ASRock X79 Extreme11 Software

Despite the tweaks made to the presentation of the ASRock BIOS for the X79 Extreme11, we have not any tweaks to the standard software in the OS.  The staple of the ASRock software package is the ‘555’ system, whereby ASRock state that their XFast RAM, XFast USB and XFast LAN can offer up to 5x performance (as long as the appropriate benchmark is chosen).  Around this is the ASRock eXtreme Tuning Utility (AXTU), which houses the majority of the in-house made software for overclocking and fan controls.

The Driver CDs with ASRock products are always relatively easy to use – one click installs all the necessary drivers and another click to software with no intervention needed by the user.

Also in the X79 Extreme11 package we get extra bundled software for the LSI chip called MegaRAID, and the Creative Sound Core3D chip on board also has its own software package in the form of TruStudio.  Both will be detailed here.

AXTU (ASRock eXtreme Tuning Utility)

The AXTU utility attempts to be the centerpiece of the ASRock software, providing a hardware monitor, fan controls, overclocking controls, power saving utilities, and more recently, the inclusion of XFast RAM.

The hardware monitor is self describing, but the fan controls echo the ones scene on many ASRock boards of past.  Instead of a simple graph demonstrating RPM % as a function of temperature, ASRock give us the option to choose a target temperature, then a ramp in the form of a level 1-10 option.  One assumes that Level 10 is the most aggressive, but it is unknown if that ramp is the sharpest or the shallowest – it is hard to define aggressive in this context.  Other fan headers are also given ramp options without the target temperature.  It would be relatively very easy to knock up some software to actually control these fans properly relating to the temperature sensors on board – a focused effort is required by the manufacturer in order to envisage such controls though.

The overclocking tools offer BCLK and CPU ratio adjustments, as well as voltages.  It strikes me as odd that the CPU voltage is offered as an offset, but the memory voltage is offered as a fixed value.  This could be because of how these voltages are determined electrically, and the fact that this software has to be able to deal with many processors that all have different VIDs, but that should not deter the software from providing both an actual and an offset option.

The XFast RAM bit of the software is what we find most interesting.  Due to the X79 platform, we have functionality up to 64 GB of memory.  The ideal scenario would be to partition some of this off into a RAM Disk or a RAM Cache – this is exactly what XFast RAM does.  We can allocate a disk size, and then ask the software to configure this RAM Disk as storage for temporary or cache files in order to speed up processing.

XFast LAN

The XFast LAN software is ASRock’s re-branding of cFosSpeed, a software management tool for networking capabilities.  The retail price of around 10 euros is absorbed by ASRock, presumably with some bulk sales deal, and for a little extra CPU power used, the network traffic can be monitored and shaped as required for all networking devices.

XFast USB

The XFast USB software is a staple part of the ASRock package.  This is licensed software with ASRock re-branding works on the principle that the default drivers for USB ports in Windows 7 are flawed.  By invoking a rewritten driver when a device is inserted, the USB port can call upon BOT (Bulk Only Transfer) commands in order to improve throughput (at the expense of latency).  In our testing this driver increases speed for large transfer size files by a good margin, although for smaller transfers the UASP commands offered by other manufacturers offer an advantage.

MegaRAID

The MegaRAID software comes direct from LSI, and is used to manage the SAS ports on the motherboard.  The main feature of the software is to create and manage the RAID arrays – either RAID 0, 1 or 10.  In our testing later, we will show the functionality when we test all eight ports at RAID-0, however due to the software we were limited to a 64 KB stripe size in our arrays.

The MegaRAID software allows users to define an array in a ‘Simple’ or ‘Advanced’ mode.

TruStudio

The audio software comes direct from Creative, and offers a wide range of manipulation techniques for your audio, including a proprietary technology called scout mode, which we assume is a software filter to increase the volume of typical footstep frequency sounds.  The software also allows for a mixer, and equalizer, jack setups and voice filters for VOIP.

ASRock X79 Extreme11 BIOS ASRock X79 Extreme11 In The Box, Voltage Readings
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  • cjs150 - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    All those right angled, stacked SATA connectors and the 24 pin ATX connector is still sticking straight up!

    Come on, it costs little to make this a right angled connector and makes for much better cable management (especially if you are also using all the SATA connectors)

    Has anyone checked the accuracy of the ASRock Hardware monitor for temperatures? There are reports that on other ASRock board these are significantly inaccurate.

