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The Truth Behind ASRock's X58 SuperComputer

Introduction

ASRock was quick to respond to the overclocking issues encountered in our Core i7 Sub-$300 Motherboard Roundup, offering a replacement board and processor within hours of article publication. And how could we pass up the offer, when the replacement Core i7 processor ASRock offered was based on Intel’s improved D0 stepping?

Yet, we wanted to make sure we were representing the situation as accurately as possible, so we took time to carefully consider our commitment to you before finally deciding the most balanced approach. We’ll begin today’s review update by presenting ASRock’s explanation, and finish by applying our previous overclocking configuration to a second motherboard we purchased at e-tail to see if a newer board revision and improved BIOS will protect overclocking enthusiasts.

The only motherboard we’ve tested to properly support four double-thick graphics cards, ASRock's X58 SuperComputer’s name isn’t too far off from at least one of the product’s intended markets as an Nvidia Tesla Personal Supercomputer platform. Gaming fanatics can also appreciate the flexibility of supporting extra cards, since a 3-way SLI configuration still has space for a fourth card that can be dedicated to in-game physics calculations.

We had much praise and few complaints in our full layout description, so our next page will re-examine the product’s overclocking capabilities using the latest BIOS and CPU core stepping.

  • goonting
    wow...greet board
    Reply
  • falchard
    There are several boards that can support 4 double wide GPUs like the MSI K9A2 Platinum.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    falchardThere are several boards that can support 4 double wide GPUs like the MSI K9A2 Platinum.
    K9A2 Platinum cannot support Core i7: The ASRock X58 SuperComputer is only ever compared to other LGA-1366 motherboards.
    Reply
  • goonting
    It supports both Nvidia and ATI...at minimal cost compared to ASUS, MSI, and Gigabyte variants
    Reply
  • Crashman
    9472126 said:
    It supports both Nvidia and ATI...at minimal cost compared to ASUS, MSI, and Gigabyte variants

    You do get a lot of features, but it's not cheaper than the competition. The big difference is that it supports four double-thick cards, as long as your case has enough room under the last slot.
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    Quick question, what is the higher voltage limit for the i7? For example the C2D 45nm are said to be at 1.45v and 65nm are said to be at 1.5v. I define the higher voltage limit as the point where actual damage to CPU can happen (point on no return). Is it still 1.45v for the i7 as it's still 45nm?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    9472132 said:
    Quick question, what is the higher voltage limit for the i7? For example the C2D 45nm are said to be at 1.45v and 65nm are said to be at 1.5v. I define the higher voltage limit as the point where actual damage to CPU can happen (point on no return). Is it still 1.45v for the i7 as it's still 45nm?

    Yes, Tom's Hardware uses 1.44 to 1.45 volts for testing the overclocking capabilty of its Core i7 920 on various boards. The problem is that set voltage is never actual voltage, and an attempt to get 1.44-1.45V actual voltage would overload the VRM when using traditional voltage-changing methods on version 1.03 boards (and 1.04 with early BIOS). Newer BIOS on 1.05 boards (and 1.04 according to ASRock) allows setting electronic compensation which is much more responsive (than a person is) to changes in load, preventing damage.
    Reply
  • Marcus52
    It does not impress me that AsRock would continue to sell the older versions of this board; they should pull them all from newegg's stock and everyone else, fix them or throw them away, not foist them on un-suspecting buyers with rebates and free shipping offers. I know it is common practice for manufacturers to do what they are doing, but it is, to me, an abhorrent practice. If the problem could be fixed with just a BIOS update all well and good, especially for us early adopters, but it can't, so anyone hoping to overclock their i7 920 will be at risk - and a huge percentage of i7 buyers will overclock this chip even if they never have before because it is so easy and inexpensive (can even be done on stock air cooler to some degree).

    Kudos to them for their slot layout though, that is what would cause me to buy their board; much better use than, say, a daughterboard slot for a sound processor which might be good but I'm going to replace anyway (much as I love my Asus Rampage II Extreme, that 'feature' chaps me).
    Reply
  • hellwig
    Marcus52It does not impress me that AsRock would continue to sell the older versions of this board; they should pull them all from newegg's stock and everyone else, fix them or throw them away, not foist them on un-suspecting buyers with rebates and free shipping offers.
    Unsuspecting buyers? I'm pretty sure you can read their warranty where they tell you that manually adjusting settings is dangerous and can void your warranty. Believe it or not, there is actually a reason companies tend to recommend against overclocking their products, because you are taking the product out of its designed specifications.

    I don't think any of these ASRock boards are failing out of the box with a stock CPU, and therefore, ASRock has no responsibility to pull or repair these boards. Should Ford re-build your engine cause you used jet fuel instead of regular gasoline?

    Anyone who knows enough to overclock their CPU should know that they do so at their own risk.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    Marcus52Kudos to them for their slot layout though, that is what would cause me to buy their board; much better use than, say, a daughterboard slot for a sound processor which might be good but I'm going to replace anyway (much as I love my Asus Rampage II Extreme, that 'feature' chaps me).
    You know that Rampage II audio riser slot also supports x1 cards: Asus has some nice x1 sound cards.
    Reply