The Z68 is a little bit of a funny chipset; it's one that we didn't hear heaps about, but as the time has come closer it's of course gained more and more momentum. From the word go we're already seeing companies offer quite strong looking versions of the chipset in various motherboards and you almost get this sense that the Z68 chipset is going to be a nice replacement for the P67 which has this slight negative stigma regarding the SATA-II port issue that was discovered just after launch.
Comparing the Z68 chipset to the P67, you almost feel you're dealing with a more feature packed P67 one. This is kind of echoed throughout the industry as well when you ask people about the introduction of the new chipset. While it's not some snap replacement in the sense that come May 11th the P67 won't exist anymore, as we see the introduction of the X79 LGA2011 chipset, we will be more than likely talking about X79 for high end users and Z68 for mid-range ones.
It's not a bad thing, nor does it take anything away from the P67 chipset. With companies offering some strong iterations of the P67 chipset like ASRock with their Fatal1ty version, ASUS with their Maximus IV Extreme and GIGABYTE with their P67A-UD7, the P67 is going to continue to be something that's picked up often thanks to its well documented overclocking ability on the K series CPUs from Intel.
The price point of the chipset should also sit closer to that of the P67 versus newer budget orientated chipsets like the H67 and H61.
With that aside, though, we're fortunate enough today to bring you a good look at what ASRock are going to be offering us come launch day in the form of two Z68 motherboards. We have the middle of the road one which is the Z68 Pro3 and we have the higher end option known as the Z68 Extreme4.
While not so accustomed to the "Pro" line from ASRock, I've been using the "Extreme" line in my own video card and RAM testbeds for the past few years. So with that said, let's get into the package of the Z68 Pro before taking a closer look at the board itself. Once we've looked at that one we'll jump up to the slightly higher end Z68 Extreme4 and see what the extra features it brings to the table.