Just a short while ago, I spent some time with my first ASRock product, the Z77 Extreme9. When covering that product, I mentioned that more ASRock coverage was coming. Even since then, a few more samples have arrived at my door! With no time to waste, here's our second ASRock product, none other than the Fatal1ty X79 Champion!
ASRock has been around for a wee bit over 10 years now, having just recently celebrated their tenth anniversary of being their own company. During those ten years, they've definitely made a name for themselves with countless requests falling into my PM box on the forums asking for reviews. After some work on W1zzard's part, we got ourselves a contact and the samples arrived shortly afterwards. I was a bit surprised with my first review sample, an ES sample product that was a bit short of all the functionality full retail products have. The Fatal1ty X79 Champion, today's product, is very much a different animal, and is yet another high-end enthusiast offering, that has everything a high-end multi-GPU gamer needs, as well as a few things for the extreme clocker!
||2nd Gen Intel Core i7 processor family for the LGA 2011 Socket
||CPU Power: 12+2 Phase
PCH Power: 2 Phase
Memory Power: 2+2 Phase
||Intel X79 Express
||8 x DIMM, Max. 64 GB, DDR3 1066 to DDR3 2400 |
||AMI EFI BIOS with 64 Mb Flash ROM
||5 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots
||2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (Intel X79)
4 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (Intel X79)
4 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (Marvell 88SE9230)
||2x Broadcom BCM57781 PCIe Gigabit LAN
||5 x USB 2.0 ports (2 at back panel, 6 at front panel)
1 x Fatal1ty Mouse port (USB 2.0/1000Hz)
12 x USB 3.0 ports (8 at back panel, 4 at front panel)
2 x RJ45 LAN connectors
1 x Audio port with 5 audio jacks
1 x SPDIF Output(Optical)
2 x eSATA3 ports
1 x IEEE 1394 port
1 x Clear CMOS Button
1 x PS/2 keyboard port
||Creative Recon3Di HD CODEC
||4 x 3-pin, 2 x 4-pin
||CEB Form Factor (305 mm x 267 mm)
- ASRock Instant Boot
- ASRock Instant Flash
- ASRock APP Charger
- ASRock SmartView
- ASRock XFast USB
- ASRock XFast LAN
- ASRock XFast RAM
- ASRock Crashless BIOS
- ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard)
- ASRock Internet Flash
- ASRock HyperDuo Plus Technology
- CPU Frequency Stepless Control
- ASRock U-COP
- Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)
- Good Night LED
Intel X79 Express Chipset
Launched November 14th, 2011, the Intel X79 Express chipset is very similar to the Intel P67 Express and Intel Z68 Express chipsets launched earlier in 2011. The Intel X79 Express platform supports 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes via the CPU for graphics, while the Intel Z68/P67 Express chipsets supports only 16 lanes. Of course, the Intel X79 Express PCH itself supports eight lanes of PCIe 2.0 connectivity for external devices, as well as housing all of the I/O functionality via dual SATA 6 Gb/s ports and quad SATA 3 Gb/s ports which are managed via Intel Rapid Storage Technology 3.0 for RAID support. USB 2.0/3.0 and HD Audio are also supported as is eSATA and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.
The SKT2011 CPUs that the platform supports are also very similar to the previously released SKT1155 CPUs, but nearly everything offered in the SKT1155 platform has been doubled up, including cache and core count. Going by the marketing material given out by Intel, the SB-E CPUs (as they are referred to in enthusiast circles) feature eight total processing cores, but two have been disabled to keep power in check, so rather than a total of eight cores active, we find just six, but as these cores feature Hyper-Threading, they appear as 12 separate cores to the OS.
The PCIe on the CPU can be split many ways, including dual x16 links and a single x8 link at the same time, a single x16 link with triple x8 links, or a single x16 link with dual x8 and dual x4 links. Together these options offer the most flexibility for multi-card GPU configurations, with support for up to five total devices connected directly to the CPU. While only four discrete GPUs maximum are supported in current multi-GPU rendering options, the 5th link can be used for an external RAID controller or other PCIe devices that are commonly found in high-end builds.
The ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion is a quad-GPU supporting X79 Express for both AMD's CrossFire and NVIDIA's SLI. In fact, there are no less than five PCIe 3.0-compliant slots, ensuring that no matter your needs, the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion is ready to take your system to Champion levels.
Like the majority of ASRock Fatal1ty packaging, the Fatal1ty X79 Champion comes in a red and black box with a picture of Fatal1ty himself staring back at you. Nothing much more than the board's name and a few technology logos are found on the front, while the back gets to the point with fairly in-depth listings of the features the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion is equipped with.
I also found a flap on the front of the box with a short story telling us a bit about the face on the front of the box and a few Fatal1ty-specific highlights the board supports. There's also a clear window into the box’s innards found under the flap, letting you see what you are getting while still at the store.
Inside the box I found two other boxes, as shown above. The board itself is secured in the box using some high-density foam that's wrapped around the outer edge of the board's packaging tray.
The goodies the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion comes with are contained in their own box, which is comprised of two sections separated by a cardboard divider. On one side I found all the paper-based goods as well as the driver CD and rear I/O back-plate, while the other side was stuffed full of assorted cabling and other goodies that help you get the most you can out of your board.
- 1x I/O Shield
- 1x User Manual
- 1x Software User guide
- 2x ASRock Feature Guides
- 1x USB 3.0, 3.5" Bay Device
- 3x SLI Bridge(2 short, 1 long)
- 2x 3-Way SLI Bridge
- 1x Driver CD
- 6x SATA 6 Gb/s cables with locking pins
- 2x Molex-to-SATA power cables
The Board - Layout
The ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion is a bit larger than the standard ATX format, by nearly a full inch in fact, something ASRock refers to as the CEB Form Factor. Wrapped in black around red with bits of gold everywhere, it sure does make an impression in person. The front is pretty busy, but the back of the board is very similar to other Intel X79-based products, with many VRM components found in various places.
The socket area is just as busy as the rest of the front, with cooling elements found both above and below the CPU socket. The back of the board is fairly similar on the upper edge, but I did not notice anything that might cause issues when installing the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion into your chosen case.
Fitted with seven PCIe slots, the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion supports five slots of PCIe 3.0 functionality, with two black PCIe x1 slots rounding out the ranks. There are a total of eight DIMM slots, each alternating in black and red, with a black slot closest to the socket in each quad-slot bank.
As is common to multi-GPU boards these days, I found a Molex plug along with the standard pin headers located on the bottom edge. It's nicely angled at 90 degrees from the board's surface which helps a lot with case cable management.
I found not one, but two USB 3.0 headers by the 24-pin connector - part of the reason there's a bay device found in the box. There are also many fan headers on the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion, but only two of the six supplied are PWM-based - one for the CPU, as well as the CHA_FAN1 header on the bottom edge.
The rear I/O includes a keyboard PS/2 plug as well as a specialized USB 2.0 1000 Hz mouse port paired with a normal USB 2.0 port. There's also a Clear CMOS header near the left edge. You don't have to pull off the case side panel should you need to reset the CMOS during a late-night overclocking session. There's dual LAN, dual eSATA, FireWire, and no less than eight USB 3.0 ports too. The audio tower is fairly simple, with five analogue ports and one digital port. For internal SATA support, there's ten total ports, six SATA 6 Gb/s, and four SATA 3 Gb/s ports, each clearly labeled on the board's edge.
The Board - A Closer Look
Like any good overclocking board should, the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion comes with onboard POWER and RESET switches found on the board's bottom edge. The BIOS chip, containing a 64 Mb AMI UEFI BIOS, is contained in a user-serviceable socket, a nice feature should you like to change BIOS versions but don't want to boot the machine - great for perhaps saving both a daily usage profiled BIOS and another for running extreme clocking under LN2.
Other pre-OS boot overclocking features include two different POST diagnostic displays and a series of LEDs just above the 24-pin power connector. It's pretty basic, just four LEDs, but it does, at the same time, directly point you to what part of the system may be at fault. Below the SATA ports I found a far more informative dual-digit POST code display which will precisely point to where a boot has failed.
