The X48 motherboards we have reviewed up to this point have all used DDR3 memory, but the ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi adds a bit of backwards compatibility for the consumer that may not upgrade their entire system all at once. This motherboard has two DDR2 and four DDR3 slots. Like the ASRock motherboards from a few years back that had both DDR1 and DDR2 slots, the DDR2 and DDR3 slots cannot both be occupied at the same time. Supporting both of these memory standards makes it easier for the consumer to gradually upgrade their system if they are currently using DDR2 memory or decide to go with DDR2 over the costs of DDR3. The DDR2 slots support up to 1066MHz memory while the DDR3 interface can handle speeds up to 1600MHz. Next to the system memory slots is the IDE connector.
Around the Intel ICH9R Southbridge are the six Serial ATA 2.0 connectors, CMOS battery, two USB 2.0 headers, one IEEE-1394a Firewire header, front panel header, and 3-pin fan header. Cooling the ICH9R is a small aluminum heatsink secured via pushpins in opposing corners. The ICH9R provides support for 12 USB 2.0 ports, 6 PCI Express x1 lanes, Gigabit Ethernet, Intel High Definition Audio, Intel Quiet System Technology, 6 serial ATA ports, Intel Matrix Storage Technology, and Intel Turbo Memory.
The expansion slots on the ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi include two PCI Express x16, one PCI Express x1, and three PCI slots. The PCI Express x16 slots are PCI-E 2.0 compliant and this motherboard does support ATI CrossFire Technology. This multi-GPU technology isn't yet supported under Linux but it's coming very soon. Below the bottom-most PCI slot is the FDD connector, for those still using floppy drives.
The Intel X48 Chipset is cooled by a larger aluminum heatsink that's passively cooled. Next to the chipset is the 24-pin ATX power connector. Supported by this chipset and motherboard are the latest Intel Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Quad, and Core 2 Duo processors. This includes 45nm processors and those with a 1600MHz FSB such as the Yorkfield and Wolfdale processors. The CPU socket area is free of any objects that may obstruct the installation of after-market heatsinks or water-blocks, but behind the socket area is the 4/8-pin ATX power connector and two Serial ATA 2.0 ports used for eSATA (External SATA) connectivity.
The I/O panel ports on this ASRock motherboard include two PS/2, one coaxial SPDIF output, one optical SPDIF output, six USB 2.0, two eSATA 2.0, one Gigabit Ethernet, one IEEE-1394a Firewire, and six other audio ports. Some of the ASICs on this motherboard include the VIA VT6308S IEEE-1394, Realtek ALC890B audio codec, and Realtek RTL8111C for its Gigabit Ethernet controller.
The ASRock 802.11g WiFi module connects to the motherboard via a USB 2.0 header. The wireless chipset used is a Realtek RTL8187L.