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ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR Motherboard Review
ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
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   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR

ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR Motherboard Review

One of the biggest knocks against first generation AMD Athlon64 systems was that Socket 754 was a stop-gap solution. Socket 939 was already on the horizon and after its release, Socket 754 would no doubt be relegated to econoline status. The imminent obsolescence of the Socket 754 platform turned many off.

What was needed was a motherboard solution that provided a bridge between the affordable Socket 754 Athlon64 chips and the future of the Athlon 64, Socket 939. ASRock has provided us with just such a solution, and we're going to see how the K8 Combo-Z/ASR handles it task. If you haven't heard of ASRock, you can be forgiven, its North American presence is still quite small. I'm sure more and more people will be taking notice soon though, as ASRock offers some of the best value motherboards on the market, and is an ASUS offshoot.

Today PCStats will be testing new the ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR motherboard. This could be the perfect board for those of you who want to go Athlon64 on the cheap, but don't want to be stuck without an upgrade path to newer socket 939 processors. Based on the ALi M1689 chipset which we'll cover in more detail later in the review, the K8 Combo-Z/ASR can be used with both Socket 754 and Socket 939 Athlon processors! Although not at the same time.

The full range of socket 754 and 939 processors are supported, from the 32-bit AMD Sempron to the mighty AMD Athlon 64FX. Each CPU socket has its own memory banks and yes, Socket 939 is dual-channel compatible as long as you fill only the first two memory banks. There are a mere three PCI slots, though this should be enough for the average user. An 8x AGP slot handles the graphics duties as PCI Express is not supported by the ALi chipset; 7.1 audio and a 10/100 LAN controller are also integrated into the motherboard.

ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR Motherboard


Users Manual, Driver CD, Jumper Remover Instructions, Jumper Removal Tool, Ultra/133 IDE cable, Floppy Drive cable, Serial ATA cable, Molex to Serial ATA power cable, I/O Shield

With the two CPU sockets, the ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR motherboard layout is quite different from what we're used to. There is very little free space anywhere on the board. Probably one of the first things you'll notice are the two sets of memory banks; the top two are for Socket 754 while the other three near the middle of the board are for Socket 939.

The ASRock K8 Combo-Z/ASR uses standard PC3200 DDR memory, up to a maximum of 2GB. As you'll notice, the board is equipped with no less than five 184-pin DDR memory slots. Since each CPU socket uses its own set of memory, not all of these memory DIMMs can be used at once. For Socket 754, two DDR DIMMs of up to 1 GB each can be used, and for Socket 939, two identical DIMMs of up to 1GB can be used for dual-channel memory support, or two non-identical DIMMs without it. Users cannot use all three of the memory slots for Socket 939; the first two slots are for dual-channel chips and the third is for any type of PC3200 memory, so you would need to use the 1st and 3rd slots in the case of two different DDR modules.

The I/O panel on the back of the board sports four USB 2.0 connectors, six audio ports (4 outputs for the 7.1 sound plus line-in and mic inputs), a 10/100 Ethernet connector and the standard legacy connectors.

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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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