That is not all, as I found a seven-port measurement block meant to be used in conjunction with a digital multimeter, to give accurate real-time voltage monitoring capabilities. Once the board is up and running a Nuvoton NCT6776D Super I/O reports voltage info and provides fan control via software in BIOS or in Windows. It also provides support for the PS/2 keyboard port.
The power delivery for the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion is pretty strong, with an Intersil ISL6367 in control of the CPU VRM. The CPU VRM itself is a 12 + 2 phase design with components found on both the front and the rear of the board just above the CPU socket.
I was surprised to find that there was another Intersil ISL6367 driving at least the DIMM VRM and perhaps more. The left DIMM VRM uses a whole bunch of low-profile surface-mounted components, as part of the cooling solution sits right above the DIMM bank's power delivery section, but the two do not make contact with each other.
The right DIMM VRM also has its own ISL6367 located between the measuring pin block and the right bank of DIMM slots. The VRM for that bank has a couple of rather normal capacitors although they are gold and stand out a fair bit more in comparison to the opposite bank's VRM design.
Marvell provides all the SATA control outside of the Intel-provided ports with a 88SE9230 powering all four added internal SATA 6 Gb/s ports. This is a new-for-2012 controller that makes use of a PCIe 2.0 x2 link to ensure adequate bandwidth is provided for all four ports although the link is capped at 1000 MB/s in each direction. I also found a far more common 88SE9172 Marvell controller on the board's left edge which provides the dual eSATA ports on the rear I/O, both of which also support SATA 6 Gb/s speeds.
With the huge number of USB 3.0 ports on the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion, I knew I'd find several controllers, all of which are Texas Instruments TUSB7340 controllers.
Three controllers total is a whole heck of a lot of USB 3.0 support, seeing how each controller can push four ports total. FireWire is provided by a VIA VT6308S, easily recognized by its bold white lettering.
The dual LAN controllers are provided using two Broadcomm BCM57781 chips, both of which are pictured above.
The audio controller is hidden under the red and black plastic cover shown above, which I removed easily as it's just a simple cover secured with a couple of screws on the board's rear side. Underneath I found a Creative CA0132 controller, one that has, recently, exploded on the market and is seen in both discrete products as well as employed by several motherboard OEMs for high-end gaming audio support.
The PCH cooler has a very large Fatal1ty "F" logo in red across a thick-finned black anodized cooling element that attaches to the rest of the board's cooling using a single silver heatpipe. The VRM cooler has Fatal1ty's signature on a vanity plate, affixed to the top of a tall cooler that also contacts the board's chokes, not something I've seen very often.
With the cooling removed from the board, the complexity, with the four main elements connected together using heatpipes to transfer heat between them, is pretty obvious. I had to remove nine screws from the cooler before I could begin working at removing the cooler, which did prove a test to the limits of how far I'm willing to go when it comes to board disassembly. Flipping it over I could see excellent contact was made with all critical components, and doing so made it plain that the cooler is really composed of two heat-absorbing parts and two passive radiators that are used to distribute the heat evenly around the board.
||90 MHz ... 300 MHz
||x8 (800 MHz), x10.67 (1067 MHz), x13.33 (1333 MHz),
x16 (1600 MHz ), x18.66 (1866 MHz), ), x21.33 (2133 MHz),
x24 (2400 MHz)
||0.60 V... 1.70 V
||1.20 V... 1.80 V
||0.60 V... 1.80 V
||1.581 V... 2.352 V
||0.701 V... 1.705 V
The BIOS of the Fatal1ty X79 Champion is very similar to the one I found on the Z77 Extreme9, one of my favorite UEFI BIOSes which opens up to a traditional format with a twist. Included is a "System Browser": a graphical interface that lets you explore the board and what's installed, providing informational items useful for BIOS setup. Also included is OMG, or Online Management Guard, a tool that lets you manage internet access by time and date. So for example, if you have a child you want to limit to certain internet hours, you can do so right in the BIOS. Using the "OMG" acronym had me chuckling for a while, but you know, since this is such a novel idea for motherboard BIOSes, I actually almost said "OMG" to myself when I realized what it was, as I have been looking for a reliable method to manage my son's internet access. I could also see it potentially causing an issue if it's enabled and a user was unaware, as they might look for other causes for the lack of connectivity.