    Ultimately other than M/B p#rn not really sure what market this board is aimed at. For a workstation I would prefer dual CPUs and 48 PCI lanes
    Reply
  • dgingeri - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    I think that LSI 2308 chip is the same as the chip used in Dell's PERC H310 controller, with slightly different firmware/bios. (Dell customizes theirs to call it a PERC and label it as a Dell controller, but it is still labeled as a LSI copyright.) If so, that's a very good controller, from my experience. Reply
  • ComputerGuy2006 - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    I want Ivy Bridge-E, not going to go from 1336 setup to x79 setup without knowing if ivy-e is even coming out (much less if it will work on the same mobo) Reply
  • dgingeri - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    With AMD providing absolutely no competition in this space, I would say it is unlikely they'll come out with any updates worthy of spending money. Think of the time with the P4 while AMD wasn't providing competition. Intel put out processors from 2.8 to 3.8GHz over the course of 2 years which cost more and gobbled up more electricity, yet provided minimal performance enhancement. (iirc, the 3.8GHz chip was only about 10% faster than the 2.8GHz chip because of memory bandwidth limitations and thermal throttling, yet Intel charged more than double the intro price than the 2.8GHz for the 3.8GHz chip.) Intel without competition is just a money hog, gobbling up more and more money with little to show for it. I doubt Haswell with be anything special, either. IB certainly isn't.

    Oh, yeah, they say Haswell will be 10% faster than IB at the same clock rate. While AMD was providing competition, they were putting out things that ran 50-60% faster per clock, and had faster clock rates to boot. So, at the price point, we'd get a 75-100% boost per generation. (Core 2 had a drop in clock rate, sure, but it was WAY faster than the P4, giving us a 80%+ performance boost at the same clock rate. Coppermine was a huge boost in both clock rate and efficiency. Katmai was a huge boost in clock rate and efficiency. Same with Klamath and Deschutes. Yet, the P4 generation was a huge stall point, and also the point where most of Intel competitors got out of the race and AMD was way behind.)

    I wish someone would come into the market and provide an little incentive to get Intel to move their butts forward, but we're not going to see that for probably another decade.
    Reply
  • Master_shake_ - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    problem is Intel won't allow any more companies to get the x86 license to make desktop/notebook cpus.

    i want Nvidia to make one just to have a 3rd choice.
    Reply
  • fteoath64 - Thursday, September 06, 2012 - link

    "i want Nvidia to make one just to have a 3rd choice.".

    Yeah, then Nvidia buys VIA and starts making NV-nano as the Tegra3 of x86 for the super tablets that would be weight compatible with current 10.1 Android/iOS tablet ..... {pipe dream ...}

    Nvidia doing a x86 and ARM hybrid processor would be really cool for a new generation of UltraBooks that does Win8 and Android together. Imagine when docked you have both Win8 (external monitor) and ICS/JB on tablet with touch. Win8 tablets being much thicker plas plenty of space for 2 SDcard slots and 2 MicroSD slots.
    Reply
  • Frallan - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    I was complaining the other day about AT becoming an iSite talking more about iWare than anything else.

    My honesty compels me to write in after the last few days and apologize. There has been a number of good interesting computer and component articles the last week that proved me wrong.

    Thank you AT and keep the good work up.
    Reply
  • BlueReason - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    "ASRock have potentially missed a trick here"

    It's becoming trendy for American-based tech blogs to use the British standard for subject/verb agreement when it comes to businesses. You could debate what it ought to be all day, but American professional writing standards dictate that companies be referred to as a singular entity. You can do whatever you like, of course, but just an fyi in case you submit a piece to a major American publication. They won't see your usage as fancy.
    Reply
  • Razorbak86 - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    "Lighten up, Francis." -- Sergeant Hulka, Stripes (1981).

    Although you may view Ian Cutress' prose as "fancy", he was hardly being pretentious. He lives in London, and he was educated at the University of Oxford. That might not mean much to you, but feel free to Google a map or two and educate yourself about world geography.

    I lived and worked in the United Kingdom for 5 years as an American expatriate. My daughter was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and my kids grew up with British accents. I can assure you that it is standard practice in the United Kingdom to refer to companies in the plural. Fortunately for me, the British people were very gracious hosts. Despite the subtle differences between my American dialect and the Queen's English, they always treated me and my family with great respect throughout our stay.

    So please be a little more polite when referring to one of the Senior Editors of AnandTech. You are, after all, communicating in HIS native tongue, not yours. ;-p
    Reply
  • MySchizoBuddy - Thursday, September 06, 2012 - link

    where is the CUDA/OpenCL benchmark with 7 GPUs? Reply

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