We decided to go with an Asrock board because, quite simply, it was all I could find on short notice. We met with Intel at CES and they sent us a CPU shortly after and all of the manufacturers we deal with were still busy from CES so I picked up the only board I could get on short notice the Asrock H55M; a micro ATX board with some serious potential. We decided on Crucial ram because Crucial has always been good to us and the ram has never failed me, needless to say it was a no brainer when choosing which ram kit I was going to go with. Let’s get a closer look at the mobo and ram:
Provided by: Crucial
Price: 2GB Kit $72.99
Price: Asrock H55M $104.99
Crucial PC3 – 16000 Ballistix DDR3 Memory:
Specifications and Features:
- Supports Intel® Core™ i7 / i5 / i3 and Pentium® G6950 Processors in LGA1156 Package
- Solid Capacitor for CPU power
- 4 + 1 Power Phase Design
- Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
- Intel® H55 Chipset
- Supports Dual Channel DDR3 2600+(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory, 2 x DIMM slots, Max. capacity up to 8GB
- Intel® HD Graphics, Pixel Shader 4.0, DirectX 10, Max. shared memory 1759MB
- Supports ATI™ CrossFireX™ , Quad CrossFireX™
- 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (at x16 mode), 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (at x4 mode, 2.5GT/s)
- Multi VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI
- Supports HDCP function with DVI and HDMI ports
- Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) / HD-DVD playback
- 4 x SATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug functions
- 2 x Powered eSATAII/USB Connectors
- PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
- 1 x TPM header
- Supports ASRock Instant Boot, Instant Flash, OC DNA, Good Night LED, Multi-Speed Fan Control
- Supports ASRock OC Tuner, Intelligent Energy Saver, Turbo 50
- Combo Cooler Option (C.C.O.)
- EuP Ready
- 7.1 CH HD Audio (VIA® VT1718S Audio Codec with QSound function)
- Supports HDMI Audio with Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio
- Compatible with Windows® 7
- Free Bundle : CyberLink DVD Suite – OEM and Trial; Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi MB – Trial
- I/O Panel: 1 x VGA/D-Sub Port, 1 x VGA/DVI-D Port, 1 x HDMI Port, 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port, 4 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports, 2 x Powered eSATAII/USB Connectors, 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED
Simply click the Turbo 50 button in BIOS, the system performance will boost up to 50% increase by automatically overclocking CPU, Memory, GPU frequency and all related voltage settings!
|OS||Windows® 7 Ultimate RTM|
|CPU||Core i3 530 2.93 GHz|
|RAM||Kingston DDR3-1600 2GB*2|
|VGA||Intel® HD Graphics|
|HDD||Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 250GB|
Turbo 50 Performance Test Result
|H55M Pro / Core i3 530||CPU Frequency||Memory Frequency||GPU Frequency||3DMARK 06||PCMARK Vantage||Super PI|
|Turbo 50 Off||2.93GHz||1333MHz||733MHz||1767||4661||14.485|
|Turbo 50 On||4GHz||1456MHz||867MHz||2665||5453||10.641|
X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity is the new audio technology from Creative which can bring you a new way of experiencing the premium audio quality, music effects than before. By restoring the compressed file details and expanding the music to surround sound, you can enjoy an unprecedented listening experience.
EAX® ADVANCED HD 4.0 comes with its state-of-the-art Multi-Environment rendering and reverb modelling, delivers a much more realistic and immersive 3D gaming experience than your motherboard audio ever will.
X-Fi CMSS-3D technology makes the surrounding sound more precisely. Moreover, it expands your stereo MP3s and digital movies into surround sound even through normal stereo headphones, too. With the accurate voice positioning, the ambient sounds can be presented and moved all around you.
- Module Size: 2GB kit (1GBx2)
- Package: Ballistix 240-pin DIMM
- Feature: DDR3 PC3-16000
- Specs: DDR3 PC3-16000 • 9-9-9-28 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR3-2000 • 2.0V • SLI-Ready • 128Meg x 64 •
What is Ballistix memory?
