Expensive? Yes. Solid? Yes. Good? Let’s see …….
This the best looking board I’ve seen in years and it feels (as)rock solid as well.
A generous amount of SATA slot for those who crave space (does one even have enough SATA power connectors?)
It even comes with an advisory note on which ports to use. 🙂
The list goes on with the I/O ports as well, with 4 different video output types to choose.
4 DIMM slots.
5x PCI-E slots for various CrossfireX and SLi configuration to satisfy those with deep pockets ………. or too many old generation cards to spare.
Lovely heatsink, digital POST status indicator. Clear CMOS button is a welcome, of course one has to be careful not to press it by accident.
And a huge heatsink surrounding the socket area.
Hard PCB SLI connector.
Here are some of the key features of this board.
– Premium Gold Caps (2.5 x longer life time), 100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors
– Digi Power, Advanced V8 + 4 Power Phase Design
– NVIDIA® NF200 Chip Onboard (Dual VGA cards at PCI-E x16/x16; three VGA cards at x16 / x8 / x8)
– Integrated PLX PEX8608 chip onboard to offer sufficient PCI-E lanes
– 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 Slot, 4 PCIe 2.0 x16 Slots, Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ and NVIDIA® 3-Way SLI™
– Supports Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals
– Multi VGA Output : D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort
– Supports Dual LAN with Teaming function
– Dr. Debug, Smart Switch Design: Power/Reset/Clear CMOS Switch with LED
– Support Intel® Smart Response, Lucid Virtu Switchable Graphics
– Supports ASRock XFast Charger Technology
– Supports ASRock XFast USB, XFast LAN Technologies
– Supports ASRock On/Off Play, graphical UEFI, ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility (AXTU)
– Combo Cooler Option (C.C.O.)
– 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), Supports THX TruStudio™
– Free Bundle : 1 x Front USB 3.0 Panel, 1 x Rear USB 3.0 Bracket, 1 x 3.5mm Audio Cable, CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5 Trial, ASRock MAGIX Multimedia Suite
More details at the official product page
Lovely isn’t it? Or so I thought (yes, that’s an indicator of something not good).
Not without problems
One of the features I really like is the C.C.O. (Combo Cooler Option) where the board allows you the option to use LGA 775, LGA 1155 and LGA 1156.
This was great new for me since I have a Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme that I haven’t been able to use for ages ever since my gaming rig went LGA 1155.
FYI LGA 1155 and LGA1156 are same but since TT120E only has 1366 and 775. I settled for LGA 775.
Unfortunately going the LGA 775 resulted in this mis-aligned placement. Yup, it feels soooooooooo weird. I’ve never in my life placed any heatsink at such an awkward angle.
From the view on top, it’s angled.
It was a nightmarish experience to install the TT120E on this board. Bear in mind, the TT120E alone is huge it’s impossible to install it without removing the board from the casing.
To make things worse, the huge heatsink makes a huge challenge just to tighten the holding pins.
The placement of the CPU 12V connector wasn’t ideal either, while most manufacturers have it nearer to the IO panel, ASRock placed it further away. It took me quite a while to connect the CPU 12V due to the limited space, had it not been for the awkward angle I wouldn’t have been able to connect it at all unless I unmounted the board from the casing.
And so I thought the installation woes were just an obstacle to an awesome experience using the motherboard. I was disappointed.
The first thing I tried was the ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility (AXTU) is the The All-in-1 Tuning Software as ASRock called it. It truely was only for TUNING, I must admit to have been spoiled by ASUS’s AI Suite II where it actually does the overclocking for me. This is not the case.
Next up, manual overclocking using the Graphical UEFI. My Intel Core i5-2500K is rock stable at 4.3Ghz with the Cooler Master Hyper 101 and the MSI P67A-GD55, and I haven’t even spend much time overclocking it yet.
So I thought going beyond 4.3Ghz with the ASRock Extreme7 (costs about RM 1,000) and the TT120E (should be more than RM 100, certainly more than 2x the CMH101) should be possible but again, I was disappointed.
Using the same voltage I use for the existing stable 4.3Ghz clock speed, I couldn’t even get it to reach Windows desktop. It just BSOD on Windows loading and I still fail to reach desktop even at 4Ghz (40×100). Ok so I thought I could be wrong somewhere (yeah, 15 years of overclocking experience. LOL) so I tried one of the overclocking pre-set for 4Ghz, it didn’t work either.
It was LOL case by then, I was really disappointed with the board and didn’t continue further.
I got this board quite a while back and I got busy with the new year projects. I certainly had hoped to have a blast testing this board, and in fact I thought it would surely be a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED board but as you can see by now it’s a huge disappointment.
No one would pay RM 1,000 for a feature-rich motherboard and not overclock it, unless the person is super rich and decides to buy a board that he / she doesn’t know how to utilize.
If you like all the features and intend to use the processor at default settings, by all means go ahead. You could save a lot by going with a lesser board.
I’ll give credits to ASRock for providing a feature rich board with awesome bundle but as an enthusiast, I can’t be paying RM 1,000 for a board and not being able to overclock it like a board that costs only 1/3 of it.