ASRock Z97M OC Formula Motherboard Review

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I spent many hours of harmless fun over the Summer overclocking everything I could get my hands on on this board. I learned a lot and still have much pre to learn, especially about getting my Trident X past 2800Mhz.

I think this is the best price/performance board for SLI/Overclockng. It is often available at under $100 from Newegg, due to a manufacturer's rebate. Putting it in a Thermaltake Core V21 made the built and 'putzing' process


I'd recommend you test RAM bandwidth at each frequency strap to find the best actual performance. As I found with this board ( and others ), the auto-settings for secondary and tertiary timings can do weird things. It's not uncommon for a board to go with looser auto-timings just so they can say they support faster RAM. Even though I could reach DDR3-2900 on this board, it actually performed worse than 2400 because of looser timings. Now if you're the type of person that manually sets every single RAM timing, this may not be an issue. However I don't have that much time when reviewing boards.

I started auto, but needed to adjust things by hand. There are so many possibilities and combinations, it gets a bit mind-boggling. The whole thing was a great learning experience for me and something I would strongly recommend to anyone so inclined.
Nice review. I like the smaller size, but this is probably not the board for me, since I'm not a die-hard tweaker; I just want thing to work, although a little extra "go fast" is welcome.
Whereas for my Middle School student who is doing a Science Fair project on it investigating simple CPU and memory overclocking, it is just the right thing (and cheap enough in case things turn pear-shaped)


Aug 5, 2010
I am getting ready for my next build: waiting for the improved skylakes at the end of October, and hoping there will be more than one board that provides integral Thunderbolt 3 connections. I would really like to see a review on the Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 TH. Which is the only MB that has it at present. I gather that Asus is going to offer an expansion card with it, but not with an intel chip. I guess I would consider a board and a Thunderbolt 3 expansion card if everything else was right, depending on the brand and speed of the chip on the card.

I am kind of surprised at the lack of interest in Thunderbolt 3. I move files of ten or more GB to external storage all the time, but beyond the unparalleled speed, the one connector to rule them all idea is great. My next board, gotta have it, along with USB 3b or whatever is the latest. Couldn't care less about SATA Express.

I am almost tempted to build another notebook and connect it to external video cards -- almost. Now if someone would just dump a bunch of the latest MSI whitebooks on ebay it would be a definite maybe, but only if they had a Thunderbolt 3 connection. At this point I would not even consider a notebook without it, and my guess is that when people realize the potential it provides they will wish they had it. Maybe I am just a victim of hype, but in this case I kind of doubt it.


To the author: Page 2 middle of the page.

"Two modules were much more flexible and reached DDR2-2884 at a 103MHz BCLK."

Shouldn't this say DDR3-2884 not DDR2-2884?
Just trying to help..


Former Staff
Fixed, Thanks.




Glad I could be of help..

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