I know this type of question has been brought up before, but it really bugs me. I've got the first motherboard mentioned in the thread (an K8Upgrade-NF3 with an AM2CPU Board upgrade daughter board). I see Asrock offers an AM2NF3-VSTA based on the same chipset in Europe and Asia that offers most of the same features and AM2+ upgradability . However, that board would cost me almost $100 to get one from England shipped to the US.
The thing that bothers me is that the two boards ought to be somewhat compatible. So, why can't Asrock produce a BIOS that allows the K8Upgrade-NF3 equipped with an AM2CPU Board to use an AM2+ processor? It doesn't seem to be a BIOS chip size issue as both boards use similar capacity chips. The main difference between the two seems to be in the AC'97 sound chips used.
Finally, what would prevent me from downloading the BIOS for both and trying to either load the later on to the earlier board or try modifying the later to work with the former? After all, if the sound, lan or even the LPC interface don't work I can still add a sound card, a LAN card, and use the USB ports (I have no need for parallel or serial interfaces).
Have any of you attempted to do something similar to what I'm proposing?
Why would it cost you $100 to have the VSTA board shipped? If the box weighs less than
2kg, the shipping should only be about $30 at most for insured small-packet airmail.
Oddly enough, my previous PC setup used that very board, which technically I have available
for sale (got a new setup now). The Asrock board was an excellent purchase, worked
very well (at one point it had the no. 3 spot on FutureMark for 3DMark06 with a 6000+/X1950
combo), but a year later I switched to an ASUS board with proper PCIX since I use PCIX SCSI
U320 RAID cards, etc.
The other posters are right though. Overall, it's probably more sensible to get a newer more
up-to-date board locally.
I normally sell SGI stuff (Google for 'Ian SGI'), but I do have various PC items; just never gotten
round to advertising them (eg. AthlonXP 3000+ CPU, X1950Pro AGP card, the Asrock board,
various other things). Hmm, for PC mbds though, normally I'd recommend buying a new one in
order to have proper product support, etc. (something I couldn't provide with the Asrock board).
But if you did want to get a new Asrock board, I'd be happy to help with the shipping. Anyone
who charges $100 to ship a sub-2kg box is a real slimeball.