ASRock G43 Twins-FullHD mATX
|ASRock G43 Twins-FullHD mATX|
|Closer Look at the Board|
|G43 Specifications and Features|
|G43 Twins-FullHD BIOS|
|Instant Boot and Subsystem Testing|
|G43 Benchmarking Continued|
|Gaming Performance and Conclusion|
The last mATX board we looked at for the Intel LGA775 platform was the Intel DQ35JO Desktop Board. This board was a "cheapy" that offered basic functionality for a motherboard, but was a little lean on extra features and performance. Today we are looking at a board from ASRock that is based on the newer G43 chipset. We've got a review of the G43 Twins-FullHD motherboard and this one is future-friendly thanks to a better integrated GPU as well as support for the upcoming DisplayPort technology. When you combine that with the newly released "Instant Boot" technology, you've got a board that boots fast, works well and should work for a long time. Make sure you keep on reading for all the details.
The G43 Chipset from Intel is not their powerhouse or flagship chipset. It is a low-power, mainstream performance chipset that does support DDR2 and DDR3 on the LGA775 platform and also brings some multimedia performance to the table. The way ASRock has implemented this chipset shows that they are thinking about the users of today and tomorrow on both mainstream and HTPC computers.
Bundle & First Look:
The ASRock G43 Twins-FullHD is a standard mATX board measuring 9.6" x 9.6". Although the board measures quite small, the layout is pretty decent and there is plenty of room for vital components. The board comes with four memory slots (2x DDR2 and 2x DDR3) and can support up to 8GB of DDR2 memory or 4GB of DDR3 memory. The bundle that ASRock ships with this board is pretty inclusive and has almost everything you need to get a basic system up and running in short order.
In addition to the standard SATA cables, Molex-to-SATA Power cables, Floppy cable, IDE Cable, I/O Shield, Manual and Driver CD, ASRock has also thrown in a small PCIe DisplayPort/DVI-D card to further enhance this board's capability. DisplayPort is an interesting technology that aims to take over from DVI and HDMI on future computers and offers several technology advances over current display connection implementations.
The board layout is pretty standard for an mATX motherboard. Things are a bit crowded in places and there is only a single PCIe 16x slot, but that is pretty much expected. The CPU Socket area is pretty bare and should allow installation of almost every HSF on the market. The Northbridge HSF may cause some issues with low-profile large HSFs, but should work find for over 90% of aftermarket HSFs on the market. In addition to a single PCIe 16x slot, there is also a PCIe 1x slot as well as two PCI slots. The Floppy drive connector is located at the bottom of the board while the IDE cable is located more conveniently on the front side of the board - just below the main 24-pin power connector. At the bottom corner of the board is a collection of 6-SATA ports and in addition to the IDE connector, the board will support a total of 8 devices. In addition to the 6 USB2.0 ports on the rear of the board, there is also support for 4 USB2.0 ports located on headers on the motherboard.
Along the rear I/O are standard PS/2 connections for keyboard and mouse. As previously mentioned, there are 6 USB2.0 ports along the back as well as support for 8-channel audio. On the motherboard are a lone VGA connector and an accompanying GB Ethernet port. In order to get DVI and DisplayPort support, you will have to use the included card in the PCIe 16x slot. This limits your options when it comes to quickly adding a gaming card while keeping DisplayPort on-board, but this would likely end up in major hardware and driver conflicts anyway.
On the next page we'll look more closely at the board before we jump into the specifications and features.