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ASRock 890FX Deluxe4 Socket AM3 Motherboard

Now ASRock has for us yet another entrant into the world of high end motherboards, the 890FX Deluxe4. The Deluxe4 offers all the great offerings of it’s older sibling Deluxe3, but also includes some new and nifty features. ASRock AIWI, DDR3-1866 overclock mode, ASRock APP Charger, just to name a few! Also a welcomed change is their PCB color choice, goodbye teal green and helllllooo black. However, the feature that really makes the 890FX Deluxe4 stand out is not the looks, but the fact it is one of the first series of motherboards from ASRock to have a USB 3.0 header that you can connect a front USB3 panel to, which is even included!

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Now ASRock has for us yet another entrant into the world of high end motherboards, the 890FX Deluxe4. The Deluxe4 offers all the great offerings of it’s older sibling Deluxe3, but also includes some new and nifty features. ASRock AIWI, DDR3-1866 overclock mode, ASRock APP Charger, just to name a few! Also a welcomed change is their PCB color choice, goodbye teal green and helllllooo black. However, the feature that really makes the 890FX Deluxe4 stand out is not the looks, but the fact it is one of the first series of motherboards from ASRock to have a USB 3.0 header that you can connect a front USB3 panel to, which is even included!

Introduction to the ASRock 890FX Deluxe4

ASRock has recently been trying to enter the realm of enthusiast class motherboards. Because of this their name has started to be included in the same sentence as the big three, ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte. Ever since ASRock has ventured on this new path we have had the priveledge to review just about every one of their high end motherboards, and amazingly not a one has turned out to be a dud. Granted while not everyone of them is quite yet up to the task of setting world records, some of them actually have So I think it’s fair to say that ASRock clearly means business

Now ASRock has for us yet another entrant into the world of high end motherboards, the 890FX Deluxe4. The Deluxe4 offers all the great offerings of it’s older sibling Deluxe3, but also includes some new and nifty features. ASRock AIWI, DDR3-1866 overclock mode, ASRock APP Charger, just to name a few! Also a welcomed change is their PCB color choice, goodbye teal green and helllllooo black. However, the feature that really makes the 890FX Deluxe4 stand out is not the looks, but the fact it is one of the first series of motherboards from ASRock to have a USB 3.0 header that you can connect a front USB3 panel to, which is even included!

Specifications

CPU– Support for Socket AM3 processors: AMD Phenom™ II X6 / X4 / X3 / X2 (except 920 / 940) / Athlon II X4 / X3 / X2 / Sempron processors
– Six-Core CPU Ready
– Supports UCC feature (Unlock CPU Core)
– Advanced V8 + 2 Power Phase Design
– Supports CPU up to 140W
– Supports AMD’s Cool ‘n’ Quiet Technology
– FSB 2600 MHz (5.2 GT/s)
– Supports Untied Overclocking Technology
– Supports Hyper-Transport 3.0 (HT 3.0) Technology
Chipset– Northbridge: AMD 890FX
– Southbridge: AMD SB850
– AMD Vision Black
Memory– Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
– 4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
– Supports DDR3 1866(OC)/1800(OC)/1600(OC)/1333/1066/800 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
– Max. capacity of system memory: 16GB*

*Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® 32-bit OS. For Windows® 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.
BIOS– 8Mb AMI Legal BIOS
– Supports “Plug and Play”
– ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
– Supports jumperfree
– SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
– CPU, VCCM, NB, SB Voltage Multi-adjustment
 Audio, Video and Networking
Graphics– n/a
Audio– 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec)
– Premium Blu-ray audio support
– Supports THX TruStudio Pro™
LAN– PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
– Realtek RTL8111E
– Supports Wake-On-LAN
– Supports LAN Cable Detection
– Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
 Expansion / Connectivity
Slots– 3 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (PCIE2/PCIE4 @ x16 mode; PCIE5 @ x4 mode)
– 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots
– 2 x PCI slots
– Supports ATI™ Quad CrossFireX™, 3-Way CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™
SATA3– 6 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by AMD SB850, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10 and RAID 5), NCQ, AHCI and “Hot Plug” functions
– 2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by Marvell SE9120, support NCQ, AHCI and “Hot Plug” functions
USB 3.0– 2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by NEC UPD720200, support USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
– 1 x Front USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) by NEC UPD720200, supports USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
Connector– 8 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors
– 1 x ATA133 IDE connector (supports 2 x IDE devices)
– 1 x Floppy connector
– 1 x IR header
– 1 x COM port header
– 1 x IEEE 1394 header
– 1 x HDMI_SPDIF header
– 1 x Power LED header
– CPU/Chassis/Power FAN connector
– 24 pin ATX power connector
– 8 pin 12V power connector
– CD in header
– Front panel audio connector
– 2 x USB 2.0 headers (support 4 USB 2.0 ports)
– 1 x USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports)
– 1 x Dr. Debug (7-Segment Debug LED)
Rear Panel I/OI/O Panel
– 1 x PS/2 Mouse Port
– 1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
– 1 x Coaxial SPDIF Out Port
– 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
– 6 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports
– 2 x Ready-to-Use USB 3.0 Ports
– 1 x eSATA3 Connector
– 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
– 1 x IEEE 1394 Port
– 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED
– HD Audio Jack: Side Speaker / Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
 Other Features / Miscellaneous
Unique Feature– ASRock OC Tuner
– Intelligent Energy Saver
– Instant Boot
– ASRock Instant Flash
– ASRock OC DNA
– ASRock AIWI
– ASRock APP Charger
Hybrid Booster:
– CPU Frequency Stepless Control
– ASRock U-COP
– Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)
– Turbo 50 / Turbo 60 CPU Overclocking
– Turbo UCC
Smart Switch– 1 x Power Switch with LED
– 1 x Reset Switch with LED
– 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED
Support CD– Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), AMD OverDrive™ Utility, ASRock Software Suite (CyberLink DVD Suite – OEM and Trial)
Accessories– Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
– Floppy/ATA 133 Cables
– 4 x SATA Data Cables (optional)
– 2 x SATA 1 to 1 Power Cables (optional)
– 1 x Front USB 3.0 Panel
– 6 x Screws
Hardware Monitor– CPU Temperature Sensing
– Chassis Temperature Sensing
– CPU/Chassis/Power Fan Tachometer
– CPU Quiet Fan
– CPU/Chassis Fan Multi-Speed Control
– Voltage Monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, Vcore
Form Factor– ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm
– All Solid Capacitor design (100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors)
OS– Microsoft® Windows® 7 / 7 64-bit / Vista™ / Vista™ 64-bit / XP / XP 64-bit compliant
Certifications– FCC, CE, WHQL
– ErP/EuP Ready (ErP/EuP ready power supply is required)
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Features

  1. World’s First AMD 890FX Motherboard Supporting Front USB3.0
  2. ASRock DuraCap (2.5 longer life time), 100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors
  3. Phenom II X6 6-Core CPU Ready
  4. Supports ASRock Turbo UCC
  5. Supports ASRock UCC – Unlock CPU Core
  6. Supports Dual Channel DDR3 1866(OC)
  7. Supports ATI™ Quad CrossFireX™, 3-Way CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™
  8. 2 x Front USB 3.0 ports, 2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports, 8 x SATA3 connectors, 2 x IEEE 1394 ports
  9. Dr. Debug, Smart Swith Design: Power/Reset/Clear CMOS Switch with LED
  10. Supports ASRock Instant Boot, Instant Flash, OC Tuner, IES, OC DNA, Good Night LED, Multi-Speed Fan Control, AIWI, APP Charger
  11. 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), THX TruStudio PRO™ and Premium Blu-ray audio support
  12. Free Software : CyberLink DVD Suite – OEM and Trial
  13. Free Bundle: 1 x Front USB 3.0 Panel
  • ErP/EuP Ready

Closer look

The overall look of the Deluxe4 is very familiar to a lot of the motherboards we have currently seen from ASRock. The black PCB topped with blue or white slots and connectors. The combination of black with almost any other series of colors has been a big hit, as a lot of people feel their hardware  needs to look as good as they operate. I hate to say it… but I am caught up in the trend myself. (Editor’s Note: I agree! The first good change with computers was the ditching of beige/cream colored cases in favor of darker tones. Now it’s a more mainstream adoption of black or blue PCB, although the rare few boards that had white PCB were pretty stunning.)

A function that we are finding to be very common on all AMD motherboards of late is the ability to possibly unlock extra cores on the CPU. This particular function was called Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC as many of you may know it) but was removed from the AMD 800-series South Bridges. So it was the motherboard manufacturers who integrated their own means of an ACC-like function to unlock any willing CPU. ASRock has dubbed their version Turbo UCC, which not only will attempt to unlock your processor, but overclock the CPU and manage power saving as well. That last sub-feature, if you will, is the ability to utilize EuP/ErP (Energy Using Product) guidelines, which is when an EuP certified motherboard is combined with a certified PSU, will consume no more than 1Watt of power when the system is off.

