+++ The ASRock K8 Combo-Z motherboard
cost at present a price of approx. 60 euro (08/2005),
which is really amazing, since even the most favorable Socket 754
or Socket 939 boards can be
found only very rare in this price region.
This board concerns besides not a conventional Socket 754/939 motherboard,
but this board
unites both processor variants on only one motherboard.
Who is thus not sure whether he/she is to buy a favorable socket
754 processor at present,
has to transfer hereby the option openly without motherboard exchange
to a socket 939 system.
The way of a single Channel socket 754 to a Dual Channel memory
suited socket 939 system is
separated with the Combo-Z only by some Jumper rows:
Thus we can get one of these two processors running within a few
minutes. And thus the way becomes still somewhat simpler, provides
ASRock this small tool for removing the Jumper.
Simply put it into one jumper row represented above and pull it
I faced Combo motherboards so far always somewhat sceptically, since
often different generations
were combined by CPUs, memory, etc. at the expense of the performance,
but in this case I was
instructed a better one.
Because both performance of the socket 754 part and of the socket
939 part can be measured
with other Socket 754/939 motherboards and is owing to the ULi chipset
But how does it look with possible upgrading and with the board
ASRock did not save money here, because on this Full size ATX board
there're 2x IDE
connectors for up to 4x ATA 133 harddisks, 2x SATA ports, 4 x ATX
panel USB 2.0 ports,
onBoard 10/100 RTL 8201 BL LAN and 6 connectors for 7.1 Surround
All drivers for Windows XP and older operating systems are provided
naturally on CDROM and
offered at any time up-to-date with ASRock
Since depending upon used CPU also the memory banks must be changed,
expandableness of the memory comes for the Socket 754 in the single
Channel mode with 2 banks
somewhat briefly (Dual Channel is technically only available at
the S939 part).
In socket 939 processor mode it can be used in the Dual Channel
mode both 2 one-sided ones and
2 double-sided modules and in the single Channel mode the Combo
board offers place for
up to 3 DIMMs with altogether 2 GB memory.
Since the board has an AMI BIOS, the BIOS can be reached with
the F2 key after switching on.
There expect us extensive options for the timing of the memory modules,
(as usual technically causes only lower than the original multi
selectable), alterable host frequency
of 140 MHz up to 300 MHz and HT from 200 to 1000 MHz is selectable.
Regarding a high overclocking of the system the voltage change came
too briefly somewhat,
since the CPU voltage can be only changed.
Besides the AGP and pci bus frequency unfortunately can not be adjusted
to a fixed value.
But ASRock wanted to bring certainly no OC board with this Combo
on the market,
but rather an inexpensive multi-talent.
Nevertheless I couldn't deny myself the overclocking attempts and
wanted at least an
examination of the maximally possible host frequency, which still
stable ran up to approx. 250 MHz.
The passive cooled ULi M1689 chipset remained here also without
active fan relatively cool,
thus a few hundred MHz can get out from its processor.
Who blow the overclocking out of all proportions, shouldn't rely
too much to the "Boot failure
guard" of the BIOS, since this unfortunately likewise strikes
with to high host frequency.
Here will only help the CLEAR CMOS Jumper, with which the BIOS is
completely set to default.
Conclusion: ASRock developed an extremely favorable Motherboard
with the K8 Combo-Z,
with which the choice between the inexpensive Socket 754 and the
Socket 939 processor
must not be final, since it's possible to change the Athlon 64 Socket
at any time within
a few minutes.
In point of overclocking is the otherwise very versatile Motherboard
surely not the last word,
but you also doesn't run away crying ;-)
Anyhow the company ASRock has reached the target of free Athlon
64 processor choice
without special adapters.
There was no suffer in the performance where the equipment and board
layout have well
positions in spite of the two sockets - well done !
Special thanks to ASRock
for their support.