Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Its been nearly five generations since ASRock has produced a top-end overclocking platform with their OC Formula branding, The last being the Z170 OC Formula. Going into this new Z590 platform, ASRock contracted the help of one of the world's most renowned overclockers in Nick Shih, a partnership we have seen in previous boards such as the Z77 OC Formula and X299 OC Formula.
Moving into the board specifications, the OC Formula is a board focused on overclocking but doesn't sacrifice components to do so. At the top, we have support for both 10th and 11th Gen processors with a 16-phase power design. Memory is supported over two slots, 64GB top capacity with speeds ranging from 2133MHz to 6000MHz+.
For storage, we have eight SATA 6Gb/s ports alongside a single Hyper M.2 for Gen4 drives and two Ultra M.2 for Gen3 NVMe. Networking is handled by the Intel i225v for 2.5Gbe and Intel i219 for 1Gbe, while Wi-Fi uses the Intel AX210 WiFi6e chipset that includes Bluetooth 5.2.
Audio taps the Realtek ALC1220 paired with an ESS Sabre9218.
The ASRock Z590 OC Formula carries an MSRP of $579.99 with a three-year warranty.
Packaging, Accessories, and Overview
Packaging and Accessories
The packaging highlights the OC Formula branding.
On the back, we get into more detail with features and specifications.
Getting right into the board, the OC Formula, while being an overclocking platform, doesn't skimp on connectivity. Left to right, we have CMOS Clear and BIOS flashback along with a switch to swap between BIOS. We then have separate PS2 ports for the keyboard and mouse followed by six USB 3.2 Gen 1 and two USB 3.2 Gen 2. LAN ports sit atop the USB with audio in its usual place.
ASRock Z590 OC Formula Overview
Taking a closer look at the board, we start our journey along the bottom with the audio design that includes the ALC1220 up top and ESS Sabre down below near the red WIMA audio caps and front panel header. Moving to the right, we run into the Thunderbolt header, RGB, and fan connections.
The OC Formula includes two USB 2.0 headers that sit next to the debug LED and front panel header.
Taking the corner, we run into another two fan headers and all eight SATA ports. This takes us to the USB 3.2 Gen 1 internal headers and the Gen 2x2 header as well.
Moving into the power area, we have the 24pin connector with a host of switches and buttons for PCIe, LN2 mode, Slow mode, and Retry OC.
Wrapping this up, we have two eight-pin power connections for CPU power.
PCB and Circuit Analysis
Power design takes advantage of Intersil 99390 stages, sixteen of them at 90A a piece, the PMIC separating each bank.
The Z590 chipset can be seen above; bottom left, the Nuvoton Super I/O is tucked in as well.
Above, we have a closer look at the audio design, electrically separated from the rest of the motherboard.
UEFI, Software and Test System
The BIOS for the OC Formula does offer an EZ Mode for changing the basics. Moving into advanced mode, the BIOS is identical to past ASRock platforms, with several tabs across the top separating OC Tweaker from the Advanced and Tool menus.
Starting first with the main menu, this will offer information about your system, including CPU and memory configuration. Switching to OC Tweaker, we have several profiles set up by Nick Shih for the 11900K. You also have access to Intel ABT and CAM. Three additional menus are included within the OC Tweaker tab that allows you to configure CPU, Memory, and board voltages.
The advanced tab gives us the usual controls for handling onboard devices, including USB, SATA, NVME, and Thunderbolt devices.
The tool menu includes controls for onboard RGB, the OLED panel in the middle of the board, and onboard buttons. Further, you can secure erase your drives in here and update the board's EFI and MEI firmware.
Our first piece of software is ASRock Timing Configurator, which allows you to tune your memory in real-time.
ASRock Formula drive is our next piece of software; this includes three operating modes.
OC Tweaker gives you basic overclocking tools within Windows along with their ability to save profiles.
Fan tuning is included as well; you can manually set the curve to the left or use the fan test to have the board handle.
Motherboard Testing Supporters
Sabrent supports our storage testing with the Rocket 4 Plus.
Thermaltake has come onboard with their Toughram XG for all Z590 reviews.
