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ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 (Intel Z68) Motherboard Review (Page 2)

By Shawn Baker from Sep 4, 2011 @ 22:16 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: ASRock

The Motherboard

Pulling the board out of the package, we get our first full look at the motherboard and we can see that really black color scheme that is going on with it. What differs to so many other companies who go for the dark color scheme, though, is that ASRock have opted for just a bit of Grey / Silver instead of a really bold color and I think on a whole it makes for a really swish looking board.


The other bits that really stand out and you'll probably see them a bit better when we move in closer to the board, are the gold caps. ASRock say they offer a longer life, but apart from that they just look great against all the black.


Moving in closer, we can see our expansion slot setup along with a single Molex connector on the far left used for people who are going down the multiple card path. As for the expansion slots, we've got a PCIe x1 and legacy PCI slot along with five PCIe x16 slots.

Of course, not all these slots run at x16, but thanks to ASRock opting to use the NF200 chip, we get x16 / x16 when using slot 1 and 3 or x16 / x8 / x8 in 3-Way when using slots 1, 3 and 5. PCIe 4 runs at x5 and you can see that by the wiring of the slot and PCIe 2 is a PCIe 3.0 slot which is of course where the Gen3 name comes from.

Unfortunately there's no real way to make use of PCIe 3.0 at the moment, but when we see Ivy Bridge hit us and the next generation of AMD video cards arrive, you're going to be ready to go.


Moving across the bottom of the board, we've got a HD Audio header, HDMI / S/PDIF header, FireWire, 3x USB 2.0 headers, our LED Debug reader, Clear CMOS button and our front panel header. Just above our front panel header you can also see we've got a power and reset button.


Turning the corner, we've got a total of ten SATA ports. We've got four SATA II ports which are black and run natively off the Z68 chipset. Next to that, our first two grey slots are SATA III and also run off the Z68 chipset natively. The final four slots are also SATA III, but as the "A1 / A2 / A3 / A4" naming scheme shows, these run off the ASMedia ASM1061 controller.

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