ASRock 775Dual-VSTA
Basic Features


ASRock 775Dual-VSTA
Market Segment: Budget/Entry Level
CPU Interface: Socket T (Socket 775)
CPU Support: LGA775-based Pentium 4, Pentium D, Core 2 Duo, Celeron D, Pentium XE
Chipset: VIA PT880 Pro + VT8237A
Thermal Design: 4-phase power
Passive Northbridge Cooling
Bus Speed Support: 1066/800/533MHz
Bus Speeds: 90 to 340 in 1MHz Increments
Memory Ratios: DDR2 - Auto, 533, 667
DDR- Auto, 266,333,400
PCIe Speeds: Auto, 90MHz~170MHz
PCI: Auto, 33.33MHz to 37.50MHz
CPU Voltage: Default
CPU Clock Multiplier: Auto, Fixed to Stock Multiplier
DRAM Voltage: Auto, High, Normal, Low
DRAM Timing Control: Auto, 12 Options
V-Link: Fast, Normal
Memory Slots: Two 240-pin DDR2 DIMM Slots
Regular Unbuffered Memory to 2GB Total
Two 184-pin DDR DIMM Slots
Regular Unbuffered Memory to 2GB Total
Expansion Slots: 1 - PCIe X16 (X4 GPU)
1 - AGP 3.0 (4x or 8x)
4 - PCI Slots 2.3
Onboard SATA/RAID: 2 SATA 1.5Gbps Ports - VIA 8237A
(RAID 0,1,JBOD)
Onboard IDE: 2 Standard ATA133/100/66/33 Port (4 drives)
VIA 8237A
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394: 8 USB 2.0 Ports - 4 I/O Panel 4 Headers
No Firewire Support
Onboard LAN: 10/100 FAST Ethernet Controller
VIA VT6103
Onboard Audio: Realtek ALC888 HD-Audio 8-channel CODEC
Power Connectors: ATX 20-pin, 4-Pin 12V Molex
I/O Panel: 1 x Serial
1 x LPT
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x RJ45
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
8-Channel Audio I/O
BIOS Revision: AMI 1.3

The ASRock 775Dual-VSTA is a very unusual board at a low entry price of $55. It is true that ASRock sometimes marches to the beat of different drummer, and the 775Dual-VSTA is certainly evidence of that. If nothing else, you can say they offer some very uniquely configured boards that offer very good quality for the money. This board features the VIA PT880 Pro Northbridge and VT8237A Southbridge with VRM and BIOS updates that now fully support Core 2 Duo. This is a board that you really want to dislike from a performance viewpoint, but you have to like it from an upgradeability perspective. Well, at least for those users who want to bring along their DDR and AGP cards while buying an E6300 CPU as an example.

Click to enlarge

The board is laid out nicely and certainly caters to those who value IDE and PCI devices. The VT8237A only supports two SATA 1.5Gbps drives but the board does support four IDE devices. The overall feature set of the VIA chipset is the same as the Biostar PT880 Pro board we reviewed a few months back.

Basic Performance

The performance was not as bad with a Core 2 Duo as we had expected. In fact, in almost all of our benchmarks the board was at least in shouting distance of the other contestants. We actually found the DDR2 memory performance to be very competitive with the other boards, although support is limited to DDR2-533 and DDR2-667. We just received an updated BIOS that allows greater DDR support and improved timings. We will provide these performance results when we compare the board to an Intel 865 based board that supports Core 2 Duo in the near future.

The other potential issue is a PCIe graphics slot that only supports X4 operation. This proved to be an issue in benchmarks that tend to stress the GPU interface. Although ASRock only lists official PCIe support for video cards such as the NVIDIA 6600/6800GT or ATI X700 range, we had no difficulties running our ATI X1900XTX or EVGA 7900GTX in the board - though we never quite trusted it due to power delivery concerns. The board on a couple of occasions while overclocking completed a brown out while either GPU was being stressed in 3DMark06. In the end, you are paying around $55 for a board that can handle your older or newest peripherals and still provide a decent level of performance. We have to hand it to ASRock on fulfilling these requirements with a stable board, but we look forward to their Intel based value boards which should be arriving shortly.

Overclocking

ASRock 775Dual-VSTA
Overclocking Testbed
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6700
Dual Core, 2.67GHz, 4MB Unified Cache
1066FSB, 10x Multiplier
CPU Voltage: 1.300V
Cooling: Tuniq Tower 120 Air Cooling
Power Supply: OCZ GameXStream 700W
Memory: Corsair Twin2X2048-PC2-8500C5 (2x1GB)
(Micron Memory Chips)
Hard Drive Hitachi 250GB 7200RPM SATA2 16MB Cache
Maximum OC:
(Standard Ratio)
297x10 (3-3-3-9)
2970MHz (+11%)

We did not expect much in the way of overclocking with this board and this is about what we got. However, the board did overclock further than we expected - a pleasant surprise - and we almost reached the 300FSB level with our test components. The board actually reached a 303FSB setting with an NVIDIA 6800 Ultra AGP card and some inexpensive DDR 333 memory. However, anything higher resulted in a no boot condition and clearing of the CMOS. In the end, you get what you pay for, although sometimes there is a surprise in the box of chocolates. We were surprised by this board, first for its ability to operate fine with a Core 2 Duo, and secondly that the general performance of the board was actually very good overall considering its heritage. It was kind of slow at times, but it still managed to consistently finish the race.

