ASRock X79 Champion Visual Inspection

The best way to describe the Champion at first glance is ‘red’.  The red and black color scheme does stand out a fair bit, although on close inspection we can see how busy the motherboard looks with all the additional components.  The main reason for this is that each component is surrounded by a white box to help the automated machines that place components, so they can line everything up correctly.  This is process and manufacturer dependent, as some of the manufacturers do not need this – in return, there is extra space on board for additional components.

As a result of the Champion naming, we get an E-ATX sized motherboard, giving an extra inch of space from side to side (easiest way to check is look for the ATX case mounting holes).  The extra space allows ASRock to exploit a full array of memory slots for X79, totaling 8 for two per memory channel. The power delivery heatsink is an extended array around the CPU power delivery, the memory sockets and also down to the chipset, all connected via heatpipe in order to maximize the surface area of any additional power draw through overclocking.

The socket area itself is at the limits of the Intel specifications, but the heatsinks are sufficiently low such that all the major air coolers should fit without issue – only by filling up all the memory slots may there be trouble with extended heatpipe arrangements.  The CPU socket area has access to four fan headers within easy reach – one CPU 4-pin above the socket, a CPU 3-pin to the top right on the other side of the memory slots, a 3-pin to the bottom left of the socket between the heatsink and the rear IO, and a 3-pin on the bottom right between the USB 3.0 headers and the memory.  The board has two other fan headers, one 4-pin and another 3-pin, on the bottom of the board.

Along the right hand side we get a series of voltage check points, which is an odd inclusion on a gaming motherboard.  This feature is useful for extreme overclockers using sub-zero temperatures, but this board is not designed for that crowd; I cannot imagine gamers using them.  Below the voltage check points is the 24-pin ATX power connector and a pair of USB 3.0 headers (using a TI controller), one of which should be used with the included USB 3.0 front panel in the box.  In terms of SATA connectivity we get four SATA 3.0 Gbps and two SATA 6.0 Gbps from the chipset (all supporting RAID 0, 1, 5, 10) as well as four SATA 6.0 Gbps from a Marvell SE9230 controller (RAID 0, 1, 10).

Despite the voltage check points being in the remit of overclockers only, the two-digit debug, power and reset buttons found on the bottom right of the board are more amenable to a larger percentage of the target audience of the motherboard – they allow for quick debugging or checking that the board actually powers up and on.    Along the bottom of the board we get the front panel header, the front panel audio header, a ‘front 1394’ header (FireWire), two fan headers, three USB 2.0 headers, a COM port and a 4-pin molex connector for additional VGA power.

The PCIe layout is designed to accommodate up to four dual slot GPUs, but also three triple-slot GPUs, such that the following layouts are possible (using the full sized PCIe slots from top to bottom):

ASRock X79 Champion PCIe Layout
  PCIe 1 PCIe 3 PCIe 4 PCIe 5 PCIe 7
Single GPU x16 - - - -
Dual GPU x16 - - x16 -
Tri-GPU x16 x8 - x16 -
x16 - x8 - x8
Quad-GPU x16 x8 - x8 x8

We test both cases in our GPU benchmarks, but it should be noted that in our sample, the bottom slot did not go into PCIe 3.0 when tested, even with the additional power connector at the bottom of the board.  It remained in PCIe 2.0 mode despite the settings in the BIOS.

To the left of the PCIe slots is our audio codec, and ASRock have smartly selected a non-Realtek option in the form of the Creative Sound Core3D, a quad core sound and voice processor that supports EAX1.0 to EAX5.0.  The Core3D also has a Premium Headset Amplifier chip which (as stated in the marketing blurb) provides wider bandwidth, a higher slew rate with lower noise and distortion, and supports up to 250 Ohm headsets, albeit only through the front panel audio header.

ASRock are laying USB 3.0 on fairly thick with the rear IO, bringing the total number of ports on the board to twelve with eight on the rear panel (all powered by TI controllers).  Aside from these we get a pair of USB 2.0 ports (one of which is Fatal1ty Speed Port enabled), a PS/2 keyboard port, a ClearCMOS button, two Broadcom BCM57781 NICs, a FireWire/IEEE1394 port, two eSATA 6 Gbps ports (Marvell 9172 controller), an optical SPDIF output and audio jacks (Core3D).

