Impressions and Conclusions
The ASRock K8 Combo-Z is a decent performer though the slowest Socket 754 board we have tested to date. Nearly every test has the Combo-Z bringing up the rear just below the SiS 760GX. The Combo-Z still performs well, just be aware that you can have better performance with a competitor.
As a Socket 939 board, the ASRock K8 Combo-Z performs best in general desktop applications as seen in PCMark, and Winstone. Even number-crunching exercises like SuperPi and ScienceMark show off the K8 Combo-Z nicely. However, there was little improvement in 3D performance while using the FX-53. Results in games show a lack of any improvement, which makes you wonder if this is true for all systems or just the ASRock K8 Combo-Z. Either way, upgrading to a faster and more expensive processor is not recommended if you’re primarily using the system for games.
Given the performance patterns seen in the tests, it is fair to say that the K8 Combo-Z is best suited for a more general audience. It’s a great choice for those customers who use their systems for general applications and wish to stretch their computer investments. By supporting two socket form-factors, the K8 Combo-Z has the potential remaining in use longer than the traditional (single) socket 754 system. Upgrading to a Socket 939 CPU will give you better desktop and computation performance, as well as a lease on life for your system.
In the end, the ASRock K8 Combo-Z does what it advertises and delivers the compatibility of two sockets to a niche audience. It doesn’t have all the latest technology or the performance numbers to go with it, so speed seekers and choosey users need not apply.
|Strong Points||Things to Consider|
* Upgradability! Supports both Socket 754 and Socket 939
* Affordable price
* Upgrading CPU mostly benefits desktop applications and computations.
* Not “loaded” (only 10/100 LAN, no PCIe, mediocre audio)
* Only three PCI slots
* Poor overclocker. Very little overclocking options (CPU voltage and frequency only)
* Incompatible with heatsinks other than those using stock retention mechanisms.
* 1-year warranty if bought direct from distributor or ASRock. Otherwise store/retailer warranty only.
If you think the ASRock K8 Combo-Z is what you’re looking for, then use our Pricegrabber service to find the lowest price on the web.