ASRock X99 Extreme6 Intel LGA 2011-3 Motherboard Review

Layout, Design and Features …

Already the packaging of the ASRock X99 Extreme6 Socket 2011-v3 motherboard reveals a lot about the high-quality content:

You can see some of the extremely rich features on the back of the motherboard box:

Now let us open the mainboard box and get a first look at the content:

Like other high-end motherboards, ASRock carefully wrapped this motherboard with foam and fastened it with cable ties for safe transportation:

Already at first glance, the extremely well finished ASRock X99 Extreme6 board makes a good figure. It has very durable Nichicon 12K Platinum Caps capacitors, multiple filter caps, 12 Power Phase Design and Purity Sound 2 using the new Nichicon Fine Gold capacitors are only a few of the high-quality characteristics of the 2oz copper PCB:

As seen at the previously tested Z97 Extreme6, this X99 Extreme6 comes with the extremely high-performance Ultra M.2 slot for PCIe Gen3 x4 modules, which can be connected with up to 32 Gb/s:

We have of course immediately installed the recently tested Plextor M6e 256GB PCIe M.2 SSD and looked at the extremely high data transfer rates:

Here we can see the Dr. Debug 7-segment LED post code display, the two LED illuminated buttons for power and reset, the selection switch for the two UEFI BIOS ICs and the useful HDD saver power connector to switch off up to two drives during operation with software:

Here you can see the two internal USB 3.0 headers, the high quality 12K Platinum capacitors, the 24-pin ATX power connector with new premium alloy chokes above and at the right corner you see the internal USB-A port:

And here is a side view with the big XXL aluminum alloy heatsinks, which are very carefully placed on the MOSFETs and the chipset:

Contrary to the LGA1150 Socket, the Sockel 2011 and the latest Sockel2011-3 have two levers, ensuring an optimum contact pressure of the CPU on the socket contacts:

Here you can see the mounted Haswell-E CPU. For the motherboard tests we have installed a 3.5 GHz Intel Core i7-5930K CPU (with 15 MB smart cache) in the LGA2011-v3 Socket:

A first look in the Task Manager … 6 cores with 12 threads:

Here you see the four memory modules installed optimally on the X99 motherboard, to get quad channel support:

Equipment and other features …

The ASRock X99 Extreme6 motherboard came with a manual, software setup guide, one DVD, four SATA data cables, a SLI bridge, 3-way SLI bridge card, a HDD saver cable, screws for the M.2 socket and the Mini-PCIe slot and one ATX I/O shield. USB Slot brackets or the ASRock 3.5-inch USB 3.0 frontpanel are optional available.

The ASRock X99 Extreme6 offers numerous features like for example the ASRock A-Tuning Tool, ASRock Instant Flash, ASRock Internet Flash, ASRock APP Charger, ASRock Fast Boot, ASRock Restart to UEFI, ASRock XFast USB, ASRock XFast LAN, ASRock XFast RAM, ASRock Crashless BIOS, ASRock Online Management Guard, ASRock UEFI System Browser, ASRock Dehumidifier Function, ASRock Easy RAID Installer, ASRock Easy Driver Installer, ASRock UEFI Tech Service, ASRock Good Night LED, ASRock USB Key, ASRock Home Cloud, Purity Sound 2, Secure Backup UEFI, 12 Power Phase Design, ASRock FAN-Tastic Tuning and HDD Saver Technology.

Expansion cards …

The motherboard offers three PCI Express 3.0 video card slots for AMD CrossFireX or nVidia SLI, whereby either one video card can operate with x16 band-width, or two with x8 lanes or one video card can operate with x8 band-width and two with x4 lanes. The motherboard came with a CrossFire bridge and a 3-way SLI bridge card. Special SLI/XFire switch cards are not necessary to get the optimal performance for single or CrossFireX or 3-Way CrossFireX operation. If one like only use one video card on the X99 Extreme6, one should install the PCI Express video card into the PCIE1 or PCIE3 slot, in order to get the fastest x16 bandwidth.

To troubleshoot no BootScreen problems (hangs at post code A9 or shows postcode A6, 99) with some graphics cards, you can install the video card in the PCIE3 slot. If with an AMD graphics card no picture appears on X99 motherboards, you should select PCIE3 slot until ASRock published a new UEFI BIOS update with the support of the respective graphics card. Then you will see a picture and the graphics card works with the fastest PCIe 3.0 x16 link.

Additionally to the three PCI Express 3.0 slots there are two more x1 PCIe 2.0 slots and one Mini-PCI Express slot.

Memory …

The ASRock X99 Extreme6 can be equipped with up to eight DDR4 modules and is expandable depending upon operating system used (see list) to maximally 128 GB memory.