Moving onto the OC Tweaker tab, we find all the needed options for system clock and voltage customization, as well as a spot to save BIOS profiles.
The "Advanced" tab contains all the options for board-level functions. Each area of functionality is separated into submenus which makes finding options you need pretty simple. The first page that lists all the submenus also contains a BIOS updating tool that allows updates both via a pre-saved file, or via the Internet, although I did have issues with the online option myself.
SATA ports are all grouped together, including options for both Intel and the external controllers.
The way ASRock has structured everything really appeals to me on a personal level, and I think there might even be more options here than other OEMs offer, yet each option was something that I want to have access to.
It took ten screenshots for me to show all the menus here, which may seem like a lot, but really, the number of tabs available has been minimized, allowing for a far easier interface to get to exactly what you want. I did not find everything I wanted in the monitoring section, however, which only contained a couple of temperatures, fan settings, and speed listing, and CPU voltage and PSU voltage rail monitors. I would really like to see some of the basics like vDIMM and PCH voltages here as well, as the four voltage monitoring options given don't provide really usable information other than the vCPU one, making booting into the OS necessary.
I found a whole tab dedicated to BIOS password options, which in my opinion should be found on the entry screen instead. The exit page is very basic as well, but, at the same time, it's not like the layout is overly crowded so it's quite easy to just not notice unless being critical.
Overall, I really like ASRock's UEFI BIOS. Yes, there are a few things I have an issue with, but overall, it's really easy to use, has every option needed for system setup and overclocking, and comes with pretty transparent option labels, letting you know exactly what you are changing. I'd like to see far more monitoring functionality, as mentioned, especially considering this board's cost, but thankfully the ever trusty AIDA64 provided me with all the needed monitoring options I require, as it does with most boards.
When it comes to software, ASRock really includes a lot, including many things I've never seen before. One thing common to many current Intel products is some form or another of the CFOS network traffic shaping software which ASRock has customized and calls "XFast LAN". I found it works well, and it did manage to give me a bit more throughput in basic usage, but since I have a pretty fast connection to begin with, it didn't do much while just gaming. What's really nice to see is that you can set priority options for individual applications. If you tend to download things while gaming, you can give your games priority manually which does seem to work very well.
For system setting adjustments and system monitoring ASRock includes "FSTU", shown above. There's quite a bit of functionality here and it does work well, while at the same time providing far more monitoring options than what's provided in BIOS. You can also control fan settings from within FSTU, with separate groupings, each with individual controls. FSTU also provides access to XFast RAM, a ram-drive utility that lets you create a ram-drive for faster data access. Purchasing other software to do this can be quite expensive, making this is a nice treat, especially when current Intel enthusiast platforms support 32 GB or more, even at and above 2400 MHz.
To provide further system speed improvements, ASRock also includes "Instant Boot", an optimized sleep functionality that will fully power down the system, while at the same time providing a faster boot than traditional sleep methods as well as lowering garbage data collection. There's also "XFast USB" a utility to speed up USB 3.0 drives that I decided I'd really put to the test while reviewing the Z77 Extreme9
, where you can check to see the benefits this software offers.
||Intel i7 3960X (ES)
3.3 GHz, 15 MB Cache
||16 GB DDR3 (2x 4 GB) G.Skill F3-17000CL9Q-16GBZH
||ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion
Intel Z77 Express, BIOS ver P1.40
||XFX Radeon HD 6950 2 GB
||Corsair ForceGT 60 GB SATA 6 Gb/s SSD(OS)
Crucial M4 128 GB SATA 6 Gb/s SSD
Velocity SuperSpeed USB3.0 External Dock w/ Corsair F60 SSD
||Silverstone Strider GOLD 750W
||Windows 7 64-bit SP1, ATI Catalyst 12.3
I had no issues at all getting the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion up and running. I installed my CPU memory, coolers and VGA, and the board instantly was at the BIOS screen, with Fatal1ty smirking back at me. The reference G.Skill DIMMs I've been using for X79 products booted up at 1600 MHz without any intervention on my part. I thought something was weird with the screenshot above, but just couldn't place my finger on what it was. Let's take a look at the results and see if they don't help us see what it is.
