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  • atlr - Thursday, January 25, 2007 - link

    Has anyone compared the performance of agp and pci-e versions of the x1950pro on the Asrock Dual-VSTA?

    I am wondering if the 4x PCI-E on the Asrock will be a noticeable bottleneck with a GPU faster than the 6800Ultra.
  • mongo lloyd - Tuesday, August 22, 2006 - link

    Does anyone know of a board similar to the i865PE-based Asrock board, released or upcoming, that basically has the same features only with gigabit LAN? Intel CSA preferred, but even gigabit hanging off the PCI bus would be better than the 10/100 crap. It's a must for me, and such a board would make an upgrade really desirable. Reply
  • hibachirat - Tuesday, August 22, 2006 - link

    I think you'll have a hard time finding an AGP & DDR intel Conroe supporting mobo with built-in gigabit LAN. mATX too? No hope, but you could get one of these and then add an ethernet card like we used to do in times of yore. Reply
  • Sc4freak - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link

    "Three" in French is "trois". "Tres" means "very".

    "ASRock Core 2 Duo: AGP/PCI Express Graphics Performance, Part Very" :p

    Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix.
  • Gary Key - Sunday, August 20, 2006 - link


    "Three" in French is "trois". "Tres" means "very".

    I know French, Tres is three in Spanish and hence the change up for our Spanish speaking friends. :)
  • lapierrem - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    I find it very amusing to see that AGP cards can still beat a PCI-e card which is supposed to be so much faster and better in many respects, but apparently isn't. I know on the other Asrock boards, like the 939DualSata2 the AGP is bridged off the PCI-E bus and is supposed to be slower, but wow. Maybe if we had gone with dual AGP cards for SLI we woulda had the real deal Reply
  • CrappyLuckMan - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Anandtrash buys ascrock stock and bans me. Yey no more n00bs. Reply
  • CrappyLuckMan - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    In all the asrock tests it's the Asrock that's a bottleneck. I believe the best way to bench is use a card that comes in both flavors and run it on an NF4 w/AM2 DDR-2 and one in an NF4 agp mobo with DDR. You test ram and video card this way at the same time on the same chipset and same cpu with same cache and same speed. Only difference is one is ddr-2 and has an extra pin.
    And from my experience with Asrock boards is that they die for no reason and wont boot no matter what you do after a while. You get what you pay for and I can't believe how much attention you are giving this cheapo mobo.
  • hibachirat - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    Too bad your experience was negative, but I have had top of the line ASUS and AOPEN boards that were junk fresh out of the box. And problematic top of the line boards from MSI and Abit. Also had great boards from the same makers. Now I'm running some "cheap" boards from Asrock and Biostar that are rock solid. The difference between the high end and low end boards has more to do with cutting edge feature sets and fractional performance gains than it does with stability and longevity. Asrock may be soft-rock to the T-O-L boards heavy metal, but that suits some of us just fine. Reply
  • CrappyLuckMan - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link

    Well then again I see on newegg a lot of people use junk ram and or crappy psu's and call the mobo junk cause it doesn't post. Even if the asrock posts and doesn't die in a year, I still think it is a bottleneck and it shouldn't be used to compare agp vs pci x16. Reply
  • hibachirat - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link

    I agree that the AGP vs. PCIE would better be compared on another board, but I think Gary's point with these articles was more that those of us with decent AGP cards don't need to dash out and buy a $200 MB, $300 of DDR2 RAM, and a $300 PCIE GPU, just to upgrade to a Core 2 CPU. I'm sure it will run great for more than a year, but by that time it will probably be working as test PC somewhere in the office after I splurge for those other new parts.
    Yeah, some of those Newegg "junk" people make me yell. Just saw one yesterday where somebody ordered a case and then returned it because the power supply wattage rating was too low for them. Of course the power supply rating was stated clearly in the specs on the same page...doh!
  • joex444 - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    did you really just write a review and do benchmarks to show that AGP is faster than PCI-E x4? I thought this was a given. Next, why don't you see if x16 has more performance than x4, use a real slot and just tape the pins to cripple the card. Gosh, I'd love to hear how that turns out. Next up: Do you really need L1 cache? Reply
  • Paradox999 - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    I have to congradulate AT for this great series.
    Chalk me up as another person who is looking at either the ASRock 775i65G or ASRock 775Dual-VSTA for a quick upgrade with one of the lower cost Conroes and recycled 2gigs Mushkin DDR500 and AGP Ati x850XTPE.

    What I really want to know is does the ASRock 775i65G have any cpu voltage adjustment at all, or is it stable with mild overclocking on the Conroe? With it's superior performance I prefer the ASRock 775i65G. I'd leave the DDR2/PCI-E to a later bigger upgrade that would at that time include a better motherboard.
  • Gary Key - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link


    What I really want to know is does the ASRock 775i65G have any cpu voltage adjustment at all, or is it stable with mild overclocking on the Conroe?

