ASRock G43 Twins-FullHD mATX - Closer Look at the Board

Article Index
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

Closer Look:

The ASRock G43 Twins-FullHD packs quite a few features into such a small package.  The heart of this board is the newer G43 Northbridge chipset as well as the ICH10 Southbridge.  This chipset provides the board with integrated graphics in the flavor of GMA4500.  Video out on this board is taken care of by independent D-Sub VGA, DVI-D and DisplayPort connectors.  This means that you can hook up this motherboard to your favorite 30" LCD for a spacious desktop environment, while using a nice 27" display on the VGA adapter for a large "Extended Desktop" experience.

 CPU Socket
CPU Socket
DDR2 and DDR3
DDR2 and DDR3

 

As previously mentioned the CPU Socket area is pretty clear of obstructions and there are absolutely no issues with the stock cooler as well as most large after-market coolers.  The G43 Chipset HSF is quite close to the CPU socket, but many coolers go up instead of out and this shouldn't present any issues.  To the right of the CPU Socket are the four DDR2/DDR3 slots and even farther right is the main 24-pin power connector.

 

While this board has adequate video performance for watching movies and surfing the web, if you want to do any hardcore gaming on this little board you'll want to drop in a new graphics card.  Thankfully this is possible thanks to the presence of a PCIe 16x slot.  There are also a couple of PCI slots below the large PCIe 16x and a single PCIe slot just above the PCIe 16x slot.

 PCI Slots
PCI Slots

 

One of the downsides of this board is the jumper block that is located to the left of the Northbridge chipset.  These are required for selecting different CPU FSB frequencies, DDR frequencies and CPU-DDR ratios.  This takes me back to the days of the Slot 1 CPUs from Intel, but it seemed to provide decent stability for stock speeds.  This is no doubt required as a cost-savings measure as well as to more easily support DDR2 and DDR3.

 Jumper Block
Jumper Block

 

Chipset Cooling As you can see in the previous pictures, ASRock has opted to use a lot of electrolytic capacitors instead on the better solid-state capacitors that we've seen on many other ASRock boards in the past.  This saves ASRock a bunch of money based on a few cents savings per board.  Multiply that by thousands of motherboards and you've just saved the company a bunch of money.  The downside is that these capacitors aren't as reliable as solid state capacitors.  This disappoints me a bit as the build quality of other ASRock boards has been stellar, but this definitely cheapens things.  That being said, this board should cost under $70 and you can get everything for a song.

Chipset cooling is taken care of by a pair of passive heatsinks.  The G43 chipset as well as the ICH10 chipset are traditionally run pretty cool and the passive cooling should perform adequately and without any noise.

On the following page, we'll cover the features and specifications of this board before we take a peek at the BIOS and start testing.