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  • DigitalFreak - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    I wish PCI connectors on motherboards would die already, especially on the high end. Reply
  • futurepastnow - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    I agree with you, but I'm sure the three people who still use sound cards will be here shortly to tell you you're wrong. Reply
  • geniekid - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    I would be one of those people. If you're into amateur music production, you're probably going to need a sound card for various inputs/outputs, and a lot of the cheaper options there are going to be PCI.

    Also, my month-old built HTPC uses the PCI for a wireless network adapter.
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    I rumaged around the various PCs I have and the best I come up with is a 6 year old RAID card (still a good one) and a 2 year old TV card

    So time for PCI to die

    Can I have a right angled 24 ATX socket as well
    Reply
  • somedude1234 - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    If you're purchasing a new motherboard and CPU, each of which is north of $200, does the additional cost burden of a PCIe sound card or WLAN card really make that big of a difference?

    I understand that every dollar saved somewhere can be used (more memory, bigger SSD, etc.), but PCIe sound cards and WLAN cards aren't exactly bank-breakers.

    I don't do any serious audio work, so are there any technical reasons (latency or otherwise) that make legacy PCI cards better than their PCIe counterparts?
    Reply
  • Spivonious - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    No technical reasons, but many audio production cards (i.e. not the latest Soundblaster) are still only available in a PCI format. Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    The latest soundblaster IS actually available in PCI-E. If the PCI slots went away everything would be available in PCI-E. There really is no reason anymore. Reply
  • Gnarr - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    no-one who's serious about music production uses a soundblaster.. Reply
  • g00ey - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    That is not true at all, most serious brands of professional audio hardware Reply
  • g00ey - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    That is not true at all, most serious brands of professional audio hardware such as RME, UAD, Apogee, or even AVID/Digidesign dominate their product lines with PCIe based expansion cards and not PCI.

    Also, there is a considerable variety of PCIe to PCI adapters and bridgeboards out there that makes it even less justifiable to put PCI slots on a modern motherboard.
    Reply
  • LauRoman - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Considering that inserting a pcie expansion card in a x16 (x8) slot could, on old chipsets/moterboards screw around with your 2/3/4 way sli/x-fire bandwith let's not kill it just yet. Reply
  • ckryan - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link


    Intel chipsets don't have native PCI support anymore. You have to use a PCIe to PCI PLX chip on the motherboard to get the support. That means you're giving up PCIe bandwidth (probably not a big deal), but also PCI support is spotty. I have one SB board (an Intel DP67BG) that doesn't really work with any PCI soundcard (they've not been able to fix this with UEFI updates).

    But at some point you just have to decide that you're going to not use PCI anymore, and people who refuse to replace their old busted sound card or bunk networking device are holding us all back. PCI is terrible, and I'd much have a PCIe x1 slot or no slot at all.

    Wireless adapters are just as cheap in PCIe x1 as PCI, and gigabit ethernet is hamstrung by PCI as it's just not very fast. Soundcards are available from Asus and Creative in PCIe for cheap. I've got a Asus Essence STX PCIe which was more expensive, but why the hell would you buy the PCI version (which was more expensive) in 2011?
    Reply
  • sylar365 - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    My "old, busted" soundcard.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Got something that sounds better without bloatware available in PCIe? Besides, most audio chips currently being produced and placed on PCIe sound cards still require a PLX chip in order to convert from the PCI standard to use the PCIe form factor.

    IMHO i wish they would kill PCI - AND THEN - make decent sound hardware available for PCIe slots. Admittedly there have been a couple of products in the past couple of months starting to emerge, but FFS it is time to go mainstream with some high quality PCIe sound hardware already!
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Agreed. I have a Creative X-Fi myself, wish I'd gotten the HT Omega instead but it either wasn't out yet or I wasn't that informed on sound cards at the time. PCI slots are still very much needed. I have network cards both GB ethernet and wireless that utilize the old PCI slot too. Reply
  • yk - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    What about HT | OMEGA eClaro 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card? Reply
  • Siorus - Monday, December 12, 2011 - link

    Useless. Only one socketed opamp and the surround channels look to be handled by JRC garbage (at least it's a step up from the tin-can-telephone-on-a-chip stuff that Creative dumps on people). I think one of the Asus Xonar PCI-E cards has swappable opamps for every channel but I'm not positive.

    Either way, until I can get that on a PCI-E card, I'll need to keep my PCI stuff.
    Reply
  • twoBitBasher - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    For now I'm still happy that Asrock is sticking with the PCI and the best part is that you can populate the whole board with dual slot graphics and still use the PCI! Most boards have already dumped PCI or implemented it so that if you go SLI or Xfire you are out of luck.

    Try to find decent cards with balanced 1/4" jack outputs and not go external!
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    PCI is what makes a PC. There are hundreds of thousands of different PCI products, and most of them have no reason or need to be migrated to a different form factor. Reply
  • Chubblez - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    The same thing has been said about ISA, EISA, and VLB. Where are they now? Reply
  • JonnyDough - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    They are more dated. PCI came after, and is a variant of ISA. Things are shifting, but many would argue that the slot is still needed. Besides, its cheap as hell to add one. If anything needs to die its PS2. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    A lot more of them do have reasons to be migrated than you'd think. Even 5 years ago I started seeing L shaped cards at the low end ( a tiny strip of PCB along the bracked, and a second for the PCI plug); chopping the 2nd half of the L cuts manufacturing costs by an amount that more than pays for the engineering over larger production runs.

    Devices that need larger PCBs but which have minimal bandwidth needs are an ever shrinking segment of the market. Even when total bandwidth isn't an issue the fact that PCIe bandwidth is dedicated instead of being shared means you no longer need to put as much hardware into buffering to avoid latency bursts when something else is using the bus more heavily.

    Finally, once legacy PCI starts disappearing on a non-trivial fraction of boards total collapse from mainstream devices is inevitable. Once supporting PCIe becomes mandatory it's only a matter of time until redesigning the core chip on the card to be native PCIe instead of PCI and using a PCI-PCIe bridge chip becomes the cheaper option (probably with the next scheduled redesign). While they might initially maintain back compatability with a bridge chip going the other direction; however being doublely niche parts AGP gfx cards from 3 or 4 generations ago is probably a good comparison example. nVidia didn't make any at all, and the handful of ATI 3xxx/4xxx cards went at significant price premiums.

    Eventually it'll end up like ISA; if you're willing to pay a large enough price premium (eg because the industrial/lab equiptment you're controlling costs thousands or millions of dollars to replace) there will be a handful of companies willing to sell you semi-custom boards at a large price premium and technology lag. The last time I looked I couldn't find ISA on anything newer than LGA775, until after intel finally pulls the plug on the last 775. That probably won't be for a while; if you look at their CPU database intel hasn't discontinued its embedded p4's yet, and probably won't file a while. IIRC they typically have contractual agreements to keep embedded parts in stock for a decade.
    Reply
  • darckhart - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    nope. still useful for pci graphics cards for troubleshooting video probs. Reply
  • Blibbax - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    The differences in load power consumption might just demonstrate the margin of error on that test. Worth keeping in mind for other comparisons.

    The other possibilities are that the 5850s use a lot more power when they're a little bit hotter, and that the power circuitry on the M-ATX board is just awful under high load.
    Reply
  • Concillian - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    I was reading through the article and thought I had hit back instead of forward since I had read the page I was reading before.

    After finding all my marbles, I noticed that the article has two sets of Page 2 & 3. page order is 1, 2, 3, 2, 3, 4, 5...
    Reply
  • hal74 - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    I am always disappointed to find an article written by Ian. I know that I'll get an article written by someone who fails at plural vs singular when talking about a company and who doesn't come up with interesting comparison charts. Ian chose to throw in an E350 into the mix and didn't even add any comparisons with an x58, or any other core i7. Also, whats with fascination with older video cards in SLI?

    Is this seriously what people want in an article from Anandtech?
    Reply
  • Spivonious - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Usually, I'll let grammar mistakes slide, but when I find multiple mistakes on a single page it really starts distracting me from the material.

    Can we get editors for the articles written by non-native English speakers?
    Reply
  • Spivonious - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    And "tenacity" is used incorrectly.

    "...given ASRock’s previous tenacity when it comes to box bundling."

    Does this make sense?

    "...given ASRock's previous stubbornness when it comes to box bundling."
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Yes. It does. Maybe your reading comprehension is lacking. The sentence means that ASRock will not budge when it comes to box bundling.

    Can we get some editors for the comments written by non-literate English readers?
    Reply
  • Spivonious - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    "3.2 GiB limit of 32-bit"

    *scratches head*

    I thought 2^32-1 was 4GiB...
    Reply
  • Aisalem - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    using 32-bit you are able to address 4GB but unfortunately you will not be able to use whole 4GB in most of the 32-bit Windows installations, that also depend on the additional hardware you have.
    Now you shouldn't *scratches head*.
    Reply
  • prophet001 - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    b/c this is perfect grammar

    "Also, whats with fascination with older video "
    Reply
  • mischlep - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Minor typo on recommendations page:

    (e.g. currently $219 at time of writing, saving £6) Should be "saving $6".
    Reply
  • zanon - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Interesting review overall. A few comments:
    Page 6:
    You still refer to setup stuff as "BIOS" even though it's clearly (I hope?) UEFI nowadays. Any particular reason for this? Or is it actually still BIOS for real despite clearly saying UEFI on that screen. It's confusing that you use both if you only mean one.

