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ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion (Intel X79) Motherboard Review

ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion (Intel X79) Motherboard Review

It's been a while since we've seen a Fatal1ty based motherboard. Today we check out the featured packed X79 Champion from ASRock.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Mon, Mar 25 2013 10:25 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: ASRock

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 43 IMAGES

I don't think anyone would deny that the X79 platform is a fantastic one, but there's no denying the fact that since the Z77 one arrived, most of the love has gone to that platform due to the strong performance and the competitive price point. Saying that the bottom line is if you're looking at building a powerhouse system, you're going to build it around the X79 platform and probably an Extreme Edition based CPU.

The X79 platform also continues to bring with it dual x16 PCIe lanes while we see x8 only when in CrossFire or SLI on the Z77 platform. Not only that, if you want to move to a three or four GPU setup, the X79 platform while not being the only choice, is clearly the best one.

We recently looked at an Intel "X79" board the other week in the form of the GIGABYTE X79S-UP5-WiFi. This particular model was actually based of the server aimed Intel C606 chip. Today's board from ASRock uses the X79 chipset that we're used to seeing and falls under the Fatal1ty brand.

As usual the process is fairly simple here today. We'll start off by checking out the box before taking a closer look at the bundle ASRock is offering. Once we've done that we'll move onto the board itself and cover the main features that stand out on it before moving into the BIOS. We'll quickly look at our testbed setup today, check out how we went with overclocking and finally get into the performance side of things before finally wrapping everything up.

Package

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Being a high-end offering from ASRock it comes as no surprise we're dealing with quite a large box. The front doesn't tell us too much outside of the model and some typical branding information. Flipping open the box and looking at the left side you can see some of the main features which include 12 + 2 Power Phase Design, Digi Power, Dual-Stack MOSFET and Creative Sound Core3D Audio. We've also got a couple of Fatal1ty features in the form of Scout Mode, an audio feature designed to let you hear your enemies from further away along with the Fatal1ty mouse port, which we've been seeing for a while now.

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Moving over to the right side of the box we get our first look at the board itself. We won't go into any detail here as we'll get a closer look at it on the next page. Turning over we've got mention of the 555 XFast support (a feature we see a lot from ASRock) along with a number of other highlights including Premium Gold Caps, V-Probe, 12 USB 3.0 ports, UEFI BIOS and more.

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Moving inside the box you can see we've got a typical paperwork line up including two manuals and a run down on the XFast technology, which you probably have a fair idea about these days. You can also see a driver CD and main I/O backplate. On the cables side of things we've got two Molex to SATA power connectors and a total of six SATA cables included in the bundle.

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We've also got a massive amount of SLI connectors include in the bundle with three 2-way bridges - two are short while the third is a longer spaced one. Along with these we've also got a two 3-way SLI bridges. Like the 2-way ones, we've got a shorter one along with a longer one.

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Finally to finish off the bundle we've got a dual USB 3.0 header which can go on the front of your case via the included bracket.

ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion Motherboard

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Moving away from the bundle and getting into the board we get a good general idea of what's going on here with the overall layout. Let's move in a bit closer, though, and check out everything in some more detail.

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Looking at the expansion slot side of things you can see we've got two PCIe x1 slots and five PCIe x16 slots that offer support for both 4-way SLI and 4-way CrossFireX. Of course depending on what and how many slots you use depends on the speed they ran. The setups are PCIE1/PCIE5: x16/16 mode, PCIE1/PCIE3/PCIE5: x16/8/8 mode, PCIE1/PCIE4/PCIE7: x16/8/8 mode and PCIE1/PCIE3/PCIE5/PCIE7: x16/8/8/8 mode.

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Moving across the bottom of the board you can see we've got two USB 2.0 headers, COM, SPIDF, 1394 Firewire and the standard front panel header. We've also got two fan headers, power and reset buttons and a Molex connector providing extra power in the event you're going for power hungry video card setups.

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Turning the corner you can see the LED debug reader at the bottom along with a total of 10 SATA ports. The top four black ports are SATA II and run off the Intel Z77 chipset. The two red ports closest to the black are SATA III running of the same chip. The other four ports which are labeled as M0 - M4 are also SATA III, but run off the Marvel SE9230 controller.

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Working our way up towards the top of the board you can see the main 24-pin ATX power connector. To the left of that we've got two USB 3.0 headers while to the right we have the V-Check points. This will more likely be a feature you don't really use as it tends to be reserved for the most extreme overclockers.

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Moving around to the CPU area you can see the main 8-pin CPU power connector tucked away behind the heatsink, while moving back gives us a look at the heatsink area on a whole, which looks great. You can also see eight DIMM slots which offer us support for up to 64GB of DDR3 RAM ranging from 1066MHz DDR to 2500+MHz DDR via overclocking.

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Looking above you can see we've got a PS/2 port along with two USB 2.0 ports. Next to that we've got a clear CMOS button. There's a total of eight USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA ports, two Gigabit networking ports running off the Broadcom BCM57781 controller, single 1394 Firewire port along with five auxiliary ports and an optical one running off the Creative Sound Core3D processor.

BIOS

Getting into the UEFI BIOS we're greeted with a great looking setup. The Fatal1ty UEFI BIOS screen really is one of the better looking ones around.

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If you're in the BIOS, the chances are you'll be doing some overclocking. In typical ASRock fashion that's done in the OC Tweaker section that gives us all the normal options including BCLK, multiplier and voltage adjustments.

