An Even Closer Look:
Let’s have an even closer look at the heatsinks and components of the ASRock Z77 Extreme9. It has pretty large heatsinks for CPU power delivery and PLX PEX 8747 chip. This chip is hidden under the heatsink present at the centre of the motherboard. Both heatsinks are connected by a heatpipe to move heat efficiently. The Intel Z77 PCH is also cooled by a passive heatsink. All the heatsinks are are secured with the help of screws instead of push-pins.
ASRock used some lighting in the heatsinks to give the Z77 Extreme9 a distinguished look.
According to ASRock, Z77 Extreme9 has 8+4 phase power design which is actually 8+2+2. Eight phases are for vCore, two for IMC (integrated memory controller) and two for CPU VTT. Voltage regulation is done by Intersil ISL6367 controller. It’s actually uses a hybrid design but ASRock is advertising it as digital. Nichicon LF series capacitors are being used all over the motherboard; these are rated for 2000 hours at 105C.
The main feature of this motherboard is 4-way SLI and CrossfireX support and it is made possible with the help of PLX PEX 8747 chip is present under this heatsink. It provides 48 PCI Express 3.0 lanes and is also used in GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 motherboard.
Starting from the left top of the motherboard, we see an EtronTech EJ188H IC hidden under the heatsink. It’s a USB 3.0 host controller and it’s responsible for the USB 3.0 ports present at the back of the motherboard.
Moving down along the left edge of the motherboard, there is a Broadcom BCM57781 Integrated Gigabit Ethernet Controller which provides dual LAN to the motherboard. Right next to the Broadcom chip, we’ve Nuvoton NCT6776D super I/O chip. This provides all the temperature and voltage monitoring along with fan speed controlling; PS/2 port for keyboard is also a blessing of this chip. Realtek ALC898 is present next to the I/O chip and it fulfils all the audio needs of the Z77 Extreme9. It comes with Dobly Home Theatre support.
Next to the motherboard battery, VIA VT6315N IC is present. It’s a widely used PCI interconnect system which provides IEEE 1394 ports to the motherboard. The PLX PEX 8608 provides 8 PCI Express 2.0 lanes to the motherboard.
Near the SATA ports, there is ASMedia ASM1051 IC. It is actually a USB device controller. ASRock is using it in a combination with EtronTech EJ188H to provide the second front panel USB 3.0 header as Intel Z77 PCH only provides one USB 3.0 front panel header.
Moving to the back side of the motherboard, we see an ASMedia ASM1442T high speed TMDS (Transition-minimized differential signalling) level shift IC near the back I/O panel. It provides the HDMI port. The only other chip present on the back is ASMedia ASM1061. It’s a PCI Express x1 to SATA Bridge.