The Deluxe4 uses an 8+2 power phase configuration to regulate power, 8 for the CPU and then the +2 for Memory/IMC . We can say at this point and time it is enough for some very stable overclocks. The Deluxe4 is compatible with the full gamut of AMD’s AM3 socket processors, including the Hexa-core and models up to 140 watts.

We see the DIMM slots are pretty close to the CPU socket, which may make it difficult to mount some coolers when filling all four slots with RAM that have tall heatsinks, or the second fan on a higher end CPU heatsink. The board is compatible with RAM up to 1333MHz, and then up to 1866MHz in overclocked mode (provided your modules are spec’ed that high). ASRock placed the USB 2.0 and Firewire headers right below the ATX power connector. A strange place to put these but we will see why later.

Looking to build the ultimate gaming rig? Well the Deluxe4 has support Quad CrossfireX¹, Tri CrossfireX, as well as standard CrossfireX. When using the two top PCIe 2.0 slots bandwidth remains at 16x per as the third slots goes to 4x. There are also two single lane PCIe slots, as well as two standard PCI slots. If you have to use the latter for any reason one of each should be possible as the top x1 PCIe has been put clear out of the way, and the first PCI slot should still provide enough airflow for a graphics card running in the first PEG slot. The two SATA III connectors you see in the image are ran off of a Marvel SE9120 controller separate from the other six ports located on the board, a very nice addition with PATA being phased out.   ¹(Editor’s Note: I’m sure you have noticed as I have, that there are only 3 full-length PCIe slots, yet both of ASRock’s 890FX boards list Quad Crossfire support… I’m curious how they figure that to work out… lol)

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A lot of the top tier motherboard usually have one thing in common, onboard power and reset buttons, and the Deluxe4 have them. Nice feature for you open air benchers out there. An onboard LED display for diagnostics is also available, in the off chance any issues arise. To their left near the edge of the photo you see what makes the Deluxe4 a little different from the rest, and that would be the onboard header for SuperSpeed (USB3). We will have a standalone review on this later in the week. But for now we will say this is the only board with it and it is meant to be used with ASRock’s own front mounted USB 3.0 panel, which a 2 port is included with the motherboard. All USB 3.0 are controlled via an NEC UPD720700 controller.

Usually we see the CMOS battery somewhere near the South Bridge and PCI slots, but that is not the case with the Deluxe4. The battery is hidden away between the MOSFET’s heatsink and the rear panel I/O ports. If the time does come when your needing to replace the battery, depending on what type of case you are sporting, it might be a little tricky to replace. Thankfully these batteries tend to last quite awhile, really only go dead when the motherboard is not connected to a PSU that is plugged in (+5vSB is used then and also keeps it topped up with juice).

Six of the SATA III ports, as well as the lone IDE port, utilize right angle connectors off the lower part of the motherboard. These six are controlled via the SB 850 Bridge, and for you storage freaks these ports supports RAID 0, 1, 10(1+0) and 5; however, the other two ports we mentioned earlier do not have any RAID support. Anyone who does a lot of heavy sub-zero bench runs may notice the dip packaged BIOS chip, as some like to have preconfigured or different revision BIOSes each on their own chips, so they can swap them with out needing to flash and set everything back up.

Next we have the rear of the board, or commonly called the I/O area. Long due for a departure from today’s motherboards are two PS/2 ports for mouse and keyboard (Editor: HEY I still use the keyboard’s!). Coax and Optical S/PDIF. A total of six USB ports are present: two are SuperSpeed USB3 and four are standard 2.0 flavor. A large array of audio ports are present, which I believe you all are acquainted with their functions. Alone, only to keep each other company, are a single Firewire and eSATA port. Well looky thar, we even have a handy little CLR CMOS button! (Nestled in between the PS/1 and Optical port)

The two bridges, North and South, are cooled via passively cooled heat sinks. The North shares a heatpipe with the MOSFETs for better cooling performance, which to aid that effort ASRock includes a small 40mm cooling that can be substituted in for the 4 logo plate.

