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ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi Motherboard Review

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Eldonko

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ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi DDR2 / DDR3 Motherboard Review




Manufacturer Product Page: ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi Overview
Product Number: X48TurboTwins-WiFi
Availability: Mid to late June 2008
Price: Approx. $180
Warranty Length: 3 years



Continuing with the philosophy of catering to the mid-range and high-end (enthusiast) markets, ASRock follows up the tri-SLI Penryn1600SLIX3-WIFI with a board utilizing a brand new Intel chipset, the X48TurboTwins-WiFi. The latest from ASRock is based off the popular Intel X48 chipset, a follow-up of the X38 chipset, and allows for high speed DDR3 memory support along with two full 16x PCIE slots. Along with the latest and greatest chipset, the board hosts a number of innovative features such as support for 1600 and 1333 FSB processors out-of-the box as well as hybrid DDR2 and DDR3 memory compatibility. With this board, ASRock sticks with their roots by providing a safe upgrade path for consumers looking to keep some of their old hardware and adds the latest technology to the mix. The X48TurboTwins-WiFi should be the board that gets ASRock’s name on the enthusiast map.

Instead of taking an older chipset and adding new features like they did with the Penryn1600SLIX3-WIFI, ASRock takes the latest chipset, adds a ton of features, and sells it at a fraction of the price of competitor X48 chipset boards on the market. The board features quad core Yorkfield and dual core Wolfdale processor support out of the box without a BIOS upgrade and PCIE2.0 x16 CrossFire support. In addition to CrossFire support, the X48TurboTwins-WiFi allows for either DDR2 or DDR3 memory to be used. Now that DDR2 memory is dirt cheap, many users want the opportunity to use DDR2 but be able to upgrade to DDR3 in the future when the memory becomes mature and prices come down. ASRock found a niche here as with the X48TurboTwins-WiFi, as there are very few DDR2/DDR3 hybrid boards on the market and no X48 hybrids at all.

On top of this, the X48TurboTwins-WiFi includes a WiFi module and software for those into LAN parties or that want their PC in a location without a LAN cable accessible. For audio enthusiasts, the board supports 7.1 channel HD Audio with Content Protection, as well as DAC with 110dB dynamic range support (ALC890 Audio Codec). The benefit to this is gaming and 2 channel sound can be run through a 7.1 channel sound system. Overall, it looks like ASRock is trying to appeal to everyone with their latest board.

ASRock provides a 3 year warranty for motherboards through Authorized Distributors which means you won't be RMAing your motherboard to a factory in Taiwan. This will save the user a lot of money in shipping, however, this also promotes "passing the buck" policies that some retailers love to promote. To put users at ease, ASRock states if you are having issues with your point of purchase, they will honor your warranty nonetheless.

This should definately be an interesting review since ASRock is really trying to break out of their mold of late and this motherboard represents their furthest departure away from their "cheaper is better" methodology of years past.

 
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Eldonko

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Specifications

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® X48

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

Expansion Slot
- Supports ATI™ CrossFire™
- 2 x PCI Express x16 slots (green @ x16 mode)
- 1 x PCI Express x1 slot
- 3 x PCI slots

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)

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

Connectors
- 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 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

BIOS Features
- 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)

Support CD
- Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version)

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

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

Operating System Support
- Microsoft® Windows® 2000 / XP / XP 64-bit / Vista /Vista 64-bit compliant

Certifications
- FCC, CE, WHQL
 
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Eldonko

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ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi Features

Intel X48 Chipset and ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi Features




The new X48 chipset by Intel supports a variety of features including: new Intel 1600 MHz Front Side Bus processors, dual-channel 1600 MHz DDR3, Extreme Memory Profiles (Intel XMP), next-generation dual x16 PCI Express 2.0, and Intel Extreme Tuning, allowing for maximum platform performance.

PCIE 2.0 dual x16 graphics enables greater flexibility and reliability in design because it is backward compatible with PCI Express 1.0 and can dynamically manage power and performance through software controls. PCIE 2.0 delivers bandwidth up to 16 GB/s per port, double that of PCI Express 1.0. This capability enables higher levels of performance on graphics-intensive applications such as high-end gaming and video rendering.


ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi Features


A few notable features on the ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi include the ASRock OC Tuner, 7.1 Channel HD Audio, All Solid Capacitors, Yorkfield and Wolfdale CPU support, CrossFire support, and WiFI capabilities. A brief summary of each of these features is as follows:

 
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Eldonko

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Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories


Staying consistent with the ASRock standard colourful, eye-catching box, the X48TurboTwins-WiFi is based on the same design as the previously released Penryn1600SLIX3-Wifi. The boxes of the two boards are virtually identical, with a contemporary black design, bold yellow text, and many feature description images - a nice contrast. The marketing aspect is focused mainly on the Wifi capabilities with the Wifi module as the main point of focus on the front. The rear side of the box has a similar focus and explains the uses and advantages of the Wifi capabilities and highlights a few other features in a smaller yellow text box.


Looking inside, the accessories are packed similar to most motherboards, all individually packaged in plastic, resting on a cardboard divider on top on the board. The motherboard is wrapped in the standard anti-static bag to avoid damage to components from static charges. Beneath the board there is a thick foam sheet to prevent shipping damage.


Here we have all the accessories that come with this board and it seems that ASRock hasn't left much out at all. The colors of the cables mesh quite nicely with the general color scheme of the board. While the inclusion of four SATA cables is great, one or two will have to be used to run to the SATA connector at the back-end of the board if you wish to use the eSATA I/O port.


As the X48TurboTwins-WiFi is a Wifi board, a wireless LAN module is also included with the accessories. This 802.11g WiFi module is a reasonable size, about 9 centimeters in height, and the cord is about 1 meter long which allows the user to position the module in a convenient location. Double-sided tape (included) can be used to secure the module in place. Accompanying the LAN module is a Wifi bracket which is used to provide an output to run the LAN module through. The bracket includes a smaller hole so the user can see the LAN activity light if needed.

Specific package contents and motherboard accessories include:

Package Contents
- ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi Motherboard (ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm)
- ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi Quick Installation Guide
- ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi Support CD
- ASRock WiFi-802.11g Module Operation Guide

Motherboard 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)
 
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Eldonko

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Included Software

Included Software

The ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi comes with two notable pieces of software, ASRock OC Tuner and Wifi-802.11g software.


The Wifi-802.11g software turned out to be very and user-friendly and intuitive. The included Wifi module supports two kinds of wireless network modes: Access Point Mode and Station Mode. Access Point Mode is used if the user wants to share Internet access with wireless stations in the local environment. In this mode the module becomes the wireless access point that provides LAN access to other wireless stations. Station Mode is used to connect directly to an access point or with other stations in wireless range.

Both modes worked well and wireless networks were found almost immediately. One point to note however; is Wifi must be enabled in the BIOS for the Wifi software to load in Windows.


The ASRock OC Tuner comes with four main screens, two containing monitoring features and two for real-time tweaking of voltages and frequency. The system health screen includes CPU and motherboard temperatures as well as fan speeds. The hardware monitor is more detailed and includes all temperatures and voltages monitored on the board as well as FSB, CPU, and memory frequencies.

The main benefit for using ASRock OC Tuner is the ability to tweak many different overclocking settings in a Windows environment. CPU, RAM, VTT, NB, and SB voltages are all adjustable as well as the CPU ratio (multiplier), FSB frequency and PCIE frequency.

In our tests, all features of the OC Tuner worked flawlessly and it really saves a lot of time when overclocking since the user does not have to reboot constantly like when tweaking from the BIOS. However, use extreme caution when playing with these settings as hardware damage and operating system corruption is possible if the user goes too far with an instable overclock.
 
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Eldonko

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A Closer Look at the X48TurboTwins-WiFi

A Closer Look at the X48TurboTwins-WiFi


Similar to the box design, the ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi is consistent with past designs in terms color scheme and overall design. The PCB is the trademark blue with yellow RAM slots for DDR2 memory, and green and pink RAM slots for DDR3 memory. The main SATAII connectors are red and the eSATAII ports are orange providing a noticeable difference for the user.

