Workstation class X99 from ASRock

Subject: General Tech | October 30, 2014 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: x99 ws, Intel X99, Haswell-E, asrock

ASRock has a Work Station class board for Haswell-E with five PCIe 3.0 slots, support for up to 128GB of RAM which can be ECC if you install an appropriate processor and on the back are four of both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, one eSATA ports, audio and a pair of LAN ports.  They also included A-Tuning overclocking software which seems odd for a Work Station but proved to be very important as [H]ard|OCP could not get the system they built with this board to POST at default settings and had to change UEFI settings to get it to boot.  Once it did start up the performance was solid and it was one of the better ASRock boards that [H] has reviewed though with a street price over $300 it is hard to recommend.

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"ASRock comes to us with its "Work Station" version Haswell-E motherboard. This time our out-of-box experience with its X99 WS was as rock solid as it could be and did leave us with feelings of getting to work with a quality component. As you all know, we are much more interested in how it performs at high clocks while under stress."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The ASRock Z97 Extreme6 has a surprise for you M.2 fans

Subject: Motherboards | October 23, 2014 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: asrock, Z97 Extreme6, Broadwell, haswell

For just under $200 the ASRock Z97 Extreme is a good base to build a Broadwell or Haswell platform on for significantly less than a brand new Haswell-E system.  The design is quite clean and well spaced out to allow the use of a large cooler along with integral heat sinks improving the looks and thermals of the motherboard.  The first two PCIe 3.0 16x slots share 16 lanes between them, the third slot is PCIe 2.0 and is limited to a maximum of two lanes, with two 1x and a mini PCIe slot each getting one lane.  Four of the remaining PCIe 3.0 lanes are taken up by the M.2 socket, which gives you up to 32Gbps of transfer speed, not too shabby for a Z97 board.  There are a lot of other features, including two separate physical UEFI chips and a very comprehensive software suite to manage the system, which you read about at The Tech Report.

board.jpg

"With Broadwell compatibility and a secondary M.2 socket connected to four PCIe Gen3 lanes in the CPU, ASRock's Z97 Extreme6 might just be the most future-proof Haswell motherboard around. It's surprisingly affordable, too, despite having loads of other extras. Read on for more on a truly unique Z97 contender."

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ASRock Launches High End X99 WS E-ATX Motherboard For Workstations and Servers

Subject: Motherboards | August 30, 2014 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: xeon, x99 ws, X99, workstation, socket 2011-3, Intel, Haswell-E, asrock

Alongside the X99 Extreme6 for enthusiasts, ASRock has launched the X99 WS (E-ATX) motherboard for professional workstations and servers. The board uses a black PCB, blue aluminum heatsinks on the power phase and PCH areas, and gold colored caps. The E-ATX motherboard uses short screws and a thinner CPU socket backplate to allow it to fit into 1U server cases. You have ample PCI-E slots, DDR4 (and ECC RDIMMs), USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2 (with an AIC), eSATA, M.2, and SATA III for connectivity. Power is regulated by a 12 power phase "Digi Power" design with high quality Ultra Dual-N MOSFETs, 60A chokes, 12K Nichicon capacitors.

The X99 WS also uses larger heatsinks, especially around the CPU area. The board features an Intel LGA 2011-3 socket that will accept Haswell-E or Xeon E5-1600/2600 v3 processors up to 18 cores and 160W TDPs. Eight memory slots surround the CPU socket and support a maximum of 128GB of DDR4 3200+ memory. Storage is handled by 10 SATA III 6Gbps ports and a single "Ultra M.2" slot that supports SATA III or PCI-E x4 controller equipped drives.

X99 WS E-ATX Workstation and Server Motherboard for Haswell-E.jpg

This worskation board takes advantage of the Extended ATX form factor to cram in additional PCI-E 3.0 slots versus the shorter X99 Extreme6. A PCI-E 2.0 x 16 slot sits directly below the CPU socket followed by the (mentioned above) M.2 slot and five PCI-E 3.0 x 16 slots. The five PCI-E 3.0 slots allow for 4-Way CrossFireX and 4-Way SLI multi-GPU setups. To take full advantage of this board, you will want to pair it with the higher end Haswell-E parts (5930K, 5960X, et al) with the full 40 lanes rather than the entry level 5820K with its limited 28 PCI-E lanes.

