iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ASRock K8Upgrade-760GX Motherboard
Based on SiS 760GX Chipset
for AMD Socket 754/939 Platforms

The first thing that catches your attention when you look at the motherboard is its tiny dimensions (mATX form factor, 229x244 mm) and an unusual set of slots. First of all, it has only two PCI slots, which is rather rare. Secondly, the AGP slot is placed near... another AGP slot! That's the innovatory idea introduced by ASRock designers. At first sight, this motherboard is equipped with unremarkable Socket 754. But in fact this product is notable for one feature that allows to install an additional Socket 939 board via the second AGP slot. Besides the socket, the additional board contains three DIMM slots connected to the integrated memory controller in AMD Athlon 64 processors, a separate power circuit and necessary logic (additional North Bridge) to enable the AGP slot on the main motherboard.

Brown AGP slot is the "real" one for a video card.
Yellow slot is actually used to connect a CPU Upgrade module.

All in all it's a good idea. Theoretically it can prolong the life-cycle of a motherboard. However, if you look at K8Upgrade-760GX as an assembly, that is with additional 939 CPU Board (unfortunately, we have seen it only on a photo, we haven't seen it in the flesh), the implementation of this ASRock idea does not seem that wonderful any more because of the three reasonable questions jumping to your mind. The first question is what PC case can accommodate such a construction. The second question: even if there are PC cases that can fit this product, won't there be problems with video card cooling? And the final question: taking into account the total weight of an additional motherboard, processor, memory modules, and, most importantly, CPU cooler how well will the AGP slot and one rear panel screw manage to hold such a construction?

Except for these questions, the PCB layout is rather good. The 2-phase switching voltage regulator of the processor incorporates five 3300 uF capacitors and four 1500 uF capacitors. Another peculiarity of the K8Upgrade is an on-board graphics based on SiS760GX. But the time will show how necessary this integrated video is. What concerns the rest, the K8Upgrade possesses a standard set of functions.

System monitoring (Winbond W83697HF)

  • CPU voltage, +3.3 V, + 5 V, +12 V
  • RPM of 2 fans
  • Processor and motherboard temperatures
  • It supports automatic shutdown at overheating.

Onboard ports, sockets, and connectors

  • Processor socket (Socket 754, supports AMD Sempron and Athlon 64)
  • 2 x DDR SDRAM DIMM (DDR 266/333/400 up to 2 GB)
  • 1 x AGP (1.5 V) with a latch
  • ASRock Future CPU port (to connect an additional board with Socket 939)
  • 2 x PCI (2.1)
  • Power connectors: standard ATX and 4-pin connector for 12 V
  • 1 x FDD
  • 2 x IDE (Parallel ATA 133, up to 4 devices)
  • 2 x SATA (Serial ATA) supporting RAID 1, 0, JBOD, Hot Plug support
  • Connector for a bracket with two additional USB (2.0) ports
  • Game-port connector
  • COM-port connector
  • 1 x CD/DVD audio connector
  • 2 x fan connectors (both with RPM control)

Back panel (left to right, blockwise)

  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard
  • 1 x LPT (ECP/EPP) and 1 x VGA port
  • 2 x USB (2.0)
  • 2 x USB (2.0) and RJ-45 (Fast Ethernet)
  • 2 x USB (2.0)
  • 3 x Audio (Line-in/Line-out(Speaker Out)/MIC)

Package Contents

  • Box: standard design box
  • Documentation: a motherboard guide in seven languages, a poster with brief instructions on installing SATA HDD
  • Cables: 1 x SATA, 1 x SATA with a power converter, 2 x ATA 66/100/133 and an FDD cable
  • ASRock I/O Plus (tm) Shield
  • Rear panel bracket with a COM port
  • CD with software


  • ASRock U-COP – protects a processor from overheating
  • An additional board with the 934 socket can be installed via ASRock Future CPU port
  • Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.) – restores good settings after an overclocking failure
  • Supports Cool’n’Quiet from AMD.

Integrated Controllers

  • 6-channel audio, based on AC'97 CMedia CMI 9761A codec supporting 5.1 ch audio with front audio I/O jacks
  • LAN, based on the Realtek RTL8201 chip supporting 10/100 Mbit/sec (Fast Ethernet)
  • Integrated video Mirage2 (in the chipset)

The integrated audio quality was tested in 16bit, 44 kHz using the RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.4 test application and the Terratec DMX 6fire sound card:

Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB:
+0.20, -0.66
Noise level, dB (A):
Dynamic range, dB (A):
THD, %:
Intermodulation distortion, %:
Channel crosstalk, dB:
Very good
IMD at 10 kHz, %:

General performance: Good (details).


Jumpers and switches Clear CMOS jumper
Jumpers to enable system wake up on USB devices
A set of jumpers to switch between Socket 754 and Socket 939
PS/2 keyboard power jumper
From AMI Legal BIOS Memory timings -
Memory frequency selection DDR 266/333/400
AGP voltage control -
PCI bus setup +
AGP bus setup +
AGP and PCI frequency divider setup -
PCI IRQ manual assignment +
FSB frequency setup 200-300 MHz at 1 MHz steps
CPU multiplier x4-x11
CPU core voltage control 0.825-1.550 V at 0.025 V steps
CPU voltage control 5%, 10%, 15%
Memory voltage control -
Chipset voltage control Auto, 1.5 and 1.6 V
HT bus frequency control 200/400/600/800/1000 MHz

Preliminary test results

Testbed configurations:

  • CPU: Athlon 64 3400+ (Socket 754)
  • RAM: Corsair CMX512-3200XL x 2 (DDR400, 2-2-2-5)
  • HDD: Samsung SP1213C (SATA, 7200 rpm, 8 MB Cache)
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, 256 MB DDR
  • OS: Windows XP SP2

ASRock K8Upgrade-760GX
(SiS 760GX)
ASRock K8Combo-Z
(ULi M1689)
7-Zip archiving
RMMA, reading, MB/sec
RMMA, writing, MB/sec
DivX encoding
Photoshop CS script
UT 2004 (800x600x32)

Subjective impressions

You can hardly expect extraordinary results from motherboards within this price range, but this is justified by the money spent on them. According to test results, ASRock K8Upgrade-760GX takes the second place among Socket 754 motherboards we have already reviewed using our new test method. But the advantage of Albatron Ultra-U Pro is certainly not that large to play a pivotal role in your choice. Nevertheless, if we look into the future, ASRock has a great potential of further usage due to its optional upgrade to Socket 939. K8Upgrade-760GX is a good low end product from ASRock, where designers (even if not very well) tried to implement an original idea, which allows to prolong the life-cycle of a motherboard. The product attracts attention with its small dimensions, integrated video Mirage2, and original upgrade technology.

The design of this model obviously deserves our "Original Design" award.


Vladimir Senchihin (sench@ixbt.com)
Stanislav Garmatiuk (nawhi@ixbt.com)
March 16, 2005

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