    It does not have any voltage options. The FSB is limited to 300 which is no issue for a E6300/6400 to hit without a volt increase. The board is extremely stable at 300FSB.
  • Paradox999 - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    thanks. If i understand you correctly, I *shoud* get a 300fsb with both low end Conroes but with the higher multiplyer of the E6400 that might be the sweet spot for this 'budget' system.
    Thanks again for the reviews!!!!!
  • teraus - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    i am about to buy this board along with a e6600 conroe with my gainward 7800gs+ and ddr pc3200 memory. this is a fill in until next year. found the article very interesting.there are people who always buy the latest thing and some of us look for performance on a budget and buy later and smarter
    i dont intend to use a pcie card with this board
  • zemane - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I would like to know the performance of a system with my video card, ATI A-I-W X800 XT AGP on this motherboard using a Core 2 Duo E6300 or E6600 CPU and 2GB memory, since I am planning to upgrade to something like that soon. And how it would later perform if I upgrade that with a mid-range PCI-E card. Thanks! Reply
  • lemonadesoda - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I would like to have seen the comparison of this mainboard PCI-4x against a PCI-8x or 16x with similar CPU so we can see how much of a bottleneck (or performance loss) there is with this system. Plase consider a PART 4. Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    Like the lack of Socket 939 Semprons, I think the lack of a low cost Conroe (Core Solo>) is a major bummer. I guess you can always get a Pentium D for cheap, but then your back to a hot, power hungry processor. When are "Celeron" Core processors die out? Reply
  • mendocinosummit - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I am getting tired of this motherboard. Anandtech has not done a real interesting review that I have actually read for almost two weeks. When are there going to be some different reviews. Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    These reviews have been very interesting for me. I have 5 computers in the house (Mine, Wife, 2 for the kids, computer hooked up to the TV) so I don't want to be spending more money than I have to. The only problem I can see with this motherboard is that there are no decent "budget" processors to put in there yet, and the big spenders probably won't be buying this board.

    If you want to keep an AGP, DDR, bugdet gaming system around or use older parts, then your best bang for buck is the Athlon 3400+ and AGP motherboard combo at NewEgg for $99.
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link


    I am getting tired of this motherboard. Anandtech has not done a real interesting review that I have actually read for almost two weeks. When are there going to be some different reviews.

    How do you think I feel after a 100 plus hours with this board. ;-) Although we concentrated on one board, the purpose was to show a migration path and the effects of typical GPU and Memory configurations with the "budget" Core 2 Duo. Our plans are to do more of these types of articles in the future with various components. I think everyone will agree that always testing a $1000 CPU, $600 GPU, $450 Memory, and a $250 Motherboard is not in the best interests of our audience when a large portion might be willing to spend only $400~$1000 for a total platform update. We will have our next roundup of P965 boards shortly along with some additional AM2 coverage among other things.
  • GoatMonkey - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I feel like this board is interesting enough to be worthy of its own detailed review. I like that it was broken up into multiple parts instead of one huge one that I would never completely read. I don't have huge amounts of time each day to read this stuff, so small doses works best.

    I have been seriously considering buying one to upgrade my Athlon XP3200 with a GeForce FX5950 Ultra and a single 1GB DDR stick. However, I think I have decided against it since I want to keep that machine's parts as upgrades for my HTPC/Beyond TV machine which is running an Athlon XP2100. It would greatly reduce my mpeg4 compression times to be able to upgrade that computer with the XP3200 and faster ram. So, while I appreciated the detailed review I'm going to have to go with another route and lay down more money to get DDR2 and a PCIe video card.

    Anyway, I'm done rambling, not that anyone is interested, but it helped me plan my system to write this.
  • saiku - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    This is precisely the kind of article that I love about Anandtech. It provides a clear idea to us "gamers-with-jobs" :). Great work, Gary ! Keep 'em coming ! Reply
  • mendocinosummit - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I posted above. But yay I usually just like to see how my hardware and the hardware that I buy for customers compare for others, but I feel that these three reviews could have been combined to one review and still have other reviews. I am just saying that the frequency and variety of reveiws on Anandtech has been lacking for a while. At first I thought a big review was coming out and then I was just disappointed. Reply
  • mino - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    Yeahm they could have, maybe it has something to do with the fact human resources are kinda limited ?
    One should not expect one big quality review(10+ pages) a day.

    I'd rather have 1 smaller, bu quality one, a day, then 1 huge one a week.

    Just a though.

