ASRock A770 Crossfire Motherboard - ASRock A770 Crossfire Up Close

Article Index
ASRock A770 Crossfire Motherboard
ASRock A770 Crossfire Up Close
Chipset and Motherboard Features
BIOS, Overclocking and Energy Saving
Test Setup, RAIDXpert and Subsystem Tests
ASRock A770 Crossfire Benchmarks
Gaming and Real-World Performance

Closer Look:

My main concern with this motherboard is the power connector placement and lack of fan headers.  In the pictures below we'll see exactly where these are located and cover other areas of interest on the board as well.   We'll quickly cover the areas on interest on the motherboard without going into a lot of detail.  Please click the thumbnails below for a closer look at the motherboard.  At the end of the pictures, we'll cover a few thing that you may have or may not have noticed.  Most of the items are pretty standard however, and if you've had much experience with motherboards, not much should surprise you here.

The A770 Crossfire motherboard has a standard Molex connector on board for instances where you are running a couple of high-end cards in Crossfire.  This connector helps provide extra power through the PCIe bus to those cards.  Of course they will also be connected by their respective 6-pin or 8-pin PCIe power connectors as well, but this helps put less strain on the PCIe power bus.  You'll also notice that ASRock uses 4-phase voltage regulation for the CPU and 2-phase power for the memory.  It should be nice and stable.

 Fan & Power
Fan & Power
Power & Regulation
Power & Regulation

 

The CPU socket area is pretty clear and thanks to the low-profile solid-state capacitors, there is ample room for mounting larger heatsinks.  The only issue could come from the RAM slots located pretty close to the side of the socket.  I've seen some instances where a large cooler could result in difficulty populating all of the DDR2 slots, but most coolers are tall enough that there is enough clearance.  The SATA and USB2.0 connections are all located in the bottom right of the board and should be pretty self-explanatory.

 DDR2 Slots
DDR2 Slots
 SATA Ports
SATA Ports


ASRock is considered a "budget" board maker, but they use high-quality components.  One area where they save some money is in the SLI/Crossfire department.  Instead of using more expensive integrated, BIOS-controlled switches, they still use the Crossfire Switching card in order to change the PCIe lane configuration from 16x/4x to 8x/8x when it CrossfireX mode.  As you can see below, there are enough PCI and PCIe slots to keep most people happy.  There is a single PCIe 1x slot, two 16x (16x/4x or 8x/8x) slots, and three PCI slots.  If your graphics cards have single slot coolers - you'll be able to populate all of these slots for maximum connectivity.

 PCIe & Crossfire Switch
PCIe & Crossfire Switch
PCI & PCIe Slots
PCI & PCIe Slots

 

The heart of this motherboard is the AMD 770 Northbridge chipset and the AMD SB700 chipset.  We pulled off the passive heatsinks for a closer peek at these.  The Southbridge chipset is much larger than the Northbridge.

 NB Chipset
NB Chipset
SB Chipset
SB Chipset

 

Before we carry on any father, we'll take a look at the chipset and motherboard features and specifications on the next page.