board ASRock X79 Extreme4 Review

Today we take a look at one of ASRock's entry level X79 boards, the X79 Extreme4. Not only is this board reasonably priced, but also carries many of the features of more expensive boards. Follow us as we take a look at the Extreme4 and its many extremities. 

scoekt ASRock X79 Extreme4 Review

ASRock is well known for making entry level motherboards at a cheap price, however recently they have started to turn their wheels into the enthusiast market segment, and for that they have adopted nicer styling such as the gold and black theme as well as added features enthusiasts want. We recently took a look at their Z68 Extreme7 Gen3, one of their highest end products, but with the launch of the X79 platform ASRock decided to go even higher to an Extreme9 and Extreme11, however today we will look at a board which is much more affordable, the X79 Extreme4. Like always I will take an in-depth look at the hardware and then the performance of that hardware through different benchmarks. Then we can see how the Extreme4 stacks up to high-end boards such as the X79-UD7 and BigBang X-Power2. So buckle up and get ready for the ride. 

 ASRock X79 Extreme4 Review

The X79 chipset has all the goodies one could ever imagine, except for a few things. First off it is missing USB 3.0, something we hope to see with Intel's Z77 chipset. Second it is missing all of those additional SAS or SATA6GB/s ports we saw on earlier X79 prototypes. That was a lot of SATA/SAS ports and now we have none of it, so we basically have a redo of the Z68 chipset just without SSD Caching and iGPU support.

What is more interesting about the LGA2011 platform is what is the CPU has in store for us. Even though the current LGA2011 CPU's lack virtualization and PCI-E 3.0 certification, they still have many features. Quad channel memory controller with supreme overclocking abilities is a plus as is PCI-E 3.0 which can't be claimed until the second stepping gets PCI-SIG certification. We seem to take for granted the 40 PCI-E lanes and native Quad SLI/CF support. With LGA2011 we have Intel moving back to satisfy the overclocker, of course not how we would like, but BLCK straps are nothing to push to the side. 

Specifications:

 
 

MSI X79 BigBang X-Power II 

CPU Support

- Supports Intel® Core™ i7 processor family for the LGA 2011 Socket

- Digi Power Design

- Advanced 6 + 2 Power Phase Design

- Supports Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology

- Supports Hyper-Threading Technology

- Supports Untied Overclocking Technology

Chipset

Intel X79 Express

Memory

- Quad Channel DDR3 memory technology

- 4 x DDR3 DIMM slots

- Supports DDR3 2400+(OC)/1600/1333/1066/800 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: 32GB*

- Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3 / 1.2

Multi-GPU Support

- Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX™ , 3-Way CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™

- Supports NVIDIA® Quad SLI™ , 3-Way SLI™ and SLI™

Expansion Slots

- 3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (PCIE1 @ x16 mode; PCIE3 @ x16 mode; PCIE4 @ x8 mode)

- 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots

- 2 x PCI slots

Storage

- 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

LAN

- 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

Audio

- 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC898 Audio Codec)

- Premium Blu-ray audio support

- Supports THX TruStudio™

USB

- 2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by ASMedia ASM1042, 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

FireWire

N/A

Back Panel I/O Ports

I/O Panel

- 1 x PS/2 Mouse Port

- 1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port

- 1 x Coaxial SPDIF Out Port

- 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port

- 6 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports

- 1 x eSATA3 Connector

- 2 x Ready-to-Use USB 3.0 Ports

- 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)

- 1 x IEEE 1394 Port

- 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED

- HD Audio Jack: Side Speaker / Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone

Internal I/O Connectors

- 4 x SATA2 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10 and Intel® Rapid Storage 3.0), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug functions

- 5 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors

- 1 x IR header

- 1 x CIR header

- 1 x COM port header

- 1 x HDMI_SPDIF header

- 1 x IEEE 1394 header

- 1 x Power LED header

- CPU/Chassis/Power/SB FAN connector

- 24 pin ATX power connector

- 8 pin 12V power connector

- SLI/XFire power connector

- Front panel audio connector

- 3 x USB 2.0 headers (support 6 USB 2.0 ports)

- 1 x USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports)

- 1 x Dr. Debug with LED

Form Factor

- ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm