Today is the day that the embargo lifts on the new X99 platform from Intel, and among the motherboard manufacturers that are bringing out motherboards is ASRock. ASRock has gone a little nuts with this platform release and announced a staggering nine motherboards with the X99 chipset. Naturally, all of them have the LGA2011-3 socket, and therefore support for the Haswell-E CPUs. The lineup consists of:
- X99 OC Formula
- X99 Professional
- X99X Killer ($289.99)
- X99M Killer
- X99 WS ($323.99)
- X99 Extreme6 ($279.99)
- X99 Extreme4 ($249.99)
- X99M Extreme4 ($223.99)
- X99 Extreme3
To elaborate on just the motherboard names we will explain what each board is intended for. The X99 OC Formula is built to be the ultimate overclocker’s motherboard, with support for up to 1300 W CPU power consumption through a 12-phase VRM circuit under liquid nitrogen. It also has extensive connectivity and support for up to four dual-slot graphics cards.
The X99 Professional is based on the same board design as the X99 OC Formula, but it's geared more towards gamers with its Killer E2200 networking adapter, the Killer USB 2.0 peripheral ports, and the red and black color scheme. The X99X Killer and the X99M Killer are boards that are also built for gamers, but target an audience that doesn't care so much for the extreme overclocking support provided by the previous two boards.
The X99 WS is a workstation-oriented board, but it can also be used in servers, according to ASRock. The board has extensive connectivity and support for up to four dual-slot graphics cards. The X99 Extreme6, X99 Extreme4, X99M Extreme4, and the X99 Extreme3 are all targeted at a more mainstream enthusiast audience. Most of the differences in these lie in the connectivity support and form factors, so if you're going for one of these, all you need to do is figure out which connectivity you need and which you don't.
A point worth noting about ASRock's X99 motherboards is that they do not come with SATA-Express support. When we asked ASRock why it entirely omitted SATA-Express support, the company's response was that it had not seen enough SATA-Express devices on the market, and thus there didn't seem to be a point. We cannot fault ASRock for this, especially considering that all of its motherboards feature a so-called Ultra M.2 slot, which is essentially an M.2 slot with four PCI-Express 3.0 lanes for up to 32 Gb/s of bandwidth. Not all competing X99 boards have that, so if you are looking for the best M.2 performance, the ASRock boards will be worth a peek. All of the boards also come with dedicated audio hardware in the form of Purity Audio 2.
We've reached out to ASRock for additional pricing information.