The ASRock X58 Extreme is a fairly clean board in terms of layout. Granted there is not really much different or new between boards these days. You will see slight differences in the tracing layouts and power designs, but for the most part ATX is ATX. Just looking at the ASRock X58, you can see the ASUS inspired design. In fact, you can even fit an ASUS fan on the power regulator cooler. True, it will not do you any good, but it will fit.
Starting our walk around at the top of the board, we see a typical layout in terms of memory slots, ATX power and CPU socket. Again, this is pretty much the standard in ATX design now, so I am not surprised. The one thing that does make this area stand out is the USB, FireWire and front panel headers. This makes it much easier to install in an enclosure with a top mounted front panel. The CPU area is not overly cluttered and with the exception of a choke that is a little too close to the upper left hand mounting hole, should fit most CPU coolers.
There are a couple of places that might get a little difficult to connect; one is the front panel audio header. It is squashed into a small area between the I/O ports and the heatsink for the NorthBridge. The other spot is the connection for the 8-pin auxiliary ATX power connector. This is in the typical place, but will probably give you some trouble once the board is mounted in a case. The top PCI-E slot is very close to the NB heatsink as well and could be a cause for concern.
Moving down to the lower half of the X58 Extreme, we see a very typical ATX layout. There is honestly not much to say about what is going on down on this end that the pictures cannot convey. You do get diagnostic LEDs, onboard power and reset buttons and an option for a TPM module.
Taking a look at the I/O ports now, we see the usual suspects here as well. There is a nice exception, though; we see a new port. This is the powered E-SATA port. This combines a USB 2.0 port with an E-SATA port. The USB side provides power and, well, you know the other.
Overall, the design is clean and easy to use. I especially like the removal of the PCI-E clips that are found on many boards. This makes installation and removal of add-in cards much easier.
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