2 expert reviews - 0 user reviews
We have collected 2 reviews of the ECS X79R-AX Black Extreme. Experts rate ECS X79R-AX Black Extreme 8/10. Reviewsor.com helps you find reviews, best prices, user reviews of the ECS X79R-AX Black Extreme and ECS Motherboards.
ECS hastily embraced LGA2011, releasing two Black Series motherboards in time for launch day: the X79R-AX and X79R-AX Deluxe. Unfortunately, we found them confusing for several reasons, not least of which is their naming scheme. The "Deluxe" model is actually the cut down version with fewer SATA ports, no eSATA and a single network controller, while the plain "X79R-AX" is the flagship. What's more confusing, ECS claims the X79R-AX 14 SATA ports with 10 connected to the X79 chipset, which is only supposed to support six. The board supposedly has six SATA 6Gb/s ports and four SATA 3Gb/s ports wired to the X79, but Intel's block diagrams clearly says the chipset supports two 6Gb/s ports and a total of six SATA ports -- two 6Gb/s and four 3Gb/s ports, in other words. Intel's tech manager assures me that the X79R-AX's extra SATA ports must be connected to a third party controller, while ECS promises 10 are powered by the X79. ECS went on to say that Intel has removed (or merely hidden, as it seems) the X79's four extra SATA/SAS ports, but the Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer has managed to enable them on the X79R-AX.
Enthusiasts shopping for motherboards generally have two options: go gentle or go for broke. There's seldom much middle ground between reasonable (and reasonably priced) and hard-core (and expensive) hardware, but with its X79R-AX Black Extreme motherboard, ECS has made a good attempt to bridge the gap. With a price ($319 list) that places it at the lower end of the spectrum but some features like those found in much pricier brands, this board stakes a claim to value that few other X79 Express boards currently can. Die-hards won't find everything they might crave, but there's a cohesive enough blend here to please almost everyone else. This ATX motherboard itself certainly has a sophisticated and austere look. Only white and gray fixtures adorn the black PCB, with even the bare-metal heat sinks matte in appearance; this was a board that was definitely designed to be viewed through a desktop's windowed side panel. The design is, in key areas, functional as well: The two PCI Express (PCIe) 3.0 x16 slots are dark gray and the two PCIe x8 slots are much lighter, so you won't have any trouble properly configuring your multicard CrossFireX or SLI setups.