This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the ASRock Z170 Extreme4/Extreme4+.
GPU PCI-E Layout: For starters, the PCI-E layout on this motherboard allows for two triple slotted GPUs in either SLI or CrossFireX and a dedicated add-in PCI-E 1x card above the first card slot. The CMOS battery is located above all the PCI-E slots allowing for its removal without having to remove any video cards (which can be a pain if you installed hard tube water cooling). The board also offers 3-way CrossFireX at 8x/8x/4x since the last slot is routed to the PCH.
Improved Fan Control: For many generations now, ASRock has maintained only 1 or 2 PWM headers while the rest were either voltage controlled (works with both type of fans) or had no control. With Z170, ASRock has provided PWM control for all the headers as well as voltage control, and has increased header count and optimized header placement above the PCI-E area so that video cards won't block header insertion.
OC Features: I was very surprised to find out that ASRock kept the POST code display as well as rear ClearCMOS on the Z170 Extreme4/Extreme4+, which is awesome considering these two features are quite useful even if you aren't an overclocker. The dual BIOS ROMs also have a manual switch instead of a jumper, so you can easily change BIOS ROMs if needed.
Aesthetics: Aesthetics are very important these days, especially if you decide to use one of the new open air cases or one with a window. I have always been a fan of copper themed builds, and ASRock provides some great copper themed aesthetics. That being said, if you want to build an all-black build, or need the motherboard to fade into the background, ASRock has used only a little copper color, making it easy to let the board fade into the background.
Very Basic: This board's connectivity includes everything from the PCH and nothing more. Even though it is basic, the PCH is loaded with tons of features and connectivity. While ASRock does offer dual AMPs to compliment the audio codec, almost all boards in this price range have upgraded audio. The VRM is also very basic, but it does make the cut for high ambient temperature overclocks. Since the board is quite basic, if you use the M.2 slot, you will lose two of the SATA ports only leaving you with four, and while that is enough for most people, if you also use the front panel USB 3.1 bay, you are only left with two SATA internal SATA ports.
The ASRock Z170 Extreme4/Extreme4+ is a solid motherboard that performs as advertised. For starters, the board offers all of the Z170 PCH features, and ASRock's decision to use 8x USB 3.0 ports from the PCH is a sound one. The choice not to use an extra SATA controller might be a little troublesome if you use an M.2 drive with more than two SATA devices, but that only applies to the Z170 Extreme4+ and not the normal Z170 Extreme4. ASRock's storage performance is excellent, some of the best I have seen so far, so if you are looking to use a super-fast M.2 drive with a few SSDs/HDDs as backup storage, the board will provide great performance.
I really like the idea of using SATA Express not for a SATA Express device, but rather as PCI-E over wire, and the USB 3.1 front bay is a useful device. Since USB 3.1 requirements are quite stringent, this is so far the only method of getting USB 3.1 to the front of the PC. ASRock's decision to offer the Z170 Extreme4 and Z170 Extreme4+ as different SKUs is quite good considering many users might not care for USB 3.1, while others will. There are more and more USB 3.1 devices on the market these days and the front bay could be useful.
|Performance (including Overclocking)||90%|
|Quality including Design and Build||87%|
|Bundle and Packaging||85%|
|Value for Money||95%|
The Bottom Line: ASRock's Z170 Extreme4 and Z170 Extreme4+ are solid motherboards with good feature allotment, solid performance, and great value at its price point.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and the Z170 Extreme4/Extreme4+]
- Page 3 [Z170 Extreme4/Extreme4+ Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [Z170 Extreme4/Extreme4+ Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- Page 7 [Overclocking]
- Page 8 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption]
- Page 11 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]