System Configuration

Our memory benchmark system uses the following components:

Performance Test Configuration
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300
(x2, 1.86GHz, 2MB Unified Cache)
RAM: 2 x 512MB Patriot DDR-400
2 x 512MB Transcend JetRam DDR2-667
Hard Drive: Seagate 320GB 7200.10 (16MB Buffer)
System Platform Drivers: VIA 5.09a
Intel 8.0.1.1002
Video Card: 1 x EVGA 7600GS PCI-E - All PCI-E Tests
1 x EVGA 7600GS AGP - AGP Tests
Video Drivers: NVIDIA 91.31
CPU Cooling: Stock Intel Heatsink
Power Supply: OCZ PowerStream 520W
Motherboards: ASRock 775Dual-VSTA (VIA PT880Pro)
ASRock ConRoeXFire-eSATA2 (Intel 945P)
ASRock 775i865G (Intel 865G)
Biostar TForce 965 Deluxe (Intel P965)
DFI Infinity 975X/G (Intel P975X)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2
BIOS: AMI 1.50 - ASRock 775Dual-VSTA
AMI 1.20 - ASRock ConRoeXFire-eSATA2
AMI 2.50 - ASRock 775i65G
Award IP96A803 - Biostar TForce 965
Award 0707 - DFI Infinity 975X/G

Our test boards represent a blend of performance and pricing requirements for an E6300 based Core 2 Duo system. While the choice and wattage of the power supply could be varied to less expensive alternatives we believe having a high quality power supply is critical for system stability and overclocking potential. In fact, if you plan on running CrossFire on the 945P or 975X boards we highly recommend a quality 700W power supply such as the OCZ GameXStream.

The performance of the Seagate 320GB drive is near the top of the performance charts while offering excellent capacity for a cost of around $95. If you are upgrading your hard drive with the rest of the system this drive should be at the top of your list. Our EVGA 7600GS PCI Express or AGP video card choice represents a very good mid-range alternative and ensures you have respectable game performance at resolutions under 1280x1024 for less than $130.

We are introducing into our tests the ASRock ConRoeXFire-eSATA2 that features the Intel 945P Northbridge and ICH7R Southbridge with VRM and BIOS updates that now fully support Core 2 Duo. This motherboard is fully featured with CrossFire support, although the secondary PCI Express slot only supports X4 mode. It also includes IEEE1394, eSATA interface, HD Audio, Gigabit LAN, and should retail for around US $85.

Click to enlarge

This motherboard has a clean layout and certainly caters to those who value their PCI devices. The ICH7R provides for four SATA 3Gb/s ports featuring Intel's excellent Matrix Storage software, dual eSATA2 ports, and a single ATA/100 connector. We will fully review the board in an upcoming article. The overall feature set and performance of the Intel 945P chipset is the same as the 945P boards we reviewed a few months back.

Our other ASRock motherboard is the 775i65G based upon the Intel 865G Northbridge and ICH5 Southbridge with board updates that allow full support for the Core 2 Duo processor series. This motherboard also features on-board graphics capability but requires an external AGP card in order to support the 1066FSB requirements of the Core 2 Duo.

Click to enlarge

The motherboard features a micro ATX form factor, three PCI slots, one AGP 8X slot, one AMR slot, Realtek 10/100 Ethernet LAN, and C-Media 9761a 5.1 Channel audio. The layout is very good and the board is certainly designed for users who want to continue using their AGP video card and DDR memory without the opportunity to upgrade. We expect to see this board retail for around US $50. We will provide a full review of both boards in the coming weeks along with other Core 2 compatible value boards based on the Intel 865, 945P, 946PL, and 945GZ chipsets.

Memory Specifications Memory Performance
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  • Kiijibari - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    Hi,

    first I have to say, that it is a nice review, I liked it. I only have one minor critic with the following piece of text:
    quote:

    The sweet spot for gaming with this particular video card seems to be at low latency DDR2-667 settings as DDR2-800 provides negligible benefits. We are sure with lower latencies at DDR2-800 and a more powerful GPU solution that we would see further scaling increases in performance.


