ASRock Z170 Extreme4 Review

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Michael_189

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I own this motherboard and am very pleased with it's wealth of features for it's price, you may also find it now performs better with the latest bios updates which have been focused on Memory performance upgrades. Bios 2.40 and 2.60. I bought it as a replacement for a MSI Z170 Gaming 3 which went belly up after 3 months of use.
 

Michael_189

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Wouldn't the lack of USB 2.0 ports potentially cause a compatibility problem with some computer mouses or keyboards?

Nope I'm using an old usb MS sidewinder keyboard and cheap logitech mouse and works perfectly remember for the most part USB3 has to be backwards compatible, thing they haven't mentioned in the article is that if you want to load Windows & you have to create a special boot-able version yourself
 

Michael_189

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"if you want to load Windows & you have to create a special boot-able version yourself" sorry that's meant to be WINDOWS 7.
 

Non-Euclidean

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Thanks for the DVD/Update screenshots. Its a nice preview of what I will be expecting when my Fatality X99M Killer/3.1 arrives. (I had to put in the obligatory PS/2 connector remark before someone beat me to it).
 
Quote:
Wouldn't the lack of USB 2.0 ports potentially cause a compatibility problem with some computer mouses or keyboards?

Nope I'm using an old usb MS sidewinder keyboard and cheap logitech mouse and works perfectly remember for the most part USB3 has to be backwards compatible, thing they haven't mentioned in the article is that if you want to load Windows & you have to create a special boot-able version yourself
Problem is that it's only for the most part. Most USB 3.0 ports are USB 3.0 or USB 2.0, but lack USB 1.0/1.1 support, which is supported by USB 2.0 ports. Some keyboards and mouses only support those older versions (especially cheap peripherals), but maybe ASRock wired both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 to the ports to fix this or something like that.
 

Crashman

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To be more specific, it depends on the controller. Legacy USB modes are supported by the chipset's controllers, but often not third-party controller. On some motherboards, whether or not it works depends on which port you plug your legacy peripherals into.

This makes more sense when we remember that the USB 3.0 connector has separate USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connections.

 


Way I see it, if you happen to find the board much cheaper than it is intended to go for (maybe a friend trading it or something), then it is at least reliable enough to use instead of throwing it away. It's saying that it at least isn't garbage and will do the trick if you happen to have it :)
 

Max_x2

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And I totally agree. Go back about 6-7 years, and an Asrock boards wasn't something you'd recommend a good friend. Nowadays, I'd recommend that for my best pal. I'm quite a sucker for Asus boards, but almost bought an Asrock when I was in the market for the (then) newly released Haswells since they've been really well rated since 2010-ish.

Why I said it was a consolation approval, is because of the conclusion... "Unremarkable, but there's not much in that price range, so we give it a seal of approval".
 

Crashman

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Exactly. I'd recommend my closest friends to buy something at a different price (either higher or lower) rather than picking this one at this price.
 

Max_x2

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You got it twisted. Nowadays, an Asrock is pretty much as good as an Asus. It just depends on which features you want.
 

Michael_189

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I paid $240 AUD so it was very well priced when compared to other manufactures and what features they offered at the same price point.
 

Crashman

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Nope, read what I said, it didn't have anything to do with ASRock vs Asus. It's about this specific board's position in features and its standing in the overclocking comparison.

 

Max_x2

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hehe my bad
 

akula2

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Hey Crashman,

Why not go for Asrock vs Asus board comparison series by picking a few categories such as:

Extreme or Workstation class
Gaming
Budget or Executive class

I also believe the motherboard testing methodology needs to be in more sync with the real world performance delivery. E.g.,

a) PCIe lane(s) performance & bottlenecks
b) USB 3.1 vs USB 3.0 or whatever
c) Flash storage, say M.2 or NVMe performance.
d) Onboard Video & cons. E.g., multiple display performance (fps) etc.
e) Sound delivery and quality (noise etc)
f) Advanced BIOS features such as RAMDisk results and so on.
g) Video performance: Say, full HD streaming devices
h) multiple PCI performance & cons: E.g., GPU + HDTV Tuner card.

I've a few more to add here. I hope you'll add more real world numbers in the upcoming motherboard reviews.
 

Crashman

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You won't like the answers. Asus won't do a head-to-head with ASRock but we're thinking about buying some additonal Asus boars (probably in the $100-200 range so we can afford more models) to use in individual reviews.

A.) That sounds like a good tech series for chipsets. There's no difference between two boards with the same lane configuration, but we're considering a new article focusing on the two Z170 3-way SLI boards we have (since the switch is configured differently for those two boards). Notice that both of these articles would be separate from reviews?
B.) I occasionally request an update from our storage team. This is specific to the controller and test device, not the motherboard, so again we'd be seeing a separate article.
C.) See B
D.) This is CPU-dependent. The best hope I could have for differentiating between two boards is to verification-test HDMI 2.0 capability. I'll ask the boss to send me the correct monitor.
E.) I will discuss this with my motherboard team. It's something we did in the past with RMAA, where I was frustrated by the difference usually being too small to add to the value discussion (how much is 0.02% worth). Also frustrating was that I had to output a single channel to the input (loop back mode) and couldn't tell whether the input or output was most-responsible for those tiny differences (yes, I gave up in frustration, maybe you can advise).
F.) I should probably mention these more-often. It's RAMdisk. The files read faster than the CPU can process them. So I've only validated that it works.
G.) See D.
H.) You do know that the GPU gets its own PCIe controller?

One of our motherboard guys has expressed an interest in examining PCIe performance through the PCH. Next time we talk, I'll give him the green light :)
 

akula2

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Thanks for responding. It wasn't about what I know -- many typical folks out there should able to grasp much better knowledge out of a review. Frankly, many site reviews appear more or less same to me. It was about how TH could add more value to its reviews.

Alright. It's evident that Asus won't allow you guys to do some interesting real world experiments. Perhaps, I'll do it and post it as a mini-Video series, thus launch my youtube channel. But it should take some free time for me to do it.

I'll cover some interesting parameters which many reviewers do not bother to do. E.g., Vt-x and Vt-d.
 
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