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ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 Review

ccokeman    -   October 28, 2012
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Testing:

Testing the ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 will involve running it through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which includes both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications, to see how each of these products perform. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual gameplay, in which we can see if similarly prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest drivers for each board and the latest AMD Catalyst drivers for the XFX HD 7970. To ensure as few variables as possible, all hardware will be tested at their stock speeds, timings, voltages, and latencies – unless otherwise stated. Turbo Boost is disabled to make a fair comparison without skewing results.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Boards:

  • ASUS P8Z77 WS
  • ASRock Z77 Extreme 4

 

Overclocking:

Overclocking on the ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 was a bit more fruitful than I was expecting, with it fully capable of reaching the maximum limits of my Third Generation Core i7 3770K at 4.7GHz. To reach the 4.7GHz level, I used the same tools and settings in the BIOS that you would find in just about any of the boards I have looked at. I bumped the multiplier up to 47, tweaked the voltages to what the CPU and memory wanted, fine tuned the voltages based on how well the LLC worked, and then fired up the system for a few stability runs. This formula works fairly well across different manufacturer's boards. I found I did not need any more than the 1.325V that my speed-challenged Core i7 3770K needed. The BIOS options for overclocking are fairly well laid out and make working within the UEFI BIOS a breeze. Where I had some issues with the Extreme 4 was with how well it handled running my test system memory from Mushkin, part number 993997. No matter what tweaks I used, the memory would fail to post at its rated 2133MHz. Voltage and loosening of the secondary timings nor the latest BIOS would help this situation. Looking at the memory QVL shows that there are plenty of high end sets that should be comparable to the 993997 set I use. Other than that concern, the board was easily able to deliver a solid overclock of 1.2GHz over the baseline 3.50GHz. Tuning through ASRock's AXTU utility allowed for additional bclock and multiplier tweaking from within the OS. As many companies tune and tweak to get their utilities to even work, it's refreshing to get a look at a utility that works.

 

Maximum Overclock:

Each CPU and motherboard has been tested for stability at the clock speeds listed when in an overclocked state. These clock speeds will be used to run the test suite and will show the performance increase over the stock settings in the overclocked scoring.

 

Benchmarks:

Scientific & Data:

  1. PCMark 7
  2. HD Tune 5.0
  3. AIDA64 2.50
  4. Sandra 2012 SP6
  5. x264
  6. HandBrake 9.8
  7. ATTO 2.47

Video:

  1. 3DMark 11
  2. DiRT 3
  3. Battlefield 3



 




  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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