X79 Extreme11 Overview
The X79 Extreme11 follows the same color scheme as the X79 Extreme6/GB, which we took a look at not that long ago. So you have a black PCB with black, grey and silver accents. The gold caps on the board stand out as well. These are 100% Japanese made conductive polymer capacitors and will provide a 2.5x longer lifespan than normal capacitors. The board is very “busy” as there is a lot going on, which will be discussing in just a minute. Because of all the addons on this board it fits into the E-ATX form factor measuring 12.0-in x 10.5-in (30.5 cm x 26.7 cm). Most noticeably you have about an extra inch on the right side of the board, so keep that in mind if you plan to purchase this board.
At the top center of the board you have the Intel 2011 socket, which of course houses Sandy Bridge-E processors. Around the socket are 8 memory slots (4 on each side), which support DDR3 memory up to 2500MHz according to ASRock. The area around the CPU socket is pretty open and you shouldn’t have any issues installing an air cooler when you have 4 memory slots occupied, if you plan on running all 8 slots it is more than likely that you will be running a water-cooled system. Covering the power delivery components is a large heatsink, which connects to the PCH heatsink via a heatpipe. ASRock uses a 26-phase (22+2+2) hybrid power design on the X79 Extreme11. You have 22 phases for the CPU, 2 phases for the memory controller and 2 phases for the PCI Express and DMI interfaces. The MOSFET’s feature a dual-stack design, which is more efficient than a traditional MOSFET design. On the opposite side of the heatsink covering the power delivery components there are two 12V CPU power connectors, two CPU fan connectors (one 4pin, one 3pin) and on the far end towards your I/O is another 3pin fan connector.
Moving over to the right side of the board you have the 24pin ATX power connector, two internal USB 3.0 connectors and another 3pin fan connector. USB 3.0 is not native to the X79 chipset so ASRock has added USB 3.0 support with a Texas Instruments controller. Now we move on to SATA connectors and there sure are a lot of them! In total you have 14! So from top to bottom (or right to left in the photo below) you have two SATA 6GB/s ports (chipset), four SATA 6GB/s ports (chipset) and then eight SAS / SATA 6GB/s ports, which are powered by the LSI chip. All of the SATA ports support RAID 0/1/10 and the chipset ports also support RAID 5.
The PCH or southbridge as many people still know it as is covered by a large heatsink with an included fan. This heatsink not only covers the PCH, but also the two PLX PEX8747 switch chips. Along the bottom of the board is where you will find the rest of the connections for the board. From right to left they are as follows: 4 pin fan connector, three USB 2.0 headers, 3pin fan connector, front panel connections, a molex power connection for the expansion slots, clear CMOS header, firewire and HD audio. Also below the heatsink is the debug LED and power and reset buttons.
This board sure does not lack when it comes to expansion slots! You have seven PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and that’s it! So you can see this board is designed for a very high-end graphics card setup. Slots 1, 3, 5 and 7 will always run at x16, so if you have a quad-GPU setup all of your cards will run at their maximum speed. The other PCIe slots will work at x8 and if you have more than 4 cards installed only the first slot will run at x16, all other slots will run at x8. This is of course all made possible with the two PLX PEX8747 switch chips. There is a second molex connector above the PCIe slots. With the ability to install up to 7 graphics cards you will need both molex connectors if you choose to run a setup like that. I would have liked both connectors to be placed together for easier cable management. Taking a look at the I/O of the board from left to right you have two USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 port, a clear CMOS button, 6 more USB 2.0 ports, ethernet, firewire, a second ethernet port, 4 USB 3.0 ports, 2 eSATA ports and of course your audio.