ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi Motherboard

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Product: ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi Motherboard
Provided By: ASRock
Price: ~$105 CAD Online


Introduction:

A few weeks ago we took at a look at the first ASRock board to cross our bench and while that board was mostly a winner, there is always room for improvement.  Today we follow up with the ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi motherboard for the AMD platform, and while you may get excited by the "78" in the model number, I can assure you that this is no Tri-SLI capable board.  In fact there is only a single PCIe 16x slot.  Keep on reading to find out more about this unit.

Closed Box
Closed Box
 Open Box
Open Box

 

First Look & Impressions:

Much like every other ASRock board on the market, the packaging is quite minimalistic in terms of size and flash.  There is nothing really catchy about the box, and it is about half as thick as the box from a Gigabyte DX6 board.  Surprisingly, ASRock has still managed to cram a lot of goodies in the box to add value to this already value-priced motherboard.

 Hardware Bundle
Hardware Bundle
Cable Bundle
Cable Bundle

 

The ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi comes with an add-on WiFi module that plugs into some motherboard headers and this little is pictured below.  It's not really all that special in and of itself, but the software allows this motherboard to act either as a wireless client or a wireless access point.  This is a pretty handy feature to have around if you don't currently have an existing wireless network and some people come over with a laptop, Wii, or any other 802.11b/g device.

WiFi Card
WiFi Card

 

Overall, the bundle is quite inclusive.  In the box you get an IDE cable, floppy cable, four SATA cables, audio cable and the WiFi antenna as well as the I/O shield for this board, Vista and Windows XP driver CDs, a manual, and a PCI slot cover for the WiFi card.  It doesn't have quite as many SATA cables as headers and there are no extra USB-PCI cables, but you can't have everything in a value bundle I guess.


Board Overview:

The board layout is not bad on the K10N78hSLI-WiFi in my opinion, but there are a couple of areas of concern.  The 24-pin power connector is located quite low on the board and this could cause an issue with some large heatsinks.  There is plenty of room around the socket though - except for that darn 24-pin connector.  With a stiff cable, it could certain cause an issue with some larger heatsinks.  As you can see, ASRock has once again stuck with their all solid-state capacitor design and this is a huge bonus for those looking to buy a board with some longevity.  Boards that come with standard electrolytic capacitors often give problems after a year or so, and these solid capacitors have certainly helped with stability over time.

 Board Layout
Board Layout

 

The rear IO is pretty straightforward and there are no surprises here.  ASRock still uses legacy PS/2 keyboard and mouse connectors while also providing a composite digital audio output as well as a optical audio connection as well.   There are a total of six USB2.0 ports along the back as well as eSATA, firewire, and GB LAN ports.  To complement the audio connections there is an 8-channel audio block right next the lower USB and GB Ethernet ports.  On this board the wireless card sits between the PCI slots lower down and isn't crammed into the main I/O of the motherboard.


Closer Look:

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, and you'll notice that there are not two PCIe 16x slots - only one.  So where does the "SLI" come from?

 RAM and CPU Layout
RAM and CPU Layout
PCI Slots
PCI Slots

 

Sink SATA and USB
Sink SATA and USB
WiFi Installed
WiFi Installed

 

The SLI comes from the GeForce 8200 chipset that has an integrated GPU of sorts, but has no external monitor connector.  There is a single PCIe 16x slot, two PCIe 1x slots and three standard PCI slots on this board.  You can see there are plenty of SATA connectors on the bottom corner as well as the one behind the Rear I/O.  There really isn't too much noteworthy on the layout at all, but I do like the idea of having the WiFi moved lower down.  Even with standard PCI cards in the slots there is still enough room to fit this module and it keeps the WiFi cable away from the other tangle of cables coming from the main I/O.

The heatsink is rather tall, but because there won't be multiple graphics cards in this system it shouldn't be an issue.  The DDR2 slots are positioned in banks for each channel - signified by different colors.  The slots on the different banks are quite close together and this could cause some heating issues with highly overclocked RAM.  For the record, in the Thermaltake Armor+ MX, we had no issues due to the large 25cm side fan bringing in plenty of fresh air.

