And here is where we find the Achilles heel of the 77Dual-VSTA. While it does have an adjustable Front Side Bus (FSB) that is adjustable at 1MHz increments, there are no voltage adjustments whatsoever on this motherboard. It seems that the VIA PT880 chipset is the culprit for holding back the overclock as we have used the Intel D975XBX and Gigabyte DS3 with the same processor and voltages only to get better overclocks. For this reason we are confident in saying that the motherboard is without a doubt an overclocking liability. Of course there is always the possibility that in a future BIOS or driver ASRock will be able to enhance overclocking.The highest stable setting I was able to reach was a less than stellar 290MHz FSB.
That is only a 24MHz overclock on the FSB, up from 266MHz, giving us a CPU speed of 2030MHz. For our overclocking tests we used a retail E6300 that arrived just after our performance testing was completed.
So what did we see during our tests? Other than 3DMark our 7900GTX performed nearly the same on both boards despite the ASRock only having a 4x PCI-E slot. It?s extremely doubtful that you?d be able to tell what motherboard was being used if you couldn?t peek inside the case.
We also saw that high memory bandwidth really doesn?t have a huge impact on the way some applications perform. Overall the higher memory speed will give a bit better performance, but the need for $475 kits of 2GB memory should be reserved strictly for those concerned with benchmark world records.
So what complaints do we have? Well performance certainly is not one of them! How can you complain about a motherboard that costs less than a date with that girl that sits next to you in class? The ?drawbacks? of this motherboard are only in the lack of features. Better overclocking options would be nice, a couple more SATA ports, gigabit Ethernet, DDRII 800 support. These would all be great but would destroy the goal of this board, and that is to give people on older systems a very inexpensive way to upgrade to the world?s fastest processor. As it stands you can stick any of the recently announced Core 2 Duo processors in this board and get excellent performance.
After spending a a couple weeks with the 775Dual-VSTA board I have to say I really like it. When you consider we?ve just seen this $55.99 motherboard hold its own against the Intel 975 chipset in the situations we tested, a motherboard that is over 4 times more expensive at $242.99! I’m currently using it in my 24/7 system which should tell you a lot about the confidence that I have in it.
Something that is often assumed is that support is low for something costing so little. That is not the case here as during the week of our testing there were two BIOS updates which shows that ASRock is in your corner with excellent updates and support.
Legit Bottom Line: The ASRock 775Dual-VSTA kicks ass. While not the best board to overclock it?s stable as a rock, performs well and saves you money to put towards other parts in your system. If you can’t afford a $250 motherboard this little gem is a killer bang for the buck.