Penryn Overclocking Preview of the ASRock Penryn 1600SLI-110dB
 
It seems as of late that the spotlight in the world of motherboards has definitely been on the Intel X38/X48 and NVIDIA 780i/790i chipsets with the introduction of the Wolfdale and Yorkfield processor families. These are the latest and greatest chipsets in the market (X38/780i) or will be (X48/790i) shortly. While the peformance of these chipsets are impressive, so are the prices. In fact, boards based on these chipsets are outside the budget requirements of many who might be thinking an upgrade to the new Penryn series of processors is in order. An upgrade that looks very attractive considering the price and performance of the E8400 (3.0GHz) dual core or the upcoming Q9300 (2.5GHz) quad core compared to the early Core 2 Duo processors.
 
What can the budget upgrader do in this case?  Well, the first item of business is to visit the manufacturer's website to see if your current board supports the new Wolfdale and Yorkfield processors.  If so, this generally requires a BIOS update in order to implement the necessary support for these processors.  Even if support is stated, we highly suggest you visit the manufacturer's support forums, our own forums, or those on other websites to see just how well your board works with these new processors.  We published an article last fall that discussed the plans of the chipset and motherboard manufacturers to provide a wide range of support for the new Penryn processor series.  We will be updating that article shortly with actual results and unfortunately, several of them are unacceptable.
 
Why you might ask?  Well, pull out every excuse you ever used in school for a late assignment or bad test grade and that will pretty much sum up where we are at right now.  There are several logical reasons for this and some that are not, but that is for another time.  Today, we are taking a look at the ASRock Penryn 1600SLI-110dB to see how well it overclocks our E8400 and QX9650 processors.  We will be taking a more in-depth look at its performance against the mighty 780i in SLI (a surprise outcome) and overall performance against like priced P35 boards from MSI, Gigabyte, ASUS, and abit in the coming days.  However, we thought it would be wise to spend some time and burn a couple of pages on the touted Penryn compatibility before we look at other results.
 


 
Ever since this board arrived in our labs, we have been somewhat enamoured of it from a price to performance perspective.  Also, we appreciate creative engineering techniques and we have to say that ASRock seems to excel in this area.  "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." seems to be ASRock's mantra when it comes to extracting performance and compatibilty out of chipsets that have long ago been discarded for the latest and greatest.  Their latest feat utilizes the NVIDIA 650i SLI SPP and nForce 430 MCP that was introduced over a year ago and still provides a very good price sensitive platform for gaming, especially if you have an SLI setup.
 
The Penryn 1600SLI-110dB (these naming conventions can cause carpal tunnel syndrome) is a very well laid out motherboard considering the available features that we will discuss shortly.  Of note, the board has three PCI Express x16 slots of which one (white) is designed to work at x16 speeds with a single graphics card setup.  The two yellow x16 slots operate in x8 mode either individually or when two cards are paired up for SLI operation.  You cannot use the single white x16 slot in conjunction with either x8 (yellow) slot.  We did use either x8 slot in single graphics card mode and they worked fine, in fact, more than fine as benchmark scores indicated a variation of less than 2% in gaming compared to the x16 slot with our 8800GTS-512.  The other notable point is the SPP (sliver) heatsink is just barely acceptable for cooling the C55 chipset when overclocked and with voltages at 1.382V.  It requires very good airflow on and around the heatsink for stable overclock operation.
 
Let's take a quick look at the board's features and then overclocking results with Intel's latest processors.
Just the facts...
POST A COMMENT

29 Comments

View All Comments

  • assassin8rr - Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - link

    got this board and e8400 hoping to reach 4.0 like in review but cant get it stable with same settings so im reaching for 3.6 butt cant figure out right settings ive only got to 3.3 on stock settings while increasing fsb to 375 after that it locks up even adding more vcore tried settings from stock up to 1.3 whith 400 fsb memory at 4-4-4-12 and tried 5-5-5-15 anyone have any idea what i can try next Reply
  • Arnejoh - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    I have recently had 3 top of the line Asus motherboard that has gone into an failed state. Two of this boards "work" a little bit and is based on intel 975x chipsett. The last and most recent board was the p5n32e-SLI. This board worked great with my q6600@3.4ghz and one 8800gt. But when i got the last 8800gt to run SLI it only survived two cod 4 games before i got the bsod and after that it wont work anymore at all. After reading about all the 680i problems i was allmost ready to give up SLI and get my self a god board based on the intel x38 chipsett.

    But then i read this article. I've only had one Asrock board before and it work well enuff. Since i did not want to wait for the rma of the other board i needed a cheap substitute. So i ordered this board, it looks good enuff, but there is several severe problems i have noticed over the last two days:
    1. The volt regulators at the base of the mobo is whining like the old modems we had before when they connected. This is going on all the time, and the high pitch is driving me crazy.
    2. This board really sucks regarding to overclocking my q6600, the old p5n32e-SLI could do 425 fsb stable, this board can do 425 with lower fsb, but fails when the cpu is pushed over 2.7ghz. This is the same with higher multi and the same cpy frequenzy. I have now wather cooled both gpus and chipset and temps are very low. Like 45 degree celsius with a lot of chipset volt. Even tried setting all volts on mobo to max just to try. Did not give me more stable speed.
    3. Slow poster, after i upgraded to bios 1.3 it got a lot slower to get over post screen.
    4. Problems using my to extra sata disks when raid is enabled.

