The Intel X79 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports two SATA-600 ports and four SATA-300 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5).
The ASRock X79 Extreme11 has another eight SAS/SATA-600 ports, controlled by an LSI SAS2308 chip, which supports RAID 0, 1, 1E, and 10.
All SATA ports are located at the motherboard’s edge and rotated 90°, so video cards won’t block them. See Figure 6.
This motherboard also has two eSATA-600 ports, controlled by a Marvell 88SE9172 chip, supporting RAID 0 and 1.
The Intel X79 chipset supports 14 USB 2.0 ports. Unfortunately, support for USB 3.0 ports isn’t integrated in the chipset yet. The ASRock X79 Extreme11 offers 12 USB 2.0 ports, eight soldered on the rear panel and four available through two headers located on the motherboard. It also supports eight USB 3.0 ports, four soldered on the motherboard rear panel and four available through two headers on the motherboard, controlled by two Texas Instruments TUSB7340 chips. The motherboard comes with a 3.5” panel containing two USB 3.0 ports for you to use on the motherboard USB 3.0 header if your computer case doesn’t have four USB 3.0 ports.
The ASRock X79 Extreme11 has two FireWire ports, one soldered on the rear panel and one available through a header. These ports are controlled by a VIA VT6315N chip.
Another highlight of this motherboard is the use of a Creative Sound Core3D chip, making the on-board audio of this product similar to the Sound Blaster Recon3D PCIe sound card from Creative that retails for USD 100. This chip provides CrystalVoice technology for improving the audio quality during audio chats and several other technologies for improving audio. Specifications for this chip include 102 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for its outputs and 101 dB signal-to-noise ratio for its inputs, with a 192 kHz sampling rate and 24-bit resolution.
The motherboard has on-board optical SPDIF output. Additionally, there is a header, labeled “HDMI_SPDIF1” which can be used to route digital audio to your video card’s HDMI connector, if your video card required a physical connection for that.
The analog audio outputs are independent only if you use a 5.1 analog speaker set. If you install a 7.1 analog speaker set, you will need to use either the “mic in” or the “line in” jacks.
The portrayed motherboard has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, controlled by two Broadcom BCM57781 chips, supporting “teaming,” i.e., allowing the ports to be combined in order to achieve a 2 Gbps maximum transfer rate, if you have compatible equipment on your network.
In Figure 9, you can see the motherboard rear panel with a PS/2 keyboard connector, 12 USB 2.0 ports, a clear CMOS button, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one FireWire port, four USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA-600 ports, one optical SPDIF output, and the analog audio jacks.