some discussion for and against removing overclocking benchmarks entirely from
PCstats reviews, we have decided to change how we do things, but still include
them. From now on, PCstats reviews will simply list the maximum overclocked
speed a motherboard is able to achieve rather than provide an overclocked score
for each and every benchmark.
overclocking can be a very subjective skill, it just makes more sense to keep
our benchmarks focused on the stock performance of system components. Plus, by
listing the maximum overclocked speeds of various motherboards here, you'll have
a better idea of which manufacturer produces the best goods for enthusiasts!
the ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR is able to overclock higher (with the Athlon64 4000+)
than both VIA K8T800 PRO Socket 939 Athlon64 motherboards we tested! Not bad
considering its budget status.
A heck of a
The AMD Athlon64, while
technologically more advanced than Intel's Pentium 4, has had a rough ride since
it's release back in September 2003. Socket 754 Athlon64's never really gained a
lot of acceptance since their replacement, Socket 939 was already on the
horizon. The ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR motherboard offers users who want to jump on
the Athlon64 bandwagon an interesting alternative. Priced at just $91 CDN ($76 US), the K8 Combo-Z/ASR
allows users the choice of using more affordabler Socket 754 Athlon64s while
waiting for mainstream Socket 939 chips to come down in price.
The ALi M1689 chipset is not as advanced as VIA's K8T800
Pro or nVIDIA's nForce3 Ultra. It sports only an 8-bit wide data path upstream
and 16-bits downstream on the HyperTransport link, but at least it runs at full
speed (800 MHz for Socket 754 and 1 GHz for Socket 939).
In terms of performance, we were pleasantly surprised
with the ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR. Yes, the motherboard did come in
last in most of the tests but generally only by a few percentage points.
Considering its price, it handled the tasks well.
The physical layout of the ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR board
could have been been better. I'm not a fan of placing the floppy drive connector
at the bottom of the motherboard. Also, having to move six sets of jumpers to
use the other CPU socket is kind of annoying, and holds the potential for
technical troubles. It would have been nicer if this process was automated, or
at least used dip switches. It's not something that most users will have to do
more than once, though. Overall we're very pleased with what the ASRock K8
Combo-Z/ASR has to offer. It could have performed better, but for its price and
the flexibility it offers, it's hard to beat!
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