ASRock 890GX Extreme3 Motherboard Review

Motherboards/AMD AM3 by leeghoofd @ 2010-05-04

Knowing ASrock as a company that usually pumps out zillions of colourfull entry level boards, sometimes innovating by integrating older technology like eg AGP slots onto new platforms, makes them stand out from the crowd. Sadly when you mention ASrock, most immediately are thinking about cheap hardware, correlating it with poor build quality and durability, lack of features... Well let me tell you this 890GX board is absolutely bullet proof. I had zero issues with it during weeks of bashing. It even survived several short LN2 sessions and a 5 hour marathon one at the AOCM OC party in Mindfeld!

  • prev
  • next

bios screens

Bios screens :

Like many enthusiast boards the manufacturer still gives the beginner overclocker the chance to get some easy extra Mhz done with a simple preset. ASrock has gone that little bit further though. First choice of preset is called the Turbo 30. Either chose to disable it, choice two is for 25% system performance increase and last choice is the 30% option.

Second range of preset available are for the CPU only : ranging from a 5 till 50% overclock. Might be good to include a warning that excessive volts and extreme temps are required to reach the 50% overclock. On air you can go up to plus minus 4ghz with a good AMD CPU. Water-cooling can take your CPU up as high as 4.4Ghz, but for more Phase, dice or LN2 is required. I'll include on the next page a chart of what each settings actually changes for values to get your rig rocking! Taking into account my test setup is based on the Phenom II 965BE CPU

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)


Due to the integration of a GPU ( ATI 4290) ASrock even included GPU overclock presets (700 till 1000mhz GPU clocks). These can come in handy when you get a bit lost regarding voltages for the GPU and co... I must say that I'm quite suprised by these 3 overclock presets. Good job by the bios engineers.

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)


Continuing to explore the bios further we encounter the usual HT and PCI-E frequency clock setting. Nice feature on this board is the Boot Failure Guard. Which allowed me to recover time after time (sadly not from a heavy GPU pounding OC) when setting wrong or inadequate CPU/RAM overclock settings. ASrock is also very proud of their own UCC (Unlock CPU Core) feature. With a very cooperating CPU you are unlocking cores in a flash. Before we enter the world of Ram and voltages, you got the freedom to set all the different multipliers for the CPU/NB/HT and ram frequency.

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)


Ram wise ASrock didn't cut back on the options. Again rather unexpected from a brand like ASrock, which is known for rather simplistic biosses. Sometimes missing a few vital bios settings, like Vcore, to unleash the beast in your PC. RAM settings are on par with some of the high end AM3 boards. Again kuddos to the bios department !

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)


Voltage settings are also present in all colours and flavours to tweak the most out of your hardware. Only setback for me is the big increment jumps. Nice touches are the 3 profiles you can save once you are starting to experiment with the bios features.

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)



For the integrated peripherals the usual stuff. Integrated GPU wise (ATI 4290) the user still has the option to pick between UMA and/or Sideport ram. Different values can be set for the UMA ranging from 32Mb till 512Mb. Sideport ram is fixed at 128mb ram. We asked some manufacturers about the integration of more Sideport ram on CeBIt. Most of us replied with the question : Is there a need to ?

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)


Sadly the hardware monitoring page is a bit sparse, compared to the abundance of possible settings on the other pages. NB and SB temps I prefer to monitor too. But that's personal taste of course. Where they innovated again is with the performance setups : one for default IDE/SATA ops. One for AHCI, RAID and even power saving mode
  • prev
  • next
Comment from Gamer @ 2010/05/04
This isn't a budget motherboard anymore, seems like High end to me.

Great work LH, great to read.
Comment from wutske @ 2010/05/04
At $150 it's indeed no budget bord anymore. Strange that Asus releases a board like this using a budget brand.

@Leeghoofd: there's no picture of the board in the review, only close ups
Comment from jmke @ 2010/05/04
he uploaded it but didn't use it, here it is:



Quote:
At $150 it's indeed no budget bord anymore. Strange that Asus releases a board like this using a budget brand.
where do you see that price? it's <€100 !
http://www.google.de/products?q=ASRo...rd&scori ng=p
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2010/05/04
Thx for the comment guys ( my fan club ) it retails around 100-110 euro's , all the other 890GX board are at least 10% more expensive and some look cheaper...

This is a good solid board, I hope I can keep this sample for my 24/7 rig
Comment from wutske @ 2010/05/04
$150 is about €115.
€115 is still very cheap considering what you get for it. If I would have needed an upgrade atm I'd have probably bought this board
Comment from Massman @ 2010/05/04
Many people confuse Asrock with a budget brand, but in the last couple of months they've been focussing more on high-end, high-quality products. Okay, it's still no Asus, MSI or Gigabyte, but the potential is there.

Also note that a small company as Asrock tends to focus on the platforms that sell en masse. X58 may be the top of the performance segment, sales are not huge and for a small company it means loss instead of gain.
Comment from wutske @ 2010/05/05
Quote:
Originally Posted by Massman View Post
Many people confuse Asrock with a budget brand, but in the last couple of months they've been focussing more on high-end, high-quality products. Okay, it's still no Asus, MSI or Gigabyte, but the potential is there.

Also note that a small company as Asrock tends to focus on the platforms that sell en masse. X58 may be the top of the performance segment, sales are not huge and for a small company it means loss instead of gain.
Asrock started as Asus' budget brand, selling simplistic and cheap motherboards without all the extras. So it's no surprise people still see Asrock as a budget brand (tough boards like this can make a difference).

 

reply