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ASRock X99 OC Formula (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

ASRock X99 OC Formula (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

ASRock extends the OC Formula line with an Intel X99 chipset based version. Let's check out the Nick Shih designed board and see how it performs.

@ShawnBakerTW
Shawn Baker
Published Wed, Nov 26 2014 9:10 AM CST   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 96%Manufacturer: ASRock

Introduction and Package

Introduction of the ASRock X99 OC Formula

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VIEW GALLERY - 38 IMAGES

Since the launch of the new GTX 900 series from NVIDIA, a lot of the focus on core components has been on the video card market. While AMD tried to grab some attention by having partners release an 8GB version of the R9 290X on the down low, it was ultimately not enough, as double the memory brought with it a price increase that couldn't really be justified due to a limited increase in performance.

While this has been going on, the X99 platform continues to see more and more motherboards hit the market for people wanting to build a system around the fastest consumer components on the market at the moment. Today I'm looking at a board that I've been looking forward to testing for quite some time.

The OC Formula series of boards from ASRock has been nothing short of fantastic since inception, as they've offered not only some fantastic overclocking abilities, but also great features on a quality base that hits at a really competitive price point. Time and again, the OC Formula boards from ASRock have come in at a price point that is lower than you'd expect.

Today we are hoping that ASRock can keep the positive trend with the OC Formula line of boards with the Nick Shih designed X99 version of the board, and the extremely fast, and extremely expensive i7 5960X processor from Intel. So, with that all said and done, let's see what's going on with the package before we dive deeper and see just what ASRock is offering with its latest version of the OC Formula based board, the X99 OC Formula.

Package - What comes inside the box

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Looking at the front of the box, we don't have a whole lot going on, with the main focus being on the model and brand. Across the top, we've got the ASRock logo, and in the middle we have a huge OC Formula logo, and the X99 OC Formula name across the bottom. You can also see that we're Thunderbolt ready. On the right side we've got a few logos, including Intel, SLI, CrossFire, and DTS Sound, just to name a few.

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After turning the box over, we are greeted with a ton of details on all of the major features that are offered. Starting from the top, we've got the Super Alloy features, which brings with it the XXL aluminum heat sink design, Ultra Dual-N MOSFET, Nichicon 12K platinum caps, 60A power choke, premium memory alloy choke, and a Sapphire black PCB, all of which come together to make a more stable and reliable motherboard.

Below that, you can see we've got the OC Formula kit, which delivers a 12 phase CPU power design, with support for up to 1300 watts. Here we also see Digipower, hi-density power connector, 15u gold contact, and an improved cooling kit via the heat pipe design and an eight layer PCB.

Some of the other highlights include four-way SLI and CrossFireX support, waterproofing via conformal coating, Intel Gigabit LAN, and Dual Ultra M.2 sockets. There are also a few other ASRock specific technologies, which include Purity Sound 2, HDD Saver, and APP Shop. All in all, we've got a ton of features on the X99 OC Formula to make it stand out from the competition for all the right reasons.

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We don't have a whole lot going on inside of the box, which is quite common for these overclocking focused boards. We've got the normal array of paperwork, including a driver CD, a HDD Saver power cable, six SATA cables, and our rear I/O back plate. Along with this, you can see we've also got three SLI cables coming in at two different lengths to round things off. This is not a huge bundle, but it is more than enough to get you up and running.

PRICING: You can find the ASRock X99 OC Formula for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The ASRock X99 OC Formula retails for $351.77 at Amazon.

Canada: The ASRock X99 OC Formula retails for CDN$602.56 at Amazon Canada.

Motherboard Details

Close up with the ASRock X99 OC Formula

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Looking at the board, you immediately notice the yellow / gold high lights against the black PCB, which looks fantastic. While you get a good idea of some of the main features here, let's move in closer to see exactly what we're dealing with today.

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Moving into the PCIe area, you can see we've got an absolute bunch of things going on. In terms of expansion, we've got a total of five PCIe x16 slots that run at different speeds, depending on the CPU you're using, and the layout. However, thanks to the double gapping between the four yellow slots, we do have support for up to four video cards in SLI or CrossFireX.

The configurations include single at x16 (PCIE1), dual at x16 (PCIE1) / x16 (PCIE4), triple at x8 (PCIE1) / x8 (PCIE2) / x16 (PCIE4), and quad at x8 (PCIE1) / x8 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4) / x8 (PCIE5)). If you install a CPU with 28 lanes, PCIE1/PCIE2/PCIE3/PCIE4 will run at x16/x0/x4/x8, or x8/x8/x4/x8, and PCIE5 will be disabled.

