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  • passport - Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - link

    With this board in order to overclock higher than 299 you either have to do the CPU,PCIE Sync which will allow you to go up to about 130-320 before you knacker your SATA drives or you can set it to CPU,PCIE Async; set PCIE to 117 (no effect on system) and then you are able to go up to 350 (runs a 6400 @ 2.8 gHZ). Don't forget that at these speeds you are also overclocking your memory so open up the timings before you try it. Reply
  • RomanMtz - Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - link

    Hello... I plan on using this budget board as a transition board until the Lanparty series for Conroe is released or more OCing board options arise. My only concern is that, while I will probably use it stock with a E6600, I want to make sure my Geforce 7950GX2 fits in it. I read the Epox 945 MATX review on Hard and they mentioned that that card did not physically fit in that board. Any comments about this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Reply
  • deathwalker - Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - link

    Are the overclocking shortcommings of this board (cpu core vlt/memory vlt)correctable thru possible future bios updates? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - link

    Possibly, but I wouldn't count on ASRock making the changes. Most of their boards have the same BIOS limitations and have for a while now. :| Reply
  • deathwalker - Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - link

    I sure home ASUS gets there P5B-VM to the market place soon. I want to get my hand on a good MicroAtx Core 2 Duo board so I can upgrade my Ultra Fly SFF system. Reply
  • roman2 - Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - link

    I have bought a pretty similar board recently - Asus P5LD2-VM SE. It is a stripped-down board, but for a real bargain. I also have Core2 E6400 (8x, 2.13GHz, step.B2) and 2x1GB Corsair XMS2 675MHz-CL4.

    I've been trying to overclock this configuration and was able to reach 297 MHz FSB stable (2.37GHz CPU, 742MHz 4-4-4-12 memory, both stock voltage). The board has quite good CPU/memory voltage setting capabilities, but I wasn't able to post after 299 MHz. Any suggestions?
    What is the best memory timing for these Corsair modules at such a high frequency?
    What is the maximum safe voltage for CPU and what for the memory? (I didn't try to push the voltage much higher to not destroy the thing).

    I have the board for a month now, for a month overclocked and must say it was worth it. But if I could achieve even higher overclock, it would be really nice :-)
    Reply
  • PotatoMAN - Sunday, September 03, 2006 - link

    Thanks again AT. I always enjoy reading your articles and they usually have most of what I am looking for. Like others before my post, I too want to see power consumption. I am looking for a solution to put in my car as I will be fabricating a carputer in the coming months. Seeing as how I expect the Core Duo to last, and I don't want to upgrade my carputer for years to come, this probably will be the solution pending the power consumption of the mainboard coupled with the CPU. It would be nice to get some comparison along with the Centrino line processors, as well =) Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Although the DVI riser card is a great idea (and gives the the possibility of dual monitors) it seems like the sensible thing to do would be to have a DVI connector as the standard on-board connector. You can always use a DVI-to-VGA adapter if necessary, and those must be cheaper than the riser card. Anybody with enough cash to go dual-screen can buy another cheap card, or better yet, a card with dual DVI output. Reply
  • agent2099 - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    I know most of us interested in mATX boards are especially interested if a board includes two particular things:

    Component video output (for onboard video)
    SPDIF audio output

    Future roundups should include whether or not a board has these features.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Well, owning an Asrock motherboard I feel compelled to speak up on the subject. While my motherboard is an Asrock AM2NF4G-SATA2, I have a feeling the feature set (minus the DVI card) is probably pretty much the same. After one months times of owning this board, I would have to say that it is a well thought out board in most respects.However, that being said, there is a few things of concern relating to this board as well.

    1) As stated in this article, The Asrock AM2NF4G-SATA also has limited memory, and vcore adjustments, which is probably to be expected in a budget motherboard. I was however able to eek out a 16% OC by dropping the multiplier to 11x, and raising the HT to 250MHZ. Raising it any higher caused system instabilities. Dropping the multiplier further resulted in a lower OC, which I felt wasnt worth the time playing around with.

    2) Setting up a SATA as the boot disk on these motherboards seems to be borderline un-exceptable. First, you must go into the BIOS, and change the SATA operation mode to [RAID], enter into the RAID BIOS utility, identify, and set the drive as a 'spanning' (JBOD) array, and THEN either have a driver slipstreamed copy of XP, or have a floppy attached. To make matters worse, these steps are not in the manual, and after talking to technical support on the phone (email technical support is shyte, until you get an actual email address from a rep), it took me several hours of trial and error, to figure out the proceedure. Another thing to note, is that these steps must be followed if you expect to run XP setup with a SATA attached period, whether its the boot disk, or not, otherwise you'll have to disconnect the drive, and re-attach it afterwords.

