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ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 Review

ccokeman    -   October 28, 2012
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Specifications:

General
CPU
Supports 3rd and 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 / i5 / i3 in LGA1155 Package
Digi Power Design
8 + 4 Power Phase Design
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology
Supports Intel® K-Series unlocked CPU
Supports Hyper-Threading Technology
Chipset               
Intel® Z77
Supports Intel® Rapid Start Technology and Smart Connect Technology
 
*Intel® Rapid Start Technology and Smart Connect Technology are only supported under Windows® 7 OS or later versions.
Memory
Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
Supports DDR3 2800+(OC)/2400(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
Max. capacity of system memory: 32GB*
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3 / 1.2
 
*Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® 32-bit OS. For Windows® 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.
BIOS
64Mb AMI UEFI Legal BIOS with GUI support
Supports "Plug and Play"
ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
Supports jumperfree
SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
CPU Core, IGPU, DRAM, 1.8V PLL, VTT, VCCSA Voltage Multi-adjustment
Audio, Video and Networking
Graphics
 Supports Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals : Intel® Quick Sync Video 2.0, Intel® InTru™ 3D, Intel® Clear Video HD Technology, Intel® Insider™, Intel® HD Graphics 2500/4000 with Intel® Ivy Bridge CPU
 Supports Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals : Intel® Quick Sync Video, Intel® InTru™ 3D, Intel® Clear Video HD Technology, Intel® HD Graphics 2000/3000, Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) with Intel® Sandy Bridge CPU
 Pixel Shader 5.0, DirectX 11 with Intel® Ivy Bridge CPU. Pixel Shader 4.1, DirectX 10.1 with Intel® Sandy Bridge CPU
 Max. shared memory 1760MB with Intel® Ivy Bridge CPU. Max. shared memory 1759MB with Intel® Sandy Bridge CPU
 Multi VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI
 Supports HDMI 1.4a Technology with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
 Supports DVI with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
 Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 2048x1536 @ 75Hz
 Supports Auto Lip Sync, Deep Color (12bpc), xvYCC and HBR (High Bit Rate Audio) with HDMI (Compliant HDMI monitor is required)
 Supports HDCP function with DVI and HDMI ports
 Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) / HD-DVD playback with DVI and HDMI ports
 
*Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals and the VGA outputs can be supported only with processors which are GPU integrated.
 
**Due to chipset limitation, the Blu-ray playback of Intel® HD Graphics is only supported under Windows® Vista™ and Windows® 7.
 
***Intel® InTru™ 3D is only supported under Windows® 7 and Windows® 7 x64.
Audio
 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC898 Audio Codec)
 Premium Blu-ray audio support
 Supports THX TruStudio™
LAN
PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
Broadcom BCM57781
Supports Wake-On-LAN
Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
Supports PXE
Expansion / Connectivity
Slots
2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (PCIE2/PCIE3: single at x16 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE3) or dual at x8/x8 mode)
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots
2 x PCI slots
Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™
Supports NVIDIA® Quad SLI™ and SLI™
 
*PCIe Gen3 is supported on 3rd Generation of Intel® Core™ i5 and Core™ i7 CPUs.
Storage
2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by Intel® Z77, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel® Rapid Storage and Intel® Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions
2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by ASMedia ASM1061, support NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions (SATA3_A1 connector is shared with eSATA3 port)
USB 3.0
2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by Intel® Z77, support USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by ASMedia ASM1042, support USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
1 x Front USB 3.0 header by Intel® Z77 (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports), supports USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
Connector
4 x SATA2 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel® Rapid Storage and Intel® Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug functions
4 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors
1 x IR header
1 x CIR header
1 x COM port header
1 x HDMI_SPDIF header
1 x Power LED header
2 x CPU Fan connectors (1 x 4-pin, 1 x 3-pin)
3 x Chassis Fan connectors (1 x 4-pin, 2 x 3-pin)
1 x Power Fan connector (3-pin)
24-pin ATX power connector
8-pin 12V power connector
Front panel audio connector
3 x USB 2.0 headers (support 6 USB 2.0 ports)
1 x USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports)
1 x Dr. Debug with LED
1 x Power Switch with LED
1 x Reset Switch with LED
1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED
Rear Panel I/O
I/O Panel
1 x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Port
1 x D-Sub Port
1 x DVI-D Port
1 x HDMI Port
1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
2 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports
1 x eSATA3 Connector
4 x Ready-to-Use USB 3.0 Ports
1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED
HD Audio Jack: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
Other Features / Miscellaneous
Unique Feature
 ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility (AXTU)
 ASRock Instant Boot
 ASRock Instant Flash
 ASRock APP Charger
 ASRock XFast USB
 ASRock XFast LAN
 ASRock XFast RAM
 ASRock Crashless BIOS
 ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard)
 ASRock Internet Flash
 ASRock Dehumidifier Function
 ASRock No-K OC Technology
 Lucid Virtu Universal MVP
 Hybrid Booster:
 CPU Frequency Stepless Control
 ASRock U-COP
 Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)
 Combo Cooler Option (C.C.O.)
 Good Night LED
 
*Lucid Virtu Universal MVP can be supported only with processors which are GPU integrated.
 
