ASRock Z68 Extreme 7
With so many Z68 motherboards available it can be cumbersome to choose the right one. ASRock alone has several for this socket, from the budget-oriented Extreme 3, to the gaming Fatal1ty Professional, and through the flagship Extreme7 we saw today. ASRock has every price point and performance level covered with socket 1155 Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge motherboards. And that’s not even counting other manufacturer boards.
Thankfully as we saw, the ASRock Extreme7 Gen 3 boasts everything the performance seeker lusts. Five PCIe (3.0) slots for Tri-Fire or Tri-SLI, Sata III and USB 3.0 support, the improved UEFI bios, ASRock’s AXTU overlocking software, and the most extensive parts and accessory package to date. The aesthetics have changed and the handsome monochromatic look with chrome tipped heatsinks is fabulous. Motherboard switches such power/reset, LED debug, and front twin USB 3.0 ports which make wire management a pleasure are more features the Extreme 7 swaggers. Plain and simple, it has just about everything.
The UEFI interface BIOS are not new anymore but ASRock’s version is easy to understand and navigate. It may not be as robust as ASUS ROG products, but this BIOS has everything needed on a premium motherboard. Remember, Sandy Bridge CPUs have a maximum overclock anyhow and the platform is more CPU-dependent than motherboard, so is a more complex BIOS better? In most instances, no.
Overclocking our Sandy Bridge 2600K reached its maximum potential at 4.8GHz stable very easily by simply selecting 4.8 in the BIOS and leaving all the settings on Auto. The AXTU software package is an easy to understand simple interface for overclocking tweaking and monitoring. A BIOS Flash cured our temporary issues, so we can’t even complain about that.
ASRock, who is not new in manufacturing motherboards has stepped up to the plate in the last year or so producing great motherboards in Intel platforms and is now becoming very popular from where we see things. The Extreme7 prices out at $269 which is very competitive. We really couldn’t find any true fault on this board, and it has an excellent combination of aesethetics, features, performance, and price. That’s an impressive and rare combination, leaving us very impressed with the ASRock Z68 Extreme 7.