Value-minded performance enthusiasts have expressed great interest in the bottom of Intel’s high-end LGA 2011-v3 platform, including the Core i7-5820K seen in our recent SBM Alternative PC. But factoring economics into high-end configurations always leaves a catch (or three). Half of the problem is total cost. Buyers on a budget generally don’t want to pay more than $200 for a motherboard or DRAM. Memory manufacturers are attacking this conundrum with 16GB DDR4-2400 kits priced under $200 for at least a month, and ASRock has been right beside them with its X99 Extreme3 motherboard.
We don’t expect a bunch of added features from a low-cost board, and ASRock doesn’t provide them in its X99 Extreme3. The primary up-market interface is a four-lane PCIe 3.0 M.2 slot, and even that kicks down to a single-lane link when it's forced into SATA mode. ASRock still fits the board with the chipset’s full complement of USB 3.0 connections, including four at the I/O panel and two through a front-panel header. It even adds an I/O panel-accessible CLR_CMOS button to aid overclockers. Here’s how the board’s full specs compare to several mid-priced models: