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P45XE Software, BIOS, And Accessories

Roundup: Six Core 2 Motherboards Under $100
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The P45XE includes McAfee Virus Scan and a variety of ASRock utilities.

First on ASRock’s utility list, OC Tuner includes monitoring and overclocking functions.

ASRock's OC Tuner FSB and Core Voltage controls functioned normally, as the changes were detected by both its monitor and CPU-Z. However, we prefer to overclock in BIOS.

ASRock's Intelligent Energy Saver is designed to reduce low-load power consumption by disabling unneeded CPU power regulator phases. Our power consumption dropped slightly, but our energy consumption charts will put this in perspective compared to other motherboards.

New from ASRock is its Instant Boot utility, which makes a system boot up faster by making it shut down slower. Instant Boot is a special application of the motherboard’s traditional Hibernate mode. Choosing Shut Down reboots the computer, where it goes into Suspend to RAM mode after entering Windows. Hitting the power button then wakes up the system for a Windows Vista boot time of approximately 10 seconds.

The benefit of using Instant Boot instead of hibernation is that by rebooting, users get a fresh software state upon hitting the power button without waiting for the hard drive to load everything. The system continues to draw a small amount of power, but our 4 GB dual-channel kit at 2 W drew only 3 W. Complete shutdown brought power consumption down to 1 W, so Instant Boot will only cost users 2 kilowatt hours per thousand hours of down-time. The value of this software is thus completely dependent on the impatience of the user.

BIOS

The P45XE includes a wide range of voltage and frequency adjustments in excess of the capabilities of most components, while core voltage is the only major limiting factor associated with how far a builder could potentially take the platform using extreme cooling.

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)

FSB Frequency

100 to 800 MHz (1 MHz)

Clock Multiplier Adjustment

Yes

DRAM Ratios

Up to DDR2-1,066 (By Boot Strap)

PCIe Clock

50 to 150 MHz (1 MHz)

CPU Vcore

0.81875 to 1.60 V (0.00625 V)

CPU FSB Voltage

1.20 to 1.90 V (0.02 V)

Northbridge (MCH)

1.12 to 2.22 V (0.02 V)

Southbridge (ICH)

Low, Middle, High, Highest

DRAM Voltage

1.79 - 2.72 V (0.06 V)

CAS Latency Range

tCAS:3-7; tRCD: 3-10; tRP: 3-10; tRAS: 9-24


DRAM is also adjustable up to DDR2-1066 using any stock speed for any given boot strap, but users who want to increase memory speeds further can overclock by either increasing the front side bus (FSB) or choosing a different boot strap, assuming the chosen boot strap doesn’t push the chipset too far.

A fairly comprehensive set of BIOS controls for overclocking or memory optimization is complicated slightly with redundant settings found under multiple menus.

The P45XE overclock settings menu sets FSB and PCIe clock, FSB strap, DRAM ratio, and key voltages. One oddity was the lack of any 333 MHz boot strap via manual selection, with only 400, 266, and 200 MHz settings selectable. Choosing Auto allowed the board to set a boot strap with the normal DDR2-800 and DDR2-1066 ratios using a 333 MHz FSB clock.

The P45XE chipset settings menu has a redundant memory ratio setting, plus memory timings and onboard controller adjustments. Individual memory timings can be set to automatic or manual values. Alternatively, users could choose an EPP profile for an "all-in-one" adjustment, but the values of our modules were misreported.

The P45XE also includes DRAM RCOMP and DLL Skew settings for advanced tuning.

ASRock provides three BIOS profile registers to store custom values. This allows easy restoration of previous settings if a new one doesn’t function properly.

Accessories

Accessories

Documentation&Software

Motherboard Manual

Motherboard Driver DVD

Hardware

4x SATA Data Cable

1x 4-pin to SATA power adapter

1x 80-conductor Ultra ATA cable

1x Floppy Cable

1x I/O Panel Shield


ASRock’s P45XE includes twice as many Serial ATA cables as many sub-$100 motherboards offer, but two of these four cables are required to enable the rear-panel eSATA connections, leaving only two to support internal drives.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 12:11 PM
    I run the I.T. department for a couple small businesses, and the sub $100 motherboard is almost essential in today's economy. Sure I could use a $120-$150 motherboard, DDR3, 10000 RPM hard drive, and all kinds of other things, but I would end up with a system that is only marginal faster in business applications for 3+ times the price. Take one of the G3x or G4x motherboards, 2GB DDR2, Intel E7x00 CPU and 80GB+ HDD and you have a system that will meet the needs of a good majority of businesses and home users. I am personally a gamer and can see the value in the higher end components; but there are a lot of other market segments out there where this makes financial sense.
Other Comments
  • -5 Hide
    V3NOM , December 24, 2008 9:10 AM
    interesting, although pretty much anyone building a P775 system these days would spend a bit more than $100... and somethings really weird with this commenting thing cos i can't read what i'm typing... it just ... doesnt fill the box? just when i type something it instantly goes to the left instead of filling the box... but anyway, interesting if a bit useless article.
  • 5 Hide
    cangelini , December 24, 2008 9:42 AM
    FWIW, the issue with text disappearing from the commenting box as you're typing is something I've reported and m waiting for a fix still. Thanks for confirming that it's still an issue.
  • -9 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 11:16 AM
    Yes - everyone has money shooting out of their pantless ass to buy more expensive motherboards. I use a gigabyte Ep35 DS3L and am very happy with it. What is a >$100 board going to give me? Is it just that you want to waste money? I'm guessing you are one of those people who carry a balance on your credit card and lease a Lexus - you debt-carrying phag.
  • 5 Hide
    jsc , December 24, 2008 11:38 AM
    "What is a >$100 board going to give me?

