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ASRock Z68 Pro3 and Extreme4 (Intel Z68) Motherboard Preview (Page 7)

By Shawn Baker on May 5, 2011 11:17 am CDT
Manufacturer: ASRock

ASRock Z68 Extreme4 - The Board Continued

As we start to head north of our power and reset button, we're greeted with our SATA ports which are in larger numbers when compared to the Pro3, but also in a slightly different position.

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There are a total of eight SATA ports present. We have four SATA2 ones which are colored blue and four SATA3 ones that are colored white. Both sets of the SATA2 ports and the closest SATA3 ports are controlled by the Z68. The extra two SATA3 on the far right labeled as "M1" and "M2" are controlled via the Marvell SE9120 controller. In the event you're using only one or two SATA3 devices, you would opt to use the native ones offered by the Z68 platform.

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Moving towards the top of the board, you've got a very similar setup to the Pro3 here. We've got a Clear CMOS button, fan header and our main 24-Pin power connector. Above that we've got four DDR3 RAM slots which support speeds of 1066 / 1333 / 1600 / 1866 / 2133 MHz DDR memory. Again it's a Dual Channel configuration and ASRock offer support for up to 32GB of memory.

Around the CPU area the Extreme4 and Pro3 are similar, but not exactly the same. We've got our 8-Pin power connector here and we also have the heatsink like the Pro3 with some fan headers on either side. Unlike the Pro3, though, the Extreme4 heatsink is larger and covers multiple areas of the board to help keep board temperatures down when overclocking.

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As for the CPU socket, like the P67 ASRock boards we've looked at and the Z68 Pro3 version we've just looked at, the same Combo Cooler Option (C.C.O.) is on offer which allows not only LGA 1155 coolers to be used, but also LGA 775 and LGA 1156 ones. It's a handy little bonus if you've invested heavily into a cooling solution on your P55 or X58 motherboard.

Finally, we get to the I/O side of things for the Extreme4 and there are a lot of similarities here when compared to the Pro3. Starting from the left, we have the same PS/2 keyboard port, two USB 2.0, DVI-D, VGA and HDMI port present. Also present above the HDMI port, though, is DisplayPort connectivity and next to that we have a Clear CMOS button.

Along with another two USB 2.0 ports we've also got a 1394 Firewire port and below that an eSATA3 one. As for the last bit, there are no changes in physical design with two USB 3.0 ports in blue and Gigabit networking. The Gigabit networking here, though, is running off the Broadcom BCM57781 chip instead of the Realtek. We also have our 7.1 channel audio connectors via the Realtek ALC892 Audio Code, but the Extreme4 supports THX TruStudio PRO.

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Shawn Baker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Shawn Baker

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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