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ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 Socket M2 Upgradable Motherboard Review

ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 Socket M2 Upgradable Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Both the Socket M2 AMD processor and the necessary ASRock daughter card are not currently available, but the CPU is expected in Q2 of 2006 so the ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 is certainly forward-looking.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ASRock Oct 07 2005   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ASRock 939Dual-SATA2

ULi M1695 Northbridge and ULi M1567

The ULI M1567 Southbridge supports eight USB 2.0 devices, however only four are found on the rear I/O. If you need access to more, you will either have to buy yourself a USB hub or USB header brackets. ASRock does provide pin out diagrams so you should have no problem connecting third party USB header brackets to the motherboard, but they are not bundled in.

Future Compatibility

Easily the most attractive feature of the 939Dual-SATA2 is its ability to support Socket M2 when the platform is released. Unfortunately not a lot of information is available but I expect to see something similar to what ECS has done with its PF88 Extreme Hybrid motherboard.

The yellow "Future CPU Port" slot is where the upcoming add on card will connect to the 939Dual-SATA2 motherboard. This daughter card will have both the new AMD Socket M2 and DDR2 DIMM slots as well as possibly a new Northbridge chipset. The latter may not be necessary since the DDR-2 memory controller is expected to be integrated into the processor just as with the current Athlon64 processor; the ULi M1695 Northbridge basically only controls the PCI Express bus.

Judging by the layout of the ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 motherboard, the add on card will be quite restricted in space and will probably only feature two DDR2 memory DIMM slots for dual channel memory. The size of the heatsink will also be tight and it is possible that only slimmer heatsinks would work with the board because of restraints. When we get more details on this "Future CPU Port" card, we will update this description further.

Overclocking the 939Dual-SATA2

Overclocking Results:
Stock Max. OC
Motherboard Speed: 200 MHz

304 MHz

If you're new to Overclocking and not sure what to do, check out these two excellent Guides for some pointers:
Overclocking the CPU and Memory
Overclocking the Videocard

A few ASRock motherboards have passed through the PCStats test labs and none have really impressed us in terms of overclocking. ASRock are generally building budget oriented motherboards, so this isn't too surprising. Anyhow, before we started to overclock the ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 the motherboard, I first lowered the CPU multiplier to 6x and the memory frequency to run at 166 MHz mode. HTT was left at stock and will be adjusted whenever necessary.

Starting at 200 MHz I increased the motherboard clock speed a bit slower than normal, only going up in ~5 MHz intervals. The motherboard turned out to be a decent overclocker and it was actually quite easy to overclock. There were some problems at 245 MHz, at this speed the motherboard had difficulty booting into windows, but lowering the HTT multiplier to 4x solved this issue.

The board hit another snag at 265 MHz, where it seemed as though even with the memory multiplier running at 166 MHz mode, it was maxing. Lowering the memory multiplier yet again, this time to 133 MHz, solved that issue. Continuing on, the 939Dual-SATA2 was eventually able to crack the 300 MHz barrier.

In the end we settled for a top speed of 304 MHz. Anything higher and the system would crash randomly. This is mighty impressive from a budget motherboard and goes to show you that budget and overclocking can go together!

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Contents of Article: ASRock 939Dual-SATA2
 Pg 1.  ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 Socket M2 Upgradable Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Walk around the 939Dual-SATA2's PCB
 Pg 3.  — ULi M1695 Northbridge and ULi M1567
 Pg 4.  The ASRock BIOS
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: SYSMark2004
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, PCMark05
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, 3DMark05
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: UT2003, UT2004
 Pg 12.  Benchmarks: Doom 3 and Conclusion

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