We'll cover some of the GeForce 8200 chipset features and the board specifications on the next page before we take get started into testing this board.


GeForce 8200 Chipset Features:

The NVIDIA GeForce 8200 motherboard GPU brings new graphics technologies to everyone. Enjoy Windows Vista and today's popular games with DirectX 10. Watch the latest Blu-ray and HD DVD titles with NVIDIA® PureVideo® HD technology. And turbo-charge your GeForce GPUs with GeForce Boost for amazing graphics performance. All at an exceptional value.


© 2007 Crytek GmbH. All Rights Reserved.
DirectX 10 for Everyone
Get DirectX 10 at an affordable price to start experiencing Windows Vista, the games you've been waiting to play and better overall multimedia fun.


HD at 1080p for Everyone
Experience astounding Blu-ray and HD-DVD movie picture quality (supported formats include H.264, VC1 and MPEG2) with PureVideo HD technology.Enjoy enhanced system performance, reduced power consumption and quieter operation with minimal CPU utilization.


Turbo-charge your GeForce GPU
Turbocharge the performance of your GeForce GPU. Plug it into a GeForce 8200 motherboard to enjoy GeForce Boost and enhanced graphics performance.

 

  • Full Microsoft DirectX 10 Support
    DirectX 10 GPU with full Shader Model 4.0 support delivers unparalleled levels of graphics realism and film-quality effects.
  • GeForce Boost Technology
    Turbocharge the performance of your GeForce GPU*. Plug it into an NVIDIA motherboard to enjoy the additive performance of GeForce Boost technology. Get performance increases and more for your money.
  • NVIDIA PureVideo HD Technology
    PureVideo HD technology is the combination of high-definition video decode acceleration and post-processing that delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and video. PureVideo HD includes required content protection circuitry (HDCP) for playing the new Blu-ray and HD DVD movies at the highest quality possible, and is directly integrated with the leading HD movie software players. PureVideo HD delivers the ultimate high-definition movie experience on a PC.

  • Integrated HDMI technology with HDCP
    On board HDMI connector designed to meet the output protection management (HDCP) and security specifications of the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats, allowing the playback of encrypted movie content on PCs when connected to HDCP-compliant displays.

  • NVIDIA MediaShield™ technology
    Provides a simple point and click wizard-based interface for creating and managing multi-disk storage configurations. Allows multi-disk designs to be set up for maximum performance (RAID 0), for data protection (RAID 1), or for a combination of both performance and protection (RAID 0+1 and RAID 5).

  • NVIDIA FirstPacket technology
    Be the 'King of Ping' with NVIDIA FirstPacket™ technology. NVIDIA FirstPacket technology assures your game data, VoIP conversations, and large file transfers are delivered according to preferences set by you in an intuitive wizard.

  • High Definition Audio (HDA)
    High definition audio brings consumer electronics quality sound to the PC delivering high quality sound from multiple channels. Using HDA, systems can deliver 192 kHz/32-bit quality for eight channels, supporting new audio formats.

    *On select GeForce GPUs, visit www.nvidia.com/hybridsli for a complete list

 



NVIDIA Hybrid SLI Technology GeForce Boost technology
HybridPower technology
Graphics DirectX 10 support
PureVideo HD
Display Options HDMI
DVI
VGA
Expansion Slots PCI Express 2.0 support
1 x16, 3 x1
Up to 5 PCI Slots
CPU AMD Socket AM2+
AMD Phenom, Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64
Memory DDR2 1066/800/667/533
Storage NVIDIA MediaSheild Technology
Up to 6 Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s drives
Up to 2 PATA drives (Ultra DMA 133/100/66/33)
RAID configurations 0, 1, 0+1, 5
Networking Native Gigabit Ethernet connection
NVIDIA FirstPacket™ technology
USB Up to 12 USB 2.0 ports
Audio HDA (Azalia)

Note: Specifications vary by motherboard manufacturer

 

Now that we see what the GeForce 8200 chipset is capable of, let's take a look and see how ASRock has implemented this with the K10N78hSLI-WiFi specs.

