ASRock Penryn 1600SLI-110dB review

£62
Price when reviewed

While many motherboards go by impenetrable model numbers, this ASRock board is named after four of its major features. There’s support for Intel’s Penryn (45nm) CPUs, a 1,600MHz front side bus, SLI for multi-graphics card configurations and a purported 110db signal-to-noise ratio from the integrated 7.1 audio.

ASRock Penryn 1600SLI-110dB review

These are all good things and are coupled with an unusually broad range of expansion options. You get four PCI Express slots of various speeds, plus three old-school PCI slots. The four SATA channels are coupled with two IDE channels. And on the back, alongside USB, FireWire and both coaxial and optical audio outputs, you’ll find parallel and serial ports.

The BIOS gives in-depth system information, including CPU stepping and cache configuration. You can change various internal frequencies, but we were disappointed to find no way to change the CPU multiplier.

It’s also a shame that the board has just two fan headers and, despite the fast FSB, the top RAM speed is 800MHz. The main power input is stuck in a ridiculous location, too, sandwiched between the backplate and the CPU cooler. And, in our power tests, the ASRock was decidedly on the high side at 115W.

Despite these niggles, the ASRock remains a well-connected board. If you’re planning to bring components across from an older machine, it’s a great buy; it could also be the basis of an affordable gaming rig, as it’s this month’s cheapest SLI-capable board.

However, while the Penryn 1600SLI-110dB may be a good fit for specific roles, the typical home user will be as well off with a cheaper board. And while the ASRock has some hobbyist-friendly features, it’s overshadowed by the Labs-winning Gigabyte EP35C-DS3R.

Details

Motherboard form factor ATX
Motherboard integrated graphics no

Compatability

Processor/platform brand (manufacturer) Intel
Processor socket LGA 775
Motherboard form factor ATX
Memory type DDR2
Multi-GPU support yes

Controllers

Motherboard chipset Nvidia 650i
Number of Ethernet adapters 1
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
Graphics chipset N/A
Audio chipset Realtek ALC890

Onboard Connectors

CPU power connector type 8-pin
Main power connector ATX 24-pin
Memory sockets total 4
Internal SATA connectors 4
Internal PATA connectors 2
Internal floppy connectors 1
Conventional PCI slots total 3
PCI-E x16 slots total 1
PCI-E x8 slots total 2
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 1

Rear ports

PS/2 connectors 2
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 1
eSATA ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 1
3.5mm audio jacks 6
Parallel ports 1
9-pin serial ports 1
Extra port backplane bracket ports 0

Accessories

SATA cables supplied 4
Molex to SATA adaters supplied 1
IDE cables supplied 1
Floppy cables supplied 1

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