Moving away from the OC Tweaker area we've got a fairly standard affair going on with the advanced area covering a lot of the features that can be turned on or off along with the Instant Flash utility if you want to update your BIOS to the latest version, which is something we'd always recommend. We've also got the standard H/W Monitor section along with the Boot, Security and Exit screens all present.

Benchmarks - 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, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital, MemoRight and Corsair.

Alongside the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion that will be running at stock and overclocked, we've also got the cheaper ASRock X79 Extreme4. Alongside these two X79 boards we've got a three Z77 offerings including the ASUS Maximus V GENE, GIGABYTE Z77X-UD4H and finally the ASRock Z77 OC Formula.

Before we get into the performance we'll cover how we went with overclocking. We headed into the BIOS and started to tinker with the settings to see just what we could get out of the particular i7 3970X Extreme Edition CPU we have on hand.

We know that it's good for around the 4.7GHz mark. Sometimes that's achieved via a 47x multiplier and other times we get it via a 46x multiplier and a bit of a bump in the BCLK department.

ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion (Intel X79) Motherboard Review 01 | TweakTown.com

Looking above you can see we managed to run a 47x multiplier alongside a slightly increased BCLK of 101 bringing our CPU speed in at 4746MHz or 4.75GHz, as illustrated in our graphs here today. This is a fairly standard clock speed and seems to be the limitation of our particular CPU.

CPU Benchmarks

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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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 Fatal1ty X79 Champion (Intel X79) Motherboard Review 32 | TweakTown.com

Looking at the stock numbers under both benchmarks we can see that performance lines up as you'd expect against the other X79 offering. As always overclocking brings with it a really nice boost in performance, especially under HyperPi with a good two minutes shaved off.

System Benchmarks

PCMark 7

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

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

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

Buy It Here

PCMark 7 includes a range of tests that give different views of your system's performance. In the Advanced Edition you can choose which tests to run. The common use and hardware component tests are unavailable in the Basic Edition.

Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. This is the only test that returns an official PCMark score. The Lightweight test measures the system capabilities of entry-level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the PCMark test, but it does not generate a PCMark score. Common use performance is measured by the scenario tests - Entertainment, Creativity and Production - each of which results in a scenario score. Hardware component performance is measured by the hardware tests - Computation and Storage - each of which results in a hardware score.

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MediaEspresso

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.5

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

Product Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/products/mediaespresso/overview_en_AU.html?fileName=overview&r=1

Buy It Here

MediaEspresso is a blazingly fast media universal converter that can transcode your videos, photos and music files and out put them to a huge range of portable devices including mobile phones, portable media players and even game consoles. With technologies like Smart Detect, Direct Sync and CyberLink's TrueTheater video enhancements, you can not only forget about complicated format, resolution and output settings, but your converted file will come out the other side looking better than when it went in!

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PCMark 7 performance is ahead of the other X79 offering while MediaEspresso numbers are almost identical.

USB 2.0 and 3.0 Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

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 Fatal1ty X79 Champion (Intel X79) Motherboard Review 36 | TweakTown.com

USB 2.0 performance is a little stronger thanks to the included XFast technology. USB 3.0 numbers are fairly standard across the board.

SSD Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

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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HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.61

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

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

Buy It Here

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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SSD performance is fairly consistent with all boards. The minimum is a little lower under HD Tune Pro, but apart from that, you can see everything generally lines up as you'd expect.

Memory 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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Both X79 boards perform as expected with overclocked performance being slightly boosted. Again we can see quad-channel performance on the X79 platform comes in behind the optimized dual-channel numbers seen on the Z77 platform.

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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Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com//

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

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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Gaming benchmarks don't hold any surprises with a slight boost being seen when overclocked under the Performance preset and at 1680 x 1050 under Metro 2033.

Temperature and Power

Power Consumption

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Power consumption on a whole is up compared to the Z77 platform and the higher end setup compared to the Extreme4 also means that it's slightly higher at stock. When overclocked we of course see the numbers increase in both load and idle tests.

Core Temperature

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The temperature reading is a little warmer on the Fatal1ty X79 Champion when compared to the X79 Extreme4. On a whole the numbers aren't too bad.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

Coming in with a price tag of $359.99, the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion isn't a cheap motherboard, but saying that it comes in at a cheaper price point than we expected it would. While the board clearly has a lot of highlights, I think the one that stands out for us the most is the inclusion of the Creative Sound Core3D quad-core sound and voice processor, which is sure to add to the build price of the motherboard.

Coming in above this price point, we see a couple of motherboard brands offer a typical Realtek audio setup, and this is indeed a real testament to what ASRock is offering. Alongside this we've got a number of just great features that we often see on ASRock boards including XFast technology, Premium Gold Caps, Dual Stock Mosfet and generally speaking a really good BIOS that's extremely easy to use.

Performance on a whole out of the box is fairly standard. It doesn't really stand out in an extremely positive or negative way in any particular area and just on a whole performs exactly as we expected. Overclocking performance was strong and we hit what ultimately seems to be the overclocking wall of our particular CPU.

The X79 platform on a whole isn't as easy to swallow as a purchase these days due to the aggressive price point of the Z77 platform. We've also got a truly massive line up of motherboards with that particular chipsets and a huge feature and price range that means you'll probably find a board for exactly what you want.

Saying that, though, you can't deny the simple fact that if you're building the ultimate system, it's going to be currently powered by the Intel X79 chipset. ASRock have put together not only a board that looks great, but one that performs well, offers a huge amount of features and an overall great bundle.

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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.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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