 

 General
CPU - Support for Socket AM2+ / AM2 processors: AMD Phenom™ FX / Phenom / Athlon 64 FX / Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core / Athlon X2 Dual-Core / Athlon 64 / Sempron processor
- AMD LIVE!™ Ready
- Supports AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet Technology
- FSB 2600 MHz (5.2 GT/s)
- Supports Untied Overclocking Technology
- Supports Hyper-Transport 3.0 (HT 3.0) Technology
Chipset - NVIDIA® GeForce 8200
Memory - Dual Channel DDR2 memory technology
- 4 x DDR2 DIMM slots
- Supports DDR2 1066/800/667/533 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- Max. capacity of system memory: 8GB
*

*Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® XP and Windows® Vista™. For Windows® XP 64-bit and Windows® Vista™ 64-bit with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.
BIOS - 8Mb AMI BIOS
- AMI Legal BIOS
- Supports "Plug and Play"
- ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
- Supports jumperfree
- SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
- CPU, DRAM, Chipset Core, HTT Voltage Multi-adjustment
 Audio, Video and Networking
Graphics - n/a
Audio - 7.1 CH Windows® Vista™ Premium Level HD Audio with Content Protection
- DAC with 110dB dynamic range (ALC890 Audio Codec)
LAN - Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
- Giga PHY RTL8211B
- Supports Wake-On-LAN
Wireless LAN ASRock WiFi-802.11g module
- 54Mbps IEEE 802.11g / 11Mbps IEEE 802.11b
- Supports Software Access Point mode (AP mode) and Station mode (Infrastructure mode and Ad-hoc mode)
 Expansion / Connectivity
Slots - 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (green @ x16 mode)
- 2 x PCI Express x1 slots
- 3 x PCI slots
- Supports NVIDIA® Hybrid SLI™ GeForce® Boost feature
Connector - 6 x Serial ATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, RAID 5, JBOD), NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions
- 1 x eSATAII 3.0 Gb/s connector (shared with 1 SATAII port)
- 1 x ATA133 IDE connector (supports 2 x IDE devices)
- 1 x Floppy connector
- 1 x DeskExpress Hot Plug Detection header
- 1 x HDMI_SPDIF header
- 1 x IEEE 1394 header
- CPU/Chassis FAN connector
- 24 pin ATX power connector
- 8 pin 12V power connector
- CD in header
- Front panel audio connector
- 2 x USB 2.0 headers (support 4 USB 2.0 ports)
- 1 x WiFi/E header
Rear Panel I/O ASRock 1394_SPDIF I/O
- 1 x PS/2 Mouse Port
- 1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
- 1 x Coaxial SPDIF Out Port
- 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
- 6 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports
- 1 x eSATAII Port
- 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
- 1 x IEEE 1394 Port
- HD Audio Jack: Side Speaker / Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
 Other Features / Miscellaneous
Unique Feature - ASRock OC Tuner
- Intelligent Energy Saver (Support with Phenom CPU)
- Hybrid Booster:
- CPU Frequency Stepless Control
- ASRock U-COP
- Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)
- ASRock AM2 Boost: ASRock Patented Technology to boost memory performance up to 12.5%
Support CD - Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version)
Accessories - 1 x ASRock WiFi-802.11g Module
- 1 x Antenna
- Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
- Floppy/ATA 133 cables
- 4 x SATA data cables (optional)
- 1 x SATA 1 to 1 power cable (optional)
- 1 x HDMI_SPDIF cable (optional)
Hardware Monitor - CPU Temperature Sensing
- Chassis Temperature Sensing
- CPU Fan Tachometer
- Chassis Fan Tachometer
- CPU Quiet Fan
- Voltage Monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, Vcore
Form Factor - ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 8.4-in, 30.5 cm x 21.3 cm
- All Solid Capacitor design (100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors)
OS - Microsoft® Windows® XP / XP Media Center / XP 64-bit / Vista™ / Vista™ 64-bit compliant
Certifications - FCC, CE, WHQL

On the next page, we'll take a quick look at the BIOS before we jump into overclocking.


K10N78hSLI-WiFi BIOS:

The motherboard BIOS is probably one of the most boring areas to look at if you're not an overclocker or enthusiast.  Mainstream users will probably want to skip down to the overclocking section to see how easy it is to tweak and overclock this board.  For you hardcore users, check out the BIOS screenshots below.