    So my rating is very low...it works but so does allmost every normal 650i card at the same price range. And the extra cpu support is the only real charming ting for me as for now, and the fact that sli is stable. But sli on a quad at only 2.4 ghz is waste. It gives me a 4000-5000 point lower score in 3dmark06 then i had with 680i and the same cpu@3.4ghz. So with loosy overclocking this is realy holding me back...if it was not so cheap i would return it instantly.
    Reply
  • Arnejoh - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    I have recently had 3 top of the line Asus motherboard that has gone into an failed state. Two of this boards "work" a little bit and is based on intel 975x chipsett. The last and most recent board was the p5n32e-SLI. This board worked great with my q6600@3.4ghz and one 8800gt. But when i got the last 8800gt to run SLI it only survived two cod 4 games before i got the bsod and after that it wont work anymore at all. After reading about all the 680i problems i was allmost ready to give up SLI and get my self a god board based on the intel x38 chipsett.

    But then i read this article. I've only had one Asrock board before and it work well enuff. Since i did not want to wait for the rma of the other board i needed a cheap substitute. So i ordered this board, it looks good enuff, but there is several severe problems i have noticed over the last two days:
    1. The volt regulators at the base of the mobo is whining like the old modems we had before when they connected. This is going on all the time, and the high pitch is driving me crazy.
    2. This board really sucks regarding to overclocking my q6600, the old p5n32e-SLI could do 425 fsb stable, this board can do 425 with lower fsb, but fails when the cpu is pushed over 2.7ghz. This is the same with higher multi and the same cpy frequenzy. I have now wather cooled both gpus and chipset and temps are very low. Like 45 degree celsius with a lot of chipset volt. Even tried setting all volts on mobo to max just to try. Did not give me more stable speed.
    3. Slow poster, after i upgraded to bios 1.3 it got a lot slower to get over post screen.
    4. Problems using my to extra sata disks when raid is enabled.

    So my rating is very low...it works but so does allmost every normal 650i card at the same price range. And the extra cpu support is the only real charming ting for me as for now, and the fact that sli is stable. But sli on a quad at only 2.4 ghz is waste. It gives me a 4000-5000 point lower score in 3dmark06 then i had with 680i and the same cpu@3.4ghz. So with loosy overclocking this is realy holding me back...if it was not so cheap i would return it instantly.
    Reply
  • miklaszewski - Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - link

    Hi guys! I just got one of those with a e8200 and 2x2gb ddr2 800 5-5-5-15. I'm having some difficulty overclocking, since it's my first time at it. I started to increase the FSB, but @2.8, 3.0 mhz, the pc freezes. I thought it might have been the fact that the ram speed also increases and cant handle the clock speed, but again, i'm new at this. I also cant find the memory ratio on the bios (its updated to the last version). Should i look at other things such as increasing or lowering voltages or messing with the memory timmings? I even tried lowering the memory speed to 667 so that it remained at 800 with the increased FSB, but no success. Pc freeze @2.8 and above.
    (got a thermaltake typhoon cooler, cpu temp aroung 30º)

    Thanks a lot, hope you can help.
    Reply
  • petran - Friday, March 14, 2008 - link

    all those of you who just comment... how many boards have you ever used?well i've used quite a few from every posible brand.tha bigest problems that i have ever come across with whwre with asus boards.regarding asrock and ecs they have always been proved stable and reliable.nowdays prices tend to closely much so my advice to you is to bye what you get more for the same price.YES i ve become an Asrock fan Reply
  • Loghic - Sunday, February 24, 2008 - link

    I think, the asrock penryn1600sli-110dB looks very interesting. I’m considering to buy this board, but now I read, that asrock is going to launch a nforce 680i mainboard with Tripe-SLi, Penryn and FSB 1600 Support.

    http://www.pc-treiber.net/thread.php?threadid=8130">http://www.pc-treiber.net/thread.php?threadid=8130
    Reply
  • ap90033 - Friday, February 22, 2008 - link

    Great news but where in the world can I get a good SLI board like thsi??? Reply
  • rudolphna - Monday, February 18, 2008 - link

    Has a very clean layout and look to it. too bad its an ASrock board. i dont trust them. imo they are cheap ripoffs of ASUS Reply
  • Ender868 - Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - link

    You are aware that Asrock is a division of ASUS correct? Reply
  • kalrith - Monday, February 18, 2008 - link

    It states "Get to the numbers aleady" instead of "Get to the numbers already". This displays on the link at the bottom of page 2 and on the drop-down menu. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now