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This review is from: SUPERMICRO MBD-X8SI6-F-O ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1156 Intel 3420 DDR3 1333
Pros: Supermicro quality. This board, like most of the server boards, has exceptional reliability and build quality.
Integrated LSI2008 (actually a MegaRAID SAS 9240-8i) is a 6GB/s SAS RAID controller (which you can flash to JBOD if you like). It's compatible with HP SAS 6GB/s expanders, so if you need to run 16, 24, etc. disks - this is for you.
Cons: The 9240-8i is limited to RAID-0, RAID-1, and RAID-10. (Newegg's listing claims RAID5 in Windows, I never loaded Windows on the box, so I can't speak to that). ESX is troublesome on this board because of the HBA (more on that below). I ran Linux with the HBA flashed to JBOD mode, and used mdadm to manage a 24-disk RAID6 array. This worked well, especially since I used an expansion card for LAN (again, see below).
The Intel 82574L uses the e1000e driver under Linux and ESX. Sadly, this driver is badly flawed in several versions of ESX (and probably other systems), and can cause system lockup under heavy load. For ESX or Linux applications, better to find a LAN chipset that will use the igb driver instead.
Other Thoughts: This is a great board, and the RAID HBA isn't something you'd expect to see on a uniprocessor server board. But it's not without flaws and limitations. Because of the limitations of the HBA and the LAN chipset, I have migrated my ESX VMs to the excellent X9DRH-7F board (LSI 2208 HBA and Intel I350 LAN)READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: This board has everything you could need - LGA2011 for future IvyBridge CPUs, PCIe3.0 ready, SATA3, SATA3 RAID!, USB3 with USB3 front panel, exceptional build quality and hardware
Cons: * I feel kind of goofy getting a product endorsed by Fatal1ty to be perfectly honest. His signature/logo on the South Bridge doesn't help this. Even that's just a cosmetic negative.
* SLI power connector is oddly placed, and in my case interfered with the PSU.
* On the Extreme3 (and others?) the (front panel) eSATA connector is in the center of the board, away from the block of SATA connectors. This is a better configuration, because the SATA block can be a little confusing deciphering which is which (and the BIOS unhelpfully says to use 0~5 to boot, instead of the Marvell - if you look very closely you'll see there are SATA_2_0, SATA_3_0, and SATA_3_M0)
Other Thoughts: The board is rock-solid and exceptionally well-built. I built a system based on this board at the same time as one based on the Extreme3. When I had trouble getting the Extreme3 POST in QUAD channel mode, I used this board to trouble-shoot. Jumping between different RAM timings and voltages was a smooth and simple (and automated unless I wanted to set it manually) process. I returned the Extreme3 and replaced it with one of these.
During the trouble-shooting process (for the Extreme3, not this board), I called AsRock tech support. It's not toll-free, but the call was answered by a person, not an automated system, and the transfer to support required less than 1 minute on hold. The support tech was knowledgeable and very, very helpful. Their boards are every bit as good as ASUS or Gigabyte, but their support won me as a loyal customer for years to come.
This review is from: ASRock X79 Extreme3 LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: The board has a lot of features of more expensive boards - including overclocking options only available on $400 premium boards.
Several PWM fan headers, and two CPU fan headers for those of us who use water cooled systems like the H60.
AsRock's tech support was superb!
Cons: Only 1 USB3 front panel connector - would have liked to see 2
Sadly, mine was DOA.
AsRock's support number isn't toll-free
Other Thoughts: AsRock's tech support isn't toll free, but I was on the phone with a knowledgeable support person with absolutely no hold time. Well done AsRock! When RMA'ing with NewEgg, I decided to get a refund instead of a replacement - having worked with the X79 Fatal1ty for another build, I was super impressed with that board, and decided to pony up the difference in price.
I've alternated between Gigabyte and Biostar over the last several computers I've put together, but AsRock is now my board of choice. Things break, so you can't fault them for a DOA or a weird failure, but their superb tech support plus the solid build of the boards will keep me coming back.