The AMD 870 is the current value chipset for AMD processors without integrated video. Let’s see if the ASRock 870iCafe is a good choice for users looking for a value socket AM3 motherboard in the full ATX form factor.
When AMD announced the AMD 870 chipset, they said it was going to use the SB710 south bridge chip, but it seems people at AMD changed their mind, as at AMD’s website the AMD 870 description lists SATA-600 and 14 USB 2.0 ports, and these features are only available with the SB850 south bridge chip (the SB710 only supports SATA-300 ports and 12 USB 2.0 ports). Other differences between the two chips include the native support for Gigabit Ethernet and the support for RAID 5 in the SB850.
The ASRock 870iCafe uses the SB850 south bridge, supporting six SATA-600 ports, 12 USB 2.0 ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.
Actually, the AMD 870 is identical to the AMD 880G chipset. The only difference between the two is the presence of an integrated video controller in the AMD 880G (a DirectX 10.1 engine called Radeon HD 4250).
In Figure 1, you have an overall look at ASRock 870iCafe. Usually motherboards targeted to the value segment use the microATX form factor, but the 870iCafe is a full ATX motherboard, which may please several users. The board comes with passive heatsinks on top of the north bridge, south bridge, and transistors of the voltage regulator circuit. The ASRock 870iCafe has only solid capacitors, a feature really nice to see on a product targeted to the entry-level market.