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ASRock X99 Extreme6/3.1 (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Jun 15, 2015 2:33 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: ASRock

Packaging and the Board

 

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The box advertises the extreme memory support and the other noteworthy features such as dual LAN and the included USB 3.1 card and built-in USB 3.1. The packaging is well done, the board is zip tied into a foam container and there is an antistatic bag covering the board.

 

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Accessories are plenty; 4x SATA6G cables, 2-Way SLI bridge, 3-Way SLI Bridge, USB 3.1 card (A+A), IO Shield, SATA Saver power connectors, screw for M.2, manuals, case badge, and driver DVD.

 

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I have circled the fan headers on the board, there are a total of six headers, two circled in red are 4-pin PWM headers, and four circled in green are 3-pin voltage mode headers. The blue heat sinks are very vibrant and would really go well with a hard-core blue themed build. If you read my review of the X99X Killer, then you might have noticed that the X99 Extreme6/3.1 is basically a blue version of the X99X Killer.

 

The back of the board is pretty bare which is a good thing. You can see the PCB isolation for the audio, the doublers/dual drivers for the CPU VRM, and the low profile socket backing. Since this board is aimed at servers, there are no holes for the CPU socket coolers; make sure not to over-tighten or you can screw into the PCB itself. The pins for the memory DIMMs that you can see on the back are very low profile; this reduces electrical noise and helps with clearance levels for certain chassis.

 

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The back panel IO features a 2x1GBit NIC, 4x USB 3.0 ports, 1x C-Type USB 3.1 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard and mouse, a 7.1 TOSLINK for audio with S/PDIF out, 1x eSATA6G, and a ClearCMOS button.

 

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The PCI-E layout on this motherboard is optimized for performance, while it supports 3-way SLI and CrossFireX, you will lose the last 16x slot if you use the Ultra M.2 slot. The PCI-E layout is electrically wired at 16x/16x/8x in the three full sized 16x slots.

 

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Purity Sound 2 is ASRock's upgraded ALC1150 implementation with high quality Nichicon electrolytic audio capacitors, dual amplifiers, and PCB isolation.

 

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There are 10 SATA6G ports from the PCH. SSATA3_3 shares its bandwidth with the eSATA port on the backpanel and SSATA3_2 shares its bandwidth with the Ultra M.2 slot so it can run SATA based M.2 drives.

 

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Two USB 3.0 front panel headers are located north of the PCH which is great for cable management. There is also an Ultra M.2 slot which gets its bandwidth from the last PCI-E 16x slot, so if you use the Ultra M.2 it will disable PCI-E slot 5. Two BIOS ROMs with a selector which are also located on the board as is a mini PCI-E slot.

 

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It is nice to see basic OC features like power and reset buttons and a POST code display, that POST code display is something I really like to see. The HDD saver allows you to power two SATA based drives through the board, allowing software to disable power to them if needed. The image on the right shows the USB DOM connector which can take an authentication key for high-end workstation software.

 

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ASRock has the socket with the extra pins. They refer to it as X Series OC Socket as it allows for higher cache frequency overclocking and lower required IMC voltages for higher DRAM clocks.

 

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These are the heat sinks, all of them use screws and contact looks great on the VRM and PCH.

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