Z68 Motherboard Roundupgotdamojo06 -
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Conclusion: ASRock Z68 Fatal1ty
What is there to say about the ASRock Z68 Fatal1ty motherboard? Well first of all, I want to say that the board's layout is very nice and easy to work with. The color scheme that ASRock decided to use with the motherboard does make it stand out and does give it the ability to be used by users who are looking for a certain look inside of their chassis. Some people are looking for a nice looking motherboard to put inside of their chassis that is going to be able to go along with the other components, while others are looking for a certain set of features. You are going to be able to find both with the ASRock board if black and red are your colors. When it comes down to the overclocking on the ASRock board, it was a little difficult to get it started at first, however once I became more familiar with the settings inside of the BIOS, it was quite easy to overclock.
The fact that the ASRock board has the Integrated Graphics on it, does give it an edge against some of the competition, as the ability to have a rock solid system that is not intended to be used for gaming has its benefits, and with the Integrated Graphics on the board, you don't need to have a graphics card to have video. ASRock did load this board up with USB 3.0 connectors, with four on the back and two extra ones that are powered by the headers on the motherboard.
ASRock has also gotten its board ready for Ivybridge; the Fatal1ty motherboard does have support for the next generation of PCI-E 3.0 graphics cards while most of the other motherboards out there have yet to get ready for it. With technology changing so quickly, it is nice to see future support for next-gen technology put out in anticipation. Another nice feature of the ASRock board is that the CPU cooler mounting holes have spots sized for the LGA775 socket coolers, which means if you have your favorite cooler that you wanted to move over to your next build, the ASRock board does support it.
While the price of the ASRock board is $234.99, when seeing that two of the other boards in the roundup are below the $200 marker, it makes you wonder. While the ASRock's price is competitive with the ASUS boards, you are still looking at spending an extra $35 for a few extra features and PCI-E 3.0 support.
- Lucid Virtu
- USB 3.0
- SATA 6.0Gb/s
- Digital VRM
- PCI-E 3.0 Support
- LGA775 Cooler Support
The Z68 lineup from ASUS is something that you should think twice about getting your feet into, as all three of the boards that were tested in this roundup were able to perform quite well. When you are looking at the overclocking alone on the three boards, the ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE was able to get a little higher of an overclock, however all three of the boards were able to keep the i7 2600K above 4700MHz. A lot of this has to do with the DIGI +VRM that ASUS has implemented on its boards, which helped increase stability of the chips with a steady and consistent vCore. The ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE was able to get a higher bCLK out of the chip, but this was only by about 2MHz.
When you are looking at the features of the ASUS boards that were tested, the ASUS P8Z68-V & P8Z68-V PRO were both able to give us an Integrated Graphics output, which was able to allow the 2D graphics to be powered by the on-board graphics while leaving the heavy duty graphics computing to the discrete graphics card once the board knew it wouldn't be able to handle the load. This feature is not only nice for when you are looking to have a system without a graphics card installed, but from a power consumption standpoint as well.
All three of the motherboards did have a whole bunch of features that will wow anyone looking at getting into the Z68 arena, especially the AI Suite II isoftware for overclocking and monitoring of current system conditions. I did find it very helpful to have the AI Tuner open once I got a stable overclock and to be able to tweak my clock a little further by being able to add more vCore to the processor and having the ability to change the multiplier and bCLK settings from within Windows.
When it comes down to the price on the three ASUS boards, you are looking at a range from $179.99 - $249.99, with the ASUS P8Z68-V & P8Z68-V PRO being under the $200 price point. What you are going to have to ask yourself when you are deciding which one of the three to get, is if the $50 more for the ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE is worth the few extra features and the loss of on-board video.
- EPU and TPU
- DIGI +VRM
- Feature set
- AI Suite II
- USB 3.0
- SATA 6.0Gb/s
- Price (ASUS P8Z68-V & P8Z68-V PRO)
- Lucid Virtu
- Price (ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE)