ASRock A75 Extreme6 (AMD A75) Motherboard Review

ASRock get all extreme with their latest offering - the A75 Extreme6. Let's check it out and see what's going on with it.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Fri, Jul 22 2011 8:42 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:01 PM CST
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ASRock

Introduction and Package

Introduction

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Like any major chipset release, there's bound to be a bunch of boards come in and the release of the new Llano platform is no different. The A75 board that sat at the top of the pile today when it came to grabbing the next product to test is the ASRock A75 Extreme6.

Before I started writing this, I actually headed over to NewEgg just to see what kind of price point the A75 Extreme6 came in at, and I found myself legitimately surprised to see that it was currently the most expansive A75 board at $139.99. Don't get me wrong, $139.99 is an extremely good price, but it's just a counteraction to the fact that we usually associate ASRock with offering us some of the cheapest boards on the market. Saying that, we've seen more expensive boards come from the company and stand out.

Can the $139.99 A75 Extreme6 be another board that stands out for ASRock? Well, there's only one way to find out. First we'll start by checking out the package of the motherboard. Once that's done we'll take the time to have a closer look at the board itself, its layout and some of the main features that are on offer.

Once we've done that, we'll fire the board up, get into the BIOS to see what's going on there, check out the overclocking potential of the board and then get into the fun stuff and see just what kind of performance we're able to get out of the board. First, though, let's check out the package.

The Package

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On the box front there's not a whole lot going on that we haven't seen before. The front gives us the model and a couple of logos that correspond to the motherboard we're using today. Turning the box over, we've got a picture of the board up the top and a rundown of all the main features that are on it. We can also see an expansion to some of those features, showing us exactly what the board is capable of.

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As for the bundle, there's not heaps going on. We've got two manuals, driver CD, four SATA cables, I/O back plate and that 3.5mm audio cable we're used to seeing with our ASRock boards that let us make use of the on / off play technology.

The Motherboard

With the package out of the way, it's time to move onto the board itself to see what's going on. The first thing you notice is that it follows that very typical design we see from ASRock. For the most part there's nothing that really stands out massively when compared to other ASRock boards. In saying that, there are a few things that stand out when compared to other A75 motherboards.

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As we move closer to the expansion side of things, this is what really stands out for us. It's not the fact that we've got three legacy PCI slots and a single PCI-E x1 slot, but the fact we've got three PCI-E x16 slots. At the moment we're seeing most companies are only opting to include a single PCI-E x16 slot instead of multiple when it comes to this new platform.

The setup holds no surprises. When you use a single card it's running at x16. Throw in two cards in CrossFire and they'll be both running at 8x. The third slot is like you'd expect; a x16 in physical form, but is only a x4 slot.

I think the main reason we don't see companies going for multiple PCI-E x16 slots is because it's not hard to find ourselves bottlenecked by the APU when using high end VGA setups. This means that using a high end CrossFire setup wouldn't hold the same value as it would on a more powerful platform.

In the end I have mixed feelings about the addition of multiple PCI-E x16 slots. I'm not sure how useful they're going to be for people. What's important to remember, though, is you can install x1 and x4 PCI-E cards in them, so I suppose in another sense it's giving you the most options.

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Moving across to the bottom of the board, we've got (starting from the left) our HD Audio header, 1394 FireWire, HDMI S/PDIF, two USB 2.0 headers and a COM1 header. Next to and above this you can see we've got our debug LED reader and a power and reset button. Finally, we finish off with another USB 2.0 header and our front panel header.

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Turning the corner, we can see a total of eight SATA III ports. Six aren't too much of a surprise with the first six starting from the left all running off the native A75 chipset that's present on the board. What does come as a surprise is the addition of another two running off the ASMedia ASM1061 controller, giving us a total of eight SATA III ports.

The Motherboard Continued

Heading up towards the top of the board, you can see our four DIMM slots that hold up to 32GB of DDR3 ranging from 800MHz DDR to 1866MHz DDR. With that said, ASRock mention on their site overclocking speeds of 2400MHz+ DDR. Clearly this isn't an "official" speed, but if you have the right modules, clearly ASRock say this speed could be achieved.

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Also around here you can see our main 24-Pin ATX power connector and just to the left of that you can see a single USB 3.0 header. Apart from these three main items up here, there's not much more to look at.

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Turning the corner, you can see our main 8-Pin CPU power connector and just above that we've got a fan header. Moving to the CPU socket, there's no real surprises with a fairly standard setup going on and plenty of room for most coolers.

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We finish up with the I/O side of things and starting from the left, you can see a combo PS/2 header and two USB 3.0 ports that run off the ASMedia ASM1042 controller. To the left of that we've got a VGA, DVI-D and HDMI port along with a clear CMOS button. Continuing to move along, we've got an eSATA port that is shared with the ASMedia ASM1061 SATA III controller. Above that we've got a 1394 FireWire port and two USB 2.0 ports.

Continuing to move across, we've got another two USB 3.0 ports controlled via the AMD A75 chipset and above that we've got a Gigabit networking port running off the Realtek RTL8111E controller. Finally, we finish up with five auxiliary ports and an optical out that runs off the Realtek ALC892 audio codec.

BIOS

Firing up the BIOS, you can see we've got that typical UEFI design that we've been seeing from ASRock for a while now. You're greeted by the "Main" screen which gives you a run down on the main bits of information. You'll probably quickly find yourself heading over to the "OC Tweaker" section, though, to see what's going on.

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Under the OC Tweaker section there's actually a lot going on. You can see we've got XMP profiles and Auto overclocking features. The option set is actually very strong and the lay out is extremely easy to use, be it if you want to do manual overclocking or would prefer to opt for a more automatic approach.

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Jumping through the rest of the BIOS, you'll find the rest of the options that you'd expect to see and if you've used an ASRock UEFI BIOS since launch, you'll find yourself moving through it with ease. Unless there's anything you particularly want to disable, though, you'll probably find yourself only needing to be in the OC Tweaker section.

Test System Setup and Overclocking

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

Looking at the testbed, there's no surprises here, so let's just get straight into the overclocking side of things to see what we could get out of the ASRock A75 Extreme6. Messing around in the BIOS, we eventually got up and running with our base clock coming in at 127MHz.

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As you can see above, with our 29x multiplier that means our A8-3850 comes in at a healthy 3,679MHz or 3.68GHz as illustrated in our graphs. What was really cool about this overclock, though, was the fact we didn't need to change our memory divider from the 1866MHz DDR one. This means that our memory came in at 2030MHz DDR using the aggressive 7-9-7-24 timings.

There's not really much more that needs to be said. In our graphs today we'll be looking at the ASRock A75 Extreme6 running at stock and overclocked. For comparisons sake, we've also got our Sapphire Pure Platinum A75, GIGABYTE A75-UD4H and our ASUS M5A99X EVO which uses the Phenom II X6 1100T processors instead of the A8-3850 that are present in our other motherboards.

Let's get started!

CPU Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Straight away we can see out of the box the A75 Extreme6 lines up with our other motherboard offerings, just as we'd expect. Cranking up the clock speed, though, you can see a very strong boost in performance and you can see that performance almost lines up with the more expensive six cored X6 1100T.

CPU Benchmarks Continued

HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

Developer Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Product Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

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Checking out HyperPI performance, we can again see out of the box the performance of our A8-3850 lines up with the other motherboards. When we get into the overclocking side of things, though, we can see a nice boost in performance that results in our HyperPI time falling under 20 minutes and putting it ahead of the stock X6 1100T system.

AutoGK

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.55

Developer Homepage: http://www.autogk.me.uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.autogk.me.uk/

Download It Here

AutoGK stands for Auto Gordian Knot; it is a suite of transcoding tools that are compiled into an easy to install and use utility. It allows you to transcode non-protected DVDs and other media to Xvid or Divx format. For our testing purposes we use a non-DRM restricted movie that is roughly 2 hours in length. This is transcoded to a single Xvid AVI at 100% quality.

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Again we can see that at stock the A75 Extreme6 performs just as we'd expect. Cranking up the clock speeds to almost 3.7GHz, though, sees a strong boost in performance which brings our encode time in line with the X6 1100T setup, which is quite impressive.

Storage Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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ASRock A75 Extreme6 (AMD A75) Motherboard Review 35 | TweakTown.com

Thanks to the XFast technology that ASRock offer, USB 2.0 performance is extremely strong. Looking at the SSD side of things, we can also see strong performance, but in this case it lines up more with the other boards than standing out like the USB 2.0 performance.

Memory Benchmarks

Sisoft Sandra

Version and / or Patch Used: 2011

Developer Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.net

Product Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.net

Buy It Here

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Looking at SiSoft Sandra, we can see that memory performance across the boards line up similar at stock and overclocked. Let's check out AIDA64 for a better idea of what's going on.

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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It was really surprising to see that the write performance for the ASRock A75 Extreme6 was extremely strong. We double and triple checked and checked our timings to make sure everything was correct and no matter what, we saw strong 9k+ MB/s write rates for our RAM. Overclocked, you can see that those rates are increased even further.

Gaming Benchmarks

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/

Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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At stock you can continue to see our A75 Extreme6 performance just as you'd expect. Overclocked you can of course see a nice boost in our performance preset, but surprisingly we also see a boost in our Aliens vs. Predator performance. For the most part we don't see any more than a single FPS fluctuation under AvP when overclocked, but on the ASRock board when overclocked we saw a clear couple of extra FPS which helps it stand out a bit.

Temperature and Power

Core Temperature

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At the moment because we do rely on companies own software to tell us the temperature of the core, we're not placing as much focus on it as we would normally. You can see when we overclock, though, and throw more voltage into the mix there's a clear increase in temperatures.

Power Draw Tests

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Looking at Power Draw, the ASRock A75 Extreme6 draws a little more power at both idle and load than the other boards. As we throw more voltage through the board, we do of course see our idle and load power draw increase, but it still sits at a pretty good level.

Final Thoughts

Priced at $139.99 US, I found myself thinking that while this is going to be a good board, ASRock would've priced themselves out of the market a bit as we're used to seeing them come in cheaper than brands like ASUS and GIGABYTE.

Once you're up and running, though, you'll find yourself having no issue justifying the extra $10 US over the other brands, as really, ASRock has put together a great motherboard here.

Out of the box performance is just as you'd hope and expect. Getting into the BIOS, we saw that graphical BIOS that we've become accustomed to seeing and when it came to the options, we could see our A75 Extreme6 offered us a load while at the same time making it easy to understand what everything did.

The board did great in overclocking and at nearly 3.7GHz we managed to have our memory running at just over 2000MHz DDR while keeping the same aggressive CL7 timings.

In the end, ASRock has just put together a really strong board that manages to perform extremely well at both stock and overclocked. When it all comes down to it, there's not much more we can ask for from them.

If you find yourself wanting a strong overclocking A75 motherboard that carries heaps of expansion slots and a really easy to use BIOS, the A75 Extreme6 from ASRock is a stand out option that sits below that important $150 US mark still.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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