Using internal headers, the X99 WS supports a TPM module, two COM ports, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, and a Thunderbolt port (via an extra add-in-card). It features two CPU fan and three chassis fan headers as well.

The X99 WS features the following ports on the rear IO panel.

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x Gigabit LAN
    • 1 x Intel I217LM
    • 1 x Intel I210AT
  • 7.1 Channel Audio (Realtek ALC1150)
    • 5 x Analog audio outputs
    • 1 x Optical audio output

The X99 WS is available now with a three year manufaturer warranty for $323.99. The price alone pushes this board well into the professional market, but gamers can get most of the way to the WS feature-wise with the X99 Extreme6. The WS goes up against the boards like the ASUS X99-Deluxe and MSI X99S XPOWER AC.

Source: ASRock

ASRock Shows Off Upcoming X99 Extreme6 Haswell-E Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 30, 2014 - 01:43 AM |
Tagged: X99, socket 2011-3, lga 2011, Haswell-E, atx, asrock

Today, ASRock unveiled the X99 Extreme6 motherboard, a high end board for enthusiasts featuring Intel's X99 chipset and support for Haswell-E processors and all of the latest connectivity options (short of SATA Express).

This ATX motherboard uses a black PCB, gold capacitors, and blue heatsinks to create an appealing color scheme. A 12 power phase "Digi Power" design feeds the LGA 2011-3 CPU socket. Eight total DDR4 memory slots surround the processor socket (four on each side) with support for up to 128GB of DDR4 running at 3000+MHz (w/ requisite CPU/IMC overclock).

The bottom half of the motherboard hosts the PCI-E slots, PCH, and 10 SATA 3 ports. Specifically, the X99 Extreme6 features three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (supporting Triple SLI or CrossFire), two PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, a single Mini PCI-E connector, and one "Ultra M.2" PCI-E 3.0 x4 M.2 slot for SSDs. Ten right angled SATA III 6Gbps ports sit to the right of the southbridge.

ASRock X99 Extreme6 LGA 2011-3 Haswell-E Motherboard.jpg

Using internal headers, users can add four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, one Thunderbolt port (requires an add-on card to work), and one COM port(s) for additional connectivity and connecting case front panel ports.

Rear IO on the Extreme6 includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • ​7.1 Channel Purity Sound 2 Audio (Realtek ALC1150)
    • 5 x Analog audio
    • 1 x Optical audio output
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
    • 1 x Intel 1218V NIC
    • 1 x Qualcomm Atheros NIC

The X99 Extreme6 is part of ASRock's new "Super Alloy X99" lineup. It is available now from retailers for $279.99 with a three year manufacturer warranty.

Also read: Haswell-E: The Intel Core i7-5960X 8-core Processor Review at PC Perspective.

Source: ASRock

The ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer should not be judged by looks alone

Subject: Motherboards | July 7, 2014 - 07:07 PM |
Tagged: asrock, Fatal1ty Z97 Killer, budget

The ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer can be yours for $135, much less than many previous motherboards bearing that famous name and [H]ard|OCP has a good idea why after reviewing the board.  The build quality of the board is rather cheap, as in the PCB is "as straight as undercooked bacon and feels more prone to breakage than the crispiest strips of bacon" and there was also mention of blood spilled.  However you should not judge the board by its cover as [H] soon found out, 8 phase power and sold caps provided a solid performance experience with no problems installing the OS or during their benchmarking process.  Their i7-4770K hit 4.7GHz with almost no effort whatsoever and can be coaxed higher if you have the time and skill.  This mix of low price, cheap build and stellar performance for a budget board earned this Killer a Gold Award and a place on the short list for economical enthusiasts.

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"The ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer offers very little frills and boasts tons of performance at a very low cost. ASRock with us has been hit and miss in the past in terms of reviews. This $125 has all the features though that are needed to get you overclocking though. We put the ASRock Z97 Killer Fatal1ty to the test."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASRock Unveils New AM1 Platform Motherboards For Socketed Kabini SoCs

Subject: Motherboards | March 6, 2014 - 01:33 AM |
Tagged: SoC, mini ITX, micro ATX, Kabini, FS1B, asrock, AM1

ASRock has joined the AM1 Platform fray with three of its own FS1B socketed motherboards: the AM1B-M, AM1B-ITX, and AM1H-ITX. The new motherboards come in Mini ITX and Micro ATX form factors that support all of Kabini’s I/O options including USB 3.0, SATA III, and PCI-E 2.0 connections.

