ASRock X58 Extreme3: An Enthusiast X58 Motherboard at a Budget Price?by Ian Cutress on June 2, 2010 4:10 PM EST
There are many conflicting points of view with the socket 1366 market. On one hand, it may be considered too expensive for the mainstream market, or that people suggest to wait for Intel's next enthusiast-level platform. With the next enthusiast platform potentially being released Q3 2011, those who have already invested in a 1366 have had great value in their investment, and any 1366 platform still purchased today will comfortably run along, awaiting for AMD to develop a more competitive platform.
The ASRock Extreme3 board is an upgrade over ASRock's Extreme board, featuring SATA 6Gb/s and USB3 capability, for an extra $20. This places the Extreme3 in territory already populated by popular motherboard manufacturers such as Gigabyte, with their EX58-UD3R, and MSI, with the Pro-E and Pro-E USB3 offerings. As a result, this board is competing on two grounds - if it gets more bang for your buck compared to cheaper ASRock boards, and if it performs well against other boards in the price bracket.
The tight default timings may put off people who want to overclock, but are not sure with what all the settings mean, and as a result cannot push the board and processor to where they want. If you know what you're doing, it isn't a problem with the ASRock, but they are slightly limiting their overclock market in this regard.
The PCIe lane count could also put off gamers wishing to run an SLI + PhysX setup with three cards. If the third card is a double slot, will block USB, Firewire, and a fan header - even the Power/Reset buttons, depending on the card.
Overall, the board is rock stable at our overclock settings. If we had the choice between the Extreme3 and the EX58-UD3R, We'd be happy to part with an extra dollar for SATA 6Gb/s and USB3 support, even if it means having slightly worse 3D performance, and a BIOS which can be frustrating to use at times. We feel ASRock would be wise to spend some time refining their BIOS up to the standard of what we find on similarly priced ASUS and Gigabyte boards. If they can do that, the X58 Extreme3 will go from being a strong contender to a no-brainer purchase at the $190 mark.