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ASRock ALiveNF4G-DVI AMD AM2 Motherboard
Company: ASRock
Estimated Street Price: £45
Review By: Byron Hinson


A number of new AM2 based motherboards have hit the scenes since the release of AMD's new socket. It has taken a while, but we are finally seeing some very good boards hit the market now. ASRock themselves have come out with a number of variations of the AM2 boards, this one is based on the old NF6100 (Northbridge) with 410 (Southbridge) chipset. The ALiveNF4G-DVI supports all the basics of AM2, Dual Channel DDR2-800/667/533 with 4 DIMM slots which comes to a max capacity of 8GB. It also comes with 1 PCIe x16, 1 PCIex1 and 2 basic PCI.

The main difference here is that the board ships with the integrated NV44 Graphics DX 9.0 with support for Pixel Shader 3.0, the board also has support for NVIDIA PureVideo ready for accelerating video clips. Finally it has support for 2 SATA II 3.0GB/s which supports Raid 0, 1, JBOD, NCQ and hot plugging features. There is full fast Ethernet and 7.1 Vista Premium level HD Audio thanks to the ALC888 Audio Codec. This means that the board is Windows Vista Premium Certified, something we will be testing full once Vista has gone gold.

CPU - Socket AM2 for AMD Athlon™ 64FX / 64X2 / 64 and Sempron Processors
- AMD LIVE!™ Ready
- Supports AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet Technology
- FSB 1000 MHz (2.0 GT/s)
- Supports Untied Overclocking Technology
- Supports Hyper-Transport Technology
Chipset - Northbridge: NVIDIA® GeForce 6100
- Southbridge: NVIDIA® nForce 410 MCP
Hybrid Booster - CPU Frequency Stepless Control
- ASRock U-COP
- Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)
Memory - Dual Channel DDRII memory technology
- 4 x DDRII DIMM slots
- Supports DDRII800/667/533
- Max. capacity: 8GB
Expansion Slot - 2 x PCI slots
- 1 x PCI Express x16 slot
- 1 x PCI Express x1 slot
Graphics - Integrated NV44 graphics DX9.0 VGA
- Pixel Shader 3.0
- Max. shared memory 128MB
- Dual VGA Output: Support DVI-D and D-Sub ports by independent display controllers
- NVIDIA® PureVideo™ Ready
Audio - Realtek ALC888 7.1 channel CODEC with High Definition Audio
LAN - Realtek PHY RTL8201CL
- Speed: 10/100 Ethernet
- Supports Wake-On-LAN
Connector - 2 x Serial ATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD) and "Hot Plug" functions
- 2 x ATA133 IDE connectors (support 4 x IDE devices)
- 1 x Floppy connector
- 1 x IR header
- 1 x Game header
- 1 x COM Port header
- 1 x HDMI_SPDIF header
- CPU/Chassis FAN connector
- 20 pin ATX power connector
- 4 pin 12V power connector
- CD in header
- Front panel audio connector
- 3 x USB 2.0 headers (support 6 USB 2.0 ports)
Rear Panel I/O ASRock DVI I/O
- 1 x PS/2 Mouse Port
- 1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
- 1 x VGA/D-Sub Port
- 1 x VGA/DVI-D Port
- 1 x Parallel Port (ECP/EPP Support)
- 4 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports (including 2 ports on bundled USB+COM port bracket)
- 1 x RJ-45 Port
- HD Audio Jack: Side Speaker / Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
BIOS Feature - 4Mb AMI BIOS
- AMI Legal BIOS
- Supports "Plug and Play"
- ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
- Supports jumperfree
- SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
Support CD - Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version)
Hardware Monitor - CPU Internal Temperature Sensing
- CPU Ambient Temperature Sensing
- Chassis Temperature Sensing
- CPU Fan Tachometer
- Chassis Fan Tachometer
- CPU Quiet Fan
- Voltage Monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, Vcore
Accessories - Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
- Floppy/ATA 133 cables
- 1 x SATA data cable (optional)
- 1 x SATA 1 to 1 power cable (optional)
- 1 x USB+COM port bracket (optional)
- 1 x HDMI_SPDIF cable (optional)
Form Factor - Micro ATX Form Factor: 9.6-in x 9.6-in, 24.4 cm x 24.4 cm
OS - Microsoft® Windows® 2000 / XP / XP Media Center / XP 64-bit / Vista™ compliant
Certifications - FCC, CE, WHQL

System Setup

The board comes with 2 PCI, 1 PCIex1 and 1 PCIex16 slot for external VGA card. On the top left you would see audio codec ALC888, Realtek Fast Ethernet RTL8201 chip. At the bottom left, you have the 2 SATA II ports and 2 IDE channel supported by the MCP410 chipset. On its left are the USB connectors. On the right hand side are the 4 DIMM slots supporting up to a total of 8GB of memory using DDR2-533/667/800. The back panel consists of PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse, VGA, DVI, 1 LPT, 1 VGA, 2 USB ports, Fast Ethernet and 7.1 channel audio ports.

Benchmarks & Information


ASRock ALiveNF4G-DVI 200
abit FATA1TY AN9 32x 202
ECS KA3 MVP Extreme 200

SiSoft Sandra Memory Tests(Higher Is Better)

ASRock ALiveNF4G-DVI 7435/7497
abit FATA1TY AN9 32x 7640/7692
ECS KA3 MVP Extreme 7654/7687

PCMark 05 (Higher Is Better)

ASRock ALiveNF4G-DVI 5150
abit FATA1TY AN9 32x 5198
ECS KA3 MVP Extreme 5173

Doom 3  - (Higher Is Better)

This test was run in 1600x1200. Of note is that if you used the integrated graphics card on the motherboard the game runs around 15 frames per seconds, not exactly perfect for gaming at this level, but reducing the resolution can bring it to an almost playable rate.

ASRock ALiveNF4G-DVI 74
abit FATA1TY AN9 32x 74.3
ECS KA3 MVP Extreme 73


How It Grades
Installation: 90%
Ease Of Use: 91%
Overclocking: 78%
Features: 85%
Drivers: 93%
Design: 92%
Manual: 85%
Price: 91%
Overall: 90%

OVerall I like the ASRock board, its not too expensive and the fact that it has integrated graphics which reach the standard needed for Windows Vista Premium is a major plus point for those of you out there who do not want a fancy graphics card installed on their system, but would like their operating system to run and look as good as possible.

In overclocking terms, the board has all of the usual options such as CPU multiplier, HT Multpliers, CPU VCore and CLK changes are available, but during some of our basic testing it wasn't quite as stable as some other boards, but in saying that it was in the middle in most tests, probably because the more expensive the board, the better the heatsinks and heatpipe designs are. If you are looking for the perfect starter board for a Windows Vista Media PC, why not give the ASRock ALiveNF4G-DVI a go, its not expensive, it has decent enough graphics, some very good sound and is very stable.

Feel free to comment on the review here.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 90%
Version Reviewed ASRock ALiveNF4G-DVI AMD AM2 Motherboard
Release Date Out Now
The Good Points Easy setup
Good layout
Good number of Bios Updates So Far
Decent on-board graphics and sound
The Bad Points No Firewire
Reviewers PC Setup

AMD Athlon 64 AM2 4000+ Processor
Connect3D X1900 XTX PCI Express Graphics Card
ASRock ALiveNF4G-DVI AMD AM2 Motherboard Socket 939 Motherboard
Creative Labs X-Fi

180 GB Western Digital Hard Drive 7200 RPM, 8mb Cache

Sony 16x DVD-RW

Apple 20" Cinema Display


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