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ASRock X79 Extreme4 Review

The box is that of a typical ASRock board; it is very simple, it looks like it is made of brushed aluminum. 

Accessories are pretty sparce, nothing like the Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 we looked at a while ago. 

  • Manuals and Driver DVD
  • 3-Way SLI Bridge
  • 2-Way Short SLI Bridge
  • 4x Black SATA6GB/s Cables
  • I/O Shield



The board is pretty standard for an X79 board, we have 4-DIMMs which is the same as others in the price range except for the ASUS 8-DIMM standard. We have a tiny fan over the PCH which was practical if the X79 chipset has SAS enabled, but since it is disabled the TDP isn't high enough to warrant active cooling, and thus the fan isn't really needed. We have the ability to run 3-Way SLI on this board and it is nice to see that ASRock provided the bridge for that. The PCB is brown… black I mean, just like MSI and ASUS the mainsteam black PCB used comes up brown when light is shined on it because of the copper traces which seep their copper color through the thin black layer giving the board a brown tint. You can see that where there are not traces it is black, but where there are traces it is brown. However the black slots and the darkened socket color make up for it, as well as the gold painted capacitors which contrast well with the brown. 


Back I/O Panel:

  • PS/2 Keyboard
  • PS/2 Mouse
  • ClearCMOS button
  • S/PDIF Coaxial and Optical
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 6x USB 2.0
  • RJ-45 Ethernet
  • IEEE 1934A
  • eSATA3GB/s(Revision 2.0)
  • 7.1 Audio


The socket has a metallic tint to it. The VRM is 6+2 phases, which might or might not be enough for extreme overclocking the high TDP SB-E CPUs. We see a standard socket layout; there are two capacitors between each set of DIMMs and the socket which is what we like to see, as well as a lot of output capacitors for the VRMs, including the VCCIO VR. You can also spot a MOLEX power connector which is meant for extra PCI-E power if you are OCing your GPUs and want to run 3-Way SLI or CF. The 24-pin ATX connector is located pretty north of its usual spot which might be an issue for the cases with bottom mount PSUs, but is great for cases with the PSU mounted at the top. The 8-Pin is in the usual location, with the latch facing away from the DIMMs. We see a total of 3 fan connectors here, two of them are next to the CPU socket area, however on the same side. 


Here we have the PCH heatsink with the pesky little fan. As fans get smaller their CFM become much lower, it isn't linear with fan size, so a small fan can only push a few CFM, which is almost worthless compared to an 80mm fan. There are a substantial amount of SATA ports, the gray are SATA 6GB/s and the sticker says to use Intel before using the ASMedia ports. The USB 3.0 port and straight angled SATA 6GB/s port are moved north for front panel devices to plug into, which is a great thing to see. There are two fan connectors in this region, as well as the power and reset buttons. The addition of the POST code display is just wonderful for overclockers and for general builders as it lets the user know what is going on at that very moment. 


Here we have 3 PCI-E 16x slots. So below I will list what each operates at. 

  1. PCI-E 3.0 16X @ 16X
  2. PCI-E 2.0 [email protected]
  3. PCI
  4. PCI-E 3.0 [email protected]
  5. PCI
  6. PCI-E 3.0 16Xslot @ operating at 8X always. 
  7. PCI-E 2.0 [email protected]

So the first and second PCI-E 16x slots are wired for 16X at all times, since there are only 40X PCI-E 3.0 lanes from the CPU, the last 16X slot is wired for 8X at all times. That is why the 2-Way SLI connector is so small, because you don't want to run 2-Way in the first and last PCI-E 16X slots because then you would only get 16X/8X instead of 16X/16X. PCI slots are native to the X79 PCH, and the 1X slots all operate at PCI-E 2.0 as that is what the PCH provides. 

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