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ASRock Z170 Extreme4 / Extreme4+ (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Aug 17, 2015 4:46 pm
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: ASRock

Packaging and the Board

 

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ASRock's box is standard size and the new design is quite appealing. Packaging is well done, the board is on top of anti-static foam inside and anti-static bag protected from the elements.

 

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Accessories include 4x SATA6G cables, IO shield, 2-Way SLI bridge, screw for M.2, driver DVD, case badge, and manuals. If you buy the plus version, you will get the stuff on the right as well including the USB 3.1 front bay and the appropriate connectors.

 

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The ASRock Z170 Extreme4/Extreme4+ has 5 fan headers circled in red, and there does seem to be both PWM and dc (voltage mode) fan control for each header, but I am unsure how to change the fan to either PWM or DC mode, it might be automatically done. This is a welcomed upgrade from their X99 motherboards, and ASRock provides a lot of customization options in the UEFI for fan speed. For Z170, ASRock has stepped up the aesthetics of their Z170 motherboards, and the Extreme series has been made over. A plastic shield covers up the IO panel and the audio section of the motherboard while providing a glimpse of the audio hardware as a teaser. I am a big fan of the copper touches to the overall black color scheme. It is refreshing to see a color scheme other than red, blue, and yellow used by the majority of motherboard vendors. The back of the PCB is pretty much bare except for a clock generator and an ASMedia USB 3.1 controller. The PCB divide for the audio is also visible but there are no backside LEDs.

 

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The IO Panel features 6x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, a single NIC, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, PS/2 KB/Mouse, 7.1 audio outputs with TOSLINK, and a clear CMOS button.

 

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The PCI-E layout is pretty simple; for starters all PCI-E slots are PCI-E 3.0. The top PCI-E 16x and second PCI-E 16x (8x electrical) are routed to the CPU. With a single card you use the top slot, but if you use two cards both the first and second PCI-E 16x slots operate at 8x. The last 16x slot is 4x electrical routed to the PCH. The board supports 2-way SLI and 3-way CrossFireX. All three PCI-E 1x slots are routed to the PCH. The Ultra M.2 slot is located below the first 16x slot and supports ultra-long M.2 drives the length of a single PCI-E slot.

 

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The Z170 PCH provides six SATA6Gb/s ports, four of them are right angled and two are straight angled lower on the board. All the SATA ports can also be SATA Express. One of these SATA Express ports (SATA3_0, SATA3_1, and SATA_EXP0) shares bandwidth with the M.2 slot, so if either is in use then the other is disabled. A USB 3.0 internal header is located right below the 24-pin connector as well for an easy reach for front panel USB 3.0 wires.

 

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The Z170 Extreme4/Extreme4+ feature power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons, as well as a POST code display which is awesome for a board of this price. Dual BIOS ROMs are also present and a switch is there to change which BIOS you use.

 

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ASRock is now in their third generation of upgraded integrated audio with Purity Sound 3. It features Nichicon fine gold capacitors, dual amplifiers, and PCH isolation.

 

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ASRock has heat sinks on all the MOSFETs for the VRM for the CPU, it's a 6+4+1+1 phase VRM.

 

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The heat sinks make solid contact with the PCB. The shield over the IO panel and audio section is made of plastic, but it looks to be high quality.

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