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ASRock 775V88 VIA PT880 Motherboard Review

ASRock 775V88 VIA PT880 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: ASRock's boards are based on the same technology as other current chipset products, but are built with less frills, and less expensive components.
 78% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ASRock Nov 26 2004   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ASRock 775V88

ASRock 775V88 VIA PT880 Motherboard Review

There's little doubt that Asus is one of the technological leaders in the motherboard industry. One area that Asus had not previously explored much is the entry-level market, where companies like Biostar, ECS, and others have a strong foothold. Traditionally, Asus' motherboards have been built to satisfy the needs and wants of higher-end systems and price points, with features to match. Since the entry-level motherboard market is extremely large, and determined foremost by prices, you can understand why Asus would want to try its hand at it eventually.

Asus had a bit of a branding problem to deal with first though. How do you enter this market when you're known as an exclusively mid to high-end parts provider? To avoid diluting its respected motherboard brandname, Asus decided to create a new subsidiary focused entirely on entry-level motherboards and peripherals, and thus ASRock was born.

Anyone who has shopped around for a motherboard will have already noticed just how inexpensive ASRock motherboards are. ASRock's boards are based on the same technology as other current chipset products, but are built with less frills, and less expensive components. For the budget conscience user, they're exactly what the doctor ordered.

PCStats will be looking at the VIA PT880-based ASRock 775V88 motherboard today. When PCstats first looked at the VIA PT880 reference board in January, we noted that performance of the chipset was quite good, definitely comparable to Intel's i865PE. Built for Intel's new Socket 775 Pentium 4 'Prescott' processor (533/800MHz FSB), the ASRock 775V88 is a no frills motherboard and does not come with many features. With a retail price of just $76 CDN ($63 US) though, pretty much all can be forgiven. The only onboard components included are built-in 5.1 audio, two Serial ATA ports, and a VIA 10/100 Ethernet adaptor. Not a lot, but really quite perfect for building office PCs.

ASRock 775V88


Users Manual, Hot Swap SATA Papers, USB Sticker, Ultra/133 IDE Cable, Serial ATA Cable, Floppy Cable, Molex to Serial ATA Power Cable, Driver CD I/O Shield

The VIA PT880 chipset allows this board to support two PC3200 DDR modules (Max 1GB) or four PC2700/2100 DDR modules for a maximum of 3.5GB. Dual channel DDR operation is supported. Asus typically does not use colourful PCBs for its own brand of motherboards, but the ASRock 775V88's is a nice shade of blue. Since not much comes integrated into the 775V88, ASRock has equipped this full-sized board with five PCI slots, and one 8X AGP slot. This should be enough for anyone's expansion needs.

The Asrock 775V88 uses VIA's VT8237 southbridge chip. While this IC lacks some of the features of other recent chipsets from Intel and nVidia, one neat feature that the VT8237 southbridge does support is hot swapable Serial ATA hard drives. Not many other Southbridge chips out there can boast this, and it's handy when you want to move a large amount of data between PCs.

Since the ASRock 775V88 does not generate a lot of heat, it can be placed in smaller cases without any problems. During testing, the Northbridge heatsink got moderately warm while the Southbridge ran quite cool.

We had a few issues with the design of the motherboard. first off, I'm not a fan of the sliding AGP lock that ASRock uses on this board. In order for it to work you must slide both top and bottom simultaneously. This can be quite difficult to do when installing longer-length videocards.

There is also way too little space between the metal Northbridge heatsink and the AGP slot. If a videocard is installed with any type of rear heatsink, there is a good chance it will interfere with the Northbridge heatsink. Use a bit of caution when installing here.

Lastly, the placement of the floppy drive connector at the bottom of the motherboard may work for small tower cases, but it isn't such a great position when the floppy drive cable has to wrap around and over any PCI devices that are installed. This could potentially disrupt airflow. It also means that if you're using a full tower ATX case, it might be difficult for the cable to reach the drive.

Apart from these issues though, the ASRock 775V88 motherboard's design is sufficient to be effective.

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Contents of Article: ASRock 775V88
 Pg 1.  — ASRock 775V88 VIA PT880 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Overclocking and BIOS
 Pg 3.  System Spec's and Benchmarks
 Pg 4.  Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2004, Super Pi
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: AquaMark3, Comanche 4
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: X2: The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 10.  Maximum Motherboard Overclocking and Conclusion

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