USB 3.0 To The Front Panel: ASRock Leads The Way

LGA 1366: ASRock X58 Extreme6

What does it take to make an X58 motherboard extreme? How about support for three-way SLI, in addition to three SATA 6Gb/s and three USB 3.0 controllers?

ASRock takes advantage of the X58’s 36 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes to connect all of those slots and controllers, with automatic switching changing x16 slot modes from x16/x16 to x16/x8/x8. The X58’s four remaining high-bandwidth lanes still come up shy of the six needed for all of its SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 controllers, but ASRock doubles the available lanes through the use of a PLX PEX8608 bridge. PCIe x1 slots are directed to the PCIe 1.1 controller on the motherboard’s ICH10R southbridge.

Yes, the PLX bridge’s eight lanes must share only four lanes of chipset bandwidth, but even high-end users rarely push the maximum bandwidth through more than four interface controllers simultaneously. That is to say, most high-end users will still get most of their bandwidth most of the time.

A single 88SE9128 and two 88SE9120 controllers feed the six SATA 6Gb/s ports. Since only the higher-numbered model supports RAID mode, only two ports can be striped or mirrored. Additionally, one of the other ports is shared between internal SATA and eSATA connections, so that only five of the white connectors can be used if rear-panel eSATA is to be retained.

Two NEC D720200F1 controllers add USB 3.0 modes to four of the X58 Extreme6’s rear-panel ports, and a third goes to the 19-pin front-panel connector.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
49 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • takeapieandrun
    New standards = competition = win for us
    14
  • razor512
    Now all they need to do is lead the way with a standardized case connector.
    10
  • Other Comments
  • Anonymous
    Thank you ASRock for bringing USB3.0 front header on your motherboards! Now i can expect a much nicer set-up in my case in an upcoming build...
    8
  • takeapieandrun
    New standards = competition = win for us
    14
  • razor512
    Now all they need to do is lead the way with a standardized case connector.
    10
  • darthvidor
    I sure hope the standard connector comes out before this gets out of hand.
    3
  • 117killer117
    Hopefully some other motherboard manufacturers catch on.
    5
  • Crashman
    razor512Now all they need to do is lead the way with a standardized case connector.
    darthvidorI sure hope the standard connector comes out before this gets out of hand.
    You're looking at it, Page 1 photo. Other motherboard manufacturers are already using this same connector as mentioned in the article, so it should only be a matter of a few months before case manufacturers follow suit.
    5
  • Anonymous
    ASRock responds to pleas? Maybe someone could plead for dual-gigabit-ethernet equipped SOC-chipped (atom? i3?) 6x sata2 motherboards, too. It's impossible to build your one-machine-to-rule them all firewall-server-htpc in a small form factor currently!
    -2
  • liquidsnake718
    Yeah i remember reading reports that Intel dithed USB 3.0 about 6 months ago in favor of the mb and new CPU research (P66, 67). Surprisingly they sold this tech or the design to ASROCK. Im sure they will eventually come around to implimenting this for ALL future motherboards.

    So would old cases be able to use this since it is just a connector?
    0
  • Crashman
    liquidsnake718Yeah i remember reading reports that Intel dithed USB 3.0 about 6 months ago in favor of the mb and new CPU research (P66, 67). Surprisingly they sold this tech or the design to ASROCK. Im sure they will eventually come around to implimenting this for ALL future motherboards. So would old cases be able to use this since it is just a connector?
    Revised cases could use it, if they had the new cable and connector. Remember that USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 are not cross-compatible, they use separate signal pins and share only power and ground with each other.
    0
  • mauller07
    They should have kept the board like the 890gx extreme 3 without all the legacy rubbish like floppy or pata, when looking at the boar layouts in comparison this extreme 4 just looks messy
    1
  • Crashman
    mauller07They should have kept the board like the 890gx extreme 3 without all the legacy rubbish like floppy or pata, when looking at the boar layouts in comparison this extreme 4 just looks messy
    ASRock still markets in places where Windows XP prevails. That means that the floppy header is still more valuable than most of us would like to believe.
    3
  • pinkfloydminnesota
    Thicker color lines in the legend so we can see what color they are, please.
    6
  • Deadstick50
    What I take from this article is the fact that Inhell hobbles all the good features that AMD doesnt! And people wonder why I always recomend AMD? GET REAL.....get AMD for the performance you deserve! (this add brought to you by..........nobody, I just really like AMD)
    5
  • Onus
    While I wouldn't go quite as far as Deadstick50, I did take from this article that P55 is just not the way to go; not if you expect any kind of future-resistance, i.e. to take full advantage of high speed USB 3.0 peripherals.
    1
  • Deadstick50
    Yeah, but look at Intels implementation of PCI-E, its chanelled wrong and limited in scope...i stand by what i said.
    1
  • theoutbound
    If nothing else, I'm glad ASRock did this so other manufacturers will be forced to include front USB3. Manufacturers have been very slow to offer this, and it's nice to see someone begin to step up.
    1
  • Onus
    It's not "Intel," it's the chipset and/or CPU; consider that X58 offers full speed and full functionality. A lesser AMD chipset (like 870) would chop out some lanes and/or features too.
    -1
  • zyzeast
    I got the x58 extreme 6 when it came out on Newegg and loving it so far, just wish it had more on-board USB 2.0 connectors.
    0
  • False_Dmitry_II
    jtt283It's not "Intel," it's the chipset and/or CPU; consider that X58 offers full speed and full functionality. A lesser AMD chipset (like 870) would chop out some lanes and/or features too.


    Yeah, like the second graphics card slot. Wait, that's another 16 lanes that can be used even if some were removed resulting in similar other stuff as the higher mobos. Sorry the fact that intel limited that entire platform to that low is insane and ridiculous.
    0
  • ares1214
    Asrock, you done good. You guys are always make boards with features other people dont have, or more of them. 870 board with 2 x16 lanes, more USB 3 than most, so on and so forth. Good prices too. Now just make sure they are quality.
    3