Asrock P45R2000-WiFi Socket 775 Motherboard

We have yet again received another mainboard from Asrock that is based on this Intel and improved chipset. The P45R2000-WiFi has the look and feel of the X48TwinTurbo we reviewed just a week or so ago.  Now the P45R2000 has all options stated above and plus some but what will be an added feature of this board is its price. It should be price well under the $240 asking price of the ASUS P5Q at about $150-$160. Price is one thing but is it worth it in the end? Read on as well put this board on the bench.

Introduction

Codenamed the Eaglelake the new Intel P45 is geared to be this year’s P965. The P965 offered a better price versus performance ratio that it’s bigger brother the 975X. This can also be said with Intel P35 compared to the X48. Strangely the P45 is the P35 compared to X48. As the P45 is replacing the P35 and updated some of its lackluster features at the same time.

The P35 only support Crossfire in the form of 16x in the first slot and 4x across the second. Crossfire in any form is good but the second slot did cripple the performance some. With the birth of the P45 the user has the option of picking between 16x/4x or a performance boost 8x/8x. There are a few more advantages of the ICH10R that would heavily benefit the end user like the smaller die that produces less heat and additional SATA support. But one cool feature that was totally not included in the P35 is the ETU or Extreme Tuning Utility. This allows the user to have control of the BIOS function via Windows. Many motherboard manufacturers have their own version of this software but it is good that Intel is getting into the act as well.

We have yet again received another mainboard from Asrock that is based on this Intel and improved chipset. The P45R2000-WiFi has the look and feel of the X48TwinTurbo we reviewed just a week or so ago.  Now the P45R2000 has all options stated above and plus some but what will be an added feature of this board is its price. It should be price well under the $240 asking price of the ASUS P5Q at about $150-$160. Price is one thing but is it worth it in the end? Read on as well put this board on the bench.

 

Specification

CPU– LGA 775 for Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme / Core™ 2 Quad / Core™ 2 Duo / Pentium® Dual Core / Celeron®, supporting Penryn Quad Core Yorkfield and Dual Core Wolfdale processors
– Compatible with FSB2000*/1600/1333/1066/800 MHz
– Supports Hyper-Threading Technology
– Supports Untied Overclocking Technology
– Supports EM64T CPU

*In overclocking mode.

Chipset

– Northbridge: Intel® P45
– Southbridge: Intel® ICH10R

Memory

– Dual Channel DDR3/DDR2* memory technology
– 4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
– Supports DDR3 1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
– Max. Capacity: 8GB**
– 2 x DDR2 DIMM slots
– Supports DDR2 1066/800/667 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
– Max. capacity: 4GB**

*DDR3 and DDR2 are supported separately.

**Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® XP and Windows® Vista™. For Windows® XP 64-bit and Windows® Vista™ 64-bit with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.

BIOS

– 8Mb AMI BIOS
– AMI Legal BIOS
– Supports “Plug and Play”
– ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
– Supports jumperfree
– SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
– CPU, DRAM, NB, SB,VTT Voltage Multi-adjustment
– Supports I. O. T. (Intelligent Overclocking Technology)
 Audio, Video and Networking

Graphics

– n/a

Audio

– 7.1 CH Windows® Vista™ Premium Level HD Audio with Content Protection
– DAC with 110dB dynamic range (ALC890 Audio Codec)

LAN

– PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
– Realtek RTL8111B/RTL8111C
– Supports Wake-On-LAN
– Supports Dual LAN feature

Wireless LAN

ASRock WiFi-802.11g module
– 54Mbps IEEE 802.11g / 11Mbps IEEE 802.11b
– Supports Software Access Point mode (AP mode) and Station mode (Infrastructure mode and Ad-hoc mode)
 Expansion / Connectivity

Slots

– Supports ATI™ CrossFire™
– 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (green @ x16 mode, blue @ x8 mode)
– 2 x PCI Express x1 slots
– 3 x PCI slots