PWM Power Consumption
One of our first tasks was to truly verify system stability, then we measure CPU power consumption. We isolate the power coming through the 8-pin ATX connector using an in-line meter that provides voltage and current readings, as well as total wattage passed through it. While this may not prove to isolate the CPU power draw in all instances, it does serve as a good indicator of board efficiency and effective VRM design.
When it comes to power consumption, the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion proved it can be a Champion, for sure. At idle, it pulled just 5 Watts, while at load it pulled 142 Watts, more in line with what I expect out of my first 3960X CPU. I'll be updating all my test numbers here in the near future as I just received another sample CPU to test with, so the ASRock Fatal1ty Champion may do even better yet, as it seems my reference CPU has suffered some degradation over time.
CPU Performance Results
I spent a bit over two weeks with the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion before beginning our performance testing, running various configurations and CPUs, and checking hardware compatibility. I verified my power consumption numbers using various different power supplies, and played a few hours of games with some members of the TPU community to get an overall feel for the board and to verify stability. Once completed, I tore down the system, mounted my Noctua cooler and put the board through the paces.
SuperPi serves as our memory-focused benchmark, being highly single-threaded. The ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion ended up missing the mark here, finishing dead last.
wPrime is much more CPU-focused, but memory plays its role as well. In this test, the numbers were much better here with the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion high up the chart, but still slower than other tested Intel X79 Express products.
Part of our motherboard benchmarking suite is the built-in benchmark that is part of the WinRAR software suite. In this test, the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion was just behind the Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5.
We employed AIDA64's memory bench to highlight memory bandwidth. We isolate the write performance metric as it serves as a good indicator of overall memory performance. Here the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion scored high, sitting just 7 MB/s slower than the ASUS P8Z77-V, using a 3770K CPU. Awesome results here for X79!
Handbrake is used for encoding testing, and provided results much similar to the previous benchmarks, with the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion sitting a bit behind the other X79 results yet again.
In Cinebench, the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion utterly disappoints. I was left confused...fantastic memory bandwidth but horrible CPU performance!
Seeing such out-of-line results made me investigate further. I spent a long time re-testing trying to figure out what was going on, only to find that my intuition earlier was keener than I had thought. It seems that the ASRock Fatal1ty X78 Champion runs a rather relaxed Turbo profile, leading to a maximum of 3600 MHz rather than the "up to 3900 MHz" the CPU is supposed to run at. I do have to point out that I am using an "ES" i7 3960X CPU sample, and this may have played a role here, and I will be working with ASRock to make sure that this situation is remedied for retail CPUs, if it isn't already.
3D Performance Results
Once I completed our CPU test suite, I took some time to play some games with the TPU community to get an overall feel for gaming on the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion. After a couple of days we settled in to complete our 3D benchmarking, feeling not too confident that the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion was going to put on a good show due to the Turbo issues. Let's take a look at what numbers the board provided.
OK, now this is more like what I was hoping to see. Here the ASRock X79 Fatal1ty Champion sat right with the rest of the X79 results, Turbo problems seemingly not of any concern.
Our first real-world 3D performance test comes in the form of Civilization 5, using the included benchmark. We let the game recommend us settings, and then disabled V-SYNC and AA to eliminate bottlenecks introduced by the GPU itself. Here the numbers were exactly as expected, with very little variation compared to previous results. A problem in this particular benchmark points to other issues, but the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion passed with flying colors.
Our second real-world 3D performance test comes from CodeMasters in the form of the "F1 2010" included benchmark. We let the game recommend us settings, which included 8xAA with our HD 6950 2GB from XFX. F1 2010 proves to be one of my personal favorites, and the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion noticed mid-level performance, but now this seems of no consequence.
With the CPU and 3D performance compares out of the way, we took a closer look at the other performance features offered by the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion.
Drive and Audio Performance Results
Our drive and audio testing differs a bit from the rest of our testing for several reasons. First of all, when it comes to drive performance comparison, nearly every platform on the market is very close to one another, as most do provide external drive controllers which means the numbers offered are very much platform agnostic. And finally, with audio, we do not list any numbers except for those reported by the product we are testing in order to provide the most information possible, as each audio CODEC will behave quite differently, and each board does not employ the same CODEC. As such, there is no standard we can use other than the numbers themselves. You can always check our other motherboard reviews in order to make direct comparisons to audio performance.
