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 Extreme6/GB has another three SATA-600 ports, controlled by two ASMedia ASM1061 chips. The fourth SATA-600 port provided by the second ASMedia chip is available as an eSATA-600 port on the motherboard rear panel.
One drawback is that the manufacturer used only two colors to identify the SATA ports: black for the SATA-300 and gray for the SATA-600. The manufacturer should have used different colors to
identify to where each port is connected. We think they should have used one color for the SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (which are the ones to the right of the SATA-300 ports, labeled “SATA3_0_1”) and another color for the ports controlled by the ASMedia ASM1061 chip (which are the ones on the far right, labeled “SATA3_A0_A1”).
The SATA ports are located at the motherboard’s edge and rotated 90°, so video cards won’t block them. See Figure 4. The fifth SATA-600 port uses a regular SATA connector and is located near the main power supply connector.
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 Extreme6/GB offers 10 USB 2.0 ports, four soldered on the rear panel and six available through three headers located on the motherboard. It also supports six USB 3.0 ports, the four located on the motherboard rear panel controlled by a Texas Instruments TUSB7340 chip and the two available on the motherboard header controlled by an ASMedia ASM1042 chip. 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 USB 3.0 ports with an internal connector.
The ASRock X79 Extreme6/GB 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.
This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format, i.e., eight channels plus two independent channels for audio streaming. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the new Realtek ALC898 codec, which is an outstanding solution, providing an impressive 110 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. This means you are able to capture and edit analog audio (e.g., converting LPs to CDs or MP3, converting VHS to DVDs or any other digital format, etc.) with this motherboard without adding any background noise. This motherboard, however, comes with an add-on sound card called “Game Blaster” that we will talk about on the next page. The motherboard has on-board optical and coaxial SPDIF outputs and independent 7.1 analog audio jacks if you decide to use the on-board audio solution instead of the add-on sound card.
The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by a Broadcom BCM57781 chip.
In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel, with PS/2 connectors for mouse and keyboard, clear CMOS button, optical and coaxial SPDIF outputs, four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 2.0 ports, FireWire port, eSATA-600 port, and independent 7.1 analog audio jacks.