Tweaking the fastest AGP Based System - Part 1

Overclocking/ by massman @ 2008-03-25

While the rest of the mainstream world moves on to PCI-Express and DDR3, we take a step back to the previous generation hardware. Our aim is to build a scalable AGP benchmark platform with sole purpose: breaking overclocking records. Fueled by HWBot competition we squeeze the best AGP performance from a budget-friendly Asrock motherboard. Which memory goes the fastest? DDR1 or DDR2? Let us find out.

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Quick motherboard overview

Asrock, a little introduction

Madshrimps (c)

ASRock Inc., established in 2002, is an energetic company with the combination of technology and humanity. Devoting efforts to bring customers the innovative and reliable motherboards with the design concept of 3C, "Creative, Considerate, Cost-effective", ASRock has successfully established a well-known leading brand of the best price-performance motherboard in the industry.

Facing the constantly changing technologies of motherboard, ASRock will always keep the vision of the future and develop future-proof products upon our 3C design concept to our customers.

It is the commitment to our customers and products, like the spirit presented in our 2004 maxim:

"Fly to the Future with ASRock!"

Basically, Asrock provides low-end motherboards which give the user all options needed to build a reliable system. Asrock is very well-known for its compatibility motherboards, by which I mean the combo motherboards which features DDR1 and DDR2 or AGP and PCIe.

In spite of (or due to) all these handy features, Asrock is not known for its overclocker-friendly motherboards. This article involves thus an attempt to turn a normal motherboard in a perfect overclocking board, perfect as in the ultimate AGP benchmark platform.

Asrock 4CoreDual-VSTA

First of all, this is not the only board of Asrock which can be used for the ultimate AGP benchmark system. The motherboard has been redesigned and updated a few times now, but the basic features we're interested in, stayed the same.

  • 775Dual-880Pro
  • 775Dual-VSTA
  • 4CoreDual-VSTA
  • 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0
  • 4CoreDual-SATA2

    As this is not an ordinary review, we will only focus on what's interesting regarding the overclocking part: memory compatibility and graphical interface compatibility.

    Madshrimps (c)

    Madshrimps (c)

    Madshrimps (c)

    Via PT800 series

    Via has been delivering chipset for almost every socket since ages and, as the chipset are mostly a tad slower, has done that for the P4 series as well. A quick glance at the block diagram learns us that the PT880 chipset was not designed for the Intel C2D series as it seems to be designed for 533/800FSB P4 processors. Asrock seems to use 'overclocked' chipsets to provide compatibility for Core2Duo chips.

    Madshrimps (c)

    I've read through the Via white papers a few times, but did not find anything interesting regarding the limits of the chipset. It seems that we will have to find those ourselves...
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