ASRock AM1B-ITX(m).jpg

The two mini ITX motherboards (the AM1B-ITX and AM1H-ITX) feature a FS1B SoC socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, four SATA III 6Gbps ports, and a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot running at PCI-E 2.0 x4. ASRock is using two SATA III ports from the Kabini SoC and two SATA III ports from an ASMedia ASM1061 chipset. Both boards utilize the Realtek RTL8111GR NIC to provide gigabit Ethernet.

ASRock AM1H-ITX(m).jpg

The AM1H-ITX board builds upon the features of the AM1B-ITX by adding a mini PCI-E connector. While the AM1B-ITX uses a 5.1 channel Realtek ALC662 chipset, the AM1H-ITX uses a 7.1 channel ALC892 chipset that supports both analog and optical S/PDIF outputs.

Beyond the mini ITX boards, ASRock is launching the micro ATX AM1B-M. This board features the FS1B Kabini SoC socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots (16GB @ 1600MHz), two SATA III 6Gbps ports, a PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot (running at x4), and a PCI-E x1 slot. The board further offers Gigabit Ethernet and 5.1 channel audio. Noticeably absent is the additional ASMedia chipset that adds two SATA III ports.

ASRock AM1B-M(m).jpg

Additionally, the three boards have internal headers for extra USB ports and TPM security chips (the exact configuration of which depends on the specific board). The table below breaks down the basic differences between the boards.

  ASRock AM1B-M ASRock AM1B-ITX ASRock AM1H-ITX
Memory 2 x DDR3 (16GB @ 1600MHz) 2 x DDR3 (16GB @ 1600MHz) 2 x DDR3 (16GB @ 1600MHz)
Expansion Slots

1 x PCI-E 2.0 x16 (@ x 4)

1 x PC-E 2.0 x1 (@ x 1)

1 x PCI-E 2.0 x16 (@ x 4)

1 x PCI-E 2.0 x16

1 x mPCI-E

Storage 2 x SATA III

2 x SATA III from Kabini SoC

2 x SATA III from ASMedia ASM1061

2 x SATA III from Kabini SoC

2 x SATA III from ASMedia ASM1061

Networking Realtek RTL8111GR
Audio Realtek ALC662 Realtek ALC662 Realtek ALC892
Rear IO
  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x VGA
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x Parallel
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF
  • 5 x analog audio

 

As with the other AMD hardware partners, ASRock has not released pricing or availability information. You can expect the micro ATX to be the cheapest of the bunch, with the two mini ITX boards commanding a slight premium for their reduced size and bolstered I/O options. The boards with four SATA III ports would make for great home server options by not requiring a PCI-E card to connect more than two SATA drives. The boards will support Athlon and Sempron branded AMD Kabini SoCs, and the combination of a board and SoC will cost approximately $60 according to AMD.

While the AM1 Platform is restricted to single channel memory (a Kabini memory controller limitation) versus Bay Trail's dual channel memory support, the AM1 Platform offers SATA 6Gbps and a GCN-based graphics part. Bay Trail may have a leg up in memory bandwidth and TDPs, socketed Kabini offers more storage bandwidth and graphics performance. I'm interested to see how the two platform stack up, and what the new boards are able to do.

Also read: AMD Releases the AM1 Platform: Socketed Kabini APU

Source: ASRock

ASRock takes a shot at a Killer Fatal1ty

Subject: Motherboards | February 20, 2014 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: z87, Killer Fatal1ty, asrock

ASRock has picked up some impressive branding recently but the question of performance remains.  They have been in the motherboard business for a while but have always been considered a bargain brand by most enthusiasts.  [H]ard|OCP reviewed their flagship Z87 board recently to see if perhaps it is time to reconsider that impression.  With three PCIe 3.0 16x slots and four PCIe 2.0 1x slots it does seem a high end motherboard and the inclusion of an onboard KillerNIC may also attract some attention.  If this board really wants to attract attention it is the overclocking and stability which really matter and seeing as how it finished the review wearing a gold medal you can get a rough idea of how that testing went.  Read the full review to see ASRock's impressive Killer Fatal1ty board in action.