    Remember the amount of work is NOT proportional to the amount of words necessary to describe it!
  • mendocinosummit - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    Ya, I know how long it takes to swap RAM, change bios, reboot, reboot, reboot, benchmark, change bios, reboot, swap ram, etc. Reply
  • poohbear - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    lol the MAJORITY of ppl out there are still using AGP solutions, so lots of ppl still care about it mate. Reply
  • veryevilmike - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I disagree completely - this has been the best reviews on AT for a long time, as it is very relevant to a large proportion of the userbase so soon after this new chip's release. There are endless numbers of hardware sites overclocking their free x6800 engineering samples with pre-release ram and diamond encrusted motherboards ad nauseum if thats your fancy. Reply
  • mendocinosummit - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    Not really. Just that Anandtech has already done many reviews comparing DDR and DDR2 and also who really cares about the performance difference between PCI express x4 and AGP. No one is going to go buy a AGP board now and if they still do have one they are not going to have a x4 or any other express slot on their motherboard. Really most people buy new comps every 2 to 4 years and if I remember right Express has been out for at least two years if not more.

    I like to see more reviews about AM2 and Conroe boards and not just how well they overclock, but mainly stability issues. I tried buying a C2D setup for my friend, but I did not feel comfortable with all the problems with limited number of boards out there that support dual GPU's. I want to know how long I have to wait or should I wait for better motherboards to come out. This should include high to low. It is nice to know how much a CPU does OC though. Most people that build their own systems also overclock. I like to know how much to overclock, instead of reading the Newegg reviews.
  • Shoal07 - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    “Pairing the motherboard with a top end GPU results in performance that is up to 10% slower than competing motherboards, but it is unlikely anyone would be looking to purchase a $300+ GPU to use with a $50 motherboard.)”

    I disagree with this statement. Many of us have good/great AGP cards, gigs of memory laying around (or in the old systems to upgrade) and basically want a new, and faster, processor. In order to do this (AGP, DDR memory and a C2D) we need a mobo that can support all 3. Of which there is... 1? I think we’ll see more people buying high end processors to use with this budget mobo then we will with any other budget mobo. The motivations are different. When was the last time we were really offered the opportunity to upgrade overtime?

    Existing AGP and DDR --> (Phase 1) New budget mobo and high end processor --> (Phase 2) Upgrade to high end memory or PCI-X video card --> (Phase 3) Ditto --> (Phase 4) replace mobo with High end mobo. Walla! High end system in steps. Saves the wallet and the wife aggro.
  • Orbitr8 - Saturday, August 26, 2006 - link

    I just dropped $400 into an e6400, Asrock VSTA, and another SATA drive.

    Took quite some time to get the SATA to work for some reason, and I could never get it to be the boot drive, so I'm using it as the Program drive...

    Aside from that, I really did NOT want to shell out another $400 for DDR2 ram and a PCI-e vid card, since I just bought a couple gigs of XMS for my aging X3400, and a 6800XT AGP card not too long ago.

    Once up and running, I have to admit, it flies. Literally, I had to tie the case down. No, really. ;)
    anyway. A simple flick of the keyboard in the CPU setting in the BIOS to 300, and no sneezes at all.
    Using DDR ram absolutely does not present any speed issues over DDR2. NONE !! In fact, my ram is faster than DDR2. Go figure.

    As for my 'aging' 6800XT, I gained roughly 75 to 100+ FPS in UT2004 with no vid card unlocking !!
    BF2 now plays smooth as butter ~ I can only imagine how nice a 7800 would be, but I'm not into spending that kind of money for games.

    All in all, this article and the tests performed were exactly what I wanted to see, because the scenario fit me to a 'T', and I'm sure there are many more of us out there.

    Just because some of you insist on being bleeding edge, even if the changes don't offer any performance gains, doesn't mean the rest of us are like that. I'm into actually getting my $$ worth out of my gear before I upgrade. The key is to seriously consider the upgrade path and all the options before spending.

    This upgrade was probaby one of the best experiences I've had so far in the last 10 years, the first being the change from a 266 PII to a 1GHz Athlon.

    So, Thumbs UP for both AnandTech and Asrock for being responsible for me actually writing a post.
    a WTG from me.
  • joex444 - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Walla! Erm, ahm, VOILA! Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    Owning a Asrock AM2NF4G-SATA2 motherboard, and using it in conjunction with a AMD 64 AM2 3800+, I also have to disagree. While my preffered motherboard IS a highend motherboard (ABIT AN9 32x for AM2, and ABIT AB9 Pro for Conroe), I find these Asrock boards for the most part very good motherboards, especially for the price. The only real drawback for my current AM2 board, is that it seems it wont enter into windows XP pro SP2 setup with a SATA drive attached (which means I have to install to a IDE drive). Anyhow, I find myself considering upgrading my older socket A 3200+ XP system using this board, and migrating the rest of the components, with of course a C2D CPU.

