ASRock X79 Extreme4-M Review

👤by Richard Weatherstone Comments 📅25-11-11
Closer Look Pt.1

Board Front

As you can see, the ASRock X79 Extreme4-M has the same colour scheme as the rest of the Extreme range being black gold and silver. All of the plastic slots are black and while the mainboard is screen printed black, as we saw with the MSI X79 board, the copper traces shine through the printed to give the mainboard a dark brown look. It actually doesn't look too bad on this board, certainly not as contrasting as the blue MSI mainboard but I would perhaps like to see ASRock print there PCB's matt black like GIGABYTE and ZOTAC which in my opinion, look much more professional. The gold caps look stunning and contrast well with the dark features of the motherboard.

Board Rear

The rear of the board is not as bare as we have seen in the past having a clockgen chip and POScaps among others so it appears that ASRock are making as much use of the available space as possible. Fortunately these are far enough away from the CPU heatsink mount holes that any backplate will not come into contact with them.

LGA 2011 Socket

The socket area is perhaps not best suited to extreme cooling due to the number of solid caps and chokes in the vicinity. Being an mATX board space was always going to be tight and the ASRock X79 Extreme4-M is no different. The board uses a FOXCONN sockets as opposed to the LOTES sockets we have seen in our previous X79 reviews. For all intents and purposes though, both sockets appear identical.

PCIe Area

Being an mATX motherboard, the PCIe are will inevitably take a hit in the number of ports it can supply. The ASRock board does however manage to cram in 3x PCIe 3.0 x16 ports and a PCI port which means it can support both SLI and TRI SLI along with CrossfireX should you want a multi GPU setup. In reality it is unlikely that a triple GPU setup will be used due to the slots being placed directly next to one another which plagues all mATX motherboards. The ASRock board uses a neat design in that the socket clasps are not spring loaded. Instead, there are small locks that slide into place to hold the PCIe card into position.


Dominating the bottom right quarter of the motherboard is the X79 Chipset heatsink. Unlike the full size ATX motherboards, the ASRock X79 has active cooling on the X79 chipset. Throughout testing though the fan rarely span up and when it did it was inaudible which was a pleasant surprise as I feared this could be one area which would deter many buyers.

SATA Ports

There are six 7 SATA ports in total, 6 at right angles to the mainboard with a further slot facing upwards behind these. 3 of the ports are SATA 6GB/s (2via X79, 1 via ASMedia) with the remaining four ports being 3GB/s capable ports courtesy of the Intel chipset.

I/O Area

The I/O area of the ASRock X79 Extreme-M is as complete as any of the X79 range having the following options: PS2 Keyboard and mouse ports, Clear CMOS button, Coaxial and optical SPDIF Out ports, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 6x USB 2.0 ports, RJ45 LAN port, eSATA3 port, IEEE 1394 port, and 6x 3.5mm Audio ports support 7.1 surround sound.

Power Supply

A single 8-pin socket is available to provide the additional 12v power to the CPU which is conveniently placed to the left of the memory DIMMs. This is coupled with the main 24pin ATX power socket for the mainboard and an optional MOLEX socket above the 1st GPU slot to supply extra juice to the GPU's in extreme overclocking circumstances.

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