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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

Packaging and Overview

 

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The Z170M OC Formula's box is simple and carries ASRock's OC logo. The motherboard is well protected by foam lining and sits inside an anti-static bag.

 

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Accessories include 2x SATA6Gb/s cables, IO shield, SLI connector, M.2 screw, driver DVD, and quick reference guide.

 

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The ASRock Z170M OC Formula has five fan headers; the ones circled in blue are auto sensing 4-pin voltage/PWM mode headers and the single header circled in red is a 3-pin voltage mode header. Overall aesthetics of the motherboard are consistent and look quite good. The hints of yellow in the heat sinks and IO/audio shield add to the trademark yellow/black color scheme of the OC Formula series of motherboards. You will find a translucent sliver of PCB along the right-hand side of the motherboard that lights up when the motherboard is powered up. You can disable the LEDs if you don't like them. The back of the motherboard is bare except for some LEDs, the SuperIO, and some other miscellaneous chips.

 

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The IO panel on the Z170M OC Formula carries four USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, two USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, HDMI, DisplayPort, ClearCMOS button, 1Gbit Ethernet port, and 7.1 audio output with S/PDIF.

 

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The PCI-E layout is simple; the first and second PCI-E 16x slots share bandwidth from the CPU, they will operate at 16x/0x or 8x/8x. The last PCI-E 16x slot is 4x electrical and connected to the PCH; it can be used for NVMe RAID.

 

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The Z170M OC Formula has a single M.2 slot located in between the first and second PCI-E 16x slots. There are eight SATA6Gb/s ports. Six of the SATA6Gb/s ports are from the PCH, and four can use used as two SATA Express ports. The extra two ports, the ones nearest the 24-pin connector, come from an ASMedia controller. There is some sharing of the M.2 slot and SATA ports, so you will need to look at the manual for possible configurations.

 

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ASRock provides a myriad of overclocking features. At the top of the board, you will find the power and reset buttons and voltage read points. The plus, minus, and menu buttons provide on-the-fly overclocking using ASRock's application. There are three switches located right above the SATA6Gb/s ports. Starting from the edge of the motherboard their functions are as follows; slow mode, XMP, LN2 Mode. The single button located above the switches is for DirectKey. A single USB 3.0 internal header is located right below the 24-pin motherboard power connector.

 

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A POST code connector is located at the bottom of the motherboard. Near the POST code display are two BIOS ROMs in DIP sockets, the adjacent switch will allow you to switch between them.

 

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The motherboard also has a COM header, two USB 2.0 headers, system headers, Thunderbolt 3 header, and even a header for Thunderbolt 2.

 

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Heatsinks are all secured with metal screws, and they seem to make excellent contact with the chips they cool.

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