Before we get into the interesting settings for tweaking, I thought I'd mention that this ASRock motherboard has several different boot screens for you to enjoy.  Yes, I said "enjoy".  Most of the time, a boot screen is lame, but I rather enjoy looking at the following boot screen instead of the standard issue ASRock one.

Boot Screen
Boot Screen

BIOS Main Screen
BIOS Main Screen
 BIOS Advanced Options
BIOS Advanced Options
   
 BIOS Advanced CPU
BIOS Advanced CPU
 BIOS Advanced Memory
BIOS Advanced Memory

 

In terms of tweaking, the CPU Frequency is adjustable from 150MHz to 500MHz in 1MHz increments and the PCIe Frequency is adjustable from 75MHz to 200MHz in 1MHz increments as well.  If you have an unlocked CPU, you can adjust the CPU Multiplier in 0.5x increments all the way from 4.0x to 25.0x.

 BIOS Advanced Chipset
BIOS Advanced Chipset
 BIOS HW Monitor
BIOS HW Monitor
BIOS Boot Options
BIOS Boot Options

 

For a mainstream board, the ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi has a lot of voltage adjustments and some pretty extreme ones at that.  CPU voltage is adjustable from 0.9875 to 1.7125v in 0.125 increments and DRAM voltage can be adjusted from 1.8v to 2.7v in 0.05v increments.  Both chipset and HT voltages are also adjustable in 0.05v increments and can be tweaked from 1.1v-1.25v and 1.2v-1.35v respectively.


Overclocking:

With all the adjustments that we just covered, I actually had some hope in this board when it came to overclocking.  Undoubtedly, the thing that will hold is back is an AMD processor.  For this review we used the 5000+ Black Edition in order to play around with multiplier and FSB adjustments.  In the end we were able to run stable at slightly over 3.2GHz no matter if we raised the multiplier and kept the FSB somewhat stable.  The maximum FSB we reached was 255MHz without immediately crashing, but the fastest stable FSB we reached was 251MHz.  For our overclocking results on the following page we opted for 246x13= 3198 which was reported as 3203MHz (246.6MHz actually).  That's not a record for a 2.6GHz AMD processor, but we didn't expect to hit much higher at all.  3.2GHz seems to be a pretty popular ceiling.

ASRock includes a nice little overclocking tool called "OC Tuner" and it works very well.  We used this utility to do some Windows based overclocking then tried to do better by going into the BIOS and fine tuning some settings.  In the end, the software utility worked just as well as the old fashioned way and we weren't able to achieve a stable overclock any higher through the BIOS.

OCTuner Main
OC Tuner Main

 

Below are more images of different settings and capabilities of the OC Tuner program.  Voltage, CPU Multiplier and FSB adjustments can all be made with this simple little piece of software.  Thankfully, it supports Vista x64.

 OC Tuner Monitor
OC Tuner Monitor
OC Tuner OC
OC Tuner OC
   
 OC Tuner Stable OC
OC Tuner Stable OC
 OC Tuner Voltage
OC Tuner Voltage

 

On the next page we'll jump into testing now that we know a lot about this board.


 

Test Setup:

We have recently reviewed another ASRock AM2+ motherboard - the K10N750SLI-WiFi and where possible we'll compare the results of this board with the 750SLI based board we reviewed recently.  Both boards offer almost identical BIOS options and in fact take our Athlon 5000+ Black Edition to exactly the same clock speed confirming that the processor is the limiting factor in this system.  

 

Subsystem Tests - HDD:

We start off the subsystem testing with some HDD tests.  I have been using an older Hitachi 120GB SATA HDD that appears to be pretty fast for an old drive, but I'm sure that new drives would perform faster than the old 120GB unit that I've had to use for this review.  The following tests no doubt show the limitation of the HDD - not the motherboard, but the results are still pretty good.

HDTach
 HDTach

 

HDTach shows that the drive starts out at a little over 60MB/sec and creeps down to 30MB/sec for an average read speed of 48MB/sec.  CPU utilization is low and random access is 12.6ms.  This test shows the HDD controller is quite efficient.  I have no doubt that a newer drive would be faster, but the results are respectable with an older 120GB drive.

