Asrock X38 TurboTwins-Wifi Socket 775 Motherboard

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Posted by on Saturday, July 4, 2009 - 3:04am

overviewIt has been a short while since we have had an Asrock motherboard on our test bench. Today, we are ending that dwelt with the X38TurboTwins-WiFi. We know that the X38 is almost a thing of the past but for some of us it is the best priced way to get 16x across two slots when wanting to run a Crossfire setup. So read along as we take the X38TurboTwin for a ride.

Introduction

It has been a short while since we have had an Asrock motherboard on our test bench. Today, we are ending that dwelt with the X38TurboTwins-WiFi. We know that the X38 is almost a thing of the past but for some of us it is the best priced way to get 16x across two slots when wanting to run a Crossfire setup. So read along as we take the X38TurboTwin for a ride.

 

Specifications

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 all FSB1600/1333/1066/800MHz CPUs
- Supports Hyper-Threading Technology
- Supports Untied Overclocking Technology
- Supports EM64T CPU
Chipset - Northbridge: Intel® X38
- Southbridge: Intel® ICH9R
Memory - Dual Channel DDR3/DDR2 memory technology*
- 4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
- Supports DDR3 1600/1333/1066/800 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- Max. capacity of system memory: 8GB**
- 2 x DDR2 DIMM slots
- Supports DDR2 1066/800/667 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- Max. capacity of system memory: 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)
- DTS (Digital Theater Systems) support
LAN - PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
- Realtek RTL8111C
- Supports Wake-On-LAN
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)
- 1 x PCI Express x1 slot
- 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 header
Rear Panel I/O ASRock 1394_SPDIF I/O Plus
- 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
- 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port 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
- 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

  1. 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
  2. All Solid Capacitor design (100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors)
  3. Intel® X38 + ICH9R Chipsets
  4. Compatible with all FSB1600/1333/1066/800MHz CPUs
  5. Supports Dual Channel DDR3 1600/1333/1066/800 (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)
  • PCIE Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
  • Supports 2 x IEEE1394 ports (one port on back panel, one header on board)
  • 6 x Serial ATAII 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 eSerial ATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x WiFi header
  • 7.1 CH Windows® Vista™ Premium Level HD Audio with Content Protection, supports DAC with 110dB dynamic range (ALC890 Audio Codec), DTS (Digital Theater Systems)
  • Windows® Vista™ Premium 2008 Logo Ready
  • Supports I. O. T. (Intelligent Overclocking Technology), ASRock OC Tuner
  • Free Bundle: 1 x ASRock WiFi-802.11g Module and 1 x Antenna
  • ASRock 1394_SPDIF I/O Plus: 1 x Coaxial SPDIF Out Port, 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port, 2 x eSATAII Ports, 1 x IEEE 1394 Port, 6 ready-to-use USB Port

 

Closer look

The X38TurboTwins-WiFi has the classic Asrock look to it. If you dont know what that mean then let me explain it to you a little. The Asrock look is a combination of a teal PCB, passive cooling and many multi-colored sites. But there is one characteristic that gives it away is the location of the ATX connector which sits right behind the I/O rear panel.

Like I stated earllier this board is based on the X38 Intel chipset that has since then been replaced with the X48 and its more feature-rich offerings. Many consumers will look in the way of the X38 due to the fact the asking prices are fast dropping. Even though the X48 fixed many of the bugs the X38 had I have yet to run into any issues with my own X38 based board. Doing the testing of this board things went as well as one could imagine.

In the photo below we see the arrangement of expansion slot this board has to offer. The two PCIe slots which are rated at 16x are lime in color. Below those two slots are three standard PCI slots that one may want to use to connect a higher end sound card or TV tuner to. Take notice that I did not mention WiFi. The TurboTwins has it integrated into the motherboard. Above the top larger PCI slot is a single 1x slot. A floppy drive controller is located right below the last PCI slot.

The TurboTwins is a supporter of both DDR2 and DDR3. This leaves the end user with an excellent upgrade path down the road. The yellow slots are reserved for DDR2 maxing out at 4GB. And those that want more bandwidth the green and pinkslots are for DDR3, 8GB max. If you really need an IDE port than you have one located on the edge of the board.

The ICHR south bridge controls the function of the six SATA ports located at the bottom of the board. You can't have a highend chipset without raid support. The most common forms of raid are present which are 0, 1, 10 and 5.

 

BIOS

Asrock's BIOS's are very simple to navigate around which would be great for a novice. But the old school pro will find the X38TurboTwins uneventful when it comes to its BIOS. We found that Asrock uses too much of the Low, Medium....etc in the BIOS when it comes to voltage settings.


 

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
Asrock P45R2000-WiFi + Sapphire Ultimate 3870
ECS P43T + Sapphire Toxic 3870
Gigabyte GA-EP45-DQ6 + Sapphire Toxic 3870

 

Results

CPU results

Futuremark PCmark05 Build 1.1.0
PCMark05 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 a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.

 

Ram results

Futuremark PCmark05 Build 1.1.0
PCMark05 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
PCMark05 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
3DMark06 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.

 

Overclocking

Overclocking the X38TurboTwins started out pretty well. As I went straight to 400MHz to begin with. After some time benching we knew it had much more in store for us. 440MHz came and went and we were even more pleased. And you must remember we did not change the CPU multimplier at all for this portion of the testing. It remained at the default 9x. We finally met our wall at 460MHz with the default multiplier. Next was lowering the multiplier to 6 to eliminate the CPU from being the bottleneck. Well, I hate to say it but we were not able to get over 460MHz even at the lower multiplier.

Conclusion

It seems that Asrock really integrated everything in the X38TurboTwins WiFi that comes along with the X38 chipset. Some would think because Asrock makes alot of budget boardd that they would skip out on the little things when dreaming up a high end board and this is far from the case. We were overly pleased with the overall performance of the TurboTwins as it matched the levels of the newer chipsets.

Performance is one thing but features is another and this board is full of them. Actually a very long list of them starting with DDR2 and DDR3 support. This particular feature is right in line with Asrock's belief in making the upgrade path for the end user an easy and inexpensive one. Digital sound, multiple eSATA ports and gigabit is just another short list of what the X38TurboTwins has to offer. But if we had to top it off with a 'love it' feature it would have to be Crossfire support. The price of ATI GPUs are dropping all the time so building a gaming rig with this board will not break your wallet.

There a few things that I find negative about this board and one it is based on an older chipset that is rapidly being replaced with the likes of the P43 and P45. And for that reason you should be able to find this board even cheaper and still have great performance similar to the newer ones. Then there are the jumpers that need to be set to accomodate the FSB of the memory being used. Asrock should really look redoing the way the user assigns voltages in the BIOS. As the Low, med, high settings would not go well for the avid overclocker.

 

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