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
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  • WynX - Monday, August 21, 2006 - link

    Great article!!!

    Really waiting for the nforce 5 series (to be mature too).
    Reply
  • wheelconnector - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link

    Hey
    on the review here it says that the 975xbx can support ddr2 800MHz memory speeds, but anywhere else that I've checked, claims that the board only supports speeds upto 667MHz. Can the board take 800MHz out of the box? or will I have to mess around with it to accept the RAM?
    thanks a lot
    Reply
  • LeeKay - Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - link

    I hope u still have your mushkin XP2-8000 (redline) and never sent it back.

    Here is my hardware.
    --------------------
    P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe / P5B Deluxe.
    Asus Silent tower CPU cooler.
    E6600 Processor.
    2x1GB Mushkin Redline DDR2 1000Mhz / 2x1GB OCZ Platnium 800MHZ
    2x 150GB Raptors,
    1x Seagate 300GB Drive,
    Powerstream 600Watt PSU
    2x EVGA 7950GX2
    Coolermaster Stacker.
    Plexter SATA 755 Drive
    Liteon IDE drive
    Mitsumi Floppy Drive
    Creative Labs X-Fi Extreme gamer.


    Here is my problem..

    P5N32 SLI SE DELUXE

    I put 2 sticks of ram in the system with the video card will not post. I have to remove one stick of ram and leave one stick in B1 or B2. It will not boot from a cleared bios with a stick in A1 or A2. I then have to go in the bios and set the memory below or at 800Mhz for it to post with 2 sticks of ram in it. Even then when I put the two sticks in and go to the bios it shows only 1024MB or system ram. But the post screen clearly shows 2048. There is nothing wrong with this memory. It ran fine with the P5B motherboard.

    When using the OCZ it posts no problem but again shows 2048MB at post and in bios and the OS only shows 1024MB Avalible.

    Asus Tech support is the worst in the world. They instantly tell you its a faulty board this and that. But its not its the bios I am 100% sure it is.

    Could you Anandtech please setup a test bed with the 0121 bios and try it. If it has no issue could you please try 0204 revision and then tell me. I have the same motherboard revision as you show in the picture.

    Thanks in advance.
    Reply
  • Bugs66 - Wednesday, August 02, 2006 - link

    I see more and more older boards with Core 2 Duo support. Such as the Asus P5PE-VM which is 865G, AGP, and DDR400. I am very curious how performance is hit using the older chipset. These boards are great for folks who do not want to toss their RAM, video card, etc unless there is a huge difference.

    Thanks for the great writeup.
    Reply
  • trajan - Saturday, July 29, 2006 - link

    The article mentions these will be coming out soon for socket 775/Conroe. Anyone know when? I've been surfing around for hours trying to find info on it. I know NVidia has made the NForce 500s for Intel but none of the board manufacturers lists any info at all.

    Just trying to decide if I should go ahead and get the ASUS P5N32-SLI Deluxe (I want to run SLI) or if it's only a short wait for something better.. !

    Thanks
    Reply
  • rallyhard - Monday, July 24, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the great review.
    I was going back and referencing some information from it today and noticed that in the P5W-DH Deluxe Basic Features table, you have the number of IDE ports listed incorrectly as one. There are actually two ports, one provided by the JMicron JMB363, and the other from the ICH7R southbridge. I got that info from the Asus website.

    Is that the other IDE port over below the last PCI port?! If so, that's rediculous.
    But this is one of very few Core 2 Duo supporting motherboards that I've seen that have 2 IDE ports, so I might just have to get it.

    Gary, I look forward to the upcoming review you mentioned earlier in these comments of the Biostar motherboard with the VIA VT6410 controller. IDE performance continues to be important to me, and will for quite some time with the investment I've already made in hard drives. NEVER AGAIN will I get burned by an under-reviewed, underperfoming chip like the IT8212F!

    Thanks again for your quality reviews.
    Reply
  • thedjvan - Sunday, July 23, 2006 - link

    I am very impressed with this guide, looks like a lot of hard work went into it!

    I have a question though. I am using the release of Conroe as an excuse to build a whole new system. After reading your guide in addition to others, I've decided on the E6700 and the DFI board (as I don't plan on OCing much, if at all).

    However, the video card I had chosen is a X1900XTX, as I have read many bad reviews on the 7900 series having assorted problems with heat and other issues.

    Now, having read this, I see that Conroe isn't playing nice with my chosen vid card, possibly due to driver issues. My question: Have you guys received any word from ATI, or has a new driver been pushed out yet that brings its performance up to par where it should be? There's absolutely no reason the Nvidia card should be blowing it away, especially on HL2 and other typically ATI friendly games.

    If not, should I forget the ATI card and take a chance on one of the Nvidia cards, or simply go with the ATI card and hope they push out new drivers soon? The AMD/ATI aquisition further complicates the situation... I somehow doubt they'd do any favors for intel based systems.
    Reply
  • thedjvan - Sunday, July 23, 2006 - link

    No edit button :(

    I meant a X1900XT, not the XTX version. I'll keep my $100, thanks :)
    Reply
  • thedjvan - Sunday, July 23, 2006 - link

    Sorry, one more quick question. Is the Zalman CNPS9500 compatible with the Conroe? Reply
  • Gary Key - Sunday, July 23, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Sorry, one more quick question. Is the Zalman CNPS9500 compatible with the Conroe?


    Yes...works very well by the way. ;-)
    Reply

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