Between the top two slots and bottom two slots, we have a M.2 slot. The bottom most slot is an Ultra M.2, which supports up to 32Gb/s; while the other is a NGFF M.2 slot, offering support for up to 20 Gb/s. Along with all of this, we've also got a half mini-PCIe slot sitting above the Purity Sound 2 chip.

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Heading to the bottom of the board, you can see we've got the normal array of headers and front panel connectors. One of the main highlights across the bottom of the board is a Molex connector to add some extra power to the board, and make sure everything is stable for people wanting to use bigger video card setups. You can also see we've got a power and reset button on the right hand side of the board, along with a LED Debug reader to alert you to any problems you might be running into during a boot.

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Here you can see we've got a total of ten SATA III ports, which all run off of the Intel controller. Along here, you can also see our HDD Saver plug, which is used in conjunction with the supplied power cable.

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Heading to the north end of the board, you can see we've again got a fair bit going on. Starting from the bottom, you can see we've got a USB 3.0 connector, and above that, a pair of USB 3.0 headers. Moving along, we've got our main 24-pin ATX, some switched for LN2 mode, along with the ability to disable individual PCIe slots. Above that, you can see we've got V-Check points, and we have some more buttons that help with adjusting clock speeds on-the-fly.

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Turning the corner, you can see that along with the standard eight-pin CPU power connector, ASRock also included a four-pin connector for people who are going to be doing heavy overclocking on the board. Taking a step back, you can see the CPU area is pretty clean. We've got eight DDR4 SIMM slots offering support for up to 128GB of RAM at speeds ranging from 1866MHz DDR up to 3400MHz+ DDR via overclocking. Around here, we also get a good look at the heat sink design and the gold CAPs that are used on the motherboard.

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To finish up our look at the motherboard, we head on over to the I/O where we start with a combo PS/2 port, and pair of USB 2.0 connectors. Next, we've got a clear CMOS switch, and one of the two gigabit networking ports that are offered. One of the gigabit ports runs off of the Intel I218V controller, while the other uses the Qualcomm Atheros AR8171 chip. Between these two network ports, we've got six USB 3.0 ports, and on the far right we finish off with five auxiliary ports and an optical port, all of which run off the Realtek ALC1150 Codec.

BIOS Images and Information

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The BIOS is a fairly standard affair. If you're familiar with the ASRock UEFI BIOS, you'll know exactly what to do here. As always, if you're going into the BIOS, chances are it's for overclocking purposes. Everything related to overclocking is offered via the OC Tweaker section of the BIOS shown above.

While you've got everything and more when it comes to the normal array of options, one area that we really like about the ASRock boards is the pre-OC options that are available. While the Nick Shih profiles are all related to LN2 overclocking, the Load Optimized CPU OC settings are much more user friendly, with options for pre-overclocks up to 4500MHz.

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Moving through the rest of the BIOS, you see all the normal options and tools that you're accustomed to seeing from most modern BIOS these days.

Test System Setup and Overclocking

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital, MemoRight, and Corsair.

Sitting alongside our ASRock X99 OC Formula motherboard, which we'll be running at both stock and overclocked, we've got a number of other options. Our other options today include the MSI X99S GAMING 9 AC, ASUS ROG Rampage V Extreme, ASUS X99 Deluxe, and GIAGBYTE X99 UD5-WIFI to round out the X99 options, which are all using the Intel i7 5960X EE CPU.

Along with those, we also have the ASRock Z97X Killer, and ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VII FORMULA, which are Z97 based boards using the much more budget friendly i7 4790K CPU. As always, before we get into the performance of our board today, we need to take a quick look at what's going on with the board as far as overclocking is concerned.

To overclock today, I opted to use the 4.5GHz profile, which gives us a really good start as far as clock speeds go. More importantly, this is a good area for the voltages to be at. Since I knew this clock speed wouldn't be an issue, I increased the multiplier even higher.

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In the end, after messing around for a while, the multiplier was stable at 47x, which gives us a 4.7GHz core clock with the base 100 BCLK. Along with this, we managed to get a tiny boost out of the BCLK, which came in at 100.26. This, in turn, boosted the CPU clock even higher, with the final clock speed coming in at 4712MHz, or 4.712GHz as shown in our graphs today. This is one of the highest clocks we've seen to date, if not slightly higher by a few MHz.