    3) Stability seems to be an issue on this system, although, this could be attributed to software, I'm still trying to iron out the details (yes, after a month). Its hard tracing the problem since the system seems to randomly reboot, once every 2-3 days, and its a hard reboot, with no BSoD. I suppose this problem COULD be related to another peice of hardware, I'll have to figure that out.

    Anyhow, I would like to know if the problems (except for #1) I've experienced with my motherboard, hold true for this motherboard as well. I would like to add, that for the price, this motherboard is probably well worth it, once you get used to the odd behavior, and realize that this motherboard wont OC very well (should be known to begin with anyhow), it could prove to be a decent motherboard. I'll just have to keep testing the stability issues of my own, and on a clean XP Pro install, so far (in about 18 hours) no random reboots.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    The SATA issues at least are chipset/BIOS/motherboard dependent. As this uses an Intel 945G chipset, it should work fine with SATA. NVIDIA chipsets should also work fine, but I don't know what exactly ASRock did with the AM2NF4G-SATA2. Normally, for XP installs you want to set the SATA ports to IDE mode, and once XP is installed with all the drivers you can switch to AHCI mode instead... not that there's much performance difference anyway.

    In terms of stability, have you run without the OC? I really don't trust $50-$60 boards for overclocking. Some will do it, but it's still a bit of an iffy propositions for long-term use. I'd much rather spend $100 on a board I know will OC reliably.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Yeah, I ran everything per spec. for 3 weeks, and wasnt until recently that I decided to OC it. My thinking is that, if this board isnt going to be stable for more than 3 days, I dont care much for it anyhow. Also, I had planned on replacing it with a ABIT AN9 32x when I bought it. Now Im starting to think maybe I'll replace it with a ABIT AB9 Pro, and a E6x00 CPU.

    Anyhow, the HTT is slightly above 1000MHZ, the memory is running ar 832MHZ, and CPU is reported by the BIOS as running at 2.76GHZ (although CPU-Z says a bit lower), and its running as stable, load, or idle as before. CPU temperatures havent exceeded 122F much, if at all. I have run nvmonitor stability tests, and sandra burn-in test on this system without a hitch, and if you think about it, 16% really isnt a huge OC . . .
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    I'm guessing you have a 4200+ chip, right? 11X multiplier with a 250 MHz bus?

    Deoending on CPU, RAM, etc. you're possibly hitting other limits. Just for kicks, try dropping the RAM from DDR2-800 to a lower speed, like set it for DDR2-533 instead of DDR2-667. That should put the RAM at DDR2-611 vs. DDR2-786 (with a 250 MHz HTT speed).

    I would also adjust the memory timings for more conservative values. I'm guessing that with limited memory voltages, you might have problems running any DDR2 memory at 800 MHz. It's a thought anyway. :)
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Also, according to Sandra, my memory bandwidth is slightly above 7000MB/s int, and float. IS this decent ? Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Oh, sorry here:

    Asrock AM2NF4G-SATA2
    AMD 64 3800+ (single core)
    2x1 GB Cosair XMS 6400 DDR2
    eVGA 7600GT KO (stock), Antec SL 450 450W PSU.

    Since on this board there is no divider settings (or atleast none that I know of), basicly, all I've adjusted is memory (533,667,800), HTT link speed, CPU FSB, and multiplier. First I started off at 12x multiplier, and achieved a 230 FSB, anything above, wenbt unstable either in windows, or wouldnt boot. Here, I noticed the memory was quite capable of 880MHZ DDR, but I've had it as high as 902MHZ DDR stable(5-5-5-18). This memory will also run 4-4-4-12 stock volts at stock settings(even though SPD says otherwise). OK, then I dropped the multiplier, and increased FSB in increments of 10's until it failed to boot, then I dropped HTT link speed(800/1600), and memory to 533 standard. After this I increased FSB speed by 10's again, until falure, and eventually arrived at 250MHZ. Dropping the multiplier to 10x would not post with minimum FSB speed I wanted, so I called it quits.

    So in summer basicly, right now, my HTT link is 800/1600, multiplier 11x, and memory is set to DDR2 667 (in the BIOS). nvmonitor reports CPU is running at 2.7x, memory is running at 832, and HT bounces around from high 900's to low 1000's. CPU-Z says the memory speed is 392.xx, CPU is 2.7x, and HT is 1000.

