Articles: Mainboards

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It is quite logical that we started getting to know the new mainboards for LGA 2011 platform with the products from Asus, Gigabyte and Intel. The first two Taiwanese makers have been leaders in the mainboard market for a while. As for the Intel boards, things are a little bit more complex here, however, it was very interesting to check out the vision of an ideal mainboard in the eyes of the chipset and CPU maker. The next product we are going to talk about is a board from ASRock, which is truly unique in several different ways.

Unlike most computer companies, which were founded in the previous century, ASRock is relatively young, however, over a period of 10 years they managed to occupy their market niche and take some of the market share away from their competitors. I have to remind you that this company was established in that challenging time when we lost a lot of good brands: Abit, DFI, EPoX all became history and ASRock mainboards continue selling quite successfully ever since. In the beginning ASRock mainboards attracted attention due to some unusual engineering implementations. For example, there could be two different processor sockets on the same PCB. However, as time went on, there was less exotics like that, and ASRock mainboards won their fans by offering very appealing combination of functionality and price.

Having shaped up a successful business model, ASRock, however, felt that it wouldn't be enough. The company started to shift the focus more towards the high-end and enthusiast products and was determined to change the public perception of them and their image as a budget mainboard manufacturer. Among other things they revived the “Fatal1ty” mainboard series, which was first introduced by Abit. It was named after a successful professional gamer and implied that the products branded with this name boasted extended functionality compared with the regular models. So, our today’s goal will be to find out what are the key trumps of the new ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Professional mainboard.

Packaging and Accessories

ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Professional mainboard ships is a pretty large box with a carry handle. The front panel of the box can be flipped open to reveal the mainboard inside through a large clear window. The back of the box bears the photo of the mainboard and its major technical specifications.

Numerous bundled accessories are inside a separate smaller box and include the following:

  • Eight SATA cables with metal connector locks, half of them with L-shaped locks and another half – with straight ones;
  • Two adapters for SATA devices;
  • A flexible bridge for three-way Nvidia SLI graphics configurations;
  • Two short bridges and one long bridge for building Nvidia SLI graphics configurations with pairs of graphics cards;
  • A bracket with two USB 3.0 ports;
  • Back panel bracket and a set of retention screws for it;
  • I/O Shield for the back panel;
  • A brochure about the functionality of mainboard BIOS and accompanying software;
  • User manual in multiple languages;
  • DVD disk with software and drivers.

The bracket with two USB 3.0 ports allows bringing them to the system case front panel. But if you wish, you can use a rear case bracket to move the same two ports to the back panel. Until now only some Elitegroup mainboards were bundled with similar expansion options. By combining multiple bridges you can build Nvidia SLI graphics configurations from up to four graphics cards.

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