I'm a big fan of ASRock boards; they've always hit at an amazing price point, offered some good features and have always been strong in the overclock department. They've not been the strongest, but they've been at a level where considering what you pay, there's some excellent overclocking potential on offer.
The X79 Extreme9 breaks the mold, though, with amazing overclocking performance. Not only that, priced at $344.99 US it comes in cheaper than a good chunk of offerings from both ASUS and GIGABYTE. It would've been nice to see such a feature rich board offer us Quad VGA support; it's nothing too major, though, as the quad video card market continues to be quite limited. Of course, you've also got support for two Dual GPU cards.
ASRock have put together an amazing bundle here as well. Stepping away from that Realtek audio we're used to seeing, we've got a Creative based audio solution included in the box in a really neat looking little PCIe x1 card. Outside of that we've got our USB 3.0 adapter included in the box and all the other regular bits and pieces you'd expect to see.
In the looks department, though, the X79 Extreme9 does well with that very dark color scheme going on throughout the whole board with some silver highlights. Paired up with our H100 and Dominator RAM, you end up with just a mean looking system thanks to that design.
The other massive highlight would have to come in the form of the SATA ports. I know at launch we expected a lot more SATA ports to be present on the X79 chipset. ASRock has offered us a bucket load today via the addition of two extra Marvell controllers, so if you're looking for a board that can house a load of storage, this is one of the best options on the market at the moment thanks to its 12 SATA ports.
The ASRock X79 Extreme9 just simply performs above expectations, and it's not that we don't expect a lot out of a high end ASRock board, but I can tell you now, we didn't expect this.
The X79 Extreme9 shows us that ASRock can compete with the big boys when it comes to building a performance motherboard. The fact they're able to do this at a stronger price point than other companies, though, is what stands out the most. This is just a top offering from ASRock and does a good job of getting us excited about what ASRock will offer us in the future.