Asrock X79 Extreme4 & X79 Extreme4-M
Posted on: 03/26/2012 10:54 AM
Today we are checking out a pair of Asrock X79 motherboards designed to provide users with an affordable option for this high-end platform. Although they are affordable, the X79 Extreme4 and X79 Extreme4-M are not light on features, offering much of the same gear found on the more expensive LGA2011 boards...
Those wanting to build the ultimate performance system will naturally turn to Intelís new LGA2011 platform which made its debut with the Sandy Bridge-E processors back in November of 2011. This highly refined architecture takes the original Sandy Bridge design and pumps it full of steroids, while adding a few new things. Moreover, the platform is expected to support enthusiast-level Ivy Bridge processors that are slated for release by the end of 2012, adding to the platform's longevity.
The current series' flagship CPU known as the Core i7-3960X boasts a massive 15MB L3 cache and six cores clocked at 3.3GHz. As we found on our review last November, the i7-3960X is 20-30% faster than the Core i7-2600K, though at $999 it's over 3 times more expensive. As crazy as that price might seem, there are those willing to fork out the dough to purchase the worldís most powerful desktop processor.
There is also a slightly slower and considerably more affordable option. The Core i7-3930K is already selling for $599, and a third alternative, the Core i7-3820 which costs just $320. But if you are after a hexa-core processor with L3 cache to spare, then the Core i7-3930K is going to be the cheapest option for a while.
Still, not everyone jumping on the LGA2011 platform right now requires the power of Intelís six-core processors and for those people the Core i7-3820 is an attractive option. However purchasing a $300~ processor only to spend another $300~ on the motherboard isnít exactly cost effective.
However not all X79 motherboards cost a small fortune and we are now seeing boards that are retailing closer to $200 rather than $400, as they were last year. The problem we found with the grossly overpriced X79 boards was that the cheaper Z68 parts offered considerably more features and this was primarily due to the limited feature set of the X79.
When we first tested the LGA2011 platform, we were shocked by the X79 chipset's lack of features. The X79 fails to differentiate itself from the more affordable Z68 as users still get six SATA ports of which only two are 6Gb/s capable. USB 3.0 support is nowhere to be found, but you get the same 14 USB 2.0 ports as on the Z68.
So then what can Asrock provide for a smidge over $200? Well there is the impressive looking X79 Extreme4 which offers many of the features found on the more expensive boards. However perhaps more noteworthy is the Micro ATX version known as the X79 Extreme4-M which surprisingly doesnít sacrifice much despite measuring just 24.4 cm x 24.4cm...
Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/asrock_x79_extreme4_x79_extreme4_m,1.html)