The ASRock X299 Extreme 4 is an entry-level motherboard from ASRock designed to give users an inexpensive step into the premium land of the high-end desktop. At $200, it is the least expensive X299 motherboard we have tested, but still has a plethora of features including USB 3.1 ports, dual M.2 slots, premium audio, as well as SLI and Crossfire support. The mid-range feature set on an entry-level board makes for an intriguing selection. 

ASRock X299 Extreme4 Overview

ASRock has used the Extreme line in their motherboards almost as far as I can remember. The lineup usually starts with an Extreme3 and ends with Extreme9 (or Extreme11 for some special products). The Extreme3 and Extreme4 boards have always been reserved for the entry level, attempting to offer a feature set found on more expensive boards from the competition. Many users (and reviewers) have called the Extreme4 one of the better 'bang for your buck' motherboards available. 

The ASRock X299 Extreme4 is aiming high. It has large dual heatsinks to keep an 11-phase power delivery cool, dual M.2 slots both able to work at PCIe x4 speeds, SLI/Crossfire support, and USB 3.1 ports on the rear panel. While it may not have some of the added extras from the mid-range price segment (three M.2 slots, three-way GPU, front panel USB 3.1), it has enough of the major features to merit a good entry into the platform. 

Our performance results show the Extreme4 is a competitor in all the tests, landing in the middle in just about everything we normally throw at it. ASRock's Multi-Core Enhancement seems to match the majority of boards we have tested, and is the reason the results we have are all around the top of that bell curve. The X299 Extreme4 boosted all cores to 3.6 GHz in any multithreaded test, and 4 GHz in single threaded ones. Our gaming results were fine as well, with this Ex4 showing out in ROTR with the most FPS yet, while the AOTSe testing showed an average result in 1080p, but for some reason was the slowest at 4K UHD, but by a small margin. Our overclocking adventures when smooth overall, with the board being able to handle our CPU at 4.6 GHz without worry.

The ASRock X299 Extreme4 is currently priced at $200 from Newegg and at the time of this writing. In this price range, its direct competitors are the MSI X299 Raider at $210 and the Gigabyte X299 AORUS Gaming at $210, both also from Newegg. All boards have their pluses and minuses but one big difference is the AORUS Gaming only supports the quad-core Kaby Lake processors only while the others support the full range of both Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors. Otherwise, the biggest differences between these boards come from RAM speeds/capacity, USB port type and number, as well as PCIe slot count among other minor differences. 

ASRock's X299 Strategy

Historically, ASRock doesn't push the super-high price ranges that the other three motherboard manufacturers do, preferring to sit lower in the market at both the low and high prices in its stack. For high-end desktop platforms, this usually means they are the cheapest, and we see the motherboards for X299 from ASRock range from $200 up to around $400, or $423 for the XE version of the Professional Gaming i9.

ASRock's X299 Motherboard Lineup
  AnandTech
Review
Amazon Newegg
X299 Extreme4     $200
X299 Killer SLI/ac   $240 $230
X299 Gaming K6   $278 $260
X299 Taichi Review 10/31 $295 $300
X299 Taichi XE     $323
X299 OC Formula     $400
X299 Professional Gaming i9 Review 9/26 $475^ $400
X299 Professional Gaming i9 XE     $423
X299E-ITX/ac Review 12/4 $510^ $400

^ = sold by 3rd party

Information on Intel's X299 and our other Reviews

With Intel's release of the Basin Falls platform, encompassing the new X299 chipset and LGA2066 socket, a new generation of CPUs called Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X were also released. The Skylake-X CPUs range from the 7800X, a hex-core part, all the way up to an 18-core 7980XE multitasking behemoth. Between the bookend CPUs are five others increasing in core count, as in the table below. The latter HCC models are set to be launched over 2H of 2017.

Skylake-X Processors
  7800X 7820X 7900X   7920X 7940X 7960X 7980XE
Silicon LCC   HCC
Cores / Threads 6/12 8/16 10/20   12/24 14/28 16/32 18/36
Base Clock / GHz 3.5 3.6 3.3   2.9 3.1 2.8 2.6
Turbo Clock / GHz 4.0 4.3 4.3   4.3 4.3 4.3 4.2
Turbo Max Clock N/A 4.5 4.5   4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4
L3 1.375 MB/core   1.375 MB/core
PCIe Lanes 28 44   44
Memory Channels 4   4
Memory Freq DDR4 2400 2666   2666
TDP 140W   140W 165W
Price $389 $599 $999   $1199 $1399 $1699 $1999

Board partners have launched dozens of motherboards on this platform already, several of which we will have an opportunity to look over in the coming weeks and months. 