    Also on page 6: "With the XFast RAM software, users can shift certain parts of the OS to the RAMdisk, such as the memory pagefile"

    What. The entire *point* of a pagefile is that all your physical memory is used up and you're now hitting secondary storage. Reducing your main memory in order to make a RAMdisk that you then...use for memory? Nope nope nope.
    Reply
  • Spivonious - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Yeah, I don't understand why you'd want the pagefile in RAM instead of just using the RAM. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    What he said. Some programs require a pagefile. Allocated memory and a pagefile are not the same. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Also, a pagefile can be dumped/saved on shut down. RAM is cleared. Reply
  • Aisalem - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Some of the software will not work properly or will simply crash in some situation if you will have no pagefile enabled. That's why having RAMdisk is very good idea as even if you will have 32GB RAM you still need at least 300MB pagefile on the system to be sure that all software will run proper. Using XFast RAM you simply "cheating" system by creating special partition with only pagefile on it making sure that system is running stable. Reply
  • zanon - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Um, no. Windows doesn't have that crappy a VM system, nor does any other modern OS. While some applications may check for the presence of a pagefile if the authors that wrote them were brain dead morons (you should search for other applications in that case), the OS isn't going to start paging anything out of main memory while there is still free or inactive memory available. It'll only start hitting the VM when main memory is consumed. Leave it to the OS. If you want things to go faster once you exceed your maximum physical main memory, get an SSD. Get an SSD anyway, actually. Reply
  • Wardrop - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Actually, at work I regularly used up all 8GB of my RAM while running VM's and multi-tasking. When that happened, some programs would spontaneously crash and disappear. Re-enabling the page file (only a small 512MB page file) fixed the problem. This was on Windows 7 x64 by the way. I use to always turn off my page file, but now I always keep a small page file enabled for that reason. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    You and Spivonious are so obviously not researched on the matter of using a ramdisk. I suggest you study up before posting, you look like a fool. Reply
  • unixfg - Sunday, December 11, 2011 - link

    Maybe you could explain why you think they're wrong rather than just calling them names. They seem to be pretty much right-on regarding the point of having swap/pagefile on disk. Reply
  • twoBitBasher - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    You guys surely must have got more modern drives lying around, especially when Anand is constantly reviewing the bleeding edge!

    I would have liked to see what this board can do. It is for enthusiasts after all, isn't it?
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Benchmark platforms can't change rapidly. When they do you can no longer compare new scores to old. As a result the parts not being compared typically don't get swapped out until obsolete. Reply
  • Thrawn7 - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    I don't consider the thermal throttle to be a bad thing at all. Throttling at 80c+ temperatures is good behaviour. Its a better guarantee for stability when you either have a cooling failure or are too lazy to have good cooling in the first place.

    Clearly these Sandy-E is the hottest overclocking chips ever from Intel.

    Basically, to overclock to the typical 4.7 Ghz range the Intel liquid cooling solution is insufficient. Not that surprising given the performance of that is probably about the same as a mid-range $40 120mm heatsink soluiton.

    To do a decent overclock you'll need a H100 or Noctua D14 at fairly high rpms or better still a real watercool loop.
    Reply
  • etamin - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    I was very impressed with the new ASRock color scheme and heatsink design....until the gratuitous use of "X" labeling distracted me. What a shame. (no need to read review now, it's too ugly to consider buying) Reply
  • karma77police - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    ASRock released BIOS update few days ago for Extreme4 version 1.60 and for Extreme4M version 1.50, which let's you overclock CPU 4.6Ghz for example with very low voltage. They updated C-2 Microcode etc. I am running i7 i3930k on ASRock Extreme 4 with < 1.36V. Temperature does not exceed 60C in Load. I always say reviews are so misleading when it comes to decide what purchase to make. Reply
  • karma77police - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    4.5Ghz with < 1.36V Reply
  • EJ257 - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    The chart say 6xDDR3 slots. Is that a typo or is that actually how it's setup? Reply
  • etamin - Sunday, December 11, 2011 - link

    Yeah, that's strange for X79. But it is 6. There is also a photo of it on the ASRock site. Reply
  • Ryomitomo - Monday, December 12, 2011 - link

    Asus also released USB Boost, which is similar to Asrock USB XFast. I'd like to see USB Boost vs USB XFast in future reviews. Reply
  • Tom Womack - Monday, December 12, 2011 - link

    I'm a computational mathematician; SNB-E is interesting because it's a fast processor with four fast memory controllers. I have no desire whatsoever for crossfire; I'd be happy with an on-board ATI Rage128 and no PCIe slots, if that made the board a hundred dollars cheaper. I don't really need SATA controllers; USB stick with the OS on and data on NFS is fine by me. But I would quite like eight DIMM slots because I use memory as if it's going out of fashion.

    Is there a product for this market?
    Reply
  • opti2k4 - Monday, December 12, 2011 - link

    I have Asrock p67 extreme4 and i am curious did you test manual voltage settings of CPU vCore ?

    Few different boards and different chipsets have same bug. When you put manual vcore value in bios, you turn off computer and power it on, vcore is not the set vaule, instead it's on value that would be when you put automatic settings.

    So my i7 2600k has 1.165V set in bios, when i power on computer its is on 1.3V!!!! Then i have to go inside BIOS, pick any other different value (1.160V), save and exit and just then the correct voltage value is set on vcore. Then again i have to restart and put back 1.165V. This fault is generated by very bad bios coding of asrock engineers. I'll never go to cheaper solution again, Asus FTW!

    Regards,
    opti2k4
    Reply
  • kwokfc - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    1.368v load @ 4.8Ghz HT on. Bios 1.6 Aircool with NH-D14. So far so good Reply

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