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Old 17th March 2017, 5:43 PM   #1
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Default Asrock Z270 Extreme4 – User Review

Asrock Z270 Extreme4 – User Review








Introduction

Here we go with some good old fashioned mainstream motherboard reviewing, with the Asrock Z270 Extreme4. By now, most of us see the Extreme 4 as the perfect balance between performance and price, and this Z270 series board is no exemption. It has support for both the 6th generation “Skylake” CPU’s and current 7th generation “Kabylake” CPU’s.

The new line introduces AURA RGB lighting in-line with the current #RGBeverything movement, as well updates that come with the new Intel chipset. New additions include a second PCIe M.2 storage slot, compatable with the upcoming Optane drives, reinforced PCIe slots, higher memory support up to 3866+ and also includes the improved Realtek 1220 Audio Codec over the previous generation.

I don’t believe I have ever seen a motherboard with such strikingly White/Black contrast either. Man, this thing really stands out! All of this coming in on a board with a circa $229AUD price tag. What more can anyone ask for.






Specifications

• CPU
- Supports 7th and 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors (Socket 1151)
- Digi Power design
- 10 Power Phase design
- Supports Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology
- Supports Intel® K-Series unlocked CPUs
- Supports ASRock BCLK Full-range Overclocking

• Chipset
- Intel® Z270

• Memory
- Dual Channel DDR4 Memory Technology
- 4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
- Supports DDR4 3866+(OC)*/3733(OC)/3600(OC)/3200(OC)/2933(OC)/2800(OC)/2400**/2133 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- Supports ECC UDIMM memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)
- Max. capacity of system memory: 64GB***
- Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 2.0
- 15μ Gold Contact in DIMM Slots

*Please refer to Memory Support List on ASRock's website for more information.

**7th Gen Intel® CPU supports DDR4 up to 2400; 6th Gen Intel® CPU supports DDR4 up to 2133.

***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.

• Graphic
- Supports Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals : Intel® Quick Sync Video with AVC, MVC (S3D) and MPEG-2 Full HW Encode1, Intel® InTru™ 3D, Intel® Clear Video HD Technology, Intel® Insider™, Intel® HD Graphics
- Gen9 LP, DX11.3, DX12
- HWAEncode/Decode: VP8, HEVC 8b, VP9, HEVC 10b (For 7th Gen Intel® CPU)
- HWA Encode/Decode: VP8, HEVC 8b; GPU/SWEncode/Decode: VP9, HEVC 10b (For 6th Gen Intel® CPU)
- Max. shared memory 1024MB*
- Three graphics output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI
- Supports Triple Monitor
- Supports HDMI with max. resolution up to 4K x 2K (4096x2160) @ 24Hz / (3840x2160) @ 30Hz
- Supports DVI-D with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
- Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
- Supports Auto Lip Sync, Deep Color (12bpc), xvYCC and HBR (High Bit Rate Audio) with HDMI Port (Compliant HDMI monitor is required)
- Supports HDCP with DVI-D and HDMI Ports
- Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) playback with DVI-D and HDMI Ports

*Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals and the VGA outputs can be supported only with processors which are GPU integrated.

**The size of maximum shared memory may vary from different operating systems.

***Due to chipset limitation, the Blu-ray playback of Intel® HD Graphics is only supported under Windows® 8 / 8 64-bit / 7 / 7 64-bit.

****Intel® InTru™ 3D is only supported under Windows® 8 / 8 64-bit / 7 / 7 64-bit.

• Multi-GPU Support
Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology

• Expansion Slots
- 3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slots (PCIE2/PCIE4/PCIE6: single at x16 (PCIE2); dual at x8 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4); triple at x8 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4) / x4 (PCIE6))*
- 3 x PCI Express 3.0 x1 Slots (Flexible PCIe)
- 1 x M.2 Socket (Key E), supports type 2230 WiFi/BT module
- 15μ Gold Contact in VGA PCIe Slot (PCIE2)

*Supports NVMe SSD as boot disks

• Storage
- 6 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s Connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel® Rapid Storage Technology 15 and Intel® Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug*
- 2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s Connectors by ASMedia ASM1061, support NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug*
- 1 x Ultra M.2 Socket (M2_1), supports M Key type 2230/2242/2260/2280 M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen3 x4 (32 Gb/s)**
- 1 x Ultra M.2 Socket (M2_2), supports M Key type 2230/2242/2260/2280/22110 M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen3 x4 (32 Gb/s)**

*M2_1, SATA3_0 and SATA3_1 share lanes. If either one of them is in use, the others will be disabled.
M2_2, SATA3_4 and SATA3_5 share lanes. If either one of them is in use, the others will be disabled.

**Supports Intel® Optane™ Technology
Supports NVMe SSD as boot disks
Supports ASRock U.2 Kit

• LAN
- Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
- Giga PHY Intel® I219V
- Supports Wake-On-LAN
- Supports Lightning/ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection)
- Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
- Supports PXE

• Audio
- 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec)
- Premium Blu-ray Audio support
- Supports Surge Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection)
- Supports Purity Sound™ 4
- Nichicon Fine Gold Series Audio Caps
- 120dB SNR DAC with Differential Amplifier
- TI® NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier for Front Panel Audio Connector (Supports up to 600 Ohm headsets)
- Pure Power-In
- Direct Drive Technology
- PCB isolate shielding
- Impedance Sensing on Front Out port
- Individual PCB Layers for R/L Audio Channel
- AURA RGB LED
- 15μ Gold Audio Connector
- Supports DTS Connect

• IO Connections
- 1 x COM Port Header
- