ASRock ALiveXFire-eSATA2

ASRock ALiveXFire-eSATA2
  • ASRock ALiveXFire-eSATA2
  • ASRock ALiveXFire-eSATA2
  • ASRock ALiveXFire-eSATA2
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Inexpensive, 2 x eSATA ports, compact size makes it suitable for a cramped case.

Cons

  • Each full-size PCIe slot only runs in x8 mode, requires a PCIe Switch Card to run a full-size PCIe x16 slot, not enough supplied USB ports.

Bottom Line

Even though this board is inexpensive and has two eSATA ports, it's still quite limited. It doesn't have a dedicated PCIe x16 graphics slot, or USB 2.0 ports attached. Consider this board only if you're on a tight budget and if you're not going to be using a lot of expansion cards and USB devices.

Would you buy this?

Special Offers

The ASRock ALiveXFire-eSATA2 AMD-based board is inexpensive, and while it does have a limited supply of expansion options, it comes with some cool features, namely eSATA and ATI CrossFire support.

The board is based on the AMD 480X CrossFire chipset and installing it under Windows Vista was a cinch. We didn't even have to use the supplied driver CD as Vista detected all of the hardware components and installed them automatically. We only had to install our graphics card driver in order to get our system fully functional.

The board's AM2 CPU socket supports AMD Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 and Sempron processors. For our tests, we used an AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ CPU, 1GB of DDR2 800MHz RAM, a 150GB Western Digital Raptor hard drive and a GeForce 7600GT-based graphics card.

In WorldBench 6, the board recorded a score of 78, which is exactly what we were expecting, while 53min worth of WAV files took 1min 48sec to encode using Cdex. This indicates that the board isn't holding back the CPU at all. If you want more speed, the board's BIOS will allow you to tinker with the front side bus speed to get a higher CPU frequency. In 3DMark06, the 7600GT-based card scored 3076, which indicates reliability.

The board's layout is a little perplexing. It has two full-size PCIe slots, but both of them are only PCIe x8 slots. ASRock supplies a "PCIe Switch Card", which needs to be installed in the first PCIe slot in order to redirect its eight lanes down to the second slot. This needs to be done so that a single graphics card can run in PCIe x16 mode. PCIe x16 mode is necessary if you want to reap the performance benefits of high resolution and high detail games, using a single high-end graphics card, but either slot will run a graphics card just fine in x8 mode. In a dual-card CrossFire configuration, the "PCIe Switch Card" needs to be removed so that both graphics cards can be installed.

The "PCIe Switch Card" inhibits the board's expansion possibilities as it leaves only one PCIe x1 slot open when PCIe x16 mode is enabled on the other PCIe slots. The board already suffers from a shortage of fixed USB 2.0 ports (there are only two on the rear panel, and two available via an expansion bracket but there are four internal pin-headers) and lacks FireWire, so it's not the best board if you want to use a lot of expansion cards and peripheral devices.

As for the rest of the board's layout, we didn't have any problems installing our CPU or memory, there was adequate clearance around these slots, and the 20-pin power connector is located in a position that allows a 24-pin power cable to be installed. This is good news for newer power supplies as it means you won't have to purchase a 24-20-pin adapter cable.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?