Basic Features: ASRock 939Dual-Sata2

 ASRock 939Dual-SATA2
CPU Interface Socket 939 Athlon 64
Future CPU Upgrade Slot for AMD M2
Chipset ULi M1695 Northbridge - ULi M1567 Southbridge
BUS Speeds 200 to 400Mhz in 1MHz Increments
PCIe Speeds 75-125MHz in 1MHz Increments
Selected Frequency, Synchronous or Asynchronous (Fixed) to CPU Speed
PCI/AGP Fixed at 33/66
Core Voltage Auto, 0.80V to 1.55V in 0.025V increments
CPU Clock Multiplier Auto, 4x-21x in 1X increments
HyperTransport Frequency 1000MHz (1GHz)
HyperTransport Multiplier Auto, 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000
DRAM Voltage Auto, Normal, High
HyperTransport Voltage NO Adjustments
Memory Slots Four 184-pin DDR DIMM Slots
Dual-Channel Configuration
Regular Unbuffered Memory to 4GB Total
Expansion Slots 1 PCIe x16
1 AGP 8X
1 PCIe x1
3 PCI Slots
Onboard SATA/RAID 2 SATA1 Drives by ULi M1567 (RAID 0, 1, JBOD)
1 Sata2 NCQ 3Gb/s Drive by JMicron JMB360
Onboard IDE/IDE RAID Two Standard ATA133/100/66 (4 drives)
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394 8 USB 2.0 ports supported by ULi M1567
No Firewire (Optional)
Onboard LAN 10/100 Ethernet by ULi & Realtek PNY
Onboard Audio AC '97 2.3 8-Channel by Realtek ALC850
BIOS AMI 8/12/2005

ASRock provides a decent selection of adjustments in the AMI BIOS. Almost everything the enthusiast needs to squeeze a bit more from the CPU is available in the BIOS options. This includes CPU ratios, CPU voltage adjustments, memory timing adjustments, CPU clock speed adjustments, and PCIe speed adjustment. There is even a crude, but effective option for memory voltage - which just offers normal, high and auto settings. Fortunately, the High setting must be around 2.8V, since it was effective with our standard Samsung TCCD test memory.

CPU voltage has a wide adjustment range down, but it's a bit lacking at the top. The 130nm Clawhammer stock is 1.5V, and 1.55V is the top option with this chip. Install a 90nm 4800+ X2, with a 1.35V default voltage, and the top voltage slides to 1.40V. This .05V voltage range at the top is not really adequate for many users. The wide 200 to 400 CPU speed range is plenty, as is the 75-125 PCIe range and asynchronous PCIe option.

The ASRock would move from adequate to outstanding with a few additions to the BIOS. The ULi chipset is too good not to offer a wide range of memory voltage adjustments. It would also be useful to have CPU voltage extend to at least 1.65 to 1.7V, even if this requires a ULi motherboard with the Asus brand instead of ASRock.

The good news is the limited DRAM "high" setting does work well with most common RAM. The ASRock also has no problem with Athlon x2, FX, or other Socket 939 CPUs.

We did find extremely irritating cold boot issues with the ASRock in our testing. Even at standard stock speeds and settings, the 939Dual often required several starts to boot. Perhaps this was due to some setting in BIOS, but we could never discover the source of the cold boot issue. Overclocking seemed about the same with cold boot issues as stock operations. This kind of problem is often fixable with a BIOS upgrade and we hope that ASRock will address the cold boot issues very soon. It's a shame to have a board this good plagued with annoying cold boot issues.

UPDATE: ASRock has released BIOS 1.20 dated 9/02/05 which can be downloaded from their web site. Version 1.20 fixed the cold boot problems we experienced.

Board Layout: ASRock 939Dual-Sata2 Overclocking: ASRock 939Dual-Sata2
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  • Marlin1975 - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    Just be careful. Asrock rarely upadtes their BIOS, has no support, etc... So if there is a problem, you better fix it yourself. Reply
  • nemesismk2 - Friday, September 9, 2005 - link

    Everything you have said is not true, I have owned a asrock k7s8x, asrock k7s8xe+, asrock k8 upgrade 760 gx and now a asrock 939 dual sata 2. I have found their support to be excellent and they only release bios updates when they are needed which is not often because their motherboards are very reliable. My first asrock motherboard the k7s8x was purchased in 2003 and it is still in use today and running perfectly. Reply
  • Googer - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    Dear Wesley,


    Can AGP and PCI-express video cards run side by side in the same motherboard at the same time? Could I 2 PCI-express cards and my AGP 9700pro all at the same time for some Triple monotor action?

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • FriedRiceBob - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    There are uli 1695 boards that do support that (their reference board, for instance), however this asrock board only has (1) PCIe x16 port.

    Also, while running a setup with multiple cards, you would probably want only chipsets from one company, to minimize driver troubles (an ATI PCIe card to go with your 9700)
    Reply
  • FriedRiceBob - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    erp.

    I just glanced back at the reference board review, and the feat was achieved through the use of a riser card out of the x16 slot, covering the AGP slot in the process.

    ULi touts a "triple graphics interface" meaning PCIe, AGP8x, and PCI, I am unsure of the compatability with an SLI + AGP setup, but I'm sure some inventful motherboard manufacturer will put it into practice if it's feasible
    Reply
  • touchmyichi - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    looks awesome! Perfect timing since my Neo 2 just bit it. Reply

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