ASRock Penryn1600SLIX3-Wifi Motherboard Review

by Eldonko     |     May 12, 2008

ASRock Penryn1600SLIX3-Wifi Motherboard Review

Manufacturer Product Page: ASRock Penryn1600SLIX3-WiFi - Overview
Product Number: Penryn1600SLIX3-Wifi
Availability: mid-late May 2008
Price: Approx. $170
Warranty Length: 3 year

ASRock’s philosophy in 2008 according to Ted Hsu, CEO of ASRock is to cut into mid-range and high-end motherboard markets as these are seen as growth sectors. That said, as a follow up to the previous ASRock Nvidia 650i board (Penryn1600SLI-110dB), ASRock delivered to us a higher-end 680i board capable of three-way SLI – the Penryn1600SLIX3-WIFI. This board boasts a number of interesting features including support for 1600 and 1333 FSB processors out of the box as well as a higher quality design using all solid capacitors. In the past, ASRock was know mostly for boards which provided a safe upgrade upgrade path for consumers looking to keep some of their old hardware. However, in recent months it has been quite obvious that this company is hell-bent on breaking into the lucrative high-performance market and the boad we are reviewing here today is meant to spearhead that push.

Even considering 680i is a somewhat older chipset, support for Penryn-based quad core Yorkfield and dual core Wolfdale processors is a first. Most other 680i offerings will require a BIOS update if any support is offered at all. In addition, three-way SLI with 16x, 16x, and 8x PCIE slots may get the attention of enthusiasts looking for a tri-SLI board for a reasonable price. In addition to three-way SLI, the Penryn1600SLIX3-WIFI includes a WiFi module and software for those into LAN parties or that want their PC in a location without a LAN cable accessible. For audio enthusiasts, the board supports 7.1 channel HD Audio with Content Protection, as well as DAC with 110dB dynamic range support (ALC890 Audio Codec). The benefit to this is gaming and 2 channel sound can be run through a 7.1 channel sound system. All in all it looks like ASRock is offering a little bit for everyone with this new board.

There is also some great software bundled with the board, such as some trial AntiVirus software, a hardware monitor to keep an eye on temperatures and voltages, and ASRock OC Tuner. ASRock OC Tuner is a user-friendly ASRock overclocking tool which allows you to overclock CPU/PCI frequency and multipliers, and modify CPU, DRAM, VTT, NB and SB voltages from Windows.

ASRock provides a 3 year warranty for motherboards through Authorized Distrubitors which means you won't be RMAing your motherboard to some factory an ocean away. However, this also promotes "passing the buck" policies that some retailers love to promote but according to ASRock if you are having issues with your point of purchase, they will honor your warranty nonetheless. It should also be mentioned that finding this board in North America is next to impossible at the time this article is published. This is a shame since at an MSRP of $170, it seems to provide a pretty solid price point for people who don't want to spend a fortune on an SLI motherboard.


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