CPU & System Benchmarks

CPU Test - HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

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CPU Test - AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

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Out of the box, the performance of the ASRock X99 OC Formula is at the lower-end of the scale. While not much changes between all of the setups, you can see that the ASRock X99 OC Formula sits a little further back with the MSI X99S GAMING 9 AC. However, thanks to a really strong overclock, you can see a solid performance boost in all areas.

System Test - PCMark 8

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

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System Test - MediaEspresso

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.5

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While MediaEspresso performance sees the ASRock X99 OC Formula sit a little towards the back of the pack with the MSI offering again, you can see that PCMark 8 performance is extremely strong, coming out ahead of the pack by a decent margin. Overclocking helps push these numbers even higher, with clear separation shown between all of the setups across the board.

USB 2.0, USB 3.0, & SSD Benchmarks

USB Test - AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

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USB 2.0 and 3.0 performance is pretty standard, and there is not much difference shown between all of our setups. With that said, you can see that USB 3.0 numbers are a little lower across the board. Although, in terms of percentages, we're talking less than 10% at the highest margin, and no difference at the lowest.

SSD Test - AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: v4.30.2900

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SSD Test - PCMark 8

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.191

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SSD Test - HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 5.50

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Looking at SSD performance, you can see the numbers are pretty solid across the board. Compared to the competition, you can see we're sitting around the middle of the pack. Overall, SSD performance is pretty solid, and we have nothing to really complain about here.

Memory & Gaming Benchmarks

Memory Test - AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

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As you can see, the performance of our DDR4 is pretty standard, with the numbers lining up with all of our other setups here. As always, when it comes to overclocking, you can see that we don't get any benefit from the extra CPU MHz offered.

Gaming Test - 3DMark FireStrike

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Gaming Test - Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Out of the box performance sees the ASRock X99 OC Formula's gaming performance sit between the middle and the top end of the pack. Overclocking brings some great performance gains at the lower resolutions.

Temperature & Power Testing

Power Consumption Test

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For an OC board, the power numbers are really impressive. At stock, you can see the idle is the lowest out of the pack, while the load is just one watt higher than the lowest. As for the overclocked numbers, the idle continues to be extremely low, sitting below some other boards at stock, while the load numbers sit just one watt higher than the X99 Deluxe at stock.

Core Temperature Test

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CPU temperature numbers are fairly solid, and clearly sit at the lower-end of the scale. When overclocking is thrown into the mix, the idle number continues to be impressive. Of course, the load number jumps up, which is no surprise considering the extra voltage being pushed through the processor.

Pricing, Availability, and Final Thoughts

The OC Formula Series from ASRock is impressive for a number of reasons. The performances of the boards are great when it comes to overclocking, and the features and quality of the boards are extremely strong overall. However, what really makes it all stand out is the aggressive price point that ASRock is able to hit at.

Priced around $80 cheaper than other competition OC designed boards, the ASRock version is a fantastic option. ASRock rarely misses a beat these days, and I can't remember the last time that I had a negative experience with one of their boards. Thanks to a massive lineup at every launch, they really do cater to every market, especially since the introduction of the OC Formula series.

It doesn't really matter what kind of board you're looking for, ASRock more than likely has one that is to your liking. Whether it be via the Extreme series that caters to most budgets, the Killer series for gamers, or the OC Formula series for people wanting to get the most out of their components, ASRock has something to suit your needs.

One of the best features when it comes to the OC Formula series is that you don't have to be an advanced overclocker to get the most out of the board. While it indeed caters to the highest end users on the market, features like Quad SLI / CrossFireX support, improved component quality, and a strong list of other features make it a fantastic option for anyone interested in a high quality motherboard that looks great.

Thanks to a price point that is lower than you'd expect, and a feature list that is longer than you'd expect, the ASRock X99 OC Formula is a great option for anyone looking for a quality product. ASRock continues to do extremely well with this series, and today they've once again reaffirmed why we're big fans of theirs.

PRICING: You can find the ASRock X99 OC Formula for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The ASRock X99 OC Formula retails for $351.77 at Amazon.

Canada: The ASRock X99 OC Formula retails for CDN$602.56 at Amazon Canada.

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking w/a)95%
Quality including Design and Build99%
General Features97%
Bundle and Packaging90%
Value for Money98%
Overall96%

The Bottom Line: ASRock strike gold again with another OC Formula motherboard. The Intel X99 version of the board is fast, feature packed, well built, and comes in at an awesome price point. It's just another amazing X99 option on the market for you to add to your list for consideration.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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