Testing Begins

Test Hardware:
Motherboard: ASRock 890FX Deluxe4
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 965BE C3
RAM: Patriot Sector 5 1600 4GB Dual Channel (8-8-8-24)
Video Card: Sapphire/Gigabyte HD 5750 (Crossfire)
HDD: Hitachi 1TB
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 850 (Sponsored by Thermaltake)
Case: NA
Cooling: Scythe Yasya
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
Thermal compound: Arctic Silver 5

Futuremark PCMark Vantage
3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 performance of your graphics card. We’ve been making 3DMark for over 10 years, with each new edition using the latest 3D technology to determine real-world performance.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 performance of your graphics card. We’ve been making 3DMark for over 10 years, with each new edition using the latest 3D technology to determine real-world performance. A 3DMark score is an overall measure of your system’s 3D gaming capabilities, based on comprehensive real-time 3D graphics and processor tests. By comparing your score with those submitted by millions of other gamers you can see how your gaming rig performs, making it easier to choose the most effective upgrades or finding other ways to optimize your system. 3DMark is widely used by the PC industry, press and media as well as individual users and gamers, for comparing performance levels between whole systems or even specific components.

SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2007 SP1
SiSoftware has announced the availability of Service Release 2 (SR2) for SiSoftware Sandra 2005, the latest version of its award-winning utility. The focus of this service release has been improved support, compatibility and reliability rather than new features. We have been working closely with more hardware vendors than before to be able to bring greater direct support of an increased market share of commodity and server technologies.

Lavalys Everest
Lavalys EVEREST Home Edition is freeware system information, system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for home PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. It offers the world’s most accurate system information and diagnostics capabilities, including online features, memory benchmarks, hardware monitoring, and low-level hardware information. EVEREST Home Edition is uniquely available for home users without any charges, based on the freeware license.

Maxon Cinebench
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer’s performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

Super PI Modded 1.5
In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr. Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
The events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfold shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Having discovered about the open path to the Zone center, the government decides to hold a large-scale military “Fairway” operation aimed to take the CNPP under control.
According to the operation’s plan, the first military group is to conduct an air scouting of the territory to map out the detailed layouts of anomalous fields location. Thereafter, making use of the maps, the main military forces are to be dispatched. Despite thorough preparations, the operation fails. Most of the avant-garde helicopters crash. In order to collect information on reasons behind the operation failure, Ukraine’s Security Service send their agent into the Zone center. From now on everything depends on the player.

Tech ARP x264 HD 3.15
Simply put, it is a reproducible measure of fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It’s nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other.

HD Tune
HD Tune is a hard disk utility with many functions. It can be used to measure the drive’s performance, scan for errors, check the health status (S.M.A.R.T.), securely erase all data and much more.

Overclocking the ASRock 890FX Deluxe4 and the AMD Phenom II 965 Black

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With the OC Tuner and a few visits to the BIOS, added bumped up the VCore voltage to 1.5v and a drop of the CPU multiplier to 13x as to prevent it from limiting our HTT overclock. The highest HTT we were able to obtain was a respectable 291MHz. An increase in voltage was need to reach this number, but since we only test under air-cooling we did not want to fry the NB by going higher.

Changing things up a little we decided to set our goals on achieving the highest overall CPU frequency. We used the same 1.5v and placed the multiplier back to the default 17x. This allowed us to reach 4165MHz stable.

Conclusion

After spending a lot of time with ASRock 890FX Deluxe4 we walked away proud of what the board had to offer. The additional SATA ports and front panel header for USB 3.0 is a great feature to have if you are out for storage options or outright speed. Personally I am the latter. When it did come time to put the pedal to the metal, overclocking with the 890FX Deluxe4 got us to a point where we were pretty satisfied. Could not have been made any easier thanks to the OC Tuner program, since you technically don’t even need to enter the BIOS anymore, even if we did just to set some known parameters.

Then for those that are still using the X3 and X2 Deneb based processors with unlockable cores, ASRock provides the Turbo UCC function; a one stop shop to unleash the full potential of your processor.

We really had to rack our brains to find a fault with this board. It was concluded to be the difficulty in which to reach the CMOS battery.  Placing it behind the heat sink near the I/O portion of the motherboard it is almost invisible to the user. (Editor’s Note: I agree, I seriously could not find it till later in the review when the picture was provided)

There is another thing, which is not so much a Con but a ‘Neutral’. One thing that could become a problem is the pure size of the MOSFET heatsink, as they could hamper the installation of some coolers. These coolers would be more square in shape, like the Scythe Mugens and Ninjas.

If you are looking to pick up the ASRock 890FX Deluxe4, you can find it for around $160 from e-tailors like the NewEgg. This puts the board at a price point just below the ASUS M4A89TD and the Gigabyte 890FX UD5, making it a really good value and a board you’ll be happy to own.

ProClockers was founded way back in 2004, with a goal to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews. Whilst the first products we reviewed are long gone, we're continuing to review the latest and greatest every month.

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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