Impressions & Conclusions
Writing a review and not being able to evaluate one of its key features is difficult and a bit disappointing. In this case, we do not have the ASRock Socket 939 upgrade adapter to test any tangible improvements (if any) over using Socket 754. So does this make our review of the ASRock K8 Upgrade 760GX irrelevant? Hardly. Those of you who want the flexibility of Socket 754/939 will buy one of these boards based on the feature of upgradability rather than basing a purchase solely on the performance.
The main advantage of supporting two different CPU packages is clearly the ability to stretch your technology investment. You can go with a Sempron on socket 754 today, and upgrade to a Athlon X2 or Sempron on Socket 939 a few months, even years, down the road. With AMD’s commitment to Socket 754 (with 64-bit Semprons) and new products for Socket 939, the ASRock K8 Upgrade 760GX has the potential to remain a usable computer for a very long time.
The main disadvantage of the K8 Upgrade 760GX is that there is no support for more current technology like PCI Express or DDR2*. Nor is there support for some more “advanced” current technology like Firewire or digital audio output. However, given the target market for this product, these features are not entirely necessary. So if you want to use this board for video editing or for your HTPC, you’ll have to get PCI expansion cards to add the functionality. Something like the SoundBlaster Audigy2 fits the bill perfectly in this case by offering both Firewire and SPDIF output.
(*Aside: No AMD motherboard supports DDR2 at the moment. See Ryan’s interview with AMD for more info on AMD’s DDR2 plans.)
As interesting as the ASRock K8 Upgrade 760GX is, the appeal is limited to a small group of people. If you would like to stretch your computer lifespan, and lower upgrade expenses then this board fits the bill by giving you the option to change sockets without having to uprgade the motherboard and parts entirely. However, this is only good if you need a computer that “gets things done” and not picky about supporting all the latest features.
If you’re one of those people who like upgrading to the latest chipset every 6-18 months just to get the latest features and improved performance, then the ASRock K8 Upgrade 760GX is not for you. You probably won’t use the board long enough to take advantage of the upgrade slot, so why bother? Besides, the board doesn’t have many cool features like fan controls, extensive overclocking/tweaking settings, or gigabit LAN.
In the end, if you need a motherboard that has the potential of staying in use for a very long time then the ASRock K8 Upgrade 760GX is worth considering. It may not all the latest features, but it does have all the essentials and the flexibility of upgrading sockets without having to throw away (ahem, recycle) the motherboard.
|Strong Points||Things to Consider|
* Upgradable to Socket 939
* Priced the same as other mATX SiS760GX boards
* mATX form factor
* Integrated SiS Mirage 2 Graphics
* Six USB 2.0 plugs on the back
* SATA RAID 0,1 JBOD and two ATA133 channels
* Upgrade to Socket 939 requires purchase of a special adapter.
* Not “loaded” (only 10/100 LAN, no PCIe, mediocre audio)
* Only two PCI slots
* Very little overclocking options (CPU voltage and frequency only)
* 1-year warranty if bought direct from distributor or ASRock. Otherwise store/retailer warranty only.
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