Instead of being content to retain the status quo, ASRock is forging ahead with a flagship 990FX motherboard for AMD’s newest generation of Vishera processors.
Much like the Z77 and X79 versions before it, the new 990FX Extreme 9 is packed to the brim with features and includes plenty of options for both gamers and overclockers. This actually represents a significant departure from the course charted by several of ASRock’s competitors, who have left their AMD product lineups all but untouched despite the popularity of Vishera. ASRock may be on to something here since CPUs like the FX-8350 and even lower end FX-6300 / FX-4300 SKUs are highly overclockable and provide an excellent price / performance ratio.
With a near-black PCB, premium gold caps and a high capacity 12+2 phase PWM lurking below its extensive heatsinks, the 990FX Extreme 9 looks very much like its Intel-based forefathers. Its layout of 4 PCI-E slots supports 3-way SLI or Crossfire over a PCI-E 2.0 interface (PCI-E 3.0 wasn’t built into this particular board) though 4-way GPU support hasn’t been included.
Memory support is paramount on these enthusiast-level boards and ASRock promises just that with speeds of up to 2450MHz in OC Mode. There’s also an Intel 82583V Gigabit LAN port, THX TruStudio support via Realtek’s ALC 898 chip, eight SATA 6G ports and eight USB 3.0 ports.
According to ASRock, the Extreme 9 includes “high density power connectors” which are supposed to reduce power loss by 23% while also lowering the 8-pin connector’s temperature by 22°C. Supposedly, this should increase overclocking stability and enhance overall efficiency.
Another interesting inclusion is the dedicated front panel USB 3.0 hub which pulls double duty as an SSD caddy. In order to maximize its space allotment, ASRock has included grommets for 2.5” SSD or HDD mounting.
Naturally, the Extreme 9 includes plenty of overclocker-focused software as well. One of the most interesting items is ASRock’s X-Boost utility which allows for a pre-determined system overclock (up to 16%) by merely hitting the “X” key during system startup. This allows novices to enjoy higher application performance without any extensive tweaking.
Pricing for ASRock’s Extreme 9 wasn’t announced but we’d expect it to go for about $300 when it becomes available in the next 2 months.