Connector

– 6 x SATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, RAID 5 and Intel® Matrix Storage), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug functions
– 2 x eSATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors (shared with 2 SATAII ports)
– 1 x ATA133 IDE connector (supports 2 x IDE devices)
– 1 x Floppy connector
– 1 x DeskExpress Hot Plug Detection header
– 1 x COM port header
– 1 x HDMI_SPDIF header
– 1 x IEEE 1394 header
– CPU/Chassis 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 WiFi/E header

Rear Panel I/O

ASRock DualLAN_SPDIF I/O
– 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 eSATAII Ports
– 2 x RJ-45 LAN Ports with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
– 1 x IEEE 1394 Port
– HD Audio Jack: Side Speaker / Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
 Other Features / Miscellaneous

Unique Feature

– ASRock OC Tuner
Hybrid Booster:
– CPU Frequency Stepless Control
– ASRock U-COP
– Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)

Support CD

– Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version)

Accessories

– 1 x ASRock WiFi-802.11g Module
– 1 x Antenna
– 1 x WiFi Bracket
– 1 x ASRock SLI/XFire Switch Card
– Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
– Floppy/ATA 133 Cables
– 4 x SATA Data Cables (Optional)
– 1 x SATA 1 to 1 Power Cable (Optional)
– 1 x HDMI_SPDIF Cable (Optional)

Hardware Monitor

– CPU Temperature Sensing
– Chassis Temperature Sensing
– CPU Fan Tachometer
– Chassis Fan Tachometer
– CPU Quiet Fan
– Voltage Monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, CPU 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® 2000 / XP / XP 64-bit / Vista™ / Vista™ 64-bit compliant

Certifications

– FCC, CE, WHQL

Features

  • LGA 775 for Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme / Core™ 2 Quad / Core™ 2 Duo / Pentium® Dual Core / Celeron®, supporting Penryn Quad Core Yorkfield and Dual Core Wolfdale processors
  • All Solid Capacitor design (100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors)
  • Intel® P45 + ICH10R Chipsets
  • Compatible with FSB2000/1600/1333/1066/800MHz CPUs
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 1333/1066 (4 x DIMM slots) with max. capacity up to 8GB and Dual Channel DDR2 1066/800/667 (2 x DIMM slots) with max. capacity up to 4GB
  • Supports ATI™ CrossFire™
  • 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (green @ x16 mode, blue @ x8 mode)
  • 6 x SATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, RAID 5 and Intel® Matrix Storage), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug functions
  • 2 x eSATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors
  • Dual GLAN: 2 x PCIE Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
  • Supports 2 x IEEE1394 ports (one port on back panel, one header on board)
  • 7.1 CH Windows® Vista™ Premium Level HD Audio with Content Protection, supports DAC with 110dB dynamic range (ALC890 Audio Codec)
  • 1 x WiFi/E header
  • Supports I. O. T. (Intelligent Overclocking Technology), ASRock OC Tuner
  • Windows® Vista™ Premium 2008 Logo Ready
  • Free Bundle: 1 x ASRock WiFi-802.11g Module, 1 x Antenna, 1 x ASRock XFire Switch Card
  • ASRock DualLAN_SPDIF I/O: 1 x Coaxial SPDIF Out Port, 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port, 2 x eSATAII Ports, 2 x RJ-45 LAN Ports with LED, 1 x IEEE 1394 Port, 6 x USB 2.0 Ports

 

Closer look

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this review we would like to say two things. One, I really like how Asrock are starting to bring to market new motherboards based on new chipsets sooner than before. There was a time when you would see a newly released motherboard from Asrock that was based on older outdate chipset. Not any longer. Second, Asrock is known to keep pricing to a minimum. How this is done is beyond me but all I would like to say is keep it up.

