The first of the premium Z77 motherboards has arrived – ASRock Z77 Extreme9 and it arrives with a selling price to match. As loaded with functions as this motherboard is, it looks like ASRock skipped out on one must have function for premium segment – or at least so it appears – Thunderbolt.
Despite this small miss on ASRock’s behalf, the Z77 Extreme-9 is loaded to the brim with functions and it defiantly one ups MSI’s recently announced Z77A-GD80 and Intel’s DZ77RE-75K, at least as long as you don’t want Thunderbolt connection. That said, we’re still waiting for Asus P8Z77-V Premium and what ever Gigabyte is operating on that will slot in above the Z77X-UD5H.
Nevertheless, we’re not here to discuss about the competition right now, as it’s time to take a closer look at the Z77 Extreme-9. For beginners, the motherboard has at least five x16 PCI Express 3.0 slots. Thanks to a PCI Express bridge processor of some kind, the Z77 Extreme-9 may also work in dual x6 or four x8 modes using slot 1, 3, 5 and 7, where 1 and 3 are utilized for dual x16 mode. The sixth x16 slot works at PCI Express 2.0 speeds and provide four lanes of bandwidth. You will also find a single x1 PCI Express 2.0 slot and a mini PCI Express slot that houses a dual band combination 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 card.
The motherboard additionally has the typical four SATA 3Gbps and two SATA 6Gbps ports, however ASRock has added another four SATA 6Gbps ports. The board furthermore has headers for four front USB-3 ports, six USB -2 ports, a FireWire port and a serial port of all items. You additionally get functions such as a POST80 debug LED and a power and sleep button.
An helpful addition is the included front USB 3.0 port drive bay component. Not just is it home to two USB-3 ports, however it additionally houses the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas and a two of LED’s to show that it’s transferring data. There’s also area for a 2.5″ drive to be installed in the component.
Approximate price – 410-500 USD