TweakTown Intel Motherboard Test System
- CPU: Intel Core i7 11700K
- GPU: ASUS TUF RTX 3080 10GB
- RAM: Thermaltake Toughram XG 2x8G DDR4 4000 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 1TB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000X (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
Cinebench, Realbench and AIDA64
Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to showcase their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests, a single-core workload that will utilize one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test that uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU.
The Z590 OC Formula brought in 1554 in single-thread testing while multi-thread landed at 14897.
Realbench uses both video and photo workloads to benchmark your CPU. We use all three workloads in this scenario.
Realbench offers 22.7 seconds in Image Editing, 25.3 seconds in H.264 Encoding, and 34.8 seconds in multi-tasking.
Memory bandwidth followed the typical ASRock pattern with 55K read, 39K write, and 43K copy.
Memory Latency came in at 63.9 seconds.
AES workload brought in 163036 in testing.
SHA3 showed 5315 for the OC Formula.
PCMark10 and PugetSystems Benchmarks
PCMark is a benchmark from UL and tests various workload types to represent typical workloads for a PC. Everything from video conferencing, image import, and editing, along with 3D rendering, are tested.
PCMark testing gave us a score of 7962, slightly above the average.
Application testing in PCMark gave an overall score of 12307 for the Formula.
PugetBench comes from the fantastic people over at Puget Systems that have done countless hours and years benchmarking hardware. For our testing, we will utilize their Davinci Resolve, Photoshop, and Lightroom benchmarks, you can look into them more here.
Puget for Photoshop ended with a score of 931.
Davinci Resolve gave us a score of 1119.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
63.6 FPS is our FPS score for the OC Formula in MSFS.
System I/O Benchmarks
Storage with CrystalDiskMark
Storage tests are all handled by our Sabrent Rocket Plus NVMe 4.0 SSD. Secondary storage tests are conducted with our WD_Black P50 SSD.
Storage testing showed 7018 MB/s reads, and 5350 MB/s write.
Q1 Random showed 72.4 MB/s reads, and 275.8 MB/s write.
In our external storage testing, we see 471 MB/s from Gen 1, 1064 MB/s from Gen 2, and 2002 MB/s from Gen 2x2.
Audio - Dynamic Range
Testing audio, we set up RMAA with a 3.5mm cable from the line-in to speaker out (green to blue) and set both to 24Bit 192KHz. The OC Formula did quite well here, too, landing at 99.1dBA.
With networking, we tested the 2.5Gbe and WiFi6e connections. Wired LAN giving us 2401MBps while WiFi6e pushed 1311Mbps.
Power, Thermals and Final Thoughts
Wrapping up testing, power consumption saw a low of 147w at idle and a peak of 500 watts under CPU load in R23.
Temperatures ran slightly warmer for the OC Formula, 23c at idle and 65c peak during testing.
It's been a while since I did any manual overclocking, likely a decade or more. Still, with the introduction of this new OC Formula, I decided to play around with our Toughram XG seeing that the board was already here for the review, and I had some free time. Our Toughram XG is a 4000MHz Kit at CL19; Typhoon burner says it DJR, but we know it regularly reports CJR as DJR too; that said, with a few changes to voltage, I was quite surprised that this board was able to run our kit up to 5100MHz with ease, no changes to timings and it was R23 and 3DMark stable which is good enough for me. With no changes to cooling, our 11700K didn't overclock any better than mainstream boards, but this board is made for LN2, and we haven't committed to that just yet.
In testing, the OC Formula performed just like any other Z590 platform but judging from our initial overclocking experience; there is certainly potential with this board. Adding to this, ASRock has a fantastic EFI setup for this board that is complimented by top-notch software for those using Windows, and the addition of the OLED allows both gamers and enthusiast to monitor their board without the need for a second monitor!
What We Like
Socket/Chipset: In socket upgrade for 10th Gen, increased features of Z590.
Connectivity: Stacked with USB 3.2 connectivity with ability to add Thunderbolt AIC.
OLED: Built-in OLED offers temperature and voltage info without the need for a secondary monitor.
What Could Be Better
PCIe Gen4: Limited PCIe Gen4 connectivity.
Board Layout: Board layout could be more friendly with angled connections.
The Bottom Line
Intel's Z590 raised the bar and the ASRock OC Formula takes it to another level for those looking for world records!