FINAL WORDS AND CONCLUSION
As enthusiasts and consumers move on from the disastrous Cougar Point debacle, it is refreshing to see manufacturers like ASRock providing rock-solid motherboards.
In essence, the Z68 chipset is nothing revolutionary. It utilizes the onboard GPU offered by the H67 chipset, while retaining the dynamic and massive overclockability via the P67s capability to adjust multipliers when paired with an unlocked K-series processor. What the Z68 brings to the table is Intels new Smart Response Technology (SRT), which allows better SSD caching when paired with another hard drive. For any users expecting earth-shattering changes or mythical performance enhancements, there is no such thing here. Z68 is more of a minor evolution and refinement of P67, not a paradigm shift.
However, we have seen in the past that motherboards with onboard graphics were largely budget selections that offered sub-par performance in comparison to the enthusiast boards with discrete graphics. This notion no longer appears to be the case with Z68, as illustrated by the Extreme 4.
The only negative aspect of the motherboard I could find has nothing to do with it. The warranty is only a two-year warranty, provided mainly by the retailer from which you purchase the motherboard. I considered taking 1-1.5 points off of the total score for this, as motherboard warranties nowadays carry a minimum of three-years. On the other hand, if one were to visit ASRock’s insanely comprehensive (see a pattern here?) website, one would notice that although motherboards only carry a one-year warranty, there are also inexpensive rates for motherboards that are out of warranty (a $35 service charge + shipping). There is also an option to extend the warranty to three-years for an addition $30, and I wish ASRock had just stuck to a three-year warranty, but again looking at what you’re getting for $200, an extra $30 will not break the bank so to speak. Consider it as paying off the USB 3.0 bracket.
As for my final words, the ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 is undoubtedly a fantastic motherboard. It is fully loaded, has a great PCB layout and is very stable, even when under high overclocking load. Coupled with a mind-boggling amount of accessories and in-depth documentation, copious amounts of cutting-edge features like Virtu, and devlivering stellar performance all at just $200, there is really no reason to consider any other Z68 motherboard. With the best ‘bang-for-the-buck value’, the Z68 Extreme 4 puts higher priced, and ulimately less featured boards on the market to shame. You should definitely consider long and hard before buying any other motherboard on the market.
Overall, I give the ASRock Extreme 4 a solid and well-deserved 10/10 perfect score (everything is so well made these days…well, almost everything), and would like to thank ASRock again for providing the motherboard for testing and reviewing.
– Hybrid functionality of both H67 and P67 chipsets
– Multi-display ports
– Exceptional performance
– Excellent design and build quality
– Beautiful motherboard colours
– Massive overclocking potential
– Best pricing on the market
– UEFI BIOS
– Excellent customer service
– Support for out-of-warranty motherboards
– The warranty period is two years (personally, I would still like to see a minimum of three), with an additional charge for extension, as well as options for motherboards out-of-warranty.
Page 1: Introduction
Page 4: CPU Benchmarks
Page 7: Memory Benchmarks
Page 8: Gaming Benchmarks
Page 9: Overall System Benchmarks
Page 10: Z68 Chipset-Specific Benchmarks
Page 11: Temperature, Power, and Efficiency
Page 12: BIOS and Overclocking
Page 13: Final Words and Conclusion