When I first saw the ASRock Z77 OC Formula the first thing I thought of was Bumblebee from the Transformers thanks to the black and yellow color scheme which is something that we haven't seen a company use before.
If there was one thing we ever wanted to say it's that Nick Shih's ability was clearly wasted when at Antec, a world famous overclocker at a case and PSU company? No offence to Antec, it just didn't make sense. When we got word that he had been picked up by ASRock it was really exciting as we felt that Nick was finally going to get a chance to flex his overclocking muscle that he is so well known for.
It felt like it was going to only be a matter of time till we saw Nick release his own board and that time has come and in the form of the ASRock Z77 OC Formula which we saw just break the overclock record which was actually only just recently set by GIGABYTE and its new Z77X-UP7.
As always there are a whole lot of things we need to do before we get into the performance side of things. First we'll start off with the box and then move inside to see what's going on with the package. Once we've done that we'll move onto the board itself and have a closer look at what's going on before we move into the BIOS to see what ASRock are offering us here. Next we look at our testbed and then look at the overclocking side of things which is one of the areas we're most excited about looking at before we get into the performance side of things.
Normally we'd jump straight into the package, but a few weeks ago we got the opportunity to have a chat with Chris and Nick over at the ASRock office here in Taiwan and they gave us an excellent rundown on both the package and the board in a 15 minute video that we'd highly recommend you check out if you'd like to hear more about the board from the man behind the design - you can watch it above. Of course if you'd rather just go through the pictures and text, we'll get into that right now.
Starting with the front of the box we don't actually have that much going on with just the brand, name and model and a couple of logos. The front looks super simple and clean and overall is a good indication of what ASRock is going for here; drop some of the flair and just get into what's important.
Opening up the box we can see that the top part highlights the three key sections that ASRock are going for with the Power Kit, Connector Kit and Cooling Kit. They then break each section down with the key features including the 12 + 4 Power Phase Design, Premium Allow Choke, Multiple Filter Cap, Dual Stack Mosfet and Digi Power for the Power Kit. The Connector Kit consists of 15u Gold Fingers and Hi-Density Power Connectors while the Cooling Kit consists of Twin Power Cooling, 8 Layer PCB and GELID GC-Extreme Thermal Compound.
What I really like about all this, though, is that ASRock don't only just throw a bunch of marketing jumbo at us, they then help break everything down in plain English to let us know what exactly all this means for you and how it helps. Again; if you're interested in knowing more I highly recommend you check out the embedded video above.
Moving to the bottom part of the box you can see our first peak at the motherboard. We then also see some of the other main features that are on offer and again just like we saw in the top half of the box ASRock helps break everything down in plain English, which is fantastic.
Turning the box over we don't have a whole lot of information. We've got a picture of the board and a run down again on some of the main features that are mentioned. It's not near the same detail as we saw inside the box on the top half.
Moving inside the box you can see we've got a fairly typical line up going on with a bunch of paperwork covering the software and board. We've also got a run down on the XFast 555 technology that ASRock use along with VirtuMVP. We've also got an extra piece that covers the board and the main specifications. Normally we'd see this on the back of the box but instead you can see that ASRock have chosen to include it inside this time.
Along with that you can see the rear I/O shield, two Molex to SATA connectors, SLI bridge, six SATA cables, some GELID GC-Extreme Thermal Compound, a sticker and some little stands that can be installed on the motherboard so it can be placed on your desk without needing any kind of case or stand.
We've also got the fairly typical USB 3.0 header kit that we see on ASRocks' higher end boards along with an I/O plate if you don't want it in the front of the case and instead would prefer to see it in the back of your case.