Thursday, July 8th 2010

ASRock Readies P55 Extreme4, Packs Four USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbps Ports Each

ASRock is readying a new high-end socket LGA1156 motherboard based on the Intel P55 chipset, the P55 Extreme4. Designed to be a notch above the P55 Deluxe3, which packs two SATA 6 Gb/s and two USB 3.0 ports, the Extreme4 uses two 2-port controllers to drive four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and two USB 3.0 controllers to drive two USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel, and two ports by internal headers (for the latest cases that come with USB 3.0 front-panel ports, or simply by USB 3.0 expansion brackets). Connections to these four controllers is conveniently handled by configuring the PCI-Express x4 port from the P55 PCH to work as four x1 ports, apart from the four x1 ports it gives apart from the x4 port. This way, the board is also able to provide three x1 expansion slots and drive the PCI-E GbE controller.

The other expansion slots are two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x8/x8, when both are populated), supporting SLI and CrossFire, and two PCI. Apart from the four SATA 6 Gb/s ports (color-coded white), the six SATA 3 Gb/s ports (color-coded blue) are present internally. The CPU socket seems to be powered by an 8+2 phase VRM. The four DDR3 memory slots can take DDR3 modules with frequencies of over 2600 MHz with overclocking. Other connectivity features include 8-channel HD audio and gigabit Ethernet. ASRock will introduce the P55 Extreme4 in a few weeks' time.

Source: Le Comptior du Hardware
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11 Comments on ASRock Readies P55 Extreme4, Packs Four USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbps Ports Each

#1
Izliecies
The only thing bad with this motherboard is that its SATA connectors aren't angled.
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#2
erixx
And no COM port :)
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#3
mascotzel
How many 1156 boards with com ports have you seen? Even in the P45 days, only MSI had com on some boards.
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#4
Fourstaff
by: Izliecies
The only thing bad with this motherboard is that its SATA connectors aren't angled.
Nitpicking!! If they supply angled SATA cables, then I think we can safely say "problem solved"
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#5
erixx
by: mascotzel
How many 1156 boards with com ports have you seen? Even in the P45 days, only MSI had com on some boards.
The whole Asus P7P55 range has them! Very good for certain tasks.
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#6
erixx
by: Fourstaff
Nitpicking!! If they supply angled SATA cables, then I think we can safely say "problem solved"
I my roomy main case (with exquisite cable management 'naturalment madam', lol), I love angled Sata connexions. But in a small case, I am not sure I'd like them, rather not.
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#7
wiak
well most of the SATA 6Gbps/USB 3.0 ports has no bandwith on P55 boards..
why? intel put PCIe 1.1 on them.. NOT full PCIe 2.0
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#9
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: wiak
well most of the SATA 6Gbps/USB 3.0 ports has no bandwith on P55 boards..
why? intel put PCIe 1.1 on them.. NOT full PCIe 2.0
The manufacturers of the motherboard are the ones that decided to use the 1.1 lanes.

Intel only provides 16 PCI-E 2.0 lanes from the P55 chipset on the processor, and another 8 PCI-E 1.1 lanes from the PCH on the board.

The motherboard manufacturers basically have three choices. Put the SATA 6Gbps/USB 3.0 ports on a PCI-E 1.1 lane, use a bridge chip like the NF200 or PLX chip to convert the 16 PCi-E 2.0 lanes into 32 lanes, or take 8 PCI-E 2.0 lanes away from the graphics card and use 1 for the SATA 6Gbps and 1 for the USB 3.0.

Of course the first option is what they commonly do, and leads to bottlenecked speeds. However, with USB3.0, at least the speeds are noticeably better still.

The second option adds latency, which is a big no-no for anyone that would actually use 6Gbps(SSD owners only here).

The third option of course would actually not be that bad, and probably would be the option I would prefer. Limitting the graphics card to x8 wouldn't really effect performance, plus the 8 2.0 lanes could be used instad of the 8 1.1 lanes from the PCH, meaning those 1.1 lanes could be dedicated to a second PCI-E slot for a second graphics card still, granted not at the best performance possible, but still a good option.
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#10
stasdm
Installing a PLX switch adds a negligible latency (contrary to nVidia rubbish, slow and only v.1.1 really) and by using the PLX PEX PEX 8680 a P55 board may have banwidth enough for three "graphics x16", one PCIe x8 (for RAID card) and a couple of USB PCIe x1 links.

Marvell chips are a trash - will not support more than 350 MB/s, I'd preffer LSI SAS 2008 (or, at least, 2004) pre-installed (and no need for x8 slot then).

The board itself will be about 2 times more expencive, but who will buy X55 boards then? :)
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#11
overclocking101
wow im impressed with that board, except the sata ports!
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