ASRock X99 OC Formula Review – SSD Performance Differs Slightly With the X99

If you are going to introduce a new motherboard to the world, perhaps the best marketing feat one could achieve would be to set a new overclocking world record for that board close to the time of its release.  Nick Shih of ASRock did that with the new ASRock X99 OC Formula recently by overclocking the latest Intel i7-5960X chip to a previously unheard of 6620.73 MHz.  This is a bold statement in the world of motherboard wars and perhaps a challenge by ASRock, to Gigabyte and Asus, to match that!  But then again,  maybe Nick figured he had something to prove if he was going to put his signature on this board…

ASRock X99 OC Formula Ultra M.2

The release of the X99 OC Formula is quite an accomplishment for ASRock, a company who some time ago might be lucky to be ranked No. 3 in the motherboard race, yet today could easily be justified as the top dog. Today, we have that board in hand, it is playing host to a Intel 5960X (Haswell-E) CPU, we are running it at 4.5 Ghz with our Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4 memory pushed just a bit to 2666Mhz, and our base drive is the Intel P3700 800GB NVMe SSD running at above 2GB/s data speeds.  Click on this shot for a closer look…

X99 Test Bench Angled

Telling this story isn’t really fair without taking a quick look how ASRock got to this point, and their last three motherboard releases were shining examples of this.  In fact, there was a point some time ago that we expressed our storage thoughts pretty loudly to several manufacturers, ASRock seemingly the only to take hold of our ideas in detail and create a line of communication that is a great working relationship today.  Although we wouldn’t dare suggest that our thoughts had any influence whatsoever, ASRock’s line of boards today speak to things wer had dreamt of  and last rounds Z97 Extreme6 was a great example of that.

ASRock Z97 Extreme6

Our report of the ASRock Z97 Extreme 6 (above) displayed the first motherboard in the world to host a PCIe 3.0 X4 M.2 connector, labeled the Ultra M.2, capable of up to 32GB/s transfer speeds, and then also a PCIe 2.0 X4 M.2 connector as well.  While it just may be some time before we see M.2 SSDs taking advantage of the PCIe 3.0 interface, this most definitely speaks to innovation. The success of that board was due in part to the fact that it was the only motherboard in that round capable of providing full performance to the Samsung XP941 M.2 SSD, the combination of the Extreme6 and XP941 becoming a very popular pairing.  In this above picture, we are looking at the Extreme 6 with both the Samsung XP941 (x4) and Plextor M6e M.2 (x2) SSDs installed.


Our report of the ASRock Z87 Extreme11/ac (pictured above), before the Z97, most definitely had to be ASRock’s shining moment, well, at least up until the most recent world record.  The Z87 contains 6 Intel SATA ports along with 16 SAS/SATA ports.  These SAS/SATA ports are hooked up to a LSI SAS 3008 PCI Express 3.0, 8-port, 12Gb/s SAS and SATA I/O controller and LSI 3x24R Expander that enabled the use of SAS or SATA SSDs.  By connecting 6 HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM 400GB 12Gbps SSDs, we were able to reach 6GB/s transfer speeds and 850K IOPS from that board.  Although this board had no M.2 connectors, it did contain two mSATA and two ThunderBolt 2.0 connections; the M.2 was left to the AMD based 990FX for this round (below).


Our report of the Fatal1ty 990FX Killer covered our testing of several M.2 SSD, ranging from SATA to M.2 X2 and X4.  Unfortunately, the M.2 connector for this board was only a X2 connection, however, this board was a great AMD form factor release and the storage community had seen of the integrated M.2 SSD connector.  Let’s take a look at where we are today…