X79 Motherboard Roundup: ASRock, ASUS, Gigabyte
The board supports the new socket LGA 2011 Intel CPUs and provides 12+2 Digi Power power phase, up to 64GB of DDR3-2400MHz (OC) system memory, and plenty of expansions options. You can run up to 4-way SLI or CrossFireX with x8 connections. There’s also a PCI-E x1 slot, a pair of PCI slots, and note that three of the x16 slots are PCI-E 3.0 capable (though Intel hasn't specifically validated the platform yet).
ASRock X79 Extreme6/GB
|Supports Intel Core i7 processor family for the LGA 2011 Socket
Digi Power Design
12 + 2 Power Phase Design
Supports Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology, Hyper-Threading Technology, Untied Overclocking Technology
Quad Channel DDR3 memory technology
8 x DDR3 DIMM slots
Supports DDR3 2400+(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
Supports DDR3 ECC, un-buffered memory with Intel Workstation 1S Xeon processors E5 16xx/26xx/46xx series in socket LGA 2011
Max. capacity of system memory: 64GB
Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3 / 1.2
ASRock Game Blaster Audio
Creative Sound Core3D quad-core sound and voice processor
Supports THX TruStudio PRO, CrystalVoice, EAX1.0 to EAX5.0 Onboard Audio, THX TruStudio, Premium Blu-ray
7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC898 Audio Codec)
PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
Supports Wake-On-LAN, Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az, Dual LAN with Teaming function with the bundled ASRock Game Blaster, PXE
3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (PCIE1 @ x16 mode; PCIE3 @ x16 mode; PCIE4 @ x8 mode)
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot
2 x PCI slots
Supports AMD Quad, 3-Way, and CrossFireX
Supports NVIDIA Quad, 3-Way, and SLI
2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by Intel X79, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10 and Intel Rapid Storage 3.0), NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions
3 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by ASMedia ASM1061, support NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions
4 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by TI, support USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
1 x Front USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) by ASMedia ASM1042, supports USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
Power Switch with LED, Reset Switch with LED, Clear CMOS Switch with LED
ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm
There are five SATA 6Gb/s ports via the chipset and an ASMedia USB 3.0 chip, as well as four SATA 3Gb/s ports. Four USB 3.0 ports dot the back panel, while internal headers offer up another two, as well as six USB 2.0 ports. The motherboard itself has power and reset buttons, a Dr. Debug LED and a Clear CMOS button conveniently located on the back panel.
Other ports and connectors include eSATA3, seven audio jacks, FireWire, LAN, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, coaxial and optical S/PDIF outs, and an IR header.
There are plenty of extras in the box, including 2- and 3-way SLI bridges, a handful of SATA cables and screws, and a front USB 3.0 panel, but ASRock also included a Game Blaster. The palm-sized Game Blaster pops into a PCI-E x1 slot and has four mini jacks, a LAN port, optical and coaxial S/PDIF, and front panel audio and HDMI/S/PDIF headers on the back. In addition to providing Creative Sound Core3D 7.1 HD sound, the Game Blaster supports LAN teaming when used with the onboard LAN port.
ASRock bundled a lot of tools and utilities in the X79 Extreme6/GB, including Instant Boot, Instant Flash, APP Charger, SmartView, and Crashless BIOS, and of course, there’s the X family of tools (XFast LAN, XFast RAM, and XFast USB) that let you easily optimize the performance of each.
Overclockers have some toys to play with, too. The board includes the ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility, X-FAN (a fan over the southbridge that automatically kicks on only when needed), and Hybrid Booster, which is a suite of utilities designed to prevent you from overclocking your system to death.