If you have ever used Super Speed USB3.0 you already know how conveniently fast it is. Although, to date there has been a single drawback. That drawback is Super Speed USB3 has only been found on the rear I/O panel of newer motherboards. There are a few cases out there, like the ThermalTake Armor A60, that have a cable that will plug into the rear I/O panel USB3 ports to bring USB3 ports to the front of the case. Unfortunately, cases that feature this are not as common as one might hope, and the cases that do have this feature may not be a style that everyone likes. Insteps is a comparatively small company with what I believe is a groundbreaking new feature and the first to make it to market. ASRock has now released four new motherboards that will supply you with an additional two Super Speed USB3 ports on the front of your machine.
At the time of this writing ASRock is the only manufacturer to offer an onboard header for Super Speed USB3. The four motherboards that ASRock has included front panel Super Speed USB3 on are the 890FX Deluxe4, the 890GX Extreme4, X58 Extreme6 and the P55 Extreme4. These four motherboards from ASRock have an on board header and a free bundle that includes a 3.5″ bracket with a pair of Super Speed USB3 ports.
Today we are fortunate enough to have two of these motherboards on hand to put through the paces. The first board that we are going to look at today is the ASRock 890GX Extreme4. A few short months back we took a look at the ASRock 890GX Extreme3. I was impressed with the performance of the ASRock 890GX Extreme3, especially considering that it was priced below the competition. The ASRock 890GX Extreme4 is priced a little bit higher, but it is sitting pretty at $139.99 plus $2.99 shipping which is a decent price, especially if you take into consideration that it is the only AMD 890GX motherboard that is offering front panel Super Speed USB3.
The second motherboard that we are going to look at today is the ASRock 890FX Deluxe4. The ASRock 890FX Deluxe4 also offers front panel Super Speed USB3 technology and is based on the AMD 890FX chipset. The ASRock 890FX Deluxe4 is aimed at those looking for the best performance out of a CrossfireX set-up, as it will run dual AMD graphics cards at the full PCIe x16 bandwidth. The ASRock 890FX Deluxe4 is priced at $159.99 plus $2.99 shipping. This low price makes the ASRock 890FX Deluxe4 the second least expensive AMD 890FX chipset motherboard, second only to its predecessor, the ASRock 890FX Deluxe3.
|Motherboard||ASRock 890FX Deluxe4||ASRock 890GX Extreme4|
|BIOS||8Mb AMI Legal BIOS
– Supports “Plug and Play”
– ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
– Supports jumperfree
– SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
– CPU, VCCM, NB, SB Voltage Multi-adjustment
|Audio, Video and Networking|
|Audio||7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec)
– Premium Blu-ray audio support
– Supports THX TruStudio Pro
|LAN||PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
– Realtek RTL8111E
– Supports Wake-On-LAN
– Supports LAN Cable Detection
– Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
|Expansion / Connectivity|
The above chart shows the primary differences between our two boards today. The first of the differences is the chipset. The ASRock 890GX Extreme4 is based around AMD’s 890GX chipset, which has integrated video based on the Radeon HD 4290 and is limited to 16 PCIE lanes. The ASRock 890FX Deluxe4 is based on the AMD 890FX chipset (I know, feel free to call me Captain Obvious), which is lacking in the onboard graphics department and has 32 PCIE lanes. There are several other differences, like the number of SATA3 ports and varying expansion ports, but we will be covering those in the coming pages. I know we are all dying to get to the performance of the ASRock 890GX Extreme4 and the ASRock 890FX Deluxe4, but first let’s take a look at the retail packaging and bundles that come with our boards.