First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
ASRock's products generally find a sweet spot between price and features and the 939SLI-ESATA2 is no exception, even though it does feature a lesser-known chipset. It's an AMD-based motherboard that uses a ULi chipset instead of an NVIDIA- or VIA-based chipset. ULi was recently acquired by NVIDIA and the particular chipset that this board uses - the ULi M1697 - is quite similar to NVIDIA's own nForce4: it is a single chip solution (it does not have a separate Southbridge and Northbridge). This chipset has support for PCI Express, Serial ATA II (SATA), RAID and 7.1 high-definition audio. The board that we looked at has two PCI Express slots that support SLI.
- Cheap, Simple install
- Nothing of note
This board was stable during testing and surprisingly simple to install. If you're in the market for an affordable Socket-939 solution, this one is well worth considering.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
The ULi chipset is not the only interesting feature of this motherboard: it comes with eSATA and a "Future CPU Port". This port is located just above the first PCI Express slot and it will accommodate a riser card for an AMD AM2 slot, which will facilitate upgrades to the next generation 940-pin Athlon 64 chips. In the meantime, its 939-pin socket will support current Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2 and Athlon 64 FX CPUs.
eSATA is a feature that allows you to plug in SATA drives externally of the PC case, as long as they are in a powered external SATA enclosure.
Setting up this board was a little tedious. We had to go into the BIOS and enable key settings that were disabled by default. Operating system installation on a 74GB Western Digital Raptor drive was smooth and testing with PC WorldBench 5 showed the board to be stable and quite zippy. Driver installation was almost stealth-like, as Windows XP found all necessary chipset drivers.
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GGG Evaluation Team
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
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