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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

Circuit Analysis




This section will start off with a look at power regulation and then shift into general circuit selection and implementation.


At first glance, this board is pretty intimidating to analyze, however, it's simpler than it looks. I want to mention that this board uses either POSCAPs or 12K solid capacitors which is higher than what any other manufacturer uses at this moment.



CPU Regulator Analysis




This VRM is made up of 12 phases (6 from the PWM doubled to 12), and it is a very high quality and high energy density VRM. Each of those chokes is rated for 60A and ASRock is going all out with POSCAPs for the output capacitors for all the high-end electronics on this board. There are a total of 14x 330uF tantalum based POSCAPs for 4620uF of total output capacitance.




An Intersil ISL6379 PWM is being used, it supplies 6 phases. This is one of Intersil's latest PWMs, and should prove to perform well. Each phase consists of one dual-pack MOSFET, a Fairchild FDMS3668S which consists of one high-side and one low-side MOSFET. They should be able to output around 40-60A each depending on conditions, however, I doubt you will ever see 12 phases pushing that much current, not even a 5960X uses that much power.




On the backside there are six ISL6611A's which are doublers with dual drivers.



Memory Regulator Analysis




The X99 WS-E/10G uses two ISL6379, one for each set of DIMMs. The DRAM voltage rail is provided by the same power MOSFETs as the CPU VRM, with two phases for each set of DIMMs.



General Circuit Analysis




This is the Intel X540 dual 10Gbit NIC. ASRock provides it 8x PCI-E 3.0 from the CPU and routes the remaining 32x to the dual PEX8747. A chip like this needs power and its power comes from that little VRM below it which uses a Richtek PWM with Sinopower and Fairchild MOSFETs.




Next up are a pair of PEX8747 each with a TDP of 8W, they are hot running chips. Each of these has its own VRM consisting of all those MOSFETs and inductors right below the pair of PEX8747 in this picture. Extra clock generators are also needed and you can spot them in the left-hand side of the image.




Dual Intel WGI210AT provide two 1Gbit NICs, I would usually be impressed to see these, but they can't steal the limelight from the dual 10G X540.




ASRock's Purity Sound 2 uses an ALC1150 with two Texas Instruments N5532 amplifiers. One amplifier is for the back panel IO the other for the front. The Nichicon fine gold capacitors are also a nice touch. The PCB isolation is very important as there is probably a ton of digital noise form all those extra NICs and PLX chips.




The ASMedia ASM1074 is a 4 port USB 3.0 hub that provides all the backpanel USB 3.0. The Marvell SE9172 provides two SATA 6G ports located at the top of the SATA port stack.




These ASMedia ASM1456 are SATA 6G switches to switch around SATA bandwidth and the PCI-E switches are used to switch around M.2 bandwidth or PCI-E bandwidth. This is possibly one of the only X99 ASRock boards not to feature 4x PCI-E 3.0, instead it offers 4x PCI-E 2.0, which isn't bad either.




The nuvoTon NCT6791D is the SuperIO used on this board, it is in charge of all fan, voltage, and temperature monitoring. Extra nuvoTon 3941S chips can be found all over the board near fan headers to provide voltage mode fan control (which is actually harder than PWM mode to implement).

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