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ASRock X299 OC Formula Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2066 in Motherboards | Posted: 1 week, 3 days ago
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: ASRock

Packaging and Overview

 

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Box and packaging are straightforward, and the motherboard is extremely well protected inside the box.

 

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The accessory package includes four SATA6Gb/s cables, two 3-way SLI bridges, SLI HB bridge, 4-way SLI bridge, OC socket backplate, IO shield, vctrl jumper, postcard, driver DVD, manuals, and M.2 screws.

 

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ASRock put five fan headers on the X299 OC Formula, the CPU header is circled in red and supports 1A, and the four headers circled in blue support up to 1.5A each. The chassis fan headers can auto-detect whether a PWM or voltage (DC) mode fan is installed, but all headers can be manually changed between PWM and DC mode.

 

The motherboard itself features a huge vertical gray racing stripe with Nick Shih's signature. You might have noticed the motherboard only had four DIMMs, that's one DIMM per channel, and it should greatly increase DRAM overclocking capabilities. The motherboard's color theme is simple, sleek, and elegant. The motherboard is a non-nonsense overclocking beast, and it features many chips on the back of the board, so take care to watch out for them when prepping for subzero overclocking.

 

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The IO shield offers two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, BIOS Flash Back button, Clear CMOS button, two 1Gbit Intel LAN ports, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, and gold plated 7.1 audio jacks with S/PDIF out.

 

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The PCI-E lane allotment isn't straightforward, and the manual isn't clear either. However, ASRock has confirmed that a 44-lane CPU will actually support all slots at x8 if you want. A 44-lane CPU will operate at x16/x0/x0/x16/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8/x8. With a 28-lane CPU, the board will run x16/x0/x0/x8/x4 or x8/x8/x0/x8/x4 (the x4 at the last slot is switched to PCH bandwidth). With a 16-lane CPU, you can operate at x16/x0/x0/x0/x4 or x8/x0/x0/x8/x4 (the x4 at the last slot is switched to PCH bandwidth).

 

The x4 slot is wired to the PCH and will be disabled when using a 28-lane or 16-lane CPU, as that bandwidth will switch to the last x16 slot. The x1 slot is PCI-E 2.0 and gets its bandwidth from a PCI-E hub that is connected to the PCH. There are two M.2 slots on the motherboard, and if a SATA device is used, then it will disable one SATA port.

 

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Another M.2 slot is located above the PCH heat sink, and it will disable one SATA port if a SATA M.2 SSD is used. These six SATA6Gb/s ports are connected to the PCH.

 

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Two more SATA6Gb/s ports are located near a power plug for extra PCI-E power. These two ports are hooked up to an ASMedia controller, and they are used for booting legacy operating systems, such as Windows 7. The motherboard features an 8-pin and supplementary 4-pin power connector for the CPU.

 

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Overclocking features are plentiful. At the top of the motherboard is an RGB LED header located right above the power button, and the red button is a restart button. The button right below the red restart button is a hard reset/retry button, which will immediately shut down the system and attempt to boot again. Right below that is a safe boot button that will boot the system with safe defaults so you can't need to clear the CMOS.

 

You also get an LN2 mode switch as well as a slow mode switch for extreme overclocking. Voltage read points are very tiny and located at the edge of the motherboard. PCI-E disable DIP switches are located right below on-the-fly overclocking buttons. We also find one of the two USB 3.0 headers and the internal type-C header right below the 24-pin connector. The VROC header is located right behind the 24-pin connector.

 

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A post code display can be found in the lower right-hand corner near the front panel headers. A BIOS B selection jumper is found to the left of the POST code display. Two USB 2.0 internal headers are located at the bottom of the motherboard.

 

There is also a V_CTRL1 header, and this is used for controlling external power sources, such as the DMI pin mod wire, from the BIOS. The functionality for the V_CTRL1 pins are present, but those features are currently not available in public BIOS releases (OC BIOS you can find on forums or ask ASRock for could have it in there).

 

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The motherboard features a second RGB LED header at the bottom of the motherboard near the clear CMOS jumper. Two HD audio headers provide the ability to plug in vertically or horizontally, they are identical. The VRM heat sink on this motherboard is thick and very heavy duty.

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