Help on which ASRock motherboard to go with

Looking for your advice on which way to go. Here is the history.

I am looking to get a new motherboard as I returned another vendor's X79 motherboard as I kept crashing to the BSOD. I also have a i7-3820 CPU that I kept so, unless I sell it, I will be staying with the x79 series. My primary interest is in gaming and avoiding obsolescence so I have narrowed my search to 2 ASRock products: the X79 extreme9 and the X79 Fatality Performance.

First, I have heard of issues around the included sound card for the extreme9. If i want to eventually have two video cards on that motherboard, can I do that and have a sound card there that will probably be something larger than the one they provide? Of course, that begs the question of whether the onboard sound in the Fatality is any better, so if any of you know please let me know.

As for the Fatality, I do understand that it cannot support all the RAM the extreme9 can but not sure I will go over 16 gigs anyway, so should I care about the upside difference?

Finally, my primary usage is gaming but I do use my PC for watching videos on the net if that helps in your advice. My final build should have an SDD drive, a regular hard drive, hopefully the GXT680 video card, a Corsair HD100 CPU cooler ...

As for the video card, will either motherboard board be fully PCI-E 3.0 out of the box with my CPU or will I need to wait for a bios upgrade?

I am receptive to your advising me to sell my CPU and go the Z77 motherboards way if that is the best thing you would recommend.
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  1. No boards utilize PCI-e 3.0 unless you have an Ivy Bridge CPU, due at the end of this month, even Z77 boards. The Gen3 boards that say PCI-e 3.0x16 also say that if using a Sandy Bridge CPU it runs at 2.0x16. A Gen3 board can run an Ivy Bridge CPU though, with a BIOS update.

    Now, onto your question about recommendation for the i7-3820...

    If you look at the difference between the extreme6 and the extreme9, the extreme 6 saves about 80 bucks, a few less ports here and there but same RAM, and if you need a sound card you get 2 PCI slots and 1 PCI-e slot. The Fatality Performance is a P67 rig, not X79, maybe you meant Professional. It's quad channel memory, and you'd never utilize 32GB of quad channel RAM anyhow, so the fact that the extreme 9 has 2x capacity should mean nothing.

    Here are two non-ASRock choices, but great X79 boards

    ASUS Sabertooth X79

    ASUS Rampage IV Gene

    Ivy Bridge CPU's are not going to be a huge jump for gaming, especially with your own video card. Most people are jumping on Z68 boards right now because the Gen3 have PCI-e3.0x16 with Ivy Bridge CPU's. If you want to wait for Ivy Bridge, they'll be out at the end of the month. Z77 boards support the 2nd Gen processors for those who need to have the newest board but can't wait for the new IVB CPU, but if you're going to get a Z77 board, makes more sense to wait and get the processor that was meant for it.
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