    I strongly doubt, that you'll see any benefits with DDR2-800 modules, regardless of the GPU, because you forgot that the FSB1066 is limiting factor. Furthermore I assume, that the DDR2-667 scores are just better because of the better absolut memory latency.

    Well, as you stated, your scores may be better again with DDR2-800 RAMs @CL3, but I think that such expensive oc modules are out of question in the low cost context of the article.

    cheers

    Kiijibari
    Reply
  • giantpandaman2 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Is there any way that you guys not use red and orange on the same graph? It's difficult to discern between the two. I mean, it's definitely possible, but it's a pain. Reply
  • Paradox999 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    You guys need to seriously have a deeper look at the ASRock 775i65G sisnce it obviously is extremely competitive. What I want to know is:

    what are the overclocking / voltage options and do they work with the Conroe?
    I was seriously considering buying the 775DUAL-VSTA ... but since I'm running an overclocked D820 / 2 gig Mushkin DDR500 / AGP Radeon x850 XTPE.

    Why bother with DDR2 as an upgrade path on the 775DUAL-VSTA when it doesn't make all that much difference and if I have to buy a new PCI card it'll have to be a very good one to best my overclocked x850 .... and that means I would want to stick it into a better motherboard than the 775DUAL-VSTA.

    All I would need is the ASRock 775i65G and the Conroe for an upgrade that seems the best deal around. Who's with me ????
    Reply
  • hibachirat - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    775i65G?
    Exactly what i've been trying to find for the last week! :-)
    But no luck getting any U.S. vendor too specify that they will ship me an R2 board.
    Try googling 775i65G R2 and you'll find as many as you want...in Australia, U.K., Europe, etc...what's the deal with U.S. resellers?
    I'm going to try emailing the article's author...
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    http://www.mwave.com/mwave/skusearch.hmx?SCriteria...">http://www.mwave.com/mwave/skusearch.hmx?SCriteria...

    In stock at the above link, called them and they have a few of the rev. 2 boards in stock. The other board to have if you want the i865 chipset is the ConRoe865PE which should be released in a couple of weeks.
    Reply
  • Paradox999 - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I would love if Anandtech would get Asrock to supply one of these ConRoe865PE boards for comparison testing. I saw that board at the Asrock site a while ago but couldn't find anyone in North America selling it.

    Asrock seems to slowly be creeping up from the back into the enthousiiast (on a buget) market. The first thing I would fix if I were them is add solid voltage control for the CPU and memory.

    I'm an enthusiast but I hate dropping tons of cash for top drawer hardware when I can have very respectable performance by carefully selecting less expensive hardware.

    Go Asrock!
    Reply
  • hibachirat - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Thanks, i guess i should have called them. This was their email response:

    "Dear Valued Customer,
    Unfortuantely, we are unable to guarantee what version of this motherboard we have. We do apologize for the inconvenience.
    Mwave.com"
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    You guys need to seriously have a deeper look at the ASRock 775i65G sisnce it obviously is extremely competitive.


    We will have a comparison article with it and the other value boards in the near future.
    Reply
  • Optimummind - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    I'm thinking about purchasing this board along with a Conroe CPU until the prices come down on the higher-model mobos such as the Asus P5W-DH. My most pressing question is how much of a bottleneck in gaming performance will be introduced as a result of ASRock including only PCIe x4 for the GPU.

    I believe that in order to answer that question, a higher performing GPU needs to be used rather than a 7600GS. Could you guys also include an extra table/graph including a comparison between a 7800GS AGP 8x and 7800GS PCIe?

    The reason I want to know is because I want to whether or not putting a DX10 card in the ASRock PCIe x4 slot will bottleneck the GPU.

    Or, could you guys compare the performance of a 7900GT in the ASRock board with a 7900GT GPU in a P965, P975, or other mobos that has the full PCIe x16 connection? I don't to know what difference in performance there will be and to see if it's worth putting a 7900GT PCIe in the ASRock board.

    Reply
  • Paladin165 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Do you think adding better cooling on the chipset would improve FSB overclocking on this board? Reply

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