**LucidLogix Virtu MVP only supports Windows® 7 OS or later versions.
Support CD
 Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5 Trial, ASRock MAGIX Multimedia Suite - OEM
Accessories
 1 x ASRock SLI_Bridge_2S Card
 Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
 2 x SATA Data Cables
Hardware Monitor
 CPU Temperature Sensing
 Chassis Temperature Sensing
 CPU/Chassis/Power Fan Tachometer
 CPU/Chassis Quiet Fan (Allow Chassis Fan Speed Auto-Adjust by CPU Temperature)
 CPU/Chassis Fan Multi-Speed Control
 Voltage Monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, CPU Vcore
Form Factor
 ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 8.6-in, 30.5 cm x 21.8 cm
 Premium Gold Capacitor design (100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors)
OS
Microsoft® Windows® 7 / 7 64-bit / Vista™ / Vista™ 64-bit / XP / XP 64-bit compliant
Certifications
FCC, CE, WHQL
ErP/EuP Ready (ErP/EuP ready power supply is required)

 

Features:

  • XFast 555 Technology : XFast RAM / XFast LAN / XFast USB: Fully Optimize Memory Usage, Faster Internet Access, Boosts up your USB speed 5X Faster for Photoshop Execution, XFast RAM will create a virtual disk from the system memory to boost the performance. For Photoshop, It can even perform 5X faster than before. Lower Latency In Game, XFast LAN can lower latency in the game after setting online game priority higher.
  • Virtu Universal MVP - Uncompromised Game Response Performance: ASRock motherboard support Lucid Virtu Universal MVP technology that improves your PC’s visuals, with faster response times, improved video processing and smoother media playback, all with low power consumption. Brilliantly designed for gaming, Virtu Universal MVP™ switchable graphics software assigns tasks dynamically to the best graphics resource and features two exciting techniques – HyperFormance™ and Virtual Vsync™.
  • Intel® Smart Connect Technology keeps content always up-to-date! It means that your email, favorite apps, and social networks are continually and automatically updated even when the system is asleep. Smart Connect will periodically wake up the PC while in a sleep state and check updates for things like email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. No more waiting for the latest world news or friends’ updates to be delivered—just enable this function and you’re up-to-date and ready to go. * Intel® Smart Connect Technology is only supported under Windows® 7 OS or later versions.
  • Intel® Rapid Start Technology gets your device up and running faster from even the deepest sleep, saving time and battery life. It quickly returns where you left off with a PC that goes from deep-sleep to full awake in a flash. The ultra-responsive capability gives your device the power to quickly resume to Windows® 7 OS within few seconds and ensures ultra-low power consumption when on standby. With Intel® Rapid Start Technology, users can jump right back into everything they were doing! * Intel® Rapid Start Technology is only supported under Windows® 7 OS or later versions.
  • Intel® Smart Response Technology accelerates the system response experience by putting frequently-used blocks of disk data on a solid-state drive (SSD), providing dramatically faster access to user data than the hard disk alone can provide. For users who are tempted to connect the SSD and HDD on ASRock motherboard, Intel® Smart Response Technology can make the SSD become the "Cache of the HDD" to boost up the HDD access speed. ASRock motherboards with Intel® Smart Response Technology are able to drive 4X faster performance boost than a HDD-only system.
  • Dehumidifier: Users may prevent motherboard damages due to dampness by enabling “Dehumidifier Function”. When enabling Dehumidifier Function, the computer will power on automatically to dehumidify the system after entering S4/S5 state.
  • ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard): Fast, Easy and Free – ASRock OMG technology allows you to establish an internet curfew or restrict internet access at specified times. Administrators are able to schedule the starting and ending hours of internet access granted to other users. Normally, ISPs (Internet Service Provider) will charge for internet curfew service. The service controls “all” the PCs connected at home through network remotely but all the PCs in that network will be restricted to access the internet at pre-setup times. However, ASRock OMG is a free tool for controlling internet access of each single PC. Parents can easily control internet access through BIOS setup to protect their kids from using Internet at inappropriate time, and meanwhile, enjoy their own internet space.
  • Internet Flash: Internet Flash searches for available UEFI firmware updates from ASRock servers. System can auto-detect the latest UEFI from our servers and flash them within UEFI setup without entering Windows® OS.
  • No-K OC Technology: Overclocking is no longer for K-series CPU users only, for those CPUs that aren’t K-series, ASRock No-K OC can unleash your CPU’s power by boosting its frequency with just one click. Note: No-K OC technology is supported by Intel® CPUs with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology except XEON CPUs.
