While we are still waiting on the Gigabyte GA-3CESL-RH 1.4 to arrive for its comparison, we have been using the Tyan Thunder n3600M now for several weeks and we are very pleased with this product and its Linux compatibility/performance. The system had run very well and aside from a few sensors with LM_Sensors missing, there weren't any problems. Tyan -- a proven manufacturer of high-quality server and workstation motherboards -- has once again delivered a splendid product.
The Thunder n3600M encompasses NVIDIA's premiere workstation chipset -- the nForce Professional 3600 -- and brings support for up to 64GB of DDR2-667 memory, dual AMD "Barcelona" Opteron processors, an 8-port SAS controller, and dual PCI Express x16 slots (for those interested in SLI over the ATI ES1000 32MB graphics). The only areas not shining about this motherboard is that the dual PCI Express x16 slots are limited to PCI-E x8 bandwidth, but that's due to chipset itself only having so many PCI-E lanes without the nForce 3050 combination, and the lack of IEEE-1394 Firewire and audio, which may impact some workstation users. The layout of the extended ATX motherboard was also suitable, with the only issue we ran into being that when using an extended length PCI Express graphics card; it actually comes in contact with the bottom side of one of the CPU heatsinks. Overall, however, this is a great motherboard.
The Tyan Thunder n3600M is currently retailing for about $360 USD, which isn't bad at all considering its features and intended customers. We will hold off on any awards for this motherboard, however, until we've had a chance to compare it against other nForce Professional 3600 solutions, but needless to say, if you're in the market for a Barcelona-ready motherboard, you shouldn't be disappointed going with the Tyan Thunder n3600M. If the Thunder n3600M doesn't fit your needs, Tyan has over a dozen other Socket F motherboards.
Discuss this article in our forums, IRC channel, or email the author. You can also follow our content via RSS and on social networks like Facebook, Identi.ca, and Twitter (@Phoronix and @MichaelLarabel). Subscribe to Phoronix Premium to view our content without advertisements, view entire articles on a single page, and experience other benefits.