Author: Bob Buskirk
- The BIOS
- Included Software
- System Overview & Testing Procedures
- Testing – CPU & Memory
- Testing – System
- Testing – Video
- Testing – Gaming
- Final Thoughts
Like most motherboards the ASRock X79 Extreme6/GB comes with loaded with some very useful software. First up we have the ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility or AXTU. When you open it up the first screen will be the hardware monitor. You can see your clock speeds, fan & temperature readings and your voltages. Moving down to the Fan Control tab here you can set target temperatures and fan speeds for the fans connected to your motherboard and even for the fan on the PCH heatsink.
The Overclocking tab is next. Here you can change the following settings, BCLK frequency, CPU Ratio, CPU Voltage Offset, VCCSA Voltage Offset, DRAM Voltage, PCH 1.1V Voltage, VTT Voltage, CPU PLL Voltage, CPU PLL Voltage, and PCH 1.5V Voltage. OC DNA will give you information on your BIOS and allow you to save and load 3 different user profiles.
The next tab allows you to enable IES. IES intelligently limits how many phases are used to deliver power to your CPU, allowing you to undervolt and conserve power whilst running at stock settings. IES will not function when overclocked. In fact, simply accessing this pane whilst I was overclocked caused BSODs! Finally, you have XFast RAM. You can use this feature to allocate a portion of your RAM to become a “RAM Disk.” What this does is creates a storage medium from your RAM, allowing access to the files you place there at speeds faster than a SSD. Actually, it’s even faster than more than one SSD in RAID 0!
ASRock’s XFast USB is a neat little utility that will speed up devices plugged into a USB port on the motherboard.
I actually wondered how well this worked so I used a Corsair Force GT drive plugged into a Thermaltake BlacX 5G via USB 3.0. Below are the test results, “normal” speed is on the left and “turbo” speed is on the right. Not only did it speed up the drive overall, the drive reached its max throughput much faster.
Finally we have XFast LAN. This utility once installed runs on startup and provides you with a little panel showing your network activity alone with some other things. We have a diagram below.
Clicking the Settings button brings you to a large configuration pane, with a huge wealth of options, yet very little explanation of what changing the settings will do. Unless you are experienced with networking, it is unlikely you’ll be changing anything in these settings.
There are presets for many games, which is nice.