Author: Bob Buskirk
ASRock set out to create the “Ultimate X79 Motherboard” and I really think they have. Think about the features you would want on a motherboard, I’m pretty sure this motherboard has them! The biggest feature of this board is the seven PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. I have not seen that many PCIe slots on a motherboard! Even more impressive is that you can run 4 cards at x16 speed! If you load the system up with more than 4 cards the top PCIe slot will run at x16 speed while the rest will run at x8. This means you can have a pretty insane graphics card setup with this board. Of course all of this is made possible with the two PLX PEX8747 switch chips.
Another thing that sets this motherboard apart from other X79 motherboards is the SATA connectivity. In total you have 14 SATA ports! With the X79 chipset you get 6 SATA ports (4 SATA 3GB/s, 2 SATA 6GB/s), but in addition to that ASRock has installed 8 more SAS / SATA 6GB/s ports, which are powered by the LSI chip. For people who want to run large RAID setups this is perfect! Most X79 motherboards only offer 2 SATA 6GB/s RAID ports so having 8 is awesome! Talking about connectivity since the X79 chipset does not natively support USB 3.0 ASRock has added it, but not the normal amount, you get double the USB 3.0 ports and headers that you would expect to find on an X79 motherboard.
One of the things I’ve grown to love on ASRock motherboards is the CPU EZ OC Setting in the BIOS. This is easy one click overclocking. Once you select the speed that you want the BIOS automatically sets all of the values for you and you simply save the settings and are good to go. The settings are all dependent on your CPU, but with an Intel Core i7-3930K it went all the way up to 5.2GHz. While I was able to get the system to boot at 5.2GHz it was not stable. I achieved a stable overclock of 4.8GHz. That is a 1.6GHz or 50% overclock over the stock 3.2GHz of i7-3930K. This was all done on air cooling as well. I would have to say that this motherboard handles overclocking pretty well.
This board sits at the very high-end of ASRock’s offerings and I expected a little more when it came to the accessories and software. Besides the extra SLI bridges the accessories package was the same as the X79 Extreme6/GB. There was not even enough SATA cables for all of the ports on the board. They just gave you the default 6 that you get with every X79 motherboard. The software that comes with the X79 Extreme11 is useful, but again it is the same software that comes with all of their motherboards.
There are not really any other motherboards in this category, at for that reason it really is hard to compare prices, but this board is quite expensive. At my favorite online retailer it is $599. This makes it the most expensive X79 motherboard we have reviewed, but you have to consider all of the features you are getting on this board. Also if you are planning on loading this board up with 4+ graphics cards and a ton of hard drives the $599 price really should not bother you that much.
Overall this is the most feature-packed X79 motherboard we have seen! ThinkComputers gives the ASRock X79 Extreme11 Motherboard a 9 out of 10 score and our Gold Award!
- 7 PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (4 cards can run at x16)
- 14 SATA ports (10 are SATA 6GB/s)
- Great for overclocking
- Quality components
- USB 3.0 support
- UEFI BIOS
- Price (although it is justified, but puts it out range for most people)
- Weak accessory package