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ASRock X79 Extreme9 Motherboard Review

The new processor range features a design with up to 6 execution cores. Each core supports two threads, which we all know as ‘Intel Hyper Threading Technology’. This logical thread basis doubles the physical count, so a 6 core processor will have 6+6 for a total of 12. Each core has a 32kb instruction and a 32kb data first level cache (L1) and a 256kb shared instruction/data mid level (L2) cache. The new processors have between 10mb and 15mb of last level (LLC cache), up to 2.5 MB per core.

The processors support four DDR3 channels with a single unbuffered DIMM per channel. Officially they support memory of 1066mhz, 1333mhz and 1600mhz, although as we will see in another review today, this can only be used as a rough guideline.

The Direct Media Interface Generation 2 (DMI2) serves as the chip to chip interface to the PCH. The DM12 port supports a x4 link width and only operates in x4 mode when in DMI2. It operates at PCIe2 or PCIe1 speeds and is transparent to software. There is support for processor and peer to peer writes and reads with 64 bit address support.

Above, a CPUz overview of the Core i7 3960X processor. The processor has 6 cores and 12 threads, with 15MB of ‘Level 3’ cache. The new chip has support for 40 PCI Express lanes.

The latest range of processors are based on Intel’s ‘tock’ cycle, before the 22nm Ivy Bridge chips hit retail in the near future.

Above, the Core i7 3960X processor Die detail, showing the 6 cores, which share the L3 cache. There are 2.27 billion transistors with this particular design and the chip measures 20.8mm x 20.9 mm.

Above, the 3960X EE engineering sample we were sent by Intel. These processors are noticeably bigger than the previous series. Intel say that when compared against the 990X that the new processor is 20% faster with video editing, 102% faster with memory performance, and 34% faster with 3D Game Physics.

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  • Ron

    very nice indeed. costs a fortune, as expected however !

  • Raymond Oliver

    Beautiful looking mobo, they are getting good reviews lately. The whole X79 platform however is just so expensive. my 2500k is working a treat, so im waiting on the mainstream boards to come out soon for the next generation intel chips. should be really interesting.

    is it just me, or do we NEED amd to start competiting. Intel’s prices are just too high and they have sadly no reason to lower them.

  • Glynn McDermott

    A very impressive board, ive never opted for ASROCK in the past, but going on the strength of media reviews ive read recently they seem to be really improving their reputation.

    I always thought they were a budget brand from ASUS, but im not sure where I got that from.

  • SolarFox

    I have GA mobo-s for last 10 years, but last one was Asrock Z68 + 2600K and i`m very happy. GA was too high priced for what they offer 🙁 LACK of hdd ports on P67 distracted me immediately from buying GA.
    And Intel can hold high price i will not buy until price drop down a LOT. I`m not in hurry and probably 80% or more peoples also. They will reduce price when sell drop. They will not until there are a peoples who want 5% faster pc`s for 1000$ more.

  • Joe

    But who will pay 300+ for a MB they only stand behind for two years. Asus will sell you one that is good for 5.

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  • Cyras

    Can you upload the L1.92 Bios please?

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  • Lovely motherboard but the majority will never see it in person..