Feature Articles
Enthusiasts’ Feast – Intel X79 Motherboard Showcase
By Lionell Go Macahilig - 15 Feb 2012,10:57pm

ASRock X79 Extreme9 and ASUS P9X79 Deluxe

Let The Spectacle Begin!

Months after Intel officially released the Intel X79 chipset back in November last year, it’s good to see that the local market is now loaded with a lot of X79-based offerings from various motherboard vendors. While the X79 chipset represents Intel’s flagship desktop solution, boards that leverage on it come in different feature sets and prices that even budget-minded enthusiasts would find affordable. In this edition of showcase, let us lay our eyes on some of the X79-based boards that have entered our premises.

ASRock X79 Extreme9

ASRock’s flagship model for its X79 lineup sports a dark-colored PCB (printed circuit board), which is a common characteristic among today’s high end motherboards. The X79 Extreme9 employs golden polymer capacitors, which according to ASRock, offer longer life span than typical solid capacitors. Apart from the massive passive cooling assembly around the CPU and DIMM sockets region, the board also has an active cooler for the chipset, similar to the ASUS Rampage IV Extreme. Dubbed as ASRock X-FAN, its fan only spins once the system reaches a critical temperature when handling intense tasks. The X79 Extreme9 also comes with the ASRock Game Blaster add-on card. Price: PhP 16,500

The X79 Extreme9 is ASRock's alpha male in its pack of X79-based motherboards. Although the board flaunts a different color scheme, it shares some similarities with the flagship Rampage IV Extreme from ASUS.

Shown here is the bulky passive cooling solution that surrounds the CPU socket region. The CPU socket is flanked by two sets of four DIMM slots that can support up to 64GB DDR3 at the maximum speed of 2400MHz when overclocked.

ASRock has equipped the board with a PS/2 keyboard port, clear CMOS button, six USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, IEEE 1394 port, Gigabit Ethernet, and two eSATA connectors. Wondering why the audio jacks are missing? They are supplied via ASRock’s Game Blaster PCIe expansion card.

The X79 Extreme9 is one of the X79-based motherboards that have the most number of PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. The last PCIe x16 slot works only in x8 mode.

Unlike in the case of the Rampage IV Extreme, the chipset fan on the X79 Extreme9 only spins once the system reaches a critical temperature.

ASUS P9X79 Deluxe

A quick glance at the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe, one can easily say that it is a close relative of the P9X79 PRO which we reviewed last month. The main colors of the P9X79 Deluxe are black and blue, which make it appear milder than the ROG-branded Rampage IV Extreme. While the P9X79 Deluxe is a few notches below the latter in terms of features, it comes with a full complement of eight DIMM sockets that can support up to 64GB. The board also integrates an extensive heatsink assembly that helps in keeping the area around the CPU socket and the chipset cool. Price: PhP 20,850

While ASUS has reserved the black and red color scheme for motherboards under the Republic of Gamers (ROG) lineup, the black and blue combo is for more mainstream models such as the P9X79 Deluxe.

Like the ASRock X79 Extreme9, the P9X79 Deluxe also comes with a full set of eight DIMM slots to accommodate up to 64GB DDR3. The board's heatsink design is very similar to the one found on the P9X79 PRO.

On the connectivity front, the P9X79 Deluxe is very similar to the P9X79 PRO, except that it does not have the latter's built-in Bluetooth 2.1+EDR module.

ASUS ensures that your multi-GPU needs are covered with the board's four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots which are designed to support either a 3-way SLI or a quad CrossFireX configuration.

Cooling the chipset is a simple slab of heatsink. The white-colored SATA connectors operate at 6Gbps rate, whereas the blue ones still run at 3Gbps speed.