 

Subsystem Tests - Audio:

ASRock claims that their HD Audio is capable of 110db dynamic range through the ALC890 codec.  We fired up the RightMark Audio Analyzer and took it for a spin.

We tested a few different bit and sampling rates and have posted the chart below for your viewing pleasure.

RMAA

While it clearly falls short of 110db Dynamic range, it is a lot better quality than the audio from the Intel Q35 mATX motherboard, and is very close to the results shown by the ASRock K10N750SLI-WiFi motherboard we looked at recently.


Subsystem Tests - Network:

One area that we have started testing is network performance.  It is easy for a company to claim great networking features as many users never test them out and are puzzled when they can only transfer files at a mere 250Mbit/sec on their 1000Mbit/sec NIC.  We use iperf for testing network performance and on this board we tested out both wired and wireless performance.

Like the K10N750SLI-WiFi, the K10N78hSLI-WiFi comes bundled with an 802.11b/g adapter that plugs directly into a motherboard header.  The nifty thing about this feature is the included software and the 1-click ability to set up the motherboard as either a wireless client or a wireless access point.

 Network Access Point
Network Access Point
Network Monitor
Network Monitor

 

In iPerf, we ran single threaded tests as well as a multi-threaded network test that used five streams at the same time.  Multi-threaded performance always looks better and shows how the network system will hold up when accessed from multiple machines at the same time.  Single thread performance shows client-to-client file sharing performance.

iPerf

 

CPU load averaged 30% when running the wired tests and 10% when running the wireless tests.  CPU load is quite acceptable considering the high bandwidth that the ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi network is capable of.  The wired performance is the best we've ever seen and the wireless performance falls on-par with what we've come to expect from 802.11g device.  It is about 34% of theoretical performance.  CPU load on this motherboard is somewhat higher than the K10N78hSLI-WiFi, but it shouldn't be an issue with a fast dual-core processor.

On the next page, we'll run some performance benchmarks and see how this board rounds out.


PCMark Performance:

To start things off we'll take a look at a CPU-Z screenshot before we look at the PCMark Vantage numbers.  An interesting thing to note is that the K10N78hSLI-WiFi clocks up the CPU to 203x13=2639MHz in order to squeeze some extra performance out of the system without the user knowing it.  This is kind of a cheap way to edge out similar products so for our testing, we set the FSB manually to 200MHz for stock performance testing.  The image below shows what we are able to get the system up to for our overclocked tests.  However, 95% through the last test we ran into instability and we had to clock the system down to 246x13=3198 which was reported in as 3203MHz (246.6MHz actually) - the same as the K10N750SLI-WiFi.  Clearly, the CPU is the limiting factor.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z - Overclocked

 

For reference we included the numbers from the K10N750SLI-WiFi motherboard we reviewed recently.  Stock performance numbers are included and the systems are identical - save the motherboard change.  It's not surprising to see both motherboards score very similar.  Most tests are within a few points of each other, although some vary by a couple of hundred.  That is weird, but they take turns and score within 50 points of each other.

PCMark
(Click for larger chart)


To gauge memory performance on the K10N750SLI-WiFi we used Everest Ultimate.  For this test we used both stock and overclocked numbers and tried to keep the memory as close to DDR2-800 as possible.  You can see that the stock performance of the K10N750SLI-WiFi motherboard is actually quite a bit better than the K10N78hSLI-WiFi motherboard. All memory timings are exactly the same - 4-4-4-12 1T @ DDR2-800.  At the same overclocked settings, the K10N78hSLI-WiFi runs away with the show however.

Everest
(Click for larger chart)

 

Finally we take a look at PM Core - a program that calculates prime numbers.  This program multi-threaded and we used it to calculate 10,000 prime numbers.  The results below are in minutes:seconds.tenths.  Once again, we've put up both ASRock boards against each other at identical stock and overclocked speeds.

PMCore
(Click for larger chart)

 

In this test the boards produce the same results when running the multi-threaded test at stock speeds, but this change in favor of the K10N78hSLI-WiFi as the rest of the tests progress.  Nothing dramatic but all means but it does edge out the K10N750SLI-WiFi.