    Anyhow, least we forget, Asrock IS a division of Asus . . .
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    just so you know, PCI-X and PCIe is not the same thing. There really aren't PCI-X video cards.. Reply
  • Uwe - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    So would something like a vanilla 6600 AGP be worth transferring over to this ASUS board with an E6300? I like articles like these because it doesn't deal with parts I can't afford. I've been hanging onto XP 2500+ Barton for a while now. The ASUS board has perked my interest in an affordable upgrade. Thanks! Reply
  • kalrith - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    It would be worth it if it allowed you to do your upgrades in steps. For about $270 you could get this mobo and a E6300. Then in a few months or whenever, you could upgrade your video card. Then you could later pick up 2GB of DDR2.

    Just keep in mind that you will get little or no improvement in gaming performance with this upgrade (unless you are running a lot of stuff in the background while gaming).
  • VooDooAddict - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    I think it all depends on if you are happy with the video performance of the vanilla 6600 AGP. Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I basically agree with your viewpoint. There was a difference of opinion on the staff about my original comments/thoughts that is now back in place. ;-) However, to a certain degree I believe if you are going to spend $500 on a GPU solution intended for gaming that you would probably want a better performing motherboard (one with a true PCIe x16 slot) to maximize that investment. It is a toss up decision that could go either way depending on the individual circumstances. Thank you for the comments Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I for one will probably NEVER spend more on a GPU, than I spend on a motherboard / CPU combination. Since most of the time, my upgrade monies are rather limited, I tend to upgrade as little as possible, and opt for mid-range GPUs.

    My current system is: Asrock AM2NF4G-SATA2 | AMD 64 AM2 3800+ | 2GB Corsair DDR2 6400 | eVGA 7600GT KO | Seagate Barracuda 80 GB IDE | Seagate Barracuda 250GB SATA | Antec 450SL 450W PSU. Now I think its fairly obvious what I had to upgrade, and I spent around $600-$650 for CPU, motherboard, memory, and video card (plus a Lian Li PC-G50 case), including shipping. In any computer system, there are three things I will never skimp on for my own personal PC (and will protest having to do so for a customer), these three things are: Motherboard, memory, and PSU. Despite the fact that Asrock boards are in-expencive, and a bit quirky, they make very solid motherboards, and know quite a few people who use them in server setups all the time (some even use them exclusively).

    Anyhow, back to my point, WHY on gods earth would I spend $500 on a GPU, when I only spend $600 (ish) on my whole upgrade . . . and trust me, I'm not alone.
  • deathwalker - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    This review is right on the mark! Very pleased to see this type of review that so closely address's the needs of the budget restricted enthusiast. In my opinion this is one of the best series of reiviews that AT has done in quite some time. I feel far too often that AT is unduely influenced by a small sector of big daddy warbucks system builders in there reiview approach. When in fact it is quiet possible that there are more system builders out there that actually have to feed their families and put a roof over there heads, which comes before there desire to dump the next 2 mortage payments on new computer parts. In closing it is interest to see and also somewhat confirm the feel that many have had about PCIe graphics..its more about hype and marketing than it is about performance. Great job Gary. Reply
  • poohbear - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    “Pairing the motherboard with a top end GPU results in performance that is up to 10% slower than competing motherboards, but it is unlikely anyone would be looking to purchase a $300+ GPU to use with a $50 motherboard.)”

    there are quite a few owners of the asrock dualsata2 that bought the mobo for its agp 8x support so they dont hafta ditch their 6800GTs/Ultras and later bought a 7900gtx when upgrading (very expensive card for a very cheap mobo). The fact of the matter is all the a64 mobos barely show any difference in performance @ stock because the memory controller is on the cpu, not the chipset anymore. so really, assuming u're running the cpu @ stock, there is no difference in performance between a FX62 on a $250 dfi mobo and a $70 budget Asrock mobo. For overclocking & onboard features, it's a different story.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    The statement (made by me and not Gary) applies specifically to the ASRock 775Dual, not any Athlon 64 compatible boards. Also, note that "unlikely" doesn't mean some of you won't do it, but as also pointed out in the statement it is likely to be a temporary situation. Gary also mentioned in the Conroe Buyer's Guide that power delivery is at least something of a concern: "...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."

    Does that mean you shouldn't use the board with a high-end GPU? No. But at the high-end you do lose more performance - as much as an entire CPU bin - and overclocking plus a high-end GPU doesn't appear to be 100% reliable. As a temporary solution? Sure, go for it. As a long term solution to get faster CPU performance? Again, go for it. As a long term to run the latest GPUs - and maybe a G80 or R6xx in the future - I at least would be very hesitant.

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