Bottom Line: A Bit Slow
In comparison with a respectable nForce4 motherboard, the overall performance of the ASRock board in the test is unfortunately below what our recent test of the chipset would have led us to believe. Focusing on the most cost-effective product possible apparently has its cost: Depending on the benchmark, a 5% performance deficit compared to the Abit Fatal1ty AN8 we brought in should be the maximum even with a budget board. Despite this possibly being justified by the fact that many users who want to upgrade are prepared to make sacrifices, we should point out that they will do so only if the price is right.
On the plus side, the 939Dual-SATA2 has sensible, if not downright high-grade equipment. This includes at least one SATA-II port, cleanly executed voltage converters, and a good mix of old and new interfaces (serial/parallel and USB 2.0). In addition, the overclocking options more than hold their own against more expensive brand boards. As for upgrading options, in all likelihood there is already an upgrade path to AMD's coming Socket M2 (due mid-2006). To start with, however, we would be happy to see a BIOS update that would reduce the lingering performance deficit, at which point the 939Dual-SATA2 would be a hot tip indeed.