Board Features

ASRock X79 Fatal1ty Champion
Price Link
Size E-ATX
CPU Interface LGA-2011
Chipset Intel X79
Memory Slots Eight DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB ECC+non-ECC
Up to Quad Channel, 1066-2500 MHz
Onboard LAN Broadcom BCM57781
Onboard Audio Creative Sound Core3D
Expansion Slots 5 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots
 - 1/5: x16/16
 - 1/3/5: x16/8/16
 - 1/4/7: x16/8/8
 - 1/3/5/7: x16/8/8/8
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1
Onboard SATA/RAID 2 x SATA 6 Gbps (Chipset), RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
4 x SATA 6 Gbps (Marvell SE9230), RAID 0, 1, 10
4 x SATA 3 Gbps (Chipset), RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
USB 12 x USB 3.0 (Controller) [4 onboard, 8 rear panel]
7 x USB 2.0 (Chipset) [6 onboard, 2 rear panel)
1 x USB 2.0 Fatal1ty Mouse Port (rear panel)
Onboard 6 x SATA 6 Gbps
4 x SATA 3 Gbps
2 x USB 3.0 Headers
3 x USB 2.0 Headers
1 x COM Port Header
1 x HDMI_SPDIF Header
1 x IEEE1394 Header
7 x V-Probe Connectors
6 x Fan Headers
Power/Reset Buttons
Two-Digit Debug LED
Post Status Checker LEDs
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX Power Connector
1 x 8-pin CPU Power Connector
1 x 4-pin Molex Power Connector
Fan Headers 2 x CPU (4-pin, 3-pin)
3 x CHA (4-pin, 2x3-pin)
1 x PWR (3-pin)
IO Panel 2 x USB 2.0 Ports
1 x Keyboard PS/2 Port
1 x ClearCMOS Button
2 x Broadcom BCM57781 GbE NICs
1 x IEEE1394 Port
8 x USB 3.0 Ports (TI Controllers)
2 x eSATA 6 Gbps (Marvell 9172)
Optical SPDIF Output
Audio Jacks
Warranty Period 3 Years
Product Page Link

As a gaming board, the use of a Creative audio codec on the Champion is a big plus, and the option for dual NICs will be welcomed by some users.  The inclusion of voltage check points is a little odd, as this is not a board aimed at overclockers.  Compared to the ASUS Rampage IV Formula, the ASRock offers more memory slots, SATA ports, more USB 3.0 ports, FireWire/IEEE1394, and dual the NICs, but fewer fan headers, a less obvious PCIe layout, a non-Intel network interface or nothing similar to ASUS Premium Service.  Note that the Formula is also aimed at extreme overclockers and gamers alike, hence it has things like a Slow Mode, LN2 Switch and ROG Connect that the Champion does not.

Fatal1ty: The Person and the Brand ASRock X79 Professional Visual Inspection and Board Features
POST A COMMENT

71 Comments

View All Comments

  • lukarak - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    Citroen C4 by Loeb? Sporty as hell :D :D Reply
  • Mithan - Sunday, February 10, 2013 - link

    A waste of money, like all these "performance" series boards designed to get an extra $100 out of you for a 3% increase in speed.

    Sorry, but I will always buy a board in the $140-160 range, and take that extra money and dump it into a better video card.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    This board appears to be not worth it, as it falls short too much, too often.
    Others do not.
    A poor boys budget means never getting something great, and that's okay to suffer in the underclass.
    Reply
  • althaz - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    Where is the Day[9] CPU heatsink or the Tastosis keyboard/mouse combo? Or the JP calendar? Reply
  • ypsylon - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    For starters I couldn't force myself to buy any motherboard with black&red theme. Bleeeh. Red as a color make me sick. Anyway that is only personal distaste. But that is not the only thing which is wrong with those boards. 1. 8 USB3 ports. Adding so many to the back panel is nothing short of idiotic. A lot of supposedly compatible hardware of USB2 fame doesn't work when connected to USB3. Every motherboard -equipped with USB3- I tested/owned displayed same stubbornness with one device or another. Some USB2 devices just refused to work outright on USB3. Period. 2. Board which cost 350$+ and doesn't have Intel NIC = joke. 3. Professional have better balanced I/O panel, but it is also stripped down when compared to "Champion". There is nothing "Professional" about supposed professional board. 4. Endorsement by a bloke which for most modern PC users means absolutely nothing is also nothing short of laughable. I think AsRock would do better releasing "Justin Biber" board. Then maybe some brainless teens will buy it only because it is JB board. 5. Both boards also share same problem with top 16 PCI-Ex slot (of course it is not native only to those 2 products, but must be pointed out). Can't remove memory sticks without removing VGA, large dual tower coolers also can be an issue. Think before releasing product. If you desperately want quad-SLI/CF setup release XL-ATX board. On such board there is enough space for everything.

    Oh and these red slots/ports, bleeeh. Did I mention that earlier? :P
    Reply
  • lukarak - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    You do know that you can insert DIMMs with just one latch moveable. Especially on these, where there is only one moveable to begin with.

    Endorsement by a bloke is no more or less idiotic than every other marketing thing. From Republic of Gamers, Lanparty series boards with UV cable sleeves and a chasis carrying strap and so on. It all adds to the price of an otherwise fine board, but that's their calculation.

    You also have USB 2.0 ports on the back side, for that occasional peripheral that doesn't work. Plus six of them on headers which you can, imagine the surprise, route to the back side as well.
    Reply
  • Peanutsrevenge - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    The designs are always far too aggressive and garish for my tastes, which is annoying as often the products are just what I'm after - spec wise.

    Gamer stuff does NOT have to be all aggressive and such, opponents will only see the equipment of LAN gamers, which is a tiny percentage of us.

    For the majority of us, the system sits at home and plays multiple roles and even requires the WAF in very very rare cases (usually Mum Acceptance Factor).
    Reply
  • sking.tech - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    I've never purchased a fatal1ty product because often they are too expensive and show no real performance gains vs a lot less expensive competitors. Now that I know it's based on some has-been gamer. Even less likely to ever buy a product with this brand on it. This Article - greatly appreciated. Reply
  • Bonesdad - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    What drives me nuts is how they try to make him look like a tough guy...like he's some badass keyboard bangin, mouse clickin gangsta. Reply
  • maximumGPU - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    Hahah Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now