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ASRock 939NF4G-SATA2 Geforce 6100 Motherboard Review

ASRock 939NF4G-SATA2 Geforce 6100 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The ASRock 939NF4G-SATA2 is a microATX form factor motherboard that is well suited for compact mini-tower desktop computer chassis.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ASRock Jan 04 2006   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ASRock 939NF4G-SATA2

nVIDIA PureVideo

High definition is the future entertainment standard of tomorrow's video's. Playing high definition content on current generation PCs can bog down even the fastest processors because there is more data to handle. Similar to the need for DVD accelerators a few years ago, nVIDIA PureVideo enables computer users to view MPEG-2/DVD and WMV HD formats without slowing the PC to a crawl.

The PureVideo standard incorporates a hardware accelerator for the afore mentioned MPEG-2/DVD, and Microsoft Windows Media HD Video standards (WMV HD). According to nVIDIA's documentation on PureVideo, the GPU (GeForce 6 and 7 series GPUs) takes on video decoding tasks from the CPU, and the end result is smoother, shutter free HD playback. nVIDIA PureVideo also supports most current and future high definition formats. The system seems to be built with a good degree of future proofing for upcoming standards.

PureVideo is more than just a media accelerator; it also includes features to improve video picture quality. DVD, cable and satellite video provide poor crispness, clearness and smoothness that consumers have been desperate to be "saved from." nVIDIA's PureVideo technology applies spatial temporal de-interlacing to apparently deliver a better image than traditional de-interlacing can muster. PureVideo also fixes the 3:2 pull down problem that can arise from 24 fps video being converted to 30 fps for viewing on TVs or monitors. By recovering the original 24 frame content, PureVideo allows for a clear crisper image.

Another neat feature of PureVideo is its ability to scale videos to any resolution, while maintaining a relatively detailed picture. This means users can view lower resolution videos at a high resolution without suffering too much from blocky or blurry pictures.

Experts Tip: Enabling AMD Cool 'n' Quiet
AMD’s Cool ‘n’ Quiet technology is a great power-saving and noise-decreasing tool. When using this feature, the CPU operates only as fast as it needs to for the current load, and consequently generates less heat so the CPU fan speed doesn't need to spin as quick (or loudly). To enable Coll 'n' Quiet, enter the BIOS at POST (press the 'Del' key repeatedly) and go to the 'Advanced' BIOS options screen. Select the C'n'Q option and enable it.

If you are using WindowsXP you'll have to change the PCs power scheme next. Open the ‘Power Options’ from the Control Panel and choose the power scheme ‘Minimal Power Management’ and click ‘OK’. Then from AMD.com download the Cool 'n' Quiet driver for you operating system and reboot. To check and see if C'n'Q is running, without any programs loaded right click on my computer and note the CPU speed listed; if it is now 800MHz, then the power saving features are enabled and working.

Comments and Feedback? Suggest a Tweak.

Examining CPU Load with PureVideo

To test PureVideo's HD accelerating capabilities, we'll playback a video downloaded from Microsoft's WMV HD Content Showcase through Windows Media Player 10. "The Discoverers" (IMAX) video is available in both 720P and 1080P formats, though since we're testing a motherboard based on the Geforce 6100 chipset and not the Geforce 6150 that shouldn't matter - everything will be dropped back to standard 4:3 definition. CPU utilization was monitored via Task Manager.

When the 720P version of the Discoverers video is loaded, there is an immediate spike to 100% CPU usage but that drops quickly to 25% after a second. While running the video, CPU usage jumps between 19-38% which leaves plenty of CPU power to go around for other tasks.

CPU usage when the Discoverers video was running hovered between 43 and 57%. Higher than when the 720P version is running but then again the 1080P version shows more detail which require more processing power. There is still plenty of system resources to go around for any tasks running in the background.

nVIDIA PureVideo Decoder Software

Sold separately is nVIDIA's PureVideo Decoder software (retails for between $20-$50 US) which functions with any GeForceFX/6/7 series videocard. The software essentially turns a desktop PC into a home entertainment center with the ability to watch DVD movies or other computer related videos, listen to music or view pictures.

The look and feel of nStant Media is very similar to Microsoft WindowsXP Media Center's media browser. Under the 'Watch Movies' category, users can watch videos stored on the HDD or on disc. 'Listen to Music' has the same options as does 'View Pictures.' The 'Settings' options allow users to change language, when the nVIDIA screen saver kicks in, parental control, closed captioning, display formats (Standard definition or high), etc. Overall the look and feel of nStant Media is nice and the program is extremely easy to use.

Next up, PCSTATS will see if this ASRock motherboard has any overclocking capabilities worth getting excited over.

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Contents of Article: ASRock 939NF4G-SATA2
 Pg 1.  ASRock 939NF4G-SATA2 Geforce 6100 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  MicroATX Motherboard Layout
 Pg 3.  nVidia GeForce 6100 Chipset Details
 Pg 4.  — nVIDIA PureVideo
 Pg 5.  Overclocking and BIOS Options
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: SYSMark2004
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, PCMark 05
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, 3DMark05
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat
 Pg 12.  Benchmarks: UT2003, UT2004
 Pg 13.  Benchmarks: Doom 3 and conclusion

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