This Franken-board is interesting to say the least.Based around the budget Intel 915P, it offers full Crossfire support at a price that even Mary Shelley’s cleaner could afford. It’s also the kind of board that Peter Garret would be proud to call his own, as it’s been manufactured to the strictest of environmental protection regulations (known as RoHS in Europe, which stands for Restriction of the use of Certain Hazardous Substances).
For those who want to hedge their memory bets, the two DDR400 and four DDR533 slots will be a welcome inclusion. It’s even got SATA2 support courtesy of a JMicron JMB360 controller; sadly RAID is absent, but you can’t complain at this price. But easily the most interesting feature is the jury-rigged Crossfire support. You might remember that the Intel 915P chipset doesn’t actually support Crossfire, so Asrock has had to pull some shenanigans to get this chipset to run with two ATI cards. When the Crossfire jumpers are set to enable this feature, the SATA2 controller is disabled, as well as the 1x PCI Express slot on the board, which we think is a small price to pay.
Unfortunately we didn’t have a Crossfire card to test on this motherboard, but word from the Net suggests that it functions both reliably and up to the expected performance levels.
Overclockers might find the BIOS options quite sparse, especially in regards to the extreme lack of voltage options, but we were able to crank the FSB up to 245MHz without too many issues. Performance at stock speeds was on par with what we expected from the 915P chipset.
If you’re looking for a very cheap Intel Crossfire motherboard, and aren’t put off by the relatively low feature list, this interesting contraption certainly has a lot going for it.
This Review appeared in the May, 2006 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine