things that shouldn’t exist

ASRock aren’t the best known company in the world, but their products are common enough. They’re basically the budget arm of ASUS, who make great boards. Wikipedia would like to point out they put expensive features like WiFi and long-life caps on pretty cheap boards.

I like them for a different reason entirely: they make some of the coolest shit I’ve ever seen.

The first PC I put together from parts had an Athlon XP on an ASRock K7VM2. It had four slots for RAM – two of them were for SDRAM, the other two took DDR. It was a neat halfway point, and I got full value out of it (DDR1 was, and still is, annoyingly expensive). It never worked quite right – onboard video was hilariously crap if you only had SDRAM – but it lasted a good few years, and turned out to be an alright buy in the end.

The P4 Combo takes things further: It has two CPU sockets, one 478 and one 775. It’s not quite a dual CPU board, as you can only use one at a time, so it’s obvious it’s marketed at people who already had a decent Pentium 4 and were half-ready to upgrade to something newer.

Which is weird, because it only had slots for DDR1 RAM, and doesn’t support Intel’s Core CPUs, so your upgrade path was basically to another slightly faster P4. You were also stuck with AGP video cards; if you wanted PCI Express you’d be replacing the board again. You’d better be in love with that 7600GS.

This one takes the cake though.

At first glance, the K8Upgrade-VM800 (mouthful!) doesn’t look weird. Two DDR slots, socket 754 for the original Athlon 64s or a Sempron, one AMR slot, two PCI slots, two AGP slots, and-

Wait. What?

The yellow one doesn’t line up with AGP cards. What it does line up with, is… well. Remember slotkets?

This is the AM2CPU. It fits in a Future CPU Port, and is the most awesome looking thing ever. It’s like concept art of an IXS server or something.

Useless but beautiful, the way art should be.

(Images obviously copyright ASRock.)

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