On Board Peripherals

The Intel X99 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports ten SATA-600 ports (there are no SATA-300 ports), supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5).

The ASRock X99 Extreme6/3.1 offers those ten SATA-600 ports (one of them shared with an eSATA connector at the rear panel, and another port shared with the M.2 slot). All SATA ports are located at the motherboard’s edge and rotated 90 degrees, so that video cards will not block them. Two SATA-600 ports are shared with a SATA Express connector.

ASRock X99 Extreme6/3.1Figure 4: SATA-600 ports

The Intel X99 chipset supports eight USB 2.0 ports and six USB 3.0 ports. The ASRock X99 Extreme6/3.1 offers seven USB 2.0 ports, two soldered on the rear panel and five available through two headers and one type A connector, located on the motherboard. The motherboard offers eight USB 3.0 ports, four soldered on the motherboard rear panel (using one ASMedia ASM1074 chip to double two USB 3.0 ports controlled by the chipset) and four are available through two headers on the motherboard.

The ASrock X99 Extreme6/3.1 also offers one USB 3.1 type C port at the rear panel, controlled by one ASMedia ASM1142 chip. The new type C connector is amazing because, besides being reversible (you can install the connector in any position), it supports video and power connections (it supports up to 100 W of power). So, it will probably become a universal connection standard soon.

The ASRock X99 Extreme6/3.1 does not support FireWire or Thunderbolt ports.

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 Realtek ALC1150 codec, which is an excellent audio codec, providing 115 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. These specifications are good even for the user who wants to work professionally capturing and editing analog audio (e.g., converting LPs to CDs or MP3, converting VHS to DVDs or any other digital format, etc.).

The analog audio outputs are independent and the motherboard also comes with an on-board optical SPDIF output. However, there is no header where you can install an adapter to have a coaxial SPDIF output or to connect a cable to older video cards that required a physical connection to have audio on their HDMI outputs.

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 the “line in” jack. The audio codec is protected from interference with a metallic shield.

ASRock X99 Extreme6/3.1Figure 5: shielded audio codec

The portrayed motherboard has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one controlled by an Intel i218V chip, and one controlled by an Atheros AR8171 chip.

In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel, with a PS/2 shared connector for keyboard or mouse, two USB 2.0 ports, a Clear CMOS button, a USB 3.1 type C port, an eSATA-600 port, four USB 3.0 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one optical SPDIF output, and the analog audio jacks.

ASRock X99 Extreme6/3.1Figure 6: Motherboard rear panel