In spite of past user complaints, ASRock stuck with an oddly placed 20/24 pin ATX connector situated up near the I/O panel instead of the typical location on the right side of the board, near the RAM slots. This strange placement is found in other ASRock boards and remains on the X48TurboTwins-WiFi: likely because it would be quite expensive to move from a manufacturing standpoint. The cabling issue one may face is with a bottom mounted power supply where the ATX power cable would have to stretch past and above the GPU, making hiding wires very difficult. It could also interfere with larger aftermarket CPU coolers.


A key feature on the X48TurboTwins-WiFi is the addition of hybrid DDR2/DDR3 memory. This means the user can use either two sticks of DDR2 memory or four sticks of DDR3 memory. The memory slots are color coded and clearly labeled so adding memory to the correct slots is simple, pink and green for DDR3 and yellow for DDR2. For dual channel, use the two slots of the same color. The two types of memory also only fit into the appropriate slots to prevent mistakes during installation.


Since this board is a RAM hybrid and uses both DDR2 and DDR3, ASRock included a group of jumpers that must be altered if DDR2 is used. If the user installs DDR3 memory, the jumpers remain in the default position, but if DDR2 is installed the jumpers must be modified according to the Front Side Bus (FSB) speed of the processor installed. Selections include 1066, 1333, and 1600 FSB CPUs. Jumper configuration for DDR3 and the three configurations for DDR2 are illustrated above.


One other potential design issue is the PCIE 2.0 slots are quite close together, leaving users a touch over four centimetres between two video cards. Some other boards put a PCI slot between the PCIE slots to provide clearance for water blocks or after market air cooling. In the testing for this review, two water blocks were used for cooling, however, the cards were so close together, the top of one block rests on the second video card.


For Northbridge and Southbridge cooling, ASRock uses aluminum heatsinks on this board. These may not look as fancy as some of the more expensive competitor designs which use tons of copper, but the X48 chipset runs so cool that the NB temperature never exceeded 42C even at the highest available NB voltages.



The VIA Fire IIM VT6308S 1394 Host Controller is a IEEE 1394 high-speed serial bus used for PCI peer-to-peer interconnections. More popularly known as "Firewire", it is commonly used for transferring large audio and video files from various devices.

The board uses the Realtek ALC890B codec chip for onboard sound, with eight audio channels (7.1 surround) and 110db rated signal-to-noise ratio. This is a DTS (Digital Theater Systems) supported codec and is a great onboard audio solution.


Meanwhile, the BIOS chip is removable on this board which makes it nice if the BIOS becomes corrupted during a flash. If this happens, the BIOS chip can be easily removed and a new one put in without having to RMA the entire board. To avoid this issue it is a good idea to always flash from a floppy or a USB drive and not in Windows.


Similar to the Penryn1600SLIX3-WiFi, ASRock stuck with all solid capacitors on this board. Solid caps seem to be becoming the standard on motherboards these days even if this does represent a somewhat groundbreaking change away from ASRock's past boards. These caps are said to be of higher quality and more durable than the older electrolytic style capacitors which have often been a source if trouble on older electronics.

The 12V connector is in a typical spot, next to the CPU socket. There is enough distance between this connector and the CPU socket to ensure there were no clearance issues even with a large aftermarket heatsink.


The Wifi card found on the X48TurboTwins-WiFi is the Realtek RTL8187L. According to Realtek, this is a budget IEEE 802.11a/b/g Wireless LAN Network Interface Controller with USB 2.0 Interface. Also included with the Wifi card is the wireless LAN module. ASRock provides an 802.11g Wifi module supporting 54Mbps IEEE 802.11g / 11Mbps IEEE 802.11b. This module also supports Software Access Point mode (AP mode) and Station mode (Infrastructure mode and Ad-hoc mode). The benefit users will find with this feature is avoiding stringing LAN cables if the PC is in an area with no accessible connections.