Here is a picture of the eight DDR4 memory slots with quad-channel support, install them necessarily first in the four black slots DDR4_A1, B1, C1 and D1:

The Intel LGA2011-3 motherboard supports DDR4 memory modules and can be optimized in the BIOS for DDR4-2133 Quad Channel modules with an Intel Haswell-E processor. UEFI offers the selection for DDR4-800, DDR4-1000, DDR4-1066, DDR4-1200, DDR4-1333, DDR4-1400, DDR4-1600, DDR4-1800, DDR4-1866, DDR4-2000, DDR4-2133, DDR4-2200, DDR4-2400 und DDR4-2666 and higher clock-rates are currently only possible with manual BCLK overclocking or from DDR4-2600 to DDR4-3500 by OC Presets (see below in the UEFI OC test).

Thanks to XMP support (Intel eXtreme Memory Profiles), XMP memory modules are set correctly with one mouse click in the UEFI and of course there are far more memory adjustments and even more OC-options, but more on that later. You can also check the officially supported modules at ASRock’s memory support page.

Hard disk drive connectors …

The ASRock X99 Extreme6 offers ten bended SATA3 connectors (6 Gb/s) and one eSATA3 port at the I/O Panel. ASRock has left only the SATA Express port.

Here you can see the ten SATA3 ports, where you should connect the boot device to SATA3_0:

The SATA 3 ports SATA3_0 to SATA3_5 are supporting RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel Rapid Storage Technology 13 and Intel Smart Response Technology, NCQ, AHCI and the Hot Plug function in AHCI mode (AHCI stands for Advanced Host Controller Interface and can be selected in the UEFI). Thanks to UEFI BIOS also drives with more than 2 TB for the installation of Windows 8, Windows 7 x64 or Vista x64 can be used.

Drivers for Windows 8 and Windows 7 32-Bit and 64-Bit can be installed over the Easy Driver Installer or Easy RAID Installer button in the UEFI, are provided on the DVD, and can be downloaded at the ASRock support page.

Another interesting feature is the HDD Saver function, which we already know and appreciate from the Z97 Extreme6 motherboard. At the HDD saver connector can be operate up to two hard drives in AHCI mode, which can be power on or off over the UEFI or in Windows. This not only saves electricity, but also allows e.g. the independent operation of a backup HDD, which can be also protected with a password. The HDD saver function can be called after A-Tuning installation over the supplied ASRock A-Tuning tool or by using the key combination CTRL + ALT + S.

USB and Firewire …

This motherboard has nothing less than six USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports at the ATX-panel. Two internal USB 2.0 plugs for up to four optional USB ports and two internal USB 3.0 plugs for up to four optional USB3.0 ports are available, too. The 20-pin connectors can be either connected to an optional USB3.0 front panel or to an enclosure with USB3.0 ports.

Another feature of this motherboard is the additional internal USB port that is integrated directly on the motherboard and thus can be reached internally within the PC case. This is very useful, e.g. for an internal connection of an USB Ultra IR receiver kit, an USB memory stick, for a WLAN stick or for an UMTS stick. However, you should carefully use this USB port and always look where you exactly stick the USB connector, since internal connections usually are equipped with plastic connectors to avoid an accidental short circuit with exposed contacts, but not the external USB-A plugs.

Network …

The ASRock X99 Extreme6 motherboard again has two LAN ports ! On the PCB is an Intel I218V and a Qualcomm Atheros AR 8171 chip to provide two 10/100/1000 network ports at the ATX Panel. The Intel LAN connection is WoL capable, supports LAN cable detection, energy efficient 802.3az ethernet and Intel Remote Wake Technology. The ASRock Cloud connector with the Qualcomm Atheros AR 8171 chip supports WoL, energy efficient 802.3az ethernet, allows wake-up of your PC via Internet (Security Wake On Internet Technology), ASRock full spike protection, PXE, and more.

Serial and parallel port …

This motherboard does not provide a parallel port. The serial port is available as internal connector on the motherboard.

Sound …

The ASRock X99 Extreme6 motherboard is equipped with the ALC1150 audio codec with content protection, 115dB SNR DAC, TI NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier and Purity Sound 2, which supports 7.1 surround sound for example analog over 5x 3.5mm connectors on the ATX panel or over an internal frontpanel audio connector. Additionally, there is an optical digital SPDIF output and premium Blu-Ray audio support. So most users do not need to buy an additional sound card with digital outputs.

ATX backpanel connectors …

From left to right you see 2x USB 2.0 ports and the PS/2 connector for a PS/2 keyboard, Clear CMOS, eSATA3, Qualcomm RJ45 Gigabit LAN and 2x USB 3.0, Intel RJ45 Gigabit LAN and 2x USB3.0, optical SPDIF out and 5x 3.5mm jacks for analog sound.

BIOS and Overclocking …