    As far as I know, I've done about all I can, and still maintain a decent clock/ ratio settings. However, I havent OC's since I owned a P55 233mmx CPU (yes, MANY years ago) so I may be missing something. If so, Im all ears :)
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    err summer = summary ? :/ Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 02, 2006 - link

    Your CPU multiplier should only affect things if you set it lower than stock. The Athlon 64 3800+ has a 12X multiplier by default. I generally don't think there's much point in using lower multipliers, as the difference in memory bandwidth has very little impact on Athlon 64 processors. At the stock 12X multiplier, you get nicer memory ratios at DDR2-800 and DDR2-533 settings. Remember that memory speed is actually based off of a divider of the CPU speed. So:

    12 x 200 = 2400 MHz
    DDR2-800 = CPU/6 = 400 MHz (DDR2-800)
    DDR2-667 = CPU/8 = 300 MHz (DDR2-600)
    DDR2-533 = CPU/9 = 267 MHz (DDR2-533)

    Overclocked:
    12 x 233 = 2796 MHz
    DDR2-800 = CPU/6 = 466 MHz (DDR2-932)
    DDR2-667 = CPU/8 = 350 MHz (DDR2-799)
    DDR2-533 = CPU/9 = 311 MHz (DDR2-621)


    Change the multiplier to 11X and you get the following:
    11 x 200 = 2200 MHz
    DDR2-800 = CPU/6 = 367 MHz (DDR2-733)
    DDR2-667 = CPU/7 = 314 MHz (DDR2-629)
    DDR2-533 = CPU/9 = 244 MHz (DDR2-489)

    Notice how certain memory ratios and up with odd final results. That's what you're getting right now most likely. Let's say you go with a 250 MHz bus as an overclock. This is what you get:

    Overclocked:
    11 x 250 = 2750 MHz
    DDR2-800 = CPU/6 = 458 MHz (DDR2-917)
    DDR2-667 = CPU/7 = 393 MHz (DDR2-786)
    DDR2-533 = CPU/9 = 306 MHz (DDR2-611)
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, September 02, 2006 - link

    Jarred, heres a link to a post I made on the forums, if you care to comment further, to see a couple of OC test cases I've done so far

    http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid...">http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview...amp;thre...
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, September 02, 2006 - link

    Perhaps I should benchmark both, although all sanda CPU tests already indicate that my system performs a slight bit slower than a Fx-57 system.

    The reason why I dropped the multiplier, was in hopes of gaining a higher CPU Frequency, which proved true. My thinking was that if voltage is limiting my increases, perhaps lower the multiplier will relax the CPU some. Since memory bandwidth to a point is rather moot, memory bandwidth isnt a big deal IMO either, how I may do some serious benchmarking comparrison for the hell of it, and may even post them somewhere. I can tell you however that Oblivion does perform better with the OC (was the first thing I checked).
    Reply
  • Dfere - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Anyone give me a general ballpark on what this integrated video should perform as? 6200 TC ?? 7300?

    Thanks
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    3D Performance more in alignment with the GeForce FX5600 series but with better video quality. The 6200TC would provide up to double the frame rates in Quake4 at 1024x768 HQ as an example. Reply
  • mino - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    I know, it's AM2 but a little mATX roundup won't hurt.

    Especially with EE SFF parts and Conroe out of the gates..

    Also I would love to see power comparison between different chipsets/boards.
    For C2D as well as for X2.
    Reply
  • dmce - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Yeah i would be very interested in this. Would also be interested in a little more info on the RS600/SB600 (Radeon Xpress 1250) boards. Reply
  • dmce - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Dont suppose you know if it supports 1080p?

    Would have liked to see how it coped with HD playback.

    Looking forward to the mATX reviews mentioned
    Reply
  • mino - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    They used it with 24inch Acer DVI LCD => it works reliably up to 1920x1200 which is the top of single-link DVI spec. Reply
  • mino - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    In the other word 1080p playability should depend on the CPU. Reply
  • dmce - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Thanks mate. Reply
  • poohbear - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    just wanna say thanks for covering the budget mobos instead of the super high end stuff.:) I was really impressed w/ the asrock dualsata2, so nice to see their new stuff. Reply
  • esterhasz - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Great article, tnx. Would be great to have numbers for power consumtion though. In the HTPC Arena, this is a rather interesting matter... Reply
  • Calin - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Or at least subjective ratings regarding different places on the mainboard - VRM modules, chipset, ... Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    We will go in-depth with power consumption and cooling opportunities in the upcoming mATX review that will include AM2 boards as well. Reply
  • esterhasz - Saturday, September 02, 2006 - link

    great! can't wait! Reply
  • mino - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    LOL, just posted a request for that down under, must learn to read :)

    Please try to include that K9AGM I asked for, or at least other RS485/SB600 combo board.
    Consider the fact K9AGM is a part of the AMD CSIP program so this board is gonna bea round at least until Q4'07. It's not your average seasonal thing like most are.
    Reply

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