Asrock X58 Extreme3 Review

Software and Overclocking

Asrock X58   Extreme3 Review

Software and Overclocking

Software

Asrock provide a few nice utilities with the Extreme3.

Instant Boot

We'll start with easily the most startling. When looking through the bumpf for the Extreme3 we saw that there is an Instant Boot that promises to boot your PC in under 10 seconds. To Windows no less. No Linux distro's here. With great skepticism it was installed and, sure enough, when we saw that you have to keep the AC Power on our minds instantly flashed to Suspend mode. Now that's all well and good if you don't mind your fans whirring away, but that isn't instant boot.

However, and it's a 10 story however, it isn't that at all. Oh no sirree. You install the program, click Fast Mode, turn your PC off via the shutdown command. It shuts down, reboots and shuts down again. Once off it is as off as if you'd shut it down any other time. No lights, no fans. Basically a PC that happens to be plugged in, like they pretty much always are.

But upon hitting the power button magical things occured. I'm sure you're all aware that sometimes your monitor can be slower to power on than your POST screen, which makes diagnosing things difficult. With Asrock Instant Boot by the time my monitor had given me a picture I was at the Windows desktop and ready to go.

Before the naysayers proclaim it's a fanless version of suspend mode, I left a few applications open that would, in suspend mode, reappear. But nope. It's just a stupidly fast boot. Incredibly impressive.

Asrock X58  Extreme3 Review 

So impressive you need a graph to understand it. These timings are the average of five runs. The time is recorded from the pressing of the power button, to a text document saved in the startup folder, appearing on screen. So this is cold boot, to fully operational Windows 7 desktop.

Feel free to pick your jaws up off the floor. The best thing is, there is no caveat here. No "but". Brilliant.

OC DNA

OC DNA is much less impressive, but useful if you need to share your own settings with people. You can save and load from the three banks of save-slots within the BIOS, which could be useful for those of you who want to setup a swathe of PCs at once, or share that major overclock with your friends.

 Asrock X58  Extreme3 Review  

OC Tuner

The OC Tuner is a fairly standard overclock and monitoring utility. The good part is that it's always easier to push your system hard once you've past the POST and Windows loadup. The bad part is there is no way to actually check you've got a stable overclock from within the utility. Because applying the changes freezes everything for a few seconds, sometimes you hit apply, freeze, and off you go. Sometimes you hit it and freeze and wait. And wait.

The "level"s of the fans appears to be roughly in 10% lumps. A quick glance at the speed of the NB fan, taken with the size of it as seen on the previous page, should give you an idea of how loud it is.

Asrock X58  Extreme3 Review     Asrock X58  Extreme3 Review  

Asrock X58  Extreme3 Review     Asrock X58  Extreme3 Review

 

Overclocking

Asrock X58 Extreme3 Review  

Overclocking on the Asrock Extreme3 was a fairly simple affair to begin with, but with a few curious quirks.

Firstly we tested all the in-built overclock settings and our C stepping i7 920 managed 20x200 fairly happily with lowered RAM speeds. Moving the RAM towards its rated 2000MHz speed however quickly saw much locking up of the system.

Backing off a little to 190 and increasing the multiplier to 21 gave us the 4GHz we required and allowed us to hit 1900MHz on the RAM. Something it was happy to run all of our tests in without a hitch.

The main quirks are that the motherboard was absolutely unable to hold 200BCLK with the RAM set to its rated speed. Even with insane amounts of voltage running through the QPI it just wouldn't hold fast. There also appear to be some settings of BCLK it just doesn't like. Before achieving stability at just over 4GHz it was stuck at 3.9 for ages and nothing we tried would get it stable. It seems to like either 200BCLK, or 190, but not much inbetween.

Asrock X58 Extreme3 Review

Anyway our final overclock was 4016MHz on the CPU and 1900MHz on the DDR3. Not too bad at all despite it needing pretty heavy volts to get there. Certainly we wouldn't want to run this 24/7 at these settings.

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Most Recent Comments

12-05-2010, 04:52:01

tinytomlogan
Asrock return to the high-end fold with a X58 333 motherboard. Does it cut the mustard?

Continue Reading

12-05-2010, 06:47:16

mayhem
What a excellent well thought out review.

I agree a floppy and IDE is a bit nuts. the ide i could live with just for moving across old stuff or to use some of the old 750 gigs i have lying around how ever the floppy . that got me scratching my head. Allso why do they have PS2 ports. they could have saved a few quid buy removing all this old gear.

I wasn't to fussed about placement of parts until you said about the small fan. oh dear me comes to mind here.

The sound OH MY OH MY OH MY .. squealing , electrical noise .. oh dear me a throw back to the early days of the first on board sound comes to mind. That is one hell of a major flaw esp since a hell of a lot of people now a days use on board sound. Something doesn't sound rite at all.

ASrock have all ways mixed old and new tech but if the old tech is a bad interference on the new tech then is it a worth while thing to do. All so i noted that the caps next to the ram slots are well to say the least unbelievably close to the ram slots does that cause any problems (just wondering). Ive seen ppl miss when placing ram in there slot and them caps look a little fragile. I could imagine them being ripped off by accident,

Ah well asrock nice try may be a ver 2 would be on the drawing boards pritty much straight away ....

p.s Love the Insta Boot if it works that well.

12-05-2010, 10:39:48

Steve-O-
Yea the big performance thing that caught me off guard was the 3DMark Vantage scores. There must be some serious things screwed up there. My Q6700 at 3.5ghz easily gets to 30k on performance for CPU. Why would a better CPU get less? This mobo seems to be one to stay away from.

I do like that instant on feature though. That's pretty cool to get into Windows so fast.

12-05-2010, 12:03:46

Diablo
The 3D mark scores you get are probably physx enhanced, which won't be the case for these scores. Mine will only hit 35K or so standard. Also, floppy drive, welcome to the 1990s?

12-05-2010, 13:24:28

BloomerzUK
Probably for people that still flash using floppy maybe?

12-05-2010, 14:52:50

Pitbull#2
Hmm I have used this for about 3 weeks Just to give it a shot and be fair.Its ALOT better than i thought . BUT how true that it cant hold the OC's without CRAZY voltages.:0.. soall and all if they had a few Minor tweeks IE. Board layout ect and Updayed the bios WAY more often then they do. I would have givein it a shot. As it sits I just Orderd the RAMPAGE 3 EX. because if you can find that in stock you wouldnt want anything else..lol. Asrock could go along way if promted to and Tried alittle harder.

12-05-2010, 15:15:56

Diablo
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='BloomerzUK'
Probably for people that still flash using floppy maybe?
Maybe, but I prefer flashing with USB drives, no worry about a skipped track or read error, which can happen on older FD. If they did a few tweaks with the layout, got rid of the legacy connectors, and maybe slashed the price it might be a better option. But with the P6T series around the price tag it seems just too much.

12-05-2010, 18:13:40

Steve-O-
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Diablo'
The 3D mark scores you get are probably physx enhanced, which won't be the case for these scores. Mine will only hit 35K or so standard. Also, floppy drive, welcome to the 1990s?
What I was refering to was just the CPU score. Not the total score.

12-05-2010, 18:28:02

Diablo
Same, the CPU score is based on the physx score, which in your case is supplemented by the gpu having the physx offloaded. This is why the official benchmarks in the hall of fame don't have the physx enabled.
Reply
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