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ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR Motherboard Review

ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Based on the ALi M1689 chipset, the K8 Combo-Z/ASR can be used with both Socket 754 and Socket 939 Athlon64 CPUs.
 79% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ASRock Dec 07 2004   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR

ALi M1689 chipset

Like nVIDIA's Nforce 3 and 4 chipsets, ALi's M1689 is a single chip solution that integrates the Northbridge and Southrbridge. The ALi M1689 supports both the Socket 939 Athlon64/FX chips and the older socket 754 processors. The Hypertransport link on the M1689 is capable of running at a full 1 GHz, but is only 8 bits up and 16 bits down in width.

This means data moving from the peripherals to the processor will have less bandwidth, but bus traffic usually moves more downstream.

The ALi M1689 has an integrated AGP 8x controller and supports up to seven PCI bus mastering devices at any one time. The chipset also supports up to eight native USB 2.0 devices, though only four are available on the back of the K8 Combo-Z/ASR and ASRock does not include the necessary USB header brackets for the rest.

In terms of storage, the ALi M1689 chipset supports two Ultra/133 IDE channels, for up to four IDE drives, two Serial ATA 1.5Gb/s ports and the board even supports RAID modes 0 and 1! Of course you do not have to use RAID you can simply connect SATA drives as JBOD and it would function just fine. Other standard features include a 5.1 audio controller (though ASRock chose to equip this particular board with a 7.1 audio codec) as well as a 10/100 Ethernet adaptor.

Overclocking the ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR?

It is hard to say what you can really anticipate much from the ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR in terms of overclocking... Most overclockers will not be looking towards a board like this for starters, but for those of you who are on a budget and want to play, there are a few overclocking options.

First I lowered the Athlon64 CPU multiplier to 8x to make sure the CPU would not be a limiting factor, then I started to raise the clock speed of the motherboard. We were actually able to push the ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR motherboard all the way up to 221 MHz before stability gave out. I'm not sure if the ALi M1689 has functioning AGP/PCI locks, as ATi videocards tend not to like high AGP frequencies. In any case we were actually able to overclock higher than I expected.

The BIOS

The overclocking and memory timing options are found in the Advanced menu under CPU Configuration. You can tune the motherboard clock speed from 200-300 MHz in 1 MHz increments and ASRock even gives us multiplier control, though only whole numbers can be chosen.

There are not many voltage options; only the CPU voltage can be changed and that can only go to 1.55V. You can adjust the memory frequency to run 1:1, 5:4, or 3:2 as well as set the memory timings from this screen.

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Contents of Article: ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR
 Pg 1.  ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Twin CPU's
 Pg 3.  — ALi M1689 chipset
 Pg 4.  System Spec's and Benchmarks
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2004, Super Pi
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, AquaMark03
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 11.  Maximum Motherboard Overclock and Conclusion

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