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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  • poohbear - Thursday, January 19, 2006 - link

    btw, this mobo does NOT support any cpu frequency above 274 w/ any of the official bios' (1.2 and after), so if u buy it thinking u can do 275x9 (or more) u wont. complained to ASRock about this but it falls on deaf ears. :( Reply
  • radiodad - Tuesday, December 6, 2005 - link

    Interesting how posts end abruptly and not seeing any new posts on this board since September seems rather odd. Or is that normal? I just started researching my second build in 3+ years. That begs the questions of whether to buy this board, if anyone is still satisfied having bought one, and has this chipset held up? I want to multitask with a 64 X2 3800+ or 4000+ but if nobody is excited about this board anymore, then maybe I should go for the gusto and spend $200 on an Asus, but I rather not. Any comments? Reply
  • Krakn3Dfx - Saturday, December 17, 2005 - link

    I picked up one about 2 weeks ago as a refurb from newegg. Worked great, I'm currently running an Opteron 146 on it @ 2.5GHz, you can learn a lot more about it over at ocworkbench.com, as they have a pretty extensive forums based on ASrock products. I still had some of the cold boot issues with the 1.2 bios, but upgraded to the 1.5 bios and they went away. Couldn't be happier with my $42 investment :). Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, September 9, 2005 - link

    ASRock has posted a 1.20 BIOS update at their website dated 9/02/05. We flashed an update to 1.2 and the Cold Boot problems have disappeared. If you are experiencing cold boot issues please update to BIOS 1.2. We will also add an update to the review. Reply
  • dlmetzger - Saturday, September 17, 2005 - link

    What exactly is a 'cold boot' issue.

    The article stated "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,"

    I purchased the 939Dual for a new computer and it will not start when the power button is pushed. The pins on the System Power Header for the PWRBTN# to GND measure 3.37 Vdc.

    Are these separate problems?
    Reply
  • Fam Money - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    Wesley, are you still able to achieve the same or better oc with the 1.20 BIOS? Which BIOS did you originally use?

    TIA
    Reply
  • ElFenix - Friday, September 9, 2005 - link

    does the new bios do anything else, like add more voltage adjustments?

    thanks!
    Reply
  • ElJefe - Saturday, September 10, 2005 - link

    I wish freakin dual core would drop to sane prices. the 4400 looks like the nice semi-future proofing system. This board is perfect for dual core from scratch setup, only good board out there that is garaunteed to work with dual core out of the box.

    Ocworkbench.com didnt experience cold boot problems. they use 1.20.
    Reply
  • StillTickin - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    Hi,

    I'm planning to buy this board once it comes in stock again. I would of course eventually use PC3200 RAM or better on this board.

    But I would like to know, in the interest of saving money for now, if my 512MB of PC2100 RAM that I have on my current motherboard (an FIC AD11) will work on this board for the time being.

    Not a big deal if I have to buy new RAM right now, but it would help if that can wait a month or two, since I'm on a budget.

    Thanks,
    Aly
    Reply
  • SynthDude2001 - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    I don't have any first-hand experience with A64 platforms (yet), but the PC2100 should be fine as long as you set the RAM speed to 133 instead of 200 (which I'm not entirely sure how to do on this board, you may have to get the details from someone else). I suppose it's possible that it might not boot because the default is 200, but it won't hurt to try. Reply

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