A Closer Look
At first glance, the ASRock P45X3 Deluxe is a typical ASRock full ATX Intel motherboard, though ASRock uses a black PCB rather than their normal blue. The SB and power supply heatsinks are the same as on earlier P45 boards, but the NB cooler is a little nicer. It doesn’t take a really close look to see some extras on this board, I’ll cover each as we get to them.
The area around the CPU socket is fairly typical, with a large number of Japanese-built solid capacitors and ferrite chokes. This motherboard has 8-phase CPU voltage regulation, ensuring steady clean power to the CPU, adding stability and longer life..not to mention a better environment for overclocking.
Not seen is the SATA connector that usually resides just behind the I/O panel. We’ll see why in a minute.
As allowed by the Intel P45 chipset, the blue PCI-E slot runs at x16, the orange one at x8. The board supports AMD/ATI CrossfireX. Seen is ASRock’s SLI/XFire Switch card, an ingenious card that holds the circuitry for running single or multiple video cards. The P45X3 has 3 PCI-E x1 slots and two PCI slots.
Here we find one of the items that make this different from other ASRock boards, a digital POST readout. Other differences are along the bottom of the board, a COM1 port and a TPM header. Most people don’t care about the COM1 serial port, but I have a couple of devices that use them. You have to have an expansion bracket for it, but I do happen to have one. Another difference is the case header connector. Instead of the typical one used on most motherboards, this one is surrounded by an orange divider. The pins are in the typical location other than the speaker, which is located near the header.
Other items that set the P45X3 Deluxe apart from other ASRock boards include the SATA ports, facing the edge of the motherboard rather than upward, and the inclusion of onboard I/O and Reset switches. Each of these switches sports a red LED.
The P45X3 supports DDR3 memory, up to 16GB of DDR3-1600.
On the I/O panel we find a full complement of connectors: PS/2 mouse and keyboard, optical and coaxial S/PDIF, powered eSATA, 7 x USB 2.0 ports, IEEE 1394, LAN, and HD Audio. Also here is a CCMOS switch lit by LED. The CCMOS switch is nice, but to be honest, you won’t use it much because of ASRock’s excellent no-crash BIOS, BFG (Boot Failure Guard). I do occasionally have to clear CMOS when overclocking and tightening timings on memory, but that’s about it.
The bundle is ASRock’s typical bundle, four of their locking SATA cables, a 4-pin Molex to SATA adapter, and ribbon IDE and floppy cables.