The rear panel inputs and outputs are quite complete on this board and include two interesting additions: a dual eSATA port and High Definition audio outputs (Coaxial SPDIF Out Port, Optical SPDIF Out Port) for your Home Theatre needs. Other I/O ports include: PS/2 Mouse Port, PS/2 Keyboard Port, 6 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports, RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED), IEEE 1394 Port, and HD Audio Jacks. Six USB ports are a step up from the four found on the Penryn1600SLIX3-WIFI and a PS2 mouse port is also a convenient feature that seems to be disappearing from many boards.
 
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Eldonko

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BIOS Rundown

BIOS Rundown

The true test of a motherboard for an overclocker or computer enthusiast is not usually board accessories or features, it is the BIOS and the ability for the board to handle a decent overclock. We will take a closer look at the overclockability of the board in the overclocking section.


The ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi features an AMI 8mb BIOS and supports ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake-up Events. The splash screen upon POST was pleasing to the eye and ASRock included a few other splash screen options selectable in the boot section of the BIOS. One point to note is you must press F2 instead of the typical delete key to enter the BIOS upon booting. Seems strange to move from the standard delete key, but it is not an issue if users are aware of it.


The PC Health page was consistent with many other boards, showing CPU and motherboard temperatures, fan speeds for the two fan headers, and voltages (vcore, 3.3v, 5.0v, and 12.0v). It would have been nice to see Vdimm and a chipset monitoring setting but this of course could mean a more expensive monitoring chip.

The BIOS info page is also typical of many other boards on the market. This page shows which CPU and memory is installed and a few specifications such as cache and speed. Also, if you aren’t sure which BIOS version is installed, the BIOS info page indicates the current BIOS version.


The CPU Configuration page includes CPU Thermal Throttling and Intel Speedstep Technology, both of which are recommended to disable if you want the multi to remain static. This is also the screen where you will find adjustable frequencies for CPU / PCIE and the CPU multiplier. Users must set Overclock Mode to Manual to adjust these settings.


The available RAM timings are as basic as it gets with the common four tCL, tRCD, tRP, tRAS plus DRAM Command Rate (1N vs. 2N). This is one of the biggest issues we had with the BIOS as secondary memory tweaking is important to be able to boot at particular memory dividers and chipset straps. Also, for memory dividers there are only three available: 400Mhz (DDR3 800), 533Mhz (DDR3 1066), and 667Mhz (DDR3 1333). We will go over how the dividers work in detail in the overclocking section.

Another feature on the Chipset Settings screen that you will see in X48 chipset boards is XMP Technology. XMP (extreme memory profile) is Intel compatible and provides the next level of JEDEC standard. Briefly, XMP is an extra speed bin to JEDEC’s standard DDR3’s definitions, allowing for higher speeds and tighter timings than JEDEC, simply by enabling the XMP Profile.



Continuing down the Chipset Settings screen, we see all of the voltages needed for overclocking. At default all of the settings are set to auto, which provides stock voltages for each component.


The maximum CPU voltage on the board is 1.60v, and unlike most other settings that have a drop-down menu and allow easy voltage selections, the only way to adjust CPU voltage is by pressing + and – on the keyboard. This method is not as convenient and it takes extra time to adjust CPU voltage. DRAM voltage is selectable to 2.40v and should be more than enough voltage for any DDR3 modules on the market.

Northbridge, Southbridge, and VTT Reference voltages are not in fact numeric selectable voltages but rather settings of low, medium, high, and very high. It is a little concerning to not be aware of how much voltage is actually being used in each of the settings and it is recommended to avoid the highest setting altogether to be safe and not risk damaging an expensive CPU. This is especially important for VTT voltages as several users have reported dead 45nm CPUs at only 1.5v VTT. After asking several times, ASRock support was not able to provide any actual voltages for these settings nor measure points for a digital multimeter.

One bright point in the voltage section however is instead of using non-numerical settings for GTLREF Voltage, ASRock added options ranging from 0.67 x VTT to 0.614 x VTT, which eliminates the grey area and is quite handy for FSB overclocking.

All in all, the BIOS on this board should appeal to novice overclockers since all of the basic adjustments for minor to mid-range overclocks are there but to be honest, there is isn't much for the enthusiast here. What we do like to see is that ASRock is taking steps for their boards to appeal to a wider market; as more boards come out the BIOS seems to be becoming more and more overclocker friendly. Hopefully with the next board ASRock will add more secondary memory timings, more memory dividers, and actual voltages for NB, SB, and VTT as these are the types of things enthusiasts demand in a good overclocker’s board.
 
