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ASRock X99 WS-E/10G (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Feb 26, 2015 3:06 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: ASRock

Packaging and the Board

 

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The box is inconspicuous, yet the packaging and the box together provide excellent protection from damage. The board is zip tied into its foam carriage and an anti-static bag is secured.

 

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When it comes to accessories, ASRock typically gives you what you need. Here they provide six SATA 6G cables, an IO shield, an extended 2-way SLI bridge, a 3-way SLI bridge, a 4-way SLI bridge, a nice sticker, a screw for the M.2 slot, and of course a very handy user's manual and driver DVD. It's a good idea to keep that user's manual close while doing a build with this motherboard, as there are just so many ports, its best to make sure you are using the right one.

 

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I have circled the fan headers on the board. There are two PWM header and four voltage mode headers, all of them can be controlled through the UEFI or Windows software. The design of this board is very elegant, and the blue works. The board looks better in person; these pictures don't do it justice. The little fan on the heat sink doesn't make too much noise, but it is pretty much needed to cool those two PEX8747 chips (each at 8W). The back of the board does have some components, mostly power regulation stuff, but nothing to worry about.

 

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This back panel is what this board is all about. It features dual Intel 1Gbit NICs, dual Intel 10Gbit NICs, four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, a clear CMOS button, and a TOSLINK with S/PDIF optical.

 

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While the PCI-E layout might seem complicated, it really isn't. Basically, you can think of it as four slots (starting from the first and skipping every other slot), each of which gets a full 16x of bandwidth. The first three slots can share 8x of their bandwidth with the slot directly below them. So slot 1 can share 8x with slot 2 and both become 8x. Slot 3 can share 8x with slot 4 can both become 8x. The last slot seems to be hardwired for 16x. If you are wondering where I got 64x lanes of PCI-E 3.0 that is simple as well. 32x PCI-E 3.0 lanes from the CPU go to two PEX8747, each chip is capable of turning 16x into 32x, so 32x becomes 64x.

 

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There are a total of 12 SATA ports visible from this angle, some of them are shared some aren't, it's important to look up in the manual what is shared with what, especially if you use SATA Express or an M.2 drive.

 

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ASRock also included some features that could be considered debugging features. The dual BIOS ROMs (with their switch) and the POST Code display can help reduce debugging time in half.

 

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Workstation users don't really have room for a sound card, so ASRock is providing their Purity Sound 2 with Nichicon fine gold capacitors and dual TI amplifiers as well as full PCB isolation.

 

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The VRM is made up of 12 phases, the heat sink is pretty hefty and seems to secure tightly to the phases.

 

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Removing the heat sink reveals excellent contact between the heat sinks and their target heat sources.

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