Gaming Performance:

We begin our gaming performance section with the new 3DMark Vantage.  While many will argue that this is not indicative of real-world performance, it is a simple and effective way to compare similar systems to judge how tweaking, drivers and different hardware can affect your performance.  This benchmark is effective at producing consistent results as it is scripted and 100% repeatable.  Once again we show stock 2.6GHz scores with overclocked 3.2GHz scores.  Both the K10N750SLI-WiFi and the K10N78hSLI-WiFi are running at the same speeds at both stock and overclocked settings.

3DMark Vantage
(Click for larger chart)

 

Most of the results are easily within a couple of percent and can be written off as being within margin of error.  However, the stock performance results in the Entry Level System test show almost a 300 point difference in favor of the K10N78hSLI-WiFi.

 

Because we only have a single 8800GT in this machine we only ran a couple of game benchmarks - and those at stock speeds.  The GPU is the limiting factor here; especially in Crysis.  Crysis was ran at medium detail with no AA while CoD4 was ran at 1680x1050 at high detail and with 2x AA.

Gameplay
(Click for larger chart)

 

Real-World Performance:

We wrap up with a look at video decoding (watching) and encoding.  We've used several HD Video clips at 1080p and 720p on both WMVHD and Quicktime H.264.  The faster CPU on this system, combined with the GeForce 8200 chipset provides pretty attractive CPU load numbers and the system easily handles HD Video without so much as breaking a sweat.  The chart can be compared with the results from the K10N750SLI-WiFi here.

HD Video Playback
(Click for larger chart)

 

The K10N78hSLI-WiFi shows better HD Video decoding and yields anywhere between a 5%-15% lower CPU load when playing back 720p and 1080p video files when compared to the K10N750SLI-WiFi.  It's a nice way to boost your media center PC's performance.

 

Video encoding is a very CPU intensive application and shows just how efficient the system is.  We've used DVDShrink, ConvertX to DVD in real world tests as well as the x.265 benchmark - which is a scripted test that merely calculates frames per second.  All tests are very CPU intensive.

 ConvertXtoDVD
ConvertXtoDVD
DVDShrink
DVDShrink
x264
x264

 

We managed to compare both ASRock motherboards on the ConvertXtoDVD and DVDShrink tests and found the K10N78hSLI-WiFi to trail slightly at both stock and overclocked speeds in both tests.  For some reason, the difference on the DVDShrink test is quite pronounced.  In both the ConvertX and DVDShrink test, a lower score is better, but on the x264 benchmark, higher is better as the results are in FPS.


Final Thoughts and Conclusion:

The ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi motherboard has a lengthy list of features that should be considered if you're building a mainstream PC.  It supports a single PCIe 16x card, GB Ethernet, 8-channel audio, firewire, eSATA, six additional SATA channels, 12 USB2.0 ports and 802.11b/g WiFi.  It does all of this for under $110 currently.  The K10N78hSLI-WiFi also proves to be a decent overclocker and has a lot of adjustments, voltage settings and performance tweaks to keep your system on the bleeding edge.  The only downside to this is that current AMD processors are not as overclockable as they used to be.  Regardless, the board will be able to take you to the limit of your processor with ease.

That being said, the stock performance is a bit slower in most tests that the nForce 750a board we looked at previously, and the lack of display connector is a bit puzzling.  If the board had a DVI-D or HDMI connector, it would be a great motherboard for anyone looking to build a cheap HTPC as the chipset does a lot of decoding.  The built-in audio is quite good, so all you'd need is some RAM and a cheap processor.

Pros:

  • Lots of features for a ~$100 motherboard
  • Overclocks well
  • Nice little software bundle
  • Blistering fast wired Ethernet
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Good audio quality.

 

Cons:

  • Intelligent Energy Saver doesn't work with Dual-Core processors (Phenom Only)
  • RAM slots are close together
  • No display connector

BCCRating

 

I'd like to thank ASRock for sending over the K10N78hSLI-WiFi for testing.  Make sure you go and post your feedback in the forum at the "Comments" link below.