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Eldonko

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Test Setup and Methodologies

Test Setup and Methodologies

Test Setup

Processor: Intel C2D Xeon E3110 (45nm dual core)
Video Card(s): MSI RX3870 512MB / HIS IceQ HD3870 512MB
Memory: Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB 2X1GB PC3-10666 DDR3-1333 CL7-7-7-20
Motherboard: ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 80GB SATA
Power Supply: Tagan BZ 900W
Case: None
Cooling: Swifttech Apogee (CPU), DangerDen Brass Maze 4 (GPU), D-Tek Fuzion (GPU), 2 x dual heatercore w/ 4 x 120mm fans
Fans: 2 x 120mm, 1 x 80mm
Operating System: Windows Vista Basic 64 bit

Overclocking Methodology

The following section shows the maximum overclock achieved on a dual core Xeon E3110 45nm 1333FSB CPU. For testing methodology two main tests will be used and several benchmarks will be run at the overclocked speeds. The first of the two main stability tests will be a 5 hour custom test of OCCT which tests CPU, memory, and FSB stability. OCCT is a great test for reviews because it tests multiple core CPUs, creates user friendly graphs of temperatures and voltages, and is very efficient at picking up errors.

The second stability test will be 3 runs of 3DMark Vantage. This tests the 3D stability of the overclock as well as CPU, FSB and memory. Once an overclock passes these tests but fails anything further, this is the point deemed as “stable” for the purposes of this review.

Upon commencement of testing, BIOS 1.10 dated 06/06/2008 was flashed as it is the most recent release by ASRock. The BIOS seems quite stable and all features are now working properly (after some minor issues with onboard LAN). The ASRock BIOS is said to support 45nm CPUs and 1600 FSB CPUs right out of the box. Well, the 45nm claim is true since Xeon E3110 booted up first try.

General Benchmark Methodology

All benchmarks will be a comparison of the Xeon E3110 at stock speed and at maximum overclock to give an idea of how much performance a user can gain when overclocking the X48TurboTwins-WiFi. For CrossFire tests, the overclocked speed will be used to test performance between one and two HD3870 video cards in 3D benchmarks and games.

The overclocked speed on the Xeon E3110 will be 4203Mhz on the overclocked tests and RAM speed will be set to 560Mhz (DDR1120) and 6-5-5-20. CrossFire will be enabled, ATI Catalyst 8.5 drivers will be used for 3D along with Windows Vista Home Basic 64 bit.
 
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Overclocking Results

Overclocking Results

Now for the section you have been waiting for, overclocking results!! The board is packed with features, uses the latest and greatest chipset, but all that means nothing for an enthusiast if the board does not overclock well. Well it turns out the X48TurboTwins-WiFi will live up to many user’s expectations other than a few minor BIOS issues.

First the good news, we were able to achieve an overclock of 4203Mhz (about a 30% overclock) which was stable enough to run every test thrown at it. Sticking with good news, the maximum FSB benchable was 520, not an easy feat for many X48 boards. It is important to note however the max FSB that runs with a degree of stability is around 510, but still good nonetheless. Stability using high FSB is a great benefit as this will not bottleneck your max overclock.


Testing memory independently, the board clocked quite well for both DDR2 and DDR3. DDR2 was tested briefly and the results for a 4GB kit were about on par with a DDR2 P35 board. However, this was just tested to ensure the hybrid memory feature was working as specified. What we will focus on in this review is DDR3 performance. Even with a budget kit ($120) of DDR3, 820Mhz (DDR1640) was achieved at timings of 7-7-7-20 with a command rate of 1T and 1.82v. Not bad at all, now it should be simple math to find which divider will give the best memory clocks at 467 FSB, which is what is needed for 4203Mhz on the CPU. Right? Well, not quite...

