ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Series Motherboard Review – A Brief Description

SPECIFICATIONS, OVERVIEW, AND FEATURES

Here is a quick stat-sheet of the different chipsets and what they offer. As you can see, the Z68 chipset is identical to the P67 except only in two areas:

Core elements and enhancements the Z68 chipset brings:

To start off the review, I would like to explore some of the unique features of the ASRock Z68 Extreme 4:

ASRock XFast USB Technology – Faster Than Your Imagination!

ASRock XFast USB Technology redefines the new standard in high performance computing. Proving once again to be the pioneer in motherboard industry, ASRock XFast USB Series Motherboards integrate with the latest XFast USB Technology which delivers the world’s fastest USB data transfer speed. ASRock XFast USB technology can boost USB 3.0 performance up to 185.52%!

Lucid Virtu

With Lucid Virtu software, next-generation PCs with 2nd Generation Intel® Core processor platforms will dynamically assign tasks in real time to the best available graphics resource based on power, performance and features.

PLX PEX8608 chip onboard

Compared with other Z68 chipset motherboards that bring limited PCI-E lanes, ASRock Z68 motherboards break the limitation and offer sufficient PCI-E lanes solution by embedding a PLX PEX8608 chip onboard. Users can simply enjoy all PCI-E devices.

ASRock Motherboard With PLX PEX8608 chip

With PLX PEX8608 chip, it generates more PCI-E lanes for PCI-E devices so that all PCI-E devices are able to work at the proper speed simultaneously!

Other Brand Z68 Motherboard Without PLX PEX8608 chip

With traditional switch, if users want to run the PCI-E x4 slot at PCI-E, the other 3 PCI-E x1 slots cannot be used. If users install devices in any of the PCI-E x1 slot, then the PCI-E x4 slot will suffer to downgrade running at PCI-E x1.

Intel® Smart Response Technology

For users who are tempted to connect the SSD and HDD on motherboard, the Intel® Smart Response Technology can make the SSD become the “Cache of the HDD” to boost the HDD access speed.

Graphical UEFI “ The Revolutionary BIOS Interface

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is a revolutionary BIOS utility which offers tweak-friendly options in an advanced viewing interface.

Compared with traditional BIOS design, the latest UEFI utility provides many improved functions.

The major features of UEFI include:

1. Graphical Visual Experience “ UEFI provides an improved visual interface with colorful icons and makes your computing environment more versatile to replace the traditional dull BIOS page;

2. Mouse Enabling “ Besides keyboard control, you can freely use a mouse to select your ideal settings in UEFI; and

3. Supports 3TB bootable HDD – UEFI breaks the limitations of 2TB bootable HDD on traditional BIOS. With UEFI, you can enjoy 3TB bootable HDD size.*

AXTU – The All-in-1 Tuning Software

ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility (AXTU) is an all-in-one software to fine-tune different features in a user-friendly interface that includes Hardware Monitor, Fan Control, Overclocking, OC DNA and IES. In Hardware Monitor, it shows the major readings of your system. In Fan Control, it shows the fan speed and temperature for you to adjust. In Overclocking, you are allowed to adjust the CPU frequency, ratio and some voltages for optimal system performance.

In OC DNA, you can save your OC settings as a profile and share with your friends. Your friends then can load the OC profile to their own system to get the same OC settings. In IES (Intelligent Energy Saver), the voltage regulator can reduce the number of output phases to improve efficiency when the CPU cores are idle without sacrificing computing performance.

 C.C.O. (Combo Cooler Option)

C.C.O., stands for Combo Cooler Option, is another exclusive hardware design on ASRock boards. C.C.O. provides the flexible options to adopt different CPU cooler types and matches your socket LGA775, LGA1155 / LGA1156 CPU cooler in the respective holes. Once again, ASRock has successfully expanded the utilization of PCB by the exclusive C.C.O. design.

 Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals

Intel® Quick Sync Video

Intel® Quick Sync Video saves valuable time for PC users who want to create and edit video, synchronize it with other devices, and share it“at home and on the internet. Intel® Quick Sync Video uses hardware on the processor, instead of software, to accelerate video encoding.

Intel® InTru 3D

Enjoy the ultimate 3D visual experiences“seamlessly“from your PC. Now you can watch your favourite 3D movies with Blu-ray Stereo 3D playback using active shutter 3D glasses. It delivers it all in 1080p full, high-definition resolution on your TV over HDMI 1.4.

Intel® Clear Video HD Technology

Intel® Clear Video HD Technology (Intel® CVT HD) enables rich media experiences with picture perfect images by using a host of advanced graphics technologies that support optimized, high-definition video playback and sharp image quality.

Intel® HD Graphics 2000/3000

Intel® HD Graphics is now built right into the processor! This integration means lower latencies and leads to superior mainstream gaming and enhanced 3D experiences.

Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX)

Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) gives more computing power to application developers with a new, 256 bit instruction set extension to Intel® SSE.

 

The Intel Smart Response Technology is definitely the most intriguing feature of the Z68 platform, as it claims to drastically decrease load times by utilizing the SSD cache on a secondary hard drive.

The multi-display and Quick Sync GPU transcoding provided by LucidLogix are compelling features in their own right. Support for both hybrid NVIDIA and AMD cards is a great add-on and the ability to effortlessly switch between a dedicated GPU/GPUs and the graphics processor provided by a Sandy Bridge CPU not only allows for more efficiency in performance, but also, allows the user to experience features unique to both mediums.

NEXT: Closer Look, Specifications, and Benchmark Testing Platform

INDEX

Page 1: Introduction

Page 2: Specifications, Overview, and Features

Page 3: Closer Look, Specifications, and Benchmark Testing Platform

Page 4: CPU Benchmarks

Page 5: Computation and Productivity Benchmarks

Page 6: Storage and Peripheral 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

FOLLOW OUR FORUM DISCUSSION!

2 comments

  1. on the z 68 extreme 4 you state that there is 14 USB ports. Is this correct and if so how do I access them

    Thanks John

    • Hi John,

      The table on this page deals with the chipsets, not the motherboard itself. The table shows what each chipset features and what each is capable of supporting.

      If you go to the next page (Closer Look, Specifications, and Benchmark Testing Platform), and scroll down to the second last table (ASROCK Z68 Extreme 4 Specifications), it contains all of the information there.

      So, if you go to the “Expansion/Connectivity” section of that table, you’ll see the “USB 3.0″ row. The 2 x USB 3.0 ports are the ones that come on the bracket you get with the motherboard. Move below to the “Connector” row and you get 3 x USB 2.0 headers (support for 6 USB ports – 3 headers x 2 ports each). So, at this point, we only have 2 physical USB ports (the USB 3.0 bracket), but with a possible total of 8 if you count the six that require outside connections.

      Move down one more block and we have the I/O ports. We have 4 physical USB 2.0 ports on the back, as well as 2 more physical USB 3.0 ports, which yields an overall physical total of 8 USB ports, but with a potential total of 14, if you decide to expand the 3 USB 2.0 headers and add-on 6 extra physical ports on top of the 8 that are present on the board itself (counting the bracket).

      All of this corresponds with the amount of ports and other connections each chipset supports in the table on the Specifications, Overview, and Features page that you were looking at.

      Thanks for the question! 🙂

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