With all the noise around Intel Haswell recently, you could almost forget that another CPU manufacturer exists - one that also needs compatible motherboards. AMD's faster consumer CPU, the FX series, hasn't been a huge success, but nevertheless has its strong sides. We recently did a round-up of 45 processors, and found out that the £104 AMD FX-6300 processor was actually pretty good. In some benchmarks it was up to twice as fast as Intel's CPU of the same price.
AMD CPUs are, however, aimed at the more budget-conscious consumer. Manufacturers of motherboards are aware of this, and therefore don't go overboard with special features on AMD devices. That doesn't mean there aren't any deluxe boards out there, such as the ASRock 990FX Extreme9 that we will take a closer look at today.
December 2011 was the last time we did a group test of AMD Socket AM3+ motherboards for AMD FX processors. Most of those are still current, and all of them are compatible with the latest generation of FX CPUs. It's not a bad thing that AMD manages to keep an existing platform around for some time.
The AMD 990FX chipset, AMD's high-end model, might be old, but it's not really showing its age and can still compete with Intel in most areas. That's also because AMD was ahead in some respects. Intel only introduced support for 6x Serial ATA 600 relatively recently - something AMD has had for years. The main thing that's missing from 990FX is native support for USB 3.0, but manufacturers solve that by adding extra controller chips.
The ASRock 990FX Extreme9 is available for an average of £164. You can read the rest of ASRock 990FX Extreme9 preview on Hardware.info.