ASRock P67 Transformer - Small Boon for Upgraders

Launch SRP: S$215

ASRock P67 Transformer

ASRock P67 Transformer

Once the novelty of having the Intel P67 chipset paired with an older Lynnfield-class Core processor wore off, we got down to actually looking at the ASRock P67 Transformer in detail. Like many ASRock products, it's relatively affordable and seems designed for the mainstream market in mind. Compared to the standard P67 implementation, this board came with a JMicron JMB363 controller for the PATA support, along with one additional onboard SATA 3Gbps port and the eSATA port at the back. Perhaps ASRock felt that users who are retaining their older Core processor would also be keeping their PATA drives.

The result is that this board has a few more storage options (including three USB 2.0 headers) than the standard P67 board and we could even see an outline on the PCB where ASRock could have added a floppy connector if it was inclined to do so. Realtek was another familiar name that we noticed often on the board - both audio and the Gigabit LAN chips are from Realtek.

Unlike many P67 boards we have seen, there's only a single PCIe 2.0 graphics slot. Frankly, we don't think many users will care to have multiple graphics cards, especially anyone who may be interested in this ASRock board. It's a logical trade-off, with ASRock going for more PCI slots that are more likely to be utilized. Still, it would have been nice to have had a secondary PEG slot should the user intend to further push their graphics subsystem further.

The P67 chipset comes with four SATA 3Gbps ports and two SATA 6Gbps and the ASRock P67 Transformer does this by the book.

ASRock has added extra storage options, with a PATA option and an internal SATA 3Gbps port. There's also the eSATA port at the rear panel.

This Jmicron JMB363 controller is responsible for the extra SATA and PATA options.

Up to DDR3 2600 is supported on this board, with a maximum total of 16GB of system memory.

Onboard power, reset and a debugging LED are all present. There's also an onboard Clear CMOS jumper to complement the button at the rear panel. Lots of USB 2.0 headers too.

ASRock is not expecting anyone to do SLI/CrossFireX on this board, with only a single PCIe 2.0 x16 slot for a discrete graphics card. You do get up to three PCIe x1 expansion slots though.

EtronTech's USB 3.0 controller is the preferred choice for ASRock.

Fairly minimal passive heatsinks around the socket means that users shouldn't have any trouble with larger CPU coolers.

Here's something that we have seen often from ASRock - dual sets of mounting holes such that users can use either LGA1156 or LGA775 compatible CPU coolers.

Overall, the board quality is decent, with solid capacitors but not the fancy ferrite chokes that are more expensive. Again, it's an indication of the price segment that ASRock is building this board for. Layout was a non-issue and there was sufficient clearance for the onboard connectors and cards. There's also the bonus of having a decent EFI BIOS on this board. For its retail price of S$215, ASRock has got an affordable option for those still clinging onto their Lynnfield processors.

But the question that remains is, would those upgraders be better off not getting such an unorthodox solution? Let's find out in the next few pages whether the chipset is really that important.

The Good
Interesting, unique attempt to address a niche problem
Decent layout with good mix of features
The Bad
Too costly for a niche solution

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