A quick glance over the layout of the board would lead to think this board is built pretty much like that of the X48TurboTwin. And you would be right to a point. There are a few things that are different visually between the two. The first would be its heat sinks. This board actually comes with copper heatsink for much better dissipation. This aid in making the board looks slightly better but we are still looking for the high end coolers that you see on other board.

And being near the top end of the chain for chipsets which is geared more for DDR3 than DDR2 the P45R has six DIMM slots just like the X48 brethren with four of them being used for DDR3 and the others for DDR2. The colors of the slots are pretty soft and I am still up in the air about rather or not I like them. DDR3 support is advertised at 1600MHz and 1066MHz for DDR2. This is a good sign that the board that is aimed at the overclocker as well as the average Joe PC user.

If you need mass storage support than the P45R has it. The six SATA ports support a wide array of Raid configurations. 0, 1, 10, 5 and Intel Matrix Storage are all support via the ICH10R Bridge.

One of the main features of the P45 chipset is its Crossfire support. And the two signs of Crossfire support are the dual PCI-e slots and the bridge that assigns the board the support for Crossfire. Yes, this board does have a Crossfire Link Bridge that enables the function. If you decide to use the Crossfire setup the upper slot is rated at 16x and the lower slot at 8x.

Asrock’s belief is that the shorter the power traces are to the CPU socket the better performance and efficiency. And that is the reason for the placement of the ATX power connector. Many would beg to differ. Depending on the placement of the power supply the ATX plug placement may not be an issue. If your PSU is mounted at the top of the case there is no problem with cable management. If the PSU is mounted at the bottom of the case things could get a little tricky.

The rear layout is also look like that of the X48TurboTwins. Plenty of USB, firewire and eSATA ports to fill the need of anyone that has many devices that need plug to be connected.

 

BIOS

The BIOS for this looks simple from the pages of this review but it is far from simple. There are option to change almost every aspect of the ram and chipset. For a minute I was totally overwhelmed as I had never seen so many options from an Asrock motherboard.

CPU Frequency: 100-800MHz
PCI Frequency: 90-150MHz
CPU ratio: 6 to CPU default
CPU voltage: 0.81875-1.60v
DRAM voltage: 1.47 +2.40v
MCH voltage: Low, Middle, High and Highest
ICH voltage: Low, Middle, High and Highest
DRAM Frequency: 667, 800, 1066MHz

 

Testing

Testing Hardware:
Intel Core2Duo E8400
DDR2 Crucial Ballistix PC6400 (4-4-4-12)
Maxtor 100GB SATAI
Sapphire Ultimate 3870
Thermalright Ultra 120
Thermaltake TP1000

Testing Software:
Futuremark PCMark05
Futuremark 3DMark06
SiSoftware Sandra
Everest Ultimate
SuperPi 1.5 mod
Prey
F.E.A.R.

Competition:
Asrock 4Core1600P35-WiFi+ (DDR2) + Leadtek 6800GT
Asrock 4Core1600P35-WiFi+ (DDR3) + Leadtek 6800GT
Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS4 + Leadtek 6800GT
Gigabyte GA-EX38-DS4 + Leadtek 6800GT
Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6 + Leadtek 6800GT
Asrock X48TurboTwins-WiFi+ (DDR2) + Sapphire Ultimate 3870
Asrock X48TurboTwins-WiFi+ (DDR3) + Sapphire Ultimate 3870

 

Results

CPU results
Futuremark PCmark05 Build 1.1.0
PCMark®05 is everything you need to reliably and easily measure the performance of your PC and determine its strengths and weaknesses. With PCMark05, you will be able to select the optimal upgrades for your existing PC, or choose the right new PC that fits your specific needs. This easy-to-use product gives you the same tools and knowledge that virtually every professional tester in the industry uses.

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 Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.

 

Ram results

Futuremark PCmark05 Build 1.1.0
PCMark®05 is everything you need to reliably and easily measure the performance of your PC and determine its strengths and weaknesses. With PCMark05, you will be able to select the optimal upgrades for your existing PC, or choose the right new PC that fits your specific needs. This easy-to-use product gives you the same tools and knowledge that virtually every professional tester in the industry uses.

