As we nudge closer to the highly anticipated X79 / Sandy Bridge-E launch, we're seeing more and more sightings of X79 boards in pretty much complete form. The X79R-AX Black Series from ECS is the latest X79 board to hit the lime light with pictures showing up on the web just recently.
This LGA2011 motherboard gives the full array of features you'd come to expect from this platform, including a strong looking 14-phase VRM setup and kaboodles of connectivity. There are four x16 slots on the board, providing the ability to run 4-way SLI or CrossfireX. Electrically, those slots work in a x16/NC/x16/NC configuration when using just a single card or in 2-way, x16/NC/x8/x8 for 3-way and x8/x8/x8/x8 for 4-way action.
There are a total of 12 internal SATA ports on the board, and two eSATA. Four DDR3 DIMM slots are split with two on either side of the LOTES socket. The board uses some cost-effective TI-made USB 3.0 controllers, with four USB 3.0 ports on the rear and two more available via an internal header. As well as dual Gigabit ethernet, 8-channel Realtek audio and all the other usual formalities, the board is said to ship with further connectivity options thanks to a bundled Bluetooth dongle and what looks like a WiFi N USB adapter.
Helping cater to overclockers as well as gamers, ECS includes a CMOS reset button on the rear I/O, power and reset buttons, as well as a diagnostic numerical display and LEDS all over the board letting you know the status of all the important areas. Further to this, you will be able to manually measure voltages with consolidated measuring points and there is a thermometric strip over the chipset heatsink to let you get a rough analog temp reading. On that note, the chipset and VRM heatsinks get linked using a 6mm-thick heatpipe. No doubt the board also sports that lovely UEFI-type BIOS we've all come to know and love these days.