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ASRock N68C-S UCC Motherboard Review

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Introduction

The forthcoming N68C-S UCC from ASRock is a low-end microATX socket AM2+ motherboard based on the NVIDIA GeForce 7025 chipset, featuring both DDR2 and DDR3 memory sockets, and a CPU core unlocking tool, a feature usually not found on entry-level motherboards.

Even though this motherboard supports DDR3 memories, it isn’t a socket AM3 motherboard, but a socket AM2+ one. The difference between the two is the presence of a separate voltage line for the CPU embedded memory controller on socket AM3 models, a feature not available on this motherboard. We will discuss this in more detail in the “Voltage Regulator” section.

The GeForce 7025 is an old chipset, released three years ago, and we were really surprised to see a manufacturer releasing a new motherboard based on this outdated chip. The main reason why ASRock picked this solution was price, obviously, allowing them to provide an inexpensive motherboard for users that want to build an affordable computer.

As one would expect from an entry-level motherboard, the chipset provides integrated video, “stealing” memory from the system to be used as video memory.

In this review we will be comparing the performance provided by GeForce 7025 with newer solutions from AMD: AMD 785G, AMD 880G, and AMD 890GX. In the table below we compare the main specs of the chipsets we included in our review. The technological disadvantage of the GeForce 7025 is pretty clear.

Chipset GeForce 7025 AMD 890GX AMD 880G AMD 785G
GPU Clock 425 MHz 700 MHz 560 MHz 500 MHz
Graphics Processors 4* 40 40 40
Engine GeForce 7025 HD 4290 HD 4250 HD 4200
DirectX 9.0c 10.1 10.1 10.1
PCI Express 1.0 2.0 2.0 2.0
South Bridge Chip nForce 630a ** SB850 SB710 *** SB710
USB 2.0 Ports 10 14 12 12
SATA-300 Ports 4 None 6 6
SATA-600 Ports None 6 None None
RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 10 0, 1, 10
ATA-133 Ports 1 (2 devices) 1 (2 devices) 1 (2 devices) 1 (2 devices)

* Two pixel shaders and two vertex shaders.

** GeForce 7025 is a single-chip solution and the south bridge chip is embedded inside the north bridge chip.

*** Some motherboards based on the AMD 880G chipset are paired with the SB850 south bridge chip.

Another thing you must have in mind is that the GeForce 7025 does not support PureVideo, which is the name given by NVIDIA to their set of 2D enhancements, like video de-interlacing (only supported on the GeForce 7050). The chipsets from AMD listed above all have the equivalent of PureVideo, called Avivo.

Before going to our tests, let’s take an in-depth look at the ASRock N68C-S UCC motherboard.