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ASRock Z77 OC Formula - Intel Z77 Chipset Goes High-End

By Wong Chung Wee - 5 Feb 2013
Launch SRP: S$409

Other Features of the Board

Other Features of the Board

According to the manual, there are Marvell SE9172 SATA controllers that add an additional four SATA 6Gbps connectors to the pair that is supported by the chipset of the board. The SATA 3Gbps connectors are supported by the board's Intel Z77 chipset.

The yellow connectors are SATA 6Gbps-compliant while the black ones support SATA 3Gbps. There is no color differentiation among the yellow SATA 6Gbps connectors to determine their controllers; the pair on the extreme left are supported by the chipset, while the remaining four are courtesy of the Marvell controllers.

As we move to the bottom edge of the board, we see another pair of on-board buttons that power and reset the board accordingly. The button have this bronze finish and is slightly depressed in their silver plastic housing to prevent accidental presses by the unsuspecting rig builder. Located along the bottom edge of the board are the usual front panel connectors, including a 4-pin Molex power connector that will supply extra power in the event of multi-GPU setups (though most people don't use this connection).

There are a pair of Winbond BIOS chips; one stores the main BIOS while the other acts as a backup. They are located just next to the board's reset button.

The front panel headers and the USB expansion headers share the bottom edge of the motherboard with some cooling fan connectors. Their monotony is broken by the presence of the on-board buttons as well as the Molex power connector for a multi-GPU setup.

The rear I/O ports of the board are rather run-of-the-mill; however, it does feature six USB 3.0 ports due to the presence of third-party Etron controllers. ASRock seems to have taken a leaf from the books of fellow motherboard manufacturer MSI, by including a keyboard/mouse PS/2 port just above a pair of USB 3.0 ports, as a nod to gamers who swear by the touted responsiveness of such gaming peripherals. There is a lone HDMI display port and RJ-45 LAN port. We ponder the reasons why ASRock has left out the usual suspects for video connectivity like DVI and DisplayPort, but it's quite likely they don't think they would be of use for motherboards of this class.

The clear CMOS button is nested between the two rear ports stacks to keep it out of reach on purpose. 

Besides such visible features of the board, ASRock also touts quality build of the PCB as it features a 8-layer design and comes with four sets of 2-ounce copper inner layers, that is said to ensure lower temperature and higher energy efficiency for overclocking. Hence, with that said, we shall examine the board in terms of its performance to see if it lives up to its OC accolades.


Goodie Bag Bundled

There is a velvet drawstring bag that is bundled with the motherboard and its contents had the usual offerings of SATA connector cables plus a few other surprises. One of the interesting items is a package of rubber standoffs for the motherboard that we mentioned on the earlier page. The standoffs allowed the board to be raised from any flat surface so that system builders can set up the board without the need of a dedicated test bench. There is also a syringe of GELID GC Extreme Compound that allows for easy application of the thermal paste. Another equally valuable finding is the bundled USB 3.0 front panel that supplements what your casing might have and makes reaching to the back of the system to access the rear USB 3.0 ports a last resort.

Sporting a rather opulent look-and-feel, the goodie bag contains loot worthy of its prestigious OC branding.

These two items will appeal to hardened system builders; the GELID GC Extreme Compound for their overclocking exercises while the rubber standoffs will come in handy for setting up their rigs on any flat surfaces.

All the contents of the bag laid bare.

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  • Performance 7.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Value 6.5
The Good
Good engineering build
Well equipped and geared for overclocking
Lots of USB 3.0 ports
The Bad
Overall performance no better than mainstream boards
Overclocking needs to be tricked out
Unleashing the board's potential requires expensive LN2 equipment
Very expensive
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