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ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 review

The Extreme 4 makes good use of the latest Intel chipset at a very good price point

For

  • Graphic outputs
  • Layout
  • Price

Against

  • Slightly awkward PCI-e card lock

ASRock has four Z68 boards in its mobo line-up from the all-singing, all-dancing flagship Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3 to the quietly confident Z68 Pro3-M

We've got two of ASRock's new boards based on this new chipset, the Z68 Pro3 and the fuller featured and newest edition to ASRock's extensive range of boards carrying the Extreme banner, the Z68 Extreme. This sits just under the Fatal1ty Z68 board in the family line-up.

Once everybody discovered the limitations of the Sandy Bridge's launch chipsets; namely the P67's lack of support for the new processor's integrated graphics but lots of overclocking potential and the H67's graphic support but no OC-ability, keen eyes were fixed on the Z68, the next enthusiast/mainstream 6 series chipset on Intel's roadmap.

The Z68 offers the best of both worlds with integrated graphics and overclocking support.

Well designed

ASRock z68 extreme 4

ASRock's Z68 Extreme 4 is a well designed and thought out board with plenty of room around the major components, including the CPU socket. So you can install quite a hefty third-party cooler (we used a Scythe Yasya in testing) without much problem.

While we're on the cooling front, the Z68 chip and the major power circuitry parts are all passively cooled by the board too. In terms of graphical expansion you're well catered for, you get three x16 PCI-e slots that support either CrossFire or SLI setups.

With a single card the top slot runs at full x16 speed but if you use two cards the speed for the top two slots drops to x8/x8 while a three card setup will see the bottom slot running at x4.

Unlike some board designers who create mobos for multi-card setups without considering the actual dimensions of today's monolithic GPU cards, ASRock has put some decent spacing in between the top and second slots.

There's also a full range of output options for the integrated graphics – unlike Gigabyte's GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD, which has a single, lonely HDMI output, – the Extreme 4 has DVI-D, VGA, HDMI ports and for good measure there's a DisplayPort port jammed in there as well.

The UEFI BIOS has plenty of OC settings and thanks to the new BIOS design you can use a mouse to select different settings. The Extreme 4 performs about as well as we've come to expect from standard Z68 boards: our 2600K happily hitting the 4.6GHz mark. That's no market leader, but it's not a bad mark up for a 3.4GHz CPU.

Tech Labs

Tech labs
Bench 1

Bench 2

Bench 3

Bench 4

The Z68 Extreme 4 keeps up the tradition of good build quality, using first-rate components and stable performance that has come to represent ASRock boards in recent times and having reasonable price tag for a board sporting the latest hardware doesn't do it any harm either.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelZ68 Express
Multi GPU SupportedCrossFireX, SLI
Onboard VideoCPU Dependent Video
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots3
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket H2 LGA-1155
Brand NameASRock
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedCore i5, Core i7, Core i3, Pentium Dual-core, Xeon Dual-Core
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory32 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots2
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics 2000/3000
Graphics Controller Memory1.72 GB
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces8
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots7
eSATAYes
HDMIYes
DVIYes
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports1
Network (RJ-45)Yes
DisplayPortYes
Total Number of USB Ports6
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
Total Number of FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports8
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports6
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots5
Memory Form FactorDIMM
Number of eSATA Ports1
Processor TechnologyTurbo Boost Technology 2.0, Hyper-Threading Technology, Enhanced SpeedStep Technology
Width304.8 mm
Depth243.8 mm
ManufacturerASRock, Inc
Product ModelZ68 Extreme4
Product NameZ68 Extreme4 Desktop Motherboard
Controller TypeFloppy Controller, Serial ATA/300, Serial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part NumberZ68-EXTREME4
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.asrock.com
Marketing Information

ASRock Inc. is established in 2002, specialized in the field of motherboards. ASRock strives to build up its own brand. With the 3C design concept, "Creativity, Consideration, Cost-effectiveness", the company explores the limit of motherboards manufacturing while paying attention on the eco issue at the same time, developing products with the consideration of eco-friendly concept. ASRock has been growing fast and become world third largest motherboard brand with headquarter in Taipei, Taiwan and branches in Europe and the USA. The young and vibrant company targets from mainstream to enthusiast MB segments for different kinds of users, owning reputation around the world market with its reliability and proficiency.

Package Contents
  • Z68 Extreme4 Desktop Motherboard
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • Support CD
  • 1 x Ribbon Cable for a 3.5-in Floppy Drive
  • 1 x I/O Panel Shield
  • 1 x Front USB 3.0 Panel
  • 4 x HDD Screws
  • 6 x Chassis Screws
  • 1 x Rear USB 3.0 Bracket
  • 1 x ASRock SLI_Bridge_2S Card