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Asrock A75 Extreme6

Asrock offers a full spectrum of A75-based motherboards starting at only $70 and that figure extends to $130 with the company's flagship A75 Extreme6, which is precisely what we'll be testing today. The Extreme6 is among the best-endowed A75 boards, packing eight SATA ports, six USB 3.0 ports, three PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots and eight-channel audio.

By default, the AMD A75 FCH (Fusion Controller Hub -- codenamed Hudson-D3) provides six SATA 6Gb/s ports supporting RAID0, 1, 10 as well as four USB 3.0 ports and ten USB 2.0 ports. The chipset also provides four PCIe 2.0 x1 slots while the rest of the lanes are provided by the processor.

In an effort to make the A75 Extreme6 more appealing, Asrock has bolstered SATA support by including the ASMedia ASM1061 controller, which connects using the PCIe x1 interface and provides an extra two SATA 6Gb/s connectors.

Additionally, Asrock has shared the second port with the eSATA connector found on the boards I/O panel. In other words, when you use the second port connected to the ASM1061 controller you won't be able to use the eSATA port and vice versa. Although this controller lacks support for RAID, it does support NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions.

Because the A75 FCH "only" offers four USB 3.0 ports, Asrock has added another ASMedia controller. The ASM1042 has been used to power another two USB 3.0 ports, which are found on the boards I/O panel. This means there are four USB 3.0 ports mounted on the board's I/O panel with another two designed for use as front panel connectors.

The Extreme6 gets its gigabit network support from the Realtek RTL8111E controller, which touts useful features such as Wake-On-LAN, Cable Detection as well as Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az and PXE (Pre-Boot Execution Environment).

Asrock has opted for Realtek chip to provide audio. The eight-channel ALC892 audio codec features premium Blu-ray audio support as well as support for THX TruStudio. The I/O panel carries five 3.5mm jacks and a single optical S/PDIF-out port.

A VIA Fire VT6315 PCI Express 1.1 x1 IEEE 1394a controller has been added to support a pair of Firewire ports -- one in back and another in front.

As mentioned earlier, the A75 Extreme6 features three PCI Express x16 ports, but only one can handle x16 bandwidth. The secondary slot is wired for x8 bandwidth while the third slot is limited to x4. When using Crossfire or SLI, you're best sticking with a dual slot solution. When doing so, the primary and secondary slots are limited to x8 bandwidth.

The A75 Extreme6 received Asrock's Advanced V8+2 power phase design which is cooled with a single large heatsink and is said to provide the highest power efficiency possible while generating less heat, thereby enhancing the overclocking potential.

The I/O panel reveals one PS/2 port for legacy keyboard and mice, HDMI, VGA and dual link DVI connectors, a CMOS rest switch, eSATA, Firewire, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, five audio jacks and optical S/PDIF-out.