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"If you’re a long time reader of HardOCP then you probably know we are not huge fans of ASRock as a brand overall. Recently we purchased a new motherboard to spend some time with the ASRock Z87 KILLER FATAL1TY, and as a result our opinions are changing. Is that change for the better or for worse?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

IDF 2013: Products With 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 Appear At IDF 2013

Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2013 - 06:30 PM |
Tagged: z87, Thunderbolt 2, sonnet, Intel, idf 2013, idf, gigabyte, asus, asrock, aja, 4k

Intel recently launched its next generation Thunderbolt 2 interface, and several devices using the new connection were shown off at the Intel Developer Forum. The major takeaway from Thunderbolt 2 is the increased bandwidth and benefits to video production houses working with large uncompressed media. Specifically, Thunderbolt 2 is a PCI-Express based external interface that sends both video output and data down a single cable. Upgrades over the original 10Gbps Thunderbolt standard include an updated to the DisplayPort 1.2 video standard and double the bandwidth to 20Gbps. Thanks to the increased bandwidth, Thunderbolt 2 enables simultaneous video output and video file transfer of 4K media. Video editors can watch and transfer 4K video to an DisplayPort-equipped monitor and external RAID array respectively.

Thunderbolt 2.jpg

Intel is kicking off the Thunderbolt 2 standard with the launch of its DSL5520 and DSL5320 Thunderbolt 2 controllers, which are already in the hands of device manufactures. In fact, there were quite a few bits of hardware being shown off at this years IDF that already support the new Thunderbolt 2 standard. Intel is expecting even more devices in 2014.

Intel Thunderbolt 2 Connectivity.jpg

Professional video editing and workstation hardware with Thunderbolt 2

While consumer PC hardware will be supporting Thunderbolt 2, the new interface is most beneficial to professional users and IDF was the launch pad for several high end pieces of production gear. Sonnet launched the Echo Express III external PCI-E card chassis that allows users to hook up PCI-E cards to systems via Thunderbolt 2 (for example: video capture card or fast solid state storage). Also, AJA showed off a video/audio capture box called the IO 4K that supports daisy chaining other Thunderbolt 2 devices and acts as a video capture card capable of taking in 4K and UltraHD video sources as well as high end audio inputs. Finally, PROMISE Technology showed off its Pegasus2 RAID 5 enclosure and SANLink2 Thunderbolt 2 bridge device.

Sonnet Echo Express III-D and Echo Express III-R PCI-E Card External Chassis.jpg

External boxes are not the only professional products with Thunderbolt 2 at IDF, however. The technology is also being integrated into workstations, including the Apple Mac Pro with six Thunderbolt 2 ports and HP’s new lineup of desktop workstations.

Z87 Motherboards With Thunderbolt 2

Thunderbolt 2 will also be used in consumer gear as well, including Z87 motherboards. Asus, AsRock, and Gigabyte all had motherboards on display that each featured two Thunderbolt 2 ports. The new interface will be available on the multiple boards from the manufacturers. German tech site ComputerBase.de posted several photos of Thunderbolt 2-equipped motherboards and gave a glimpse at the upcoming hardware.

New Motherboards With Thunderbolt 2 From Asus, Asrock, and Gigabyte.jpg

The Asus Z87-Deluxe/Quad, an AsRock Z87 motherboard, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH spotted at IDF by ComputerBase.de.

Of note are the ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad, AsRock Extreme 11/ac, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH. All boards off LGA 1150 CPU sockets, four DDR3 DIMM slots, a slew of SATA 6Gbps ports, multiple PCI-E 3.0 x16 and x1 slots, and rich rear IO including two Thunderbolt 2 ports (naturally).

AsRock Z87 Extreme 11ac Motherboard with Thunderbolt 2.jpg

The AsRock Z87 Extreme 11/ac via ComputerBase.de.

The following chart breaks down the specifications. Unfortunately pricing and availability have not been announced for these boards, but expect to pay a premium for the high end gaming hardware and new Thunderbolt 2 controller. (The Asrock Extreme 11/ac in particular takes the word “high end” to the, well, extreme.)

  ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad AsRock Extreme 11/ac Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH
SATA 6Gbps 10 10 10
PCI-E 3.0 x16 3 4 5
PCI-E 3.0 x1 4 3 2
mPCI-E n/a 3 1
Rear IO: --------------------- -------------------- ----------------------
PS/2 n/a 1 1
Audio 6 x analog, 1 x optical 5 x analog, 1 x optical 5 x analog, 1 x optical
Thunderbolt 2 2 2 2
GbE 2 2 1
Video out 1 x HDMI 1 x HDMI, 1 x DP 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI
USB 3.0 6 (+4 USB 2.0) 6 (+2 USB 2.0) 6
eSATA n/a 1 n/a

It is promising to see so many devices this early into Thunderbolt 2's launch, and the various high end motherboard using both Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 gives consumers the best of both worlds and access to all manner of external peripherals. The bandwidth increase is certainly welcome, and I am interested to see what sorts of new devices it enables. For now, I think Thunderbolt 2 is going to be mainly a professional (or at least "pro-sumer") technology. With that siad, 4K capture and video output is already being worked on, and I am curious to see what other applications and technologies will really be able to push the new 20Gbps interface and what trickles down to the consumer space!

Are you excited about Thunderbolt 2? Let us know what you think of the IDF-launched products and the interface technology in general in the comments below!

Source: Intel

ASRock Announces Mini ITX H87E-ITX/ac LGA 1150 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 13, 2013 - 01:50 AM |
Tagged: lga 1150, Intel, haswell, H87, asrock, 802.11ac

ASRock has announced a new Mini-ITX form facotr motherboard for Intel’s latest Haswell processors (LGA 1150). It utilizes the H87 chipset and should be a good board for enthusiasts looking to build a SFF machine.

ASRock H87E-ITXac Mini ITX Motherboard.jpg

The H87E-ITX/ac features a LGA 1150 socket powered by a 4-phase DrMOS VRM, two DDR3 DIMM slots (maximum of 32GB), and a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot. Storage is handled by six SATA III 6Gbps ports located between the CPU socket and PCI-E slot. The board uses an Intel i217V chipset for the 802.11ac WLAN and an Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC. A Realtek ALC1150 chipset handles the audio duties.

ASRock H87E-ITXac Mini ITX Motherboard Rear IO.jpg

Rear IO on the H87E-ITX/ac includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jack
  • 1 x eSATA III
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks

The rear IO also has two antenna connectors for the 802.11ac Wi-Fi card. ASRock includes an antenna but users should be able to use any third party antennas as it uses standard connectors.

ASRock has not yet released pricing or availability information, but you can find additional specifications and photos on this product page. I would wait for reviews, but it looks to be a decent board, and if the price is right it should be a popular option for SFF desktops and HTPC builds.

Source: ASRock

Computex 2013: ASRock Teams Up With BMW To Create New SFF M8 Chassis

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2013 - 01:28 AM |
Tagged: SFF, m8, Lan Box, computex 2013, case, bmw, asrock

New PC cases seem to be popular at Computex this year, and ASRock may have just blown away the small form factor competition with its compact BMW Group-designed “M8” chassis.

The new “M8” case was designed by a BMW Group consultancy firm called DesignworksUSA. They have created a compact metal case that will be right at home at a LAN party or on many enthusiasts' desks. The case is a large square with cut-off corners and indented side panels. It is designed to show off the PC internals with a large octagonal side window, and can be stood upright or laid out horizontally. Carrying handles are integrated into the corners as well, making it easier to carry to LAN parties. The front of the case includes the “A-Command” button which is basically a large home theater-style volume control dial with an integrated OLED screen. The dial can adjust audio volume and fan speeds while the OLED display reports on system temperature, time,  and usage (presumably HDD or CPU activity indicators).

ASRock M8 BMW Case.jpg

The case has a rather clean and sharp look that shows a bare metal side and a glossy black front panel. The BMW Group has added red accents to the front panel and side windows. In an interesting twist, according to the press release, the side panels are magnetic which enables easy access to the internals.

The small form factor (SFF) M8 case will be used by ASRock to create a custom gaming PC. The internal specifications have not yet been announced, however.

This is definitely a unique design that is likely to be popular among the enthusiast and gamer crowd. You can find more photos of the M8 case on the BMW Group website.

What do you think of this BMW-inspired PC chassis?

Source: BMW Group