4 AMD Socket 754 MicroATX Motherboards: Getting the Job Done on the Cheap

ASRock K8Upgrade 760GX

Board-Revision : 1.02

BIOS-Version : 1.4

ASRock has always been good at generating buzz because of its unusual upgrade solutions, and the K8Upgrade 760GX manages to live up to its name. The yellow slot on the motherboard that serves as the AGP slot can also accommodate a CPU extension card. ASRock intends to offer a plug-in for AMD’s socket 939, in case you want to replace the 754 socket. In any case, we believe a CPU upgrade usually doesn’t make sense since it is so inexpensive to replace the motherboard instead.

Alas, the socket 939 upgrade option also does away with one of the motherboard’s PCI slots, so that only two of them remain available for use. But most important components are already on board : a network interface, an audio system, 6 USB 2.0 ports and two SATA connectors- plus two UltraATA/133 channels. Two DIMM sockets don’t crowd out the rest of the components and should be enough for most users. On the plus side, the motherboard is nicely laid out, and easily accommodates full length cards in all slots.

ASRock does cut corners with its voltage regulator : Where both AOpen and ECS offer three-phase power, ASRock and Winfast only offer two-phase. Likewise, with only two fan connectors, the design is a bit skimpy on cooling. No special honors accrue for this low-end Asus motherboard, although it did its job during testing without any problems.

The yellow slot can accommodate a CPU upgrade board, available separately.

Typical picture : The drive controller supports two SATA and four UltraATA/133 devices.

As delivered, the package is pretty average.

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