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Onboard Devices

X48 Motherboard Comparison, Part 2
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ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi (Revision 1.02)
Northbridge Intel X48 Express MCH
Southbridge Intel ICH9R
Voltage Regulator Six Phases
BIOS P1.00 (04/29/2008)
333.3 MHz (FSB1333) 333.5 MHz (+0.05%)
Clock Generator ICS 9LPRS916JGLF
Connectors and Interfaces
Onboard 2x PCIe x16
1x PCIe x1
3x PCI
2x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1x Serial Port header
1x Floppy
1x Ultra ATA (2 drives)
6x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s*
1x Front Panel Audio
1x CD-Audio In
1x S/P-DIF Out
1x Fan 4 pins (CPU)
1x Fan 3 pins (Chassis)
IO panel 2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse )
1x RJ-45 Network
6x USB 2.0
2x External SATA*
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
2x Digital Audio Out (S/P-DIF optical + coaxial)
6x Analog Audio (7.1 Channel + Mic-In + Line-In)
Mass Storage Controllers
Intel ICH9R 6x SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0,1,5,10)
JMicron JMB368 PCI-E 1x Ultra ATA-133 (2-drives)
Network
Realtek RTL8111C PCI-E Gigabit LAN Connection
Realtek RTL8187L USB 802.11g/b Wireless Network Interface
Audio
Realtek ALC890B HD Audio Codec 7.1 Channel Directional Audio
FireWire
VIA VT6308S PCI 2x IEEE-1394a (400 Mb/s)

ASRock endows the X48TurboTwins-WiFi with a complete controller set typically expected of high-end motherboards, but differs from the norm by using a non-SATA add-in disk controller. Intel chipsets haven’t supported Ultra ATA devices since the P965, and ASRock would have likely left the board devoid of any add-in controller had this not been the case.

x48 motherboard comparison

The X48TurboTwins-WiFi port panel provides PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, coaxial and optical digital audio outputs, IEEE-1394 FireWire, six USB 2.0 ports, a single gigabit network port and six analog audio jacks. Two internal SATA to eSATA pass-through connections are also found here, but enabling these requires some very messy internal cabling.

x48 motherboard comparison

ASRock chose JMicron’s JMB368 Ultra-ATA controller, rather than one that supports both Ultra-ATA and SATA. It uses one of the chipset’s six unallocated PCI-Express pathways to provide optimal performance…typically to slow devices such as a DVD burner.

x48 motherboard comparison

Realtek’s RTL8111C uses PCI-Express to provide full bi-directional bandwidth to a single Gigabit Ethernet port. The motherboard’s single PCI-Express x1 slot and two third-party controllers use up only three of the chipset’s six “spare” lanes.

x48 motherboard comparison

ASRock uses VIA’s ancient 6308 series FireWire controller to provide two IEEE-1394 ports. At 133MB/s, its PCI interface is more than fast enough to provide full performance for two 50MB/s (400 megabit) connections.

x48 motherboard comparison

ASRock is the only company we know of to use Realtek’s ALC890B audio codec, which the company rates at a respectable 110db signal-to-noise ratio.

x48 motherboard comparison

ASRock continues to use the AW-GA800BT mini-USB card previously found in Asus WiFi products to provide 802.11g/b wireless networking. Realtek’s RTL8187L controller does the job nicely.

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  • 5 Hide
    nihility , May 31, 2008 8:23 AM
    I thought the major concern with overclocking was doing it with 4 GB or 8 GB of memory installed and with quad cores.
    Buying an overly expensive high end motherboard but installing a 65 nm dual core processor and just 2 GB of RAM seems a very odd combination to me.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 31, 2008 4:10 PM
    @ni

    Not so odd if you want to get the base foundation set up and then wait for lower prices on higher performance parts later on down the road.
    A quad core (3.0 GHz x 4) chip is coming down the pike by years end and DDR3 prices are on the slide. Building an E8400 / 2 GB base machine is exactly what I did to finally migrate from my 5 year old P4 Extreme Edition / Intel 875 based rig.

    That's the beauty of the X48 platform; longevity.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 31, 2008 10:45 PM
    The ECS offering has supposedly been out for around a month, but I can't find it for sale ANYWHERE!! can't even find a price. I used to turn my nose up at ECS products. Our company used Asus boards exclusively thinking they were a higher quality product. Evey one of our Asus boards failed within 4 years. This may be because the Chinese have studied the American business model... Make a product that is designed to either fail or need parts within a calculated period of time. ECS are much cheaper, and so far seem more stable than the Maximus Formula board we purchased recently. The Asus BIOS is for people who like to toy with settings. Unfortunately their BIOS has become complicated beyond their programmers ability too write stable code.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 1, 2008 4:09 AM
    Glad to see that gigabyte's board was so much more energy efficient than Asus', or any other board for that matter... especially while overclocking
  • 0 Hide
    Fedor , June 1, 2008 7:53 AM
    Arcolyte - lol. Did you fall asleep and dream up another page of the review which had power consumption whilst overclocking? :p 

    For the record I'm using my first Gigabyte board (X38-DQ6) and overall I'm pretty happy with it, but having said that I haven't used Asus in at least 5 years. With these comparisons it often comes down to features since performance is pretty near (although the low memory speeds achieved by the Gigabyte surprised me!).
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 1, 2008 3:19 PM
    " Intel covers all of its CPU VRM MOSFET?s with sinks. Our apologies for the alphabet soup that made up the last comment. " -> You could've gone with " Central Processing Unit Voltage Regulator Module Metal?Oxide?Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor's " , so it's ok =)
  • 0 Hide
    frodbonzi , June 2, 2008 3:01 AM
    I wonder how the Asus' Rampage Formula stacks up here? It supports DDR2 or DDR3 and is part of the RoG line... X48 as well...
  • 0 Hide
    xanxaz , June 2, 2008 8:00 PM
    asrock rocks....lol...although i'll keep my gigabyte... as i dont know where to say this, it's better say it here... your main page is eating my cpu cycles... between 25% up to 50% cpu utilization while viewing your site? please cut down in animated ads... running a c2d at 3.6 and still lags while surfing... dah... it's just your site... os is it me? i think it's the ad on the top right corner that is causing that...
  • 0 Hide
    wozeus , June 16, 2008 5:54 PM
    I see that Newegg has ECS X48T-A for under $200. Looks like it's a great deal...going to get one.