ASRock X58 Extreme 3 Motherboard
We've become quite familiar with ASRock's line of high-performance, bargain priced motherboards over the last couple of years. ASRock has made a name for themselves by offering the latest features and reliable components for a good price. Today we are looking at a refresh called the "X58 Extreme 3" mainboard for the Core i7 platform. This of course is based on the X58 chipset from Intel and supports the new 6-Core Gulftown CPUs from Intel as well as adding "True 333" to the package. This board supports USB 3.0, SATA 3.0 (6GB/s) as well as eSATA 3.0. I'm excited to see if this board has good overclocking capability and how fast the new "333" feature set performs. Let's dive right in shall we?
The ASRock X58 Extreme 3 comes in a large flashy box that has recently graced the high-end ASRock motherboard series. As much as I want to brag on the goodies, they are pretty lean - typical of ASRock. Included in the box is the standard Rear I/O shield, manual, driver CD and Molex to SATA adapters. Also in the box are three SATA cables, an IDE cable and a floppy cable. The baord supports SLI and CrossfireX, but lacks a bunch of the connectors you may need. You'll notice that there are no Rear IO brackets for additional Firewire, USB and such. If you want those, you'll have to rob some from another system or purchase them separately.
First Look at the Board:
This is the second X58 board from ASRock that I've got to spend some quality time with - the first being the X58 Supercomputer that we looked at back in June of 2009. Although many of the features are the same, there are some changes and updates to this version.
The X58 Extreme 3 comes with the standard six DDR3 slots that can handle up to 24GB of DDR3-2000 memory. Not included is a huge wallet and a Crucial 24GB DDR3 Kit. This board has three PCIe slots that can be configured to run at 16x/16x/4x. Thankfully, there is a double-wide space between each of these slots so double-slot coolers can work easily. There are also 2 PCI slots and one PCIe 1x slot that won't be accessible if you use all of your graphics slots. ASRock has included 6 SATA (3Gbps) ports for internal drives as well as the 2 SATA (6Gbps) ports located slightly above the top PCIe 16x slot. ASRock also provides a powered eSATA 3.0 port on the rear IO. If you want to add some extra USB ports, there are four more ports available through the two motherboard headers, as well as a pair of Firewire ports. Although the main layout is pretty good, the location of the SATA 6Gbps ports is a little troublesome.
On the next page we'll take a closer look at the board before we take a look at the specs and features.