First off, the board has issues posting on some dividers. The 1:2 divider worked well since the clock crossing procedure is far more effective in sync mode plus there is always a cycle available for transfer. The problem with using the 1:2 divider is the CPU speed is bottlenecked at about 3700mhz because of RAM limitation (max 820mhz). So POSTing is ok, but this is not an ideal divider to use with this kit of memory. It is always best to maximize CPU speed and then focus on memory. This divider would ne fine on memory that can run over 1000Mhz, but this is not cheap.

Running the CPU @ 4203Mhz (467 FSB) on 5:6 divider is another option, however that only gives 560Mhz on RAM which is far from ideal. In addition, the board really has a tough time POSTing at this speed on 5:6 so it was necessary to clockgen up from about 435 FSB most of the time. This is likely because of one of two reasons. Either the BIOS is not engineered to allow proper posting of high FSB on this divider or secondary RAM timings are being auto adjusted too tight to allow the board to POST.

Moving on, the 5:8 divider (533Mhz – DDR3 1066) would be best for a FSB of 467, it keeps memory within it’s stability range and would be the optimal configuration for the CPU overclock (467 x 1.6 = 747Mhz memory speed). The problem is the board will not POST past 380FSB on this divider. So unfortunately, this option is out.

With FSB issues on 5:8 and the memory bottleneck on 1:2, we are just left with the 5:6 divider. This option is not THAT bad though, 4203Mhz and 560Mhz at 6-5-5-20 on RAM is a very respectable overclock. This configuration will be used throughout the benchmarking sections.
 
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System Benchmarks

System Benchmarks

SuperPI Benchmark

SuperPi calculates the number of digits of PI in a pure 2D benchmark. For the purposes of this review, calculation to 32 million places will be used. RAM speed, RAM timings, CPU speed, L2 cache, and Operating System tweaks all effect the speed of the calculation, and this has been one of the most popular benchmarks among enthusiasts for several years.


Results: A 24% increase in SuperPI 32M is noted going from 3000Mhz to 4202Mhz on the E3110 and ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi.


CINEBENCH R10:

CINEBENCH R10 is a testing suite that assesses your computer's performance capabilities, both 2D and 3D. CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances.

The test procedure consists of two main components: The first test sequence is dedicated to the computer's main processor. Next, a 3D scene file is used to render an image file. The scene makes use of various CPU-intensive features such as reflection, ambient occlusion, area lights and procedural shaders. In the first run, the benchmark only uses one CPU (or CPU core), to ascertain a reference value. On computers that have multiple CPUs or CPU cores, CINEBENCH will run a second test using all available CPU power.

In this review, single-CPU and multi-CPU rendering speeds will be measured for both stock speed and an overclocked system.



Results: The CINEBENCH R10 results show an impressive increase in performance in rendering moving from a stock system to an overclocked system. A 29% improvement in rendering time is noted for both single-CPU and multi-CPU rendering benchmarks. Not bad at all.


Sandra Memory Bandwidth, Processor Multi-Media, and Processor Arithmetic

SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. The software suite provides most of the information (including undocumented) users like to know about hardware, software, and other devices whether hardware or software. The name “Sandra” is a (girl) name of Greek origin that means "defender", "helper of mankind".

The software version used for these tests is SiSoftware Sandra Professional Home XII.SP2c and the three benchmarks used are the Memory Bandwidth, Processor Multi-Media, and Processor Arithmetic benchmarks. These three benchmarks were chosen as they provide a good indication of three varying types of system performance. The bandwidth test shows performance of memory sub-systems, the multi-media test shows how the processor handles multi-media instructions and data, and the arithmetic test shows how the processor handles arithmetic and floating point instructions. These three tests illustrate three important areas of a computer’s speed and provide a wide scope of results.







Results: Sandra processor multi-media and arithmetic show impressive improvements on an overclocked system, with 29-30% gains in performance. Memory bandwidth shows a more modest gain at 19%, however the overclocked memory tests were only running the RAM at 560Mhz @ 6-5-5-20 and the stock tests were using XMP at 666Mhz @ 7-7-7-20. If the 5:6 divider was working we would have saw a larger gain in bandwidth. Still, 19% improvement is still well worth the time to overclock the system.
 
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