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ASRock Z170M OC Formula (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Jun 14, 2016 6:15 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ASRock

Here are key points about the ASROCK Z170M OC Formula.

 

What's Hot

 

Memory Overclocking is a Breeze: With its two DIMMs, the Z170M OC Formula blows away most other motherboards when it comes to ease of memory overclocking. Every kit I threw at it, including the Corsair 4000MHz Vengeance, booted the first time with only XMP. It is very rare that a motherboard handles memory so easily, and the Z170M OC Formula is perfect for high-speed memory excursions. We have also been told by more than one memory vendor, that this motherboard is pretty much a staple for reaching speeds over 4.33GHz when using XMP.

 

 

Top Shelf VRM: ASRock outfitted the Z170M OC Formula with excellent components. The inductors are rated 60A, the Texas Instruments NexFETs are rated 40A, and the mixture of output capacitors produces one very cool running, yet powerful, voltage regulator.

 

OC Features: Do you still prefer using buttons to control the multiplier, BCLK, and even VCore? Then the Z170M OC Formula has you covered. There are also switches that will perform other overclocking tasks such as enabling better LN2 performance or enabling quick down clocking of your multipliers for maximum stability in unstable environments.

 

Good Layout: Most Micro-ATX motherboards don't have spectacular layouts, but ASRock has done a decent job here with the Z170M OC Formula. Five fan headers are scattered in areas accessible even with a full sized GPU installed. PCI-E spacing is designed to support two full sized cards. If you use a single triple slotted card, you can still access the last PCI-E 16x slot for NVMe based storage.

 

What's Not

 

Pricey: The Z170M OC Formula is a bit on the expensive side when it comes to Z170 Micro-ATX motherboards.

 

Specific Use: The Z170M OC Formula's biggest benefit, it's memory overclocking, is also one of its pitfalls. Since the motherboard only has two DIMMs, expanding memory in the future could be an issue, but of course, the benefits will outweigh this downside for many users.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

ASRock was able to design a motherboard with only two DIMMs, while all its competitors have four, made sure it overclocks very well, and got it into stores. The motherboard has many world records to its name to back up its overclocking genes, and many overclockers have used the board in competitions. Every generation we see a motherboard like the Z170M OC Formula, but rarely does it make it to market and stay in stock at stores. ASRock's marketing of the Z170M OC Formula as an overclocking motherboard, along with its gaming aesthetics and features make it easier to sell to a wider subset of the enthusiast population.

 

asrock-z170m-oc-formula-intel-z170-motherboard-review_101

 

Many times, people ask me what the point of extreme overclocking design and features are, considering most people don't run their computer on LN2 all day long. The answer is simple, look to the automotive scene. You have cars that do 0-60 MPH in under three seconds, and you can find them on the street where most people will never be able to push them to their limits. The Z170M OC Formula is similar to those cars. It can push memory to those extreme limits, and even though you might not utilize the ability to hit 5GHz on your memory, you still have the capability if one day you choose to take it on the track. There is one major benefit to the memory design that is of use to normal users; its superior memory compatibility with 4GHz+ kits.

 

Most motherboards can pull off close to 4GHz without trouble, but going above 4GHz is where things get tough with XMP and even manual tuning, and it is where the Z170M OC Formula shines. In an era where most motherboards push the CPU and cache clocks to the same degree, memory is what sets overclocking motherboards apart, and the Z170M OC Formula does exceedingly well in that regard.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking)95%
Quality including Design and Build93%
General Features89%
Bundle and Packaging90%
Value for Money86%
Overall TweakTown Rating91%

The Bottom Line: In an era where most high-end motherboards overclock the CPU to the same levels, memory is what sets overclocking motherboards apart, and the ASRock Z170M OC Formula is currently the champ.

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