The Ballistix line is specifically built for performance enthusiasts who want to push the performance envelope without worrying about data loss or corruption, mysterious intermittent errors and display problems, or worse — the dreaded BSOD! The Ballistix line of high-performance memory modules features advanced speed grades, low latencies, and integrated aluminum heat spreaders.
For more information about the Ballistix memory line, please visit the Ballistix section of our Web site.
What is a Ballistix DDR3 240-pin DIMM?
Ballistix 240-pin DIMMs are found in DDR3 memory. DDR3 — the next generation of memory — boasts an improved architecture allowing very fast data transmission. Ballistix 240-pin DIMMs are available in DDR3 PC3-12800 SDRAM (DDR3-1600).
A Ballistix dual inline memory module (DIMM) consists of a number of memory components attached to a black printed circuit board. Gold pins, found on the bottom of the DIMM, provide a connection between the module and a socket on a larger printed circuit board. The pins on the front and back of a DIMM are not connected to each other.
To use DDR3, your system motherboard must have 240-pin DIMM slots and a chipset that supports DDR3 — which is a different technology than that of than its predecessors, DDR2 and DDR. DDR3 incorporates different sockets; they are not interchangeable or backward-compatible. (Information about which memory technology your system uses is included in the Crucial Memory Advisor™ tool.)
The number of black components on a Ballistix 240-pin DIMM can vary, but it always has 120 pins on the front and 120 pins on the back, for a total of 240. Ballistix 240-pin DIMMs are approximately 5.25 inches long and 1.18 inches high, though the heights can vary. These 240-pin DDR3 DIMMs have only one notch within the row of pins, and each technology has the notch in a slightly different location on the module.
- Intel Core i5 – 661 Clarkdale CPU
- Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler
- Asrock H55M mATX Motherboard
- Crucial DDR3 PC3 16000 2 x 1 GB
- Cooler Master GX 750W PSU
- Cooler Master CM 690 II PC Chassis
- Seagate 1TB HDD
- Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Edition
I will be doing future Reviews and round ups of each of these products against other products in their class but for now I will say this:
As far as mATX motherboards go the H55M has the most tweaking options I have ever seen. I was completely impressed with the performance of the board and the abilities of the bios. The boards performance was far beyond what I have seen in the past from Asrock. In the single core days, if you had asked me what I thought of Asrock boards, it would probably make you blush, but seeing what I have in this board I have completely changed my tune in regards to Asrock. If they keep making boards like this I may have to switch from the big boys permanently.
Would I recommend the Asrock H55M? Yes, if you are looking for a board with a wide open bios and great gaming potential then this is the best gaming/Media board I have used in a long time.
- Easy Overclocking Function
- Lots of Tweaking Options
- Multiple OC Profiles
- Great Performance
- Great Expansion for mATX
- HDMI Port
- 7.1 Surround Sound with Digital Output
- X-fi Compatible
- Great Included Software
- Only 1 Channel for Ram
- I am Getting Picky but I Would Like to See On-Board Power and Reset
Crucial Ballistix PC3 – 16000 DDR3:
Crucial has always made a great product and the DDR3 Ballistix series is no different. I ran in to a few problems trying to get the ram to 2000 but that has to do more so with my clock ratios than the rams abilities. I did get the ram up to 1760 for the sake of the overclock I did on the CPU to test the Full potential of the CPU. The H55M chipset was originally designed for 1333 so getting performance increases from getting up to 1766 were definitely prevalent during testing. The Asrock board has the ability to go up to 2600+ frequencies on the ram but due to the time constraints of this review I wasn’t able to push the ram. I will get the ram to its full potentially as soon as I get the chance I will post more number for you guys but for now I will say this: for $72.99 worth of ram this ram gave me more than its monies worth during testing the bandwidths it achieved were impressive to say the least.
Would I recommend the Crucial Ballistix PC3 – 16000 DDR3 Ram Modules? Yes, for sheer bang for buck along besides the incredible performance the Crucial Ballistix series of ram is fantastic across the board.
- Great Performance
- Heat Spreaders
- They Look Great
- High Voltage Tolerance
- Great Timings to Frequency Ratio
- Like to see the 16000 series come in 2GB x 3 Sets but the Technology isn’t There yet