DFI Infinity 975X/G Test Setup
POST A COMMENT

123 Comments

View All Comments

  • jonmcguffin - Friday, July 21, 2006 - link

    Actually, heck, I'm not much of an overclocker at all (I know that makes me the minority here). I'm looking at the Core 2 6600 at its native 2.4Ghz, 4Mb L2 Cache & 1066Mhz BUS Speed and figure that should be seriously fine for me.

    In regards to memory, I'd much rather purchase 2Gig's @ $180.00 than at $450.00 and since I'm not overclocking that shouldn't be a problem. But what I would have liked to have seen in this article were value sticks rated at DDR2 800Mhz as opposed to 667Mhz. So I anxiously await a "value-ram" roundup article of some sorts to not only show us what memory modules work well in the various mobo's but also which sticks can operate at those frequencies with low timing.

    Jon
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, July 22, 2006 - link

    The Buyers Guide shows all the Value Ram operating at DDR2-800 at 4-3-3-3 at around 2.2V. We also show the timings and voltage of the value Ram at 667, 533, and 400, in addition to 800. Reply
  • jonmcguffin - Sunday, July 23, 2006 - link

    Correct, but the ratings from the manufacture don't have those memory module's spec'd at DDR2-800. You were overclocking them essentially. Check out the

    Corsair 2Gb TWIN2X2048-6400 DDR2-800Mhz set. These two sticks are rated at DDR2, sell for $160 - $170 and run at 5-5-5-12-T1 timings at 1.9V.

    I would consider these a good starting point. Again, I'm not necessarily into running anything beyond the manufacture's claims, but for this price, it would seem these memory modules would fit the bill for a lot of users out there.

    Jon
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, July 21, 2006 - link

    All,

    I received a new beta bios from Abit today. I will be testing it later and will provide a quick update before we publish our final review on the board. Abit has spent considerable time this week testing this bios before release to us and hopefully it will fully address the memory setting issue we first reported in our preview issue.
    Reply
  • perpetualdark - Friday, July 21, 2006 - link

    I dont know where you priced your motherboards for this review, but I purchased the DFI 975x/g on july 18th from zipzoomfly for $187. It shipped the next day and I should see it today or Monday.

    Given that the DFI board is available for $62 less than your article shows, I think I made a good choice, since I dont need to overclock or run any high end graphics.

    Now I just need to get my hands on a cpu. This is for a work computer, but after things settle out around octoberish I will upgrade my home gaming setup with the conroe. I am playing titan quest right now, and even with a geforce 7950 the game hitches quite a bit in certain areas at most resolutions.. I figure increasing the cpu power will help substantially, at least thats my excuse for upgrading.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, July 21, 2006 - link

    The price was taken at the time the article written (17th) based on pricing from three different suppliers that had the board in stock. Now that ZipZoomFly (would assume others shortly) has it in stock at a price point (slightly below) that we had discussed with DFI I will update our article. The 7950GTX has not been qualified on this board yet so performance issues could occur since the required bios optimizations between the board and card are not completed. We really like this motherboard and for the $187 price, it is a great value now and one that should be seriously considered for purchase by early Core 2 Duo buyers. Although, we expected more in the way of overclocking, a very solild 375FSB is nothing to sneeze at and stock performance is excellent. Thank you for the price update! :) Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, July 21, 2006 - link

    Where is the edit button?

    a very solid.....
    Reply
  • Roy2001 - Thursday, July 20, 2006 - link

    I am looking for OC a E6600 with 4MB cache to 4Ghz with minimum budget and I never OC my system. So I don't know which value board/RAM would meet the target. I don't care about timing/latency. I would like to see anandtech to publish guides for high performance OCers and value OCers and help us to reach max speed.

    In addition, I can pickup DDR2-800 RAM priced similar to those 667 RAMs, I don't understand why they are not included in review?

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, July 20, 2006 - link

    We will have additional guides in the near future. As for the DDR2-800 memory, we will be looking those modules in a mid-range section and a couple of the lower end that we have tested did not do any better than the high end DDR2-533/667 from a timing viewpoint or a high speed. Getting a E6600 to 4GHz is not that easy with a minimum budget but your suggestions are noted for the next guide. Thank you for the comments. :) Reply
  • Roy2001 - Friday, July 21, 2006 - link

    I know minimum budget system won't be easy to hit 4Ghz speed. I am not too sensitive to the money, but I just don't want to spend $450 for best RAM while I can hit 4Ghz with $150 RAM. Same thing happens to motherboard. I don't care 1394 port, optical port, as long as it is stable @4Ghz, I just pick the lowest priced although I can afford a $250 mother board. Hope that helps as I think I am not alone. Thanks for your hard work! Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now