ASRock X79 Extreme9 Motherboard ReviewMon, Feb 13, 2012 - 12:00 AM
ASRock X79 Extreme9 Motherboard Layout
The ASRock X79 Extreme9 is a sharp looking motherboard. The ASRock X79 Extreme9 features a black PCB with black expansion slots and DIMM slots. The heatsink assemblies are black with silver accents and gold writing; this adds a nice contrast to the black PCB.
The ASRock X79 Extreme9 features eight DIMM slots for DDR3 RAM. It will support memory up to 2400MHz and a total of 64Gb of memory in quad channel configuration. Along the right side of the DIMM slots we can see a pair of fan headers (1 CPU 4pin, and a 3pin system fan). Just below the DIMM slots is the 24 pin motherboard power plug.
Swinging the ASRock X79 Extreme9 around, we can see that there is a grand total of twelve SATA ports. The six on the right side are controlled by the Intel X79 Express chipset, the four black SATA ports are SATA II 3Gbps while the two gray are the Intel X79 SATA III 6Gbps ports. The remaining six SATA ports are also SATA III 6Gbps, the four on the right are controlled by a Marvell SE9172 while the remaining two SATA ports on the end are controlled by a Marvell SE9220. To the right of the SATA ports we can see a pair of internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 headers, both are controlled by two separate Texas Instruments TUSB7340 controller chips. Behind the SATA ports we have the ASRock Dr. Debug LED. Along the left edge of the ASRock X79 Extreme9 we can see three sets of fan headers, two 3pin chassis fan headers (one below the reset button and one to the right of it), and one 4pin chassis fan header. Running our eyes up the edge we can see the onboard power and reset switches. Beyond the onboard buttons we can see the front panel header, followed by a pair of internal USB 2.0 headers. The Intel X79 Express chipset is kept cool by an actively cooled heatsink.
Spinning the ASRock X79 Extreme9 we can take a look at the expansion slots. The ASRock X79 Extreme9 features five PCIe x16 slots and will support 3-way SLI and 3-way CrossfireX. The first four PCIe slots will run at x8,x8,x8,x8 or at x16,x0,x16,x0. The fifth PCIe x16 slot is strictly an x8 PCIe x16 slot. Along the edge of the ASRock X79 Extreme9, we can pick up where we left off above. Beyond the internal USB 2.0 ports and the capacitor we have another internal USB 2.0 header as well as the consumer infrared header, an infrared module header, clear CMOS pins, COM port header, and an internal IEEE1394a (Firewire) header. Along the leading edge of the ASRock X79 Extreme9 we can take a look at a couple of the integrated chips. The first IC on the right edge is a VIA VT6315N; next up we have a PLX PEX8605 PCIe GEN 2 controller and a nuvoton NCT6776F super I/O controller. To the left of the PCIe x16 slots we have a single four pin molex power plug to supply additional power to the expansion slots when running multiple graphics cards.
The I/O panel of the ASRock X79 Extreme9 features the usual suspects. There is a grand total of ten USB ports, four of which are SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, while the remaining six are USB 2.0. There is also a pair of eSATA 3 ports, a single PS/2 keyboard port, a clear CMOS button, and an RJ45 Gigabit LAN port.
We mentioned above that the ASRock X79 Extreme9 features 8 DIMM slots, but we only showed four. Here we can see all eight DIMM slots, four on either side of the Intel LGA2011 socket. The ASRock X79 Extreme9 also features a pair of eight pin CPU power plugs.