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ASRock Z68 Pro3 and Extreme4 (Intel Z68) Motherboard Preview

By: Shawn Baker | Socket LGA 1155 in Motherboards | Posted: May 5, 2011 4:17 pm
Manufacturer: ASRock

ASRock Z68 Extreme4 - The Board


Looking at the board, you can tell straight away that it's more "hardcore" looking than the Pro3 version due to the cooling setup and just overall layout along with some of the stand out extras.




Design wise, though, there's nothing too out of the ordinary when it comes to comparing the board to previous "Extreme" versions from the company. We've got the same kind of color layout and a lot of similar features. We'll cover all that in just a second, though.


On the expansion slot side of things we've got two PCI, two PCI-E 1x and three PCI-E 16x. The top two PCI-E ports when running just one card will run at 16x. If you fill both slots up they will be slowed down to 8x. If you want to throw a third card into the mix for CrossFireX, the third card will run at only 4x.




The move from 16x to 8x has never been all that major when it comes to the performance hit. Moving down to 4x, though, would be a bit tougher. If you're looking at a three way video card setup you'd probably be better off opting for the X58 chipset or hold out 'till the X79 comes out at the end of the year.




Above all this, we've got a 4-Pin Molex connector that ASRock recommend you use when running two cards that draw more than 200 Watts each. The perfect scenario would be setups like GTX 580 SLI, HD 6970 CrossFireX or HD 6990 CrossFireX.




Looking across the bottom, we've got from the very left; Front Panel Audio, COM1, Floppy, Infrared, 1394 FireWire, three USB 2.0 headers, USB 3.0 header (Light Blue) along with our chassis headers for power, speaker, LED etc.




Just above the headers you can also see we've got both a power and reset button which is something that will come in handy for people who are using the board outside of a case. Sitting just above the last USB 2.0 header we can also see our "Dr. Debug" which of course will come in handy if you run into any problems.


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