ASRock Conroe 1333-DVI/H Motherboard Review

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Board Layout


It is pretty easy to see how small this board is with just a quick glance at it. Everything is packed nicely on to the board, but since it is so small, there are a few placements of things on the board that are just a little annoying. 

The top right of the board is where we find our dimm slots.  This board supports DDRII memory in dual cchannel configuration.  It supports speeds of 533 and 667.  We will mention it again later, but these are the only options that we get.  So evenif you are running DDR800 speeds, your ram will be clocked down, as there are no options in the bios to set it at ddr800.  The board also supports up to 4GB of memory. 

We also have our northbridge heatsink here.  It got a little warm to the touch as we were using the system, but not anything alarming at all.  Underneath the heatsink we find the Intel 945G northbridge that powers the board.  The system battery is also located up here in this part of the board, which is a little unusual, though not a problem.

The bottom right of the board is where we find our lone IDE connector, as well as our four SATA connectors.  The SATA connctors are SATAII compliant, as they support up to 3gb/sec operation.  This board does not support RAID or Hotplug features though.  Just to the right of the SATA connectors, we have our front panal connector pins.  These are labled just fine in the manual, so setup is not difficult.  We have gotten a little spoiled though with the color coded pins on other boards!

To the left of the SATA connectors, we have our southbridge, which is powered by the Intel ICH7. 

The bottom left of the board is where we find our pci and pci-e slots.  The board has two legacy pci slots, one x1 pci-e slot, one HDMR slot and one x16 pci-e slot.  Also, right next to the HDMR slot is wehre we find our floppy connector.  This is certanly an unusual spot, and could cause some headaches with routing of your cables if you use it.

We also find our audio solution on this part of the board.  The Conroe 1333-DVI/H has its audio powered by the Realtek ALC888 chip, which is able to provide 7.1 surround and HD audio.

The top left is where we find a very unusual placement for our 20-pi power connector (yes, 20 pin).  This is smack dab right in the middle of the board.  Let’s just say someone was either not paying attention or they were on something when they placed this power connector here.  It is absolutely in the worst spot that it could be.  Just above the power connector is our bios chip, also an odd location, but not likely a problem.  The top left corner is where we find the 4-pin 12v connector.  This is a great placement to help with cable management. 

The back I/O ports include your typical ps/2 ports, a serial and parallel port, four USB ports, your LAN port and all of your necessary audio jacks.

The two pics above give you a view of just how tight the clips for the DDR slots will be once you get a graphics card installed.  It is not impossible, but it is very difficult to swap out your ram with the graphics card installed. But once again, this board will likely be a set it and forget it board, with very little swapping of components, so it probably will not be an issue.

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