    I have a DS3P becuae i need the exrta SATA ports.
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 12:11 PM
    I run the I.T. department for a couple small businesses, and the sub $100 motherboard is almost essential in today's economy. Sure I could use a $120-$150 motherboard, DDR3, 10000 RPM hard drive, and all kinds of other things, but I would end up with a system that is only marginal faster in business applications for 3+ times the price. Take one of the G3x or G4x motherboards, 2GB DDR2, Intel E7x00 CPU and 80GB+ HDD and you have a system that will meet the needs of a good majority of businesses and home users. I am personally a gamer and can see the value in the higher end components; but there are a lot of other market segments out there where this makes financial sense.
  • 4 Hide
    gaiden2k7 , December 24, 2008 1:06 PM
    I got a Gigabyte UD3P for $99 during black friday... would that top this list? :) 
  • -8 Hide
    Noya , December 24, 2008 1:27 PM
    I got a Gigabyte UD3P for $84.50 during Black Friday, pwned you ninja gaiden fag.
  • -8 Hide
    malveaux , December 24, 2008 1:28 PM
    Wait, no AMD stuff?

    :( 
  • 6 Hide
    gwolfman , December 24, 2008 1:46 PM
    lol @ rjcorrin's 1st comment.

    In reply: Maybe he already had HDDs laying around of smaller size and thought it best to save money by spending a few more dollars on more SATA ports than hundreds on new 3 x 1TB HDDs. You're reasoning is asinine and self contradicting.
  • 2 Hide
    Tindytim , December 24, 2008 1:47 PM
    rjcorrinDid you happen to notice that the comment box detects your errors and underlines them in red?

    Did you happen to notice you're using Firefox? It, not this comment box, does that.

    rjcorrin"I have a DS3P becuae i need the exrta SATA ports."The DS3L has 4 Sata ports which could easily handle 3 terabytes and a DVD drive. You could have saved money by editing down your porn collection and deleting your stolen .iso's of the entire "Friday the 13th" collection.

    And what about Raid? And all the PC's I've had in this Millennium have had 2 Removable Disk drives.

    Not to mention I have multiple OSes installed, and an extra drive I use for storage (I reformat often). So I have plenty of drives.
  • 1 Hide
    gwolfman , December 24, 2008 2:11 PM
    Ummm, maybe I missed it but I didn't see anywhere that said what video/graphics card was used in these test. Anyone!?! I'm curious because of the power consumption numbers. Thanks.
  • 3 Hide
    cambion , December 24, 2008 2:14 PM
    Attention to detail alert... The MSI Neo3-f has eight SATA ports not, as the article claims, six.
  • -1 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 2:20 PM
    cambionAttention to detail alert... The MSI Neo3-f has eight SATA ports not, as the article claims, six.


    This is the exact number of ports on the DS3P. So, again, what does a >$100 board going to give me?
  • -3 Hide
    tmc , December 24, 2008 2:24 PM
    Though this does give you an what our Taiwan & Chinese friends have in the goodie bin at the local computer store.. you will still want to wait to bu
  • 1 Hide
    tmc , December 24, 2008 2:26 PM
    tmcThough this does give you an what our Taiwan & Chinese friends have in the goodie bin at the local computer store.. you will still want to wait to bu

    Ugh, got cut off..
    Wait to build your system until Q1, Q2 processor price cuts of 2009.. especially if you have your heart set on $ inTEL $ 775 vs amd.
  • -9 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 2:29 PM
    TindytimDid you happen to notice you're using Firefox? It, not this comment box, does that.And what about Raid? And all the PC's I've had in this Millennium have had 2 Removable Disk drives.Not to mention I have multiple OSes installed, and an extra drive I use for storage (I reformat often). So I have plenty of drives.


    /Sarcasm
    Maybe I should load up a few more OSes, Opera, IE (6 & 7) and Chrome to fully analyze the capabilities of this text box. I should probably hook up a raid array (mode 0+1 anyone?) to maximize my system performance and maintain the integrity of my porn collection prior to starting my full analysis of this text box.
    /sarcasm
    Do you get any real work done on that computer of yours? Seems like you're spending all your time loading operating systems, plugging in drives, reformatting, and flipping between your extensive collection of linux derivatives. Get a life dude!! You are a hacker-poser!

    And...
    Merry Christmas to EVERYONE!! (even the Jews)
  • 6 Hide
    orangedrink , December 24, 2008 2:29 PM
    Merry Christmas
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