Other AnandTech Reviews for Intel’s Basin Falls CPUs and X299

To read specifically about the X299 chip/platform and the specifications therein, our deep dive into what it is can be found at this link.

X299 Motherboard Review Notice

If you’ve been following the minutiae of the saga of X299 motherboards, you might have heard some issues regarding power delivery, overclocking, and the ability to cool these processors down given the power consumption. In a nutshell, it comes down to this:

  • Skylake-X consumes a lot of power at peak (150W+),
  • The thermal interface inside the CPU doesn’t do much requiring a powerful CPU cooler,
  • Some motherboard vendors apply Multi-Core Turbo which raises the power consumption and voltage, exacerbating the issue
  • The VRMs have to deal with more power, and due to losses, raise in temperature
  • Some motherboards do not have sufficient VRM cooling without an active cooler
  • This causes the CPU to declock or hit thermal power states as to not degrade components
  • This causes a performance drop, and overclocked systems are affected even more than usual

There has been some excellent work done by Igor Wallossek over at Tom’s Hardware, with thermal probes, thermal cameras, and performance analysis. The bottom line is that motherboard vendors need to be careful when it comes to default settings (if MCT is enabled by default) and provide sufficient VRM cooling in all scenarios – either larger and heavier heatsinks or moving back to active cooling. 

Visual Inspection
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  • Ket_MANIAC - Thursday, April 26, 2018 - link

    Not to mention, not a single X399 motherboard review. Especially considering those CPU's are datacenter products and AnandTech specializes in reviewing products pertaining to that category. Reply
  • MDD1963 - Friday, April 27, 2018 - link

    Threadripper/X399 is HEDT, not really 'Datacenter'....(not that it would do badly in a smal/medium business, for sure) Reply
  • Galcobar - Monday, April 30, 2018 - link

    Considering this latest X299 review is labelled as HEDT, and almost every motherboard review lately has been for X299, a review of X399 as an HEDT platform should fit right in.

    Somehow, no.

    If it's so good for the industry to have AMD back on a competitive footing, it only makes sense to provide at least a few crumbs on the platform components. What's the point of reviewing the processors, and never the motherboards required to run the processors?
    Reply
  • Ket_MANIAC - Tuesday, May 01, 2018 - link

    My thoughts exactly. Hopefully, by the time 2nd gen Threadripper launches, they will have reviews. Hopefully! I loved this website more when Anand ran it. Reply
  • npz - Thursday, April 26, 2018 - link

    As most manufacturers have very comparable functionality if not exactly the same in some cases, the most important factor for me is the firmware. Asrock is the best in this regard.

    In order to actually get any attention from the other big 3 manufacturers you have to be one of the major tech press reporting a major problem, but Asrock seems to be more reliable, more proactive, actually listens to feedback for troubleshooting and provides beta bioses.
    Reply
  • edzieba - Thursday, April 26, 2018 - link

    Yep. ASRock are also the darlings of the SFF community, implementing and exposing PCIe bifurcation for ITX boards long before anyone else, creating X99 and X299 ITX boards (something nobody else even attempted), mini-STX, etc. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, April 26, 2018 - link

    In addition to how much RGB cancer a board has, could you start noting if it can all be disabled in BIOS/etc? Reply
  • Total Meltdowner - Thursday, April 26, 2018 - link

    Hahaha, so true. The last thing I need is my room glowing at night if I leave my computer on to DL torrents. Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Friday, April 27, 2018 - link

    LED indicators are so bright these days to the point of obnoxious in an unlit room. Reply
  • CEH - Thursday, April 26, 2018 - link

    I run an Asrock Z270M Extreme 4 with macOS High Sierra and Windows 10, chosen mainly for its Thunderbolt 3 AIC. I've been very happy with its function and performance. As well as good value for money, they provide very good micro-ATX products. I'm very interested in their X299M Extreme 4. Will you be reviewing it soon? Reply

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