ASRock X79 Extreme9 Motherboard ReviewMon, Feb 13, 2012 - 12:00 AM
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The ASRock X79 Extreme9 ultimately was a pleasure to work with. The beauty of it was that it just worked, and it worked extremely well during our testing today. When I first started out reviewing motherboards, I didn’t have any experience with ASRock. Everyone has the friend of a friend that has had problems with any given brand. Doesn’t seem to matter if it is ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI or any other, there is always somebody with a poor experience with a product from them. Unfortunately, this was my only association with ASRock. Since I have started reviewing motherboards, I have had the opportunity to play with a handful of ASRock motherboards, six of them in total (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Every time that I have had an ASRock motherboard on the Legit Reviews test bench I have been pleased with the performance and features of each respective motherboard.
The ASRock X79 Extreme9 didn’t fail to live up to the expectations set by the previous boards that we have looked at. For the most part the ASRock X79 Extreme9 was one of the top contenders in our tests today. There was really only one area that we were not impressed with, but we will touch on that further down. There isn’t much performance variance between our boards, though; for the most part if we see anything more that 1-2% difference we are a little shocked. One area that we seem to struggle with on some boards is overclocking. Not every motherboard is created equal in this area. We have been able to push our Intel Core i7 3960X as high as 4.9GHz on some boards, and have been limited to only 4.6GHz on others. Today, we weren’t able to get as high as we have been in the past, but we were closer to our high than we were to our low point!
During our time with the ASRock X79 Extreme9 we only had a few hours to spend overclocking. Unfortunately, that really isn’t enough time to really get to know the ins and outs of the ASRock X79 Extreme9 when it comes to overclocking. It is enough time to get a pretty solid idea of the capabilities, though. With the little time that we had, we were able to push our Intel Core i7 3960X to 4.8GHz! Once we overcame the little issue with the LoadLine Calibration that we ran into (mostly an id10t error) we were able to hit 4.8GHz with no problem at all. Most of our time was spent trying to achieve stability at 4.9GHz; unfortunately, we weren’t able to achieve that. At least not with air cooling and a 1.5V limit that I’ve set for the chip on air cooling.
The only aspect of the ASRock X79 Extreme9 that we were somewhat disappointed in was the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 speeds. The ASRock X79 Extreme9 uses a Texas Instruments TUSB7340 controller chip. We first ran across this particular SuperSpeed USB 3.0 controller on the ECS X79R-AX and we weren’t happy with the performance there, either. The average write speeds in both CrystalDiskMark and HD Tune 4.61 were more than 100MB/s slower than the ASUS Rampage IV Extreme which uses the ASMedia ASM1042 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 controller. Though in all fairness, our test is designed to show the difference between the controllers. If we weren’t using the Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD and were using a traditional hard drive, the results would probably be much closer.
The ASRock X79 Extreme9 is currently retailing for $344.99 plus shipping. This is not exactly a motherboard for those on a budget. If you are on a budget ASRock has seven different Intel X79 Express chipset motherboards for you to choose from.
- ASRock X79 Extreme9 – $345
- ASRock X79 Extreme7 – $260
- ASRock X79 Extreme6/GB – $280
- ASRock X79 Extreme6 – $250
- ASRock X79 Extreme4 – $215
- ASRock X79 Extreme4-M – $219
- ASRock X79 Extreme3 – $215
Each of the ASRock X79 motherboards comes loaded with different features, and without a doubt you can find one that will fit your specific needs and price. One thing remains consistent with each of them. ASRock backs their motherboards with a one year warranty in case of an issue.
Legit Bottom Line: The ASRock X79 Extreme9 Intel X79 motherboard was a great board to work with! The ASRock X79 Extreme9 performed great, is an extremely easy motherboard to overclock, and has the features needed to be a solid competitor for your money. The ASRock X79 Extreme9 should be on your short list when looking for an Intel X79 LGA2011 motherboard!