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 OC Formula.
Strong Overclocking Feature-Set: Not only is the board able to overclock the CPU and memory very well, but it also has features that make overclocking much easier. The Rapid OC buttons facilitate higher CPU-Z validations and on-the-fly multiplier and voltage configuration. This is one of a handful of motherboards able to take my G.Skill 3600MHz kit and overclock it to 3600Mhz easily using XMP. The motherboard's compatibility with higher speed kits is very good and that is very important for a Z170 overclocking motherboard since CPU overclocking is very similar on most motherboards.
Powerful CPU VRM: ASRock is using a different PWM and VRM setup on the Z170 OC Formula than they use on their other Z170 motherboards. Instead of the Intersil PWM and PowerPAKs that ASRock uses on most of its motherboards, the Z170 OC Formula uses an International Rectifier PWM and NexFETs. The change of PWM provides more overclocking settings and the change of MOSFETs provides a much cooler running VRM. The thermal camera shots prove that temperatures on the VRM are overall much lower than most other Z170 motherboards.
Three Full Speed M.2 Slots: ASRock's Z170 OC Formula is one of few motherboards that provide three 4x PCI-E 3.0 M.2 slots that can RAID. This ability is great for the PCMark benchmark since it tests storage as part of the benchmark. Putting three Samsung SM951 SSDs in RAID used to be a dream for some, but now with the Z170 chipset and the Z170 OC Formula, it is a reality.
Lots of extra connectivity: Since using all three M.2 slots will leave all the Intel SATA ports disabled, ASRock added four extra SATA ports with two ASMedia controllers. ASRock also uses hubs to expand PCI-E lanes and USB connectivity.
4-Way CrossFireX: Without using a PEX8747 chip to expand CPU PCI-E lanes, ASRock is using a mixture of PCH and CPU lanes to provide 4-way CrossFireX capability. Since it doesn't have the PEX8747, latency is much lower than if the board did, but 4-way SLI isn't possible.
Many Non-Overclocking Features on an Overclocking Motherboard: ASRock has surprisingly provided the Z170 OC Formula with many third-party controllers for extra SATA ports and a USB 3.0 hub for more internal USB 3.0. Not to mention that the audio area of the motherboard is upgraded as well. These extra non-chipset features increase the price of the product. While some hardcore overclockers would rather the motherboard not have any extra features to bring down the price, the truth of the matter is that it's hard to sell a stripped down motherboard.
ASRock's Z170 OC Formula is listed at $253 on Newegg at the time of writing. This price reflects a premium for the overclocking capabilities of the motherboard. If you want to get some extreme overclocks out of the Z170 platform, and I mean very extreme memory overclocks, then you will need a motherboard aimed at extreme overclocking. Memory overclocking has to be tuned individually on each board and at this point in time all the manufacturers are tuning their top overclocking models. That is why the Z170 OC Formula overclocks memory much better than the majority of other models.
The Z170 OC Formula also has some pretty crazy storage capabilities; the ability to RAID three M.2 slots and the PCI-E layout make this board a storage-lover's dream as well. The truth of the matter is that CPU overclocking is pretty much the same on most Z170 motherboards, and if you need support for memory over 3400MHz at this time, then you will need an overclocking series motherboard, and the Z170 OC Formula is ASRock's overclocking series board.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Performance (including Overclocking)||97%|
|Quality including Design and Build||93%|
|Bundle and Packaging||89%|
|Value for Money||90%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||92%|
The Bottom Line: If you are in the market for a new motherboard with crazy overclocking hardware and features, coupled with a layout and design aimed at taking down world records, then the Z170 OC Formula from ASRock is definitely worth a look.
PRICING: You can find the ASRock Z170 OC Formula for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon's website.
United Kingdom: The ASRock Z170 OC Formula retails for £223 at Amazon UK.
Australia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at PLE Computer's website.
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and the Z170 OC Formula]
- Page 3 [ASRock Z170 OC Formula Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [ASRock Z170 OC Formula 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]
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