance of this latest release from ASUS is.
What really catches the eye when looking to this motherboard is its passive cooling solution, using copper heatsinks with heatpipes to cool down its north bridge, south bridge and MOSFET transistors. Two other socket AM2 motherboards from ASUS use a similar but simpler system, M2N-E (nForce 570 Ultra) and M2N-E SLI (nForce 570 SLI). Since the chipset used on these motherboards has only one chip and the voltage regulator has fewer transistors, they have only two heatsinks, instead of four like M2N32-SLI De Luxe, making this product from ASUS very unique.
The problem, in our opinion, is that this system produces a lot of heat. The whole idea behind passive coolers is to create a noiseless solution, the side effect, however, is that this solution increases the PC internal temperature. To address this issue, M2N32-SLI De Luxe comes with a fan to be optionally attached to one of the heatsinks, see Figure 4. But what is the point of having a passive cooling solution if you need to install a fan on it anyway?
This optional fan has no effect on the CPU cooling, as the fins of the CPU heatsink are in a different direction, as you can see in Figure 5. And you can’t install this fan on the top of the other voltage regulator heatsink as the CPU cooler touches it, leaving no room between them for you to install this fan there (this fan needs some space surrounding the heatsink for its plastic clip to be attached).