  • Premium Gold Caps:  Top-Class Quality Guaranteed Premium Gold Caps are luxury capacitors. These 100% Japan-made solid capacitors are sleek, high gloss caps with a premium gold coating representing long life and stable performance.
  • Digi Power: More Precise, More Efficient  By adopting digital pulse-width modulation (PWM), the ASRock motherboard can provide CPU Vcore voltage more efficiently and smoothly. Compared to analog PWM, digital PWM can optimize the CPU power solution and provide a proper and stable Vcore for the processor.  8+4 Power Phase, This motherboard is designed with a 8 + 4 Power Phase design. It features sturdy components and completely smooth power delivery to the CPU. Plus, it offers unmatched overclocking capability and enhanced performance with the lowest temperature for advanced gamers as well.
  • 4 x DDR3 2800+(OC): This motherboard unlocks maximum memory performance, coming with 4 DIMM slots for dual-channel memory, supporting up to DDR3 2800+ (OC) MHz!
  • Next-Gen PCI-E 3.0 Support: The ASRock motherboards support the Next-Gen PCI-E 3.0! PCI Express 3.0 can maximize the bandwidth for the next-gen PCI Express 3.0 VGA cards, provide ultimate graphics performance. Get PCI-E 3.0 Benefits,  Higher bit rate - 8.0GT/s,  Higher bandwidth per lane - 1GB/s,  Higher efficiency - 98.5% encoding efficiency.  100% backward compatible with previous PCI-E 2.0 / 1.0 standard,   PCIe Gen3 is supported on 3rd Generation of Intel® Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs.
  • Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals:  Intel® HD Graphics, simplifies your designs by eliminating additional discrete graphics hardware, while integrating stunning visuals and performance for immersive gaming. Note: Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals is supported only with processors which are GPU integrated.
  • THX TruStudio is specially designed to bring the same great audio experience found in live performances, films, and recording studios to the PC.
  • 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 lots improved functions. The major features of UEFI include:  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,  Mouse Enabling – Besides keyboard control, you can freely use mouse to select your ideal settings in UEFI as well.  Supports 3TB bootable HDD - UEFI breaks the limitations of 2TB bootable HDD on traditional BIOS. With UEFI, you can enjoy 3TB bootable HDD size.* *Windows® Vista™ 64bit or Windows® 7 64bit OS is required.
  • UEFI system browser is a useful tool included in graphical UEFI. It can detect the devices and configurations that users are currently using in their PC. With the UEFI system browser, you can easily examine the current system configuration in UEFI setup.
  • AXTU - The All-in-1 Tuning Software:  ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility (AXTU) is an all-in-one software to fine-tune different features in an user-friendly interface, which includes Hardware Monitor, Fan Control, Overclocking, OC DNA, IES and XFast RAM. 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. In XFast RAM, it fully utilizes the memory space that cannot be used under Windows® OS 32-bit CPU.
  • Free Bundle - Cyberlink MediaEspresso 6.5 Trial: CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5 trial now supports hardware transcoding and is optimized to accelerate conversion of all your favorite media files for your favorite portable players. Now you can easily display your favorite movies, songs and photos on iPhone, iPad, PSP, Xbox, Youtube, Facebook etc. Compile, convert and enjoy images and songs as much as you want and enhance your videos to new levels with TrueTheater Technology. Try it today! Limitations: 30-day trial limitation, Convert videos to the H.264 format 50 times,
  • MAGIX Multimedia Suite: The ultimate solutions to enhance your media experience. From music management, music creation, video editing to photo management. Simply do more with your media than you ever thought possible. mufin player, The next generation music player plays all standard audio formats, manages large music collections, helps you discover music, offers a free online hard drive and more. Music Maker Silver: The easiest way to arrange, remix, record and create your own music. Develop your musical style now - without any prior skills. Video easy SE: With this program you can easily edit your movies, add transitions, text and background music, and even quickly enhance image and sound quality. Photo Manager 10: Put an end to your digital photo chaos and organize your photo collection with ease. The program is fully equipped for fast import, photo and video clip management, photo editing and presentation.

 

 

 

 

 

All information courtesy of ASRock @  http://www.ASRock.com/mb/Intel/Z77%20Extreme4/




  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
  3. Closer Look: Programs & Utilities
  4. Closer Look: The BIOS
  5. Specifications & Features
  6. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  7. Testing: PCMark 7
  8. Testing: HD Tune, AIDA 64
  9. Testing: Sisoft Sandra, x.264, Handbrake
  10. Testing: ATTO USB 3.0 Testing
  11. Testing: Gaming
  12. Conclusion
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