We've tested each drive interface separately in order to provide the most complete numbers possible. Employing HDTune Pro for all of the testing, we tested each drive outside of the OS environment, using a separate OS on a separate drive. However, we do use drives with a fair amount of data on them (60% full) to simulate performance in real-world situations.
HDTune Pro (SATA2)
In HDTune Pro SATA 3 GB/s performance, we found the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion to be a bit underperforming, but perhaps our Corsair F60 drive is noticing some degradation. At the same time, it is faster than the ASRock Z77 Extreme9, which I completed testing on just a couple of weeks ago.
HDTune Pro (SATA 6Gb/s)
SATA 6 Gb/s showed a slightly different picture, with the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion beating the majority of all other products.
HDTune Pro (USB3.0)
You don't see any results here for the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion, as it proved incompatible with the external enclosure I use for testing. I have notified ASRock of the issue and am expecting an updated BIOS to fix the problem.
RightMark Audio Analyzer
Audio testing using RightMark Audio Analyzer provided pretty good numbers for the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion, rating the audio given by the onboard Creative CODEC as "Good". I had many comments about the audio given on the recording side of this CODEC on the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion, with many saying it gave pretty decent sound all things considered. Many thanks go out to a few select gamers that provided me with feedback. You know who you are.
Overclocking with the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion was far easier than I had expected, reaching our reference clock of 4600 MHz using just 1.4 V set in BIOS, and 1.383 V real measured using the provided measure points. Memory clock, capability, and performance were pretty good too, with no real intervention required on my part for the board to run a much faster clock speed than any other Intel X79 Express product I've tested. Getting a higher overclock on the CPU proper quickly assuaged any concerns I had with slightly lower CPU performance.
Overclocked Performance Summary
Cinebench provided a substantial performance increase when overclocked, something that resounds true through the entire series of Intel-based products.
SuperPi 32m results were very good for the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion which finished in last place.
WPrime 1024M numbers showed the true performance benefit available when overclocking the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion which sits as the fastest result to date.
For a bit of 3D action we fired up CodeMaster's F1 2010 to find the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion sitting right in the middle overall.
With Codemaster's F1 2010 starting to show its age, and proving less reliable in showing performance increases, we've added the Shogun 2 DirectX 9 CPU benchmark to our testing suite. In the months to come, it will get added to the main testing section, but for now, it does show a very large increase in performance when run on the overclocked ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion, which again finished as the best result.
Value & Conclusion
- The ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion is available right now, at the price of $369.99.
- Excellent feature bundle for the price.
- Nicely optimized and truly useful BIOS and software package.
- Excellent clocking capability.
- Fantastic audio rendering.
- Excellent power consumption.
- Clean and simple color-themed layout.
- Fully functional AMI UEFI BIOS, including mouse support and support for 3 TB+ drives.
- CPU performance with tested hardware is a bit underwhelming.
- Quad-SLI support requires an additional bridge purchase.
- BIOS is in need of some minor fixes.
- Not enough cables provided for all internal SATA ports.
||After spending a lot of time with the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion, although the results were a bit low on the CPU side, the low power consumption and obvious reasoning as to why it underperformed, has left me quite happy with the complete package. ASRock has some software that really appeals to me, mainly XFastRam, something that no other board maker offers. The really expansive PCIe functionality and perfect slot organization for triple-card use has convinced me that this board is going into my full-time gaming rig along with three HD 6950s.|
It's unfortunate to have run into the compatibility and Turbo issues I noticed, but these should be fairly easy to fix with a BIOS update, one that can even be downloaded while sitting inside the BIOS after POST! I will be working with ASRock to make sure these few outstanding issues are resolved. As for a product that has only been on the market for a couple of months, this is par for the course for early adoption of high-end hardware. Considering I had been using an ASUS P9X79 Deluxe for many months now, and that board sells in retail for the same cost as the ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion, ASRock really has a winner here if they crush the current BIOS problems. Don't forget to hit us up on the forums, and tell us what YOU think!