ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2

The ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 is an Intel-compatible Socket 775 motherboard. It is also known as a “crossover” motherboard, as in it allows you to move to newer/faster/better technology while carrying over some of your older hardware.

The industry has been moving away AGP and DDR and towards PCI Express and DDR2. This board can make the transition easy without spending too much.

Price: ~$66 Shipped (Newegg)

Pros:
* Support for DDR and DDR2 memory.
* Support for single, dual, and quad-core CPUs.
* Support for AGP and PCI Express.
* Realtek “HD” audio with support for 8 speakers.

Cons:
* Limited to 2 Gigs RAM.
* PCI-Express limited to 4x speed.
* Limited overclocking. No VCore adjustment.

I’ve had issues trying to overclock, as there is no option in the BIOS to up the VCore (the CPU’s voltage). I have a 2.0 GHz Dual Core CPU, and the system doesn’t want to boot when I try to get this CPU to 2.5 GHz or faster – even when I know the chip is able to hit 3.0 GHz or more on other boards.

The PCI Express slot will take 16x cards, and in fact I currently have a 16x PCIe GeForce 6800 in mine right now. The speed is set to 4x, which is slightly slower than AGP 8x, but it should be fast enough though for most games.