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.

 

HDD results

Futuremark PCmark05 Build 1.1.0
PCMark®05 is everything you need to reliably and easily measure the performance of your PC and determine its strengths and weaknesses. With PCMark05, you will be able to select the optimal upgrades for your existing PC, or choose the right new PC that fits your specific needs. This easy-to-use product gives you the same tools and knowledge that virtually every professional tester in the industry uses.

Simpli Software HD Tach 3
HD Tach will test the sequential read, random access and interface burst speeds of your attached storage device (hard drive, flash drive, removable drive, etc). All drive technologies such as SCSI, IDE/ATA, 1394, USB, SATA and RAID are supported. Test results from HD Tach can be used to confirm manufacturer specs, analyze your system for proper performance, and compare your performance with others. HD Tach is very easy to use, quick, and presents data in easy to read graphs, including the ability to compare two storage devices on screen at the same time for easy analysis.

 

Video and Gaming results

Futuremark 3DMark06 Build 1.0.2
3DMark®06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests. 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. Futuremark’s exclusive Online ResultBrowser web service tracks and compares 3DMark06 scores.

Sierra F.E.A.R. Update 1.08
F.E.A.R. ™ (First Encounter Assault Recon) is an intense combat experience with rich atmosphere and a deeply intense paranormal storyline presented entirely in first person. Be the hero in your own spine-tingling epic of action, tension, and terror… and discover the true meaning of F.E.A.R.

3drealms Prey
PREY takes full advantage of the Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ sound card. PREY supports OpenAL hardware acceleration, EAX® ADVANCED HD™ 5.0 features of 4 reverberation effects at once, and uses Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ XRAM feature to load audio samples on the cards with 64 megs of RAM.

 

Power Consumption

We started the testing with a WattsUp Pro meter to measure watts use by the components listed above. And we used a standard digital multimeter to measure the rails of the power supply. To implement a load on the system, we ran Futuremark 3DMark06 at the highest settings with SuperPi and OCCT running in the background.

Overclocking

Overclocking is nothing new to me but when I jumped into this BIOS I felt like a noobie. All the options and tweaks that are need to get a good overclock requires some research and patients. And I think my results that I got here today were nowhere near what the board is capable of.

Well we did not achieve the high FSB like we did on the X48. This was mostly due to little experience with the BIOS settings. But we were able to hit 423MHz without having to reduce the CPU ratio. This was done with lax memory timings of 5-5-5-15 and voltage for the ram and CPU at 2.2 and 1.4 volts respectively.

 

Conclusion

The P45 chipset bring in a semi-new era for overclocking and BIOS tweaking. Evidence of this can be seen on many forums and read about on the front page of many review sites. And it is nice to see that Asrock is jumping right in the middle of it from the beginning. There is no waiting for the chipset to age like before.

The levels of tweaks that are contained in the BIOS of the P45R are far beyond that of the P35 and the X48. It’s a wonder that it is considered the midrange chipset. You would be amazed exploring around the BIOS and clicking on an option to see another screen come up that has many other options. It will take even the experience overclocker some time to get use to it.

Overclocking the P45R is a challenge as we were just experimenting with the BIOS options. We were able to get our E8400 up to 3.8GHz which would mean an 800MHz performance increase. This is a decent number but not at impressive as we have seen this CPU do over 4GHz on the X48TurboTwins. Is this our fault or the board? Well we will continue to play around with the many settings to see if we can get better numbers. If we do we will update this article at that time.

Lastly, we know that Asrock motherboards are known for their upgrade path and this board is no exception. Many of us have not jumped on the DDR3 bandwagon and would not want to get rid of our existing DDR2 modules. With this board you would not need to as it have two DDR2 slots to hold you over until the DDR3 prices are within reach.

 


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