We have reviewed many ASRock motherboards recently and have been very impressed with their user interface and overclocking options. The bios with this HM55-MXM motherboard is surprisingly detailed and they have included pre configured overclocking options, up to 3ghz.
We aren’t sure that a sizable portion of this potential audience will want to run this system with such a high overclock, but we found that all of the CPU settings were stable, even to 3ghz.
Dont take my word for it however, validation is available for 3ghz over here. CPU temperature did rise a little and the fan system was working harder, so I would feel that many would be running this at reference speeds. In such a confined chassis design it does make more sense to run at reference speeds for long term peace of mind. We did notice some CPU throttling at 3ghz.
Below are a selection of screens showing some of the many options within the bios.
It would be remiss of us to omit some of the applications that ASRock are bundling and while we have no interest in the ASRock AiWi (which allows you to turn your iPhone into a Gamejoystick), we were extremely curious when reading about the ‘ASRock App Charger’.
This is a driver based software package that apparently ‘makes your iPhone charge up to 40% faster than before’. ASRock App Charger supports continuous charging when the PC enters Standby mode (S1), Suspend to RAM (S3), hibernation mode (S4) or power off (S5). The App Charger technology has been fully applied on ASRock Full series motherboards.
Those of you who have an Apple iPad will know that very few, if any, computer based USB ports send enough current to charge the iPad at the same rate as the plug adapter. The iPad will often say ‘not charging’ and it is a technical issue that Apple themselves have even addressed. Even expensive motherboards I have used do not deliver the full current and it can often mean that the iPad will charge at half the speed, or not at all if you are using it at the same time.
We charged the iPad three times from a 20% reading, until it registered as fully charged.
The results were not surprisingly identical to the AsRock ION3D that we reviewed a while ago. These ASRock systems are fantastic systems for charging media devices, giving the same recharge times as a power socket.
Obviously as you have to install your own operating system, it can be configured to your personal tastes. ASRock do supply a media disc that has an automated ‘install’ option, with al required drivers, software and utilities on the disc. The system restarts about 10 times during this process and when it is finished you are left with this software installed (image below).
All the necessary drivers and utilities are installed, yet it is still relatively clean. We would personally deinstall the Norton software and opt for something with a lower overhead, such as AVG free or AVAST, but this is down to personal taste.
The Windows Experience Index is a good starting point to get an overall ‘view’ of the hardware installed and the ASRock Vision 3D system appears to be well balanced. Obviously this is only used as a guide, our testing on the next pages will give more detailed analysis of performance across a wide variety of uses.