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ASRock X79 Extreme9 Motherboard Review

Author: Zac "Eldonko" Ryan
Date: February 27, 2012
Product Name: X79 Extreme9
Part Number: X79 Extreme9
Warranty: 3 Years
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In 2011, ASRock made a huge push forward in the channel motherboard segment, allowing them to pull into third place behind market leaders ASUS and Gigabyte with 7.8 million units shipped. A major part of this improvement was a general move away from their oddball value oriented offerings of previous generations in order to focus upon a full range of LGA1155 products. Continuing down the enthusiast path in 2012, ASRock has a number of X79 boards with one of the key flagship models being the Extreme9 we will be looking at today.

The Extreme9 is an LGA2011 board based around Intel's latest Patsburg or X79 chipset. One of the strengths of the 40 PCI-E lane Patsburg chipset is its ability to run SLI or Crossfire with both GPUs at full x16 speed with some bandwidth left for other devices. The Extreme9 can run up to quad four GPUs at x8 or dual cards at x16 which is perfect for anyone looking for massive rendering potential.

In addition to the 3D capabilities, the Extreme9 comes with ASRock’s so called “Game Blaster”. The Game Blaster is essentially an external sound card and NIC which supports Creative Sound Core3D 7.1 CH HD audio and has an integrated Broadcom gigabit LAN. ASRock has also included a robust software suite with features such as XFast RAM, XFast LAN, and XFast USB technology. It is just important to note that unlike other motherboard manufacturers' 3 to 5 year warranties, ASRock only offers a single year of coverage on their products. EDIT: Please note that even though ASRock's website says differently at the time of this review, we are now told that all of their X79 boards have a 3 year warranty.

Surprisingly the Extreme9's price has a fair amount of variation between Canada and the US, something we don't see much of anymore. In Canada the board is priced at $429 while south of the border it can be found for as little as $345, a difference of $84. With that being said, the Canadian price puts the Extreme9 firmly into the premium price category alongside the big guns such as ASUS' Rampage IV Extreme and MSI's Big Bang Xpower II X79. Those are some tough boards to compete against and on top of that ASRock has dubbed its board the "Overclock King" which does everything but directly challenge the big boys to a benching contest. However, any Americans reading this will see the Extreme9 lining up against Gigabyte’s UD5 and ASUS’ P9X79 PRO so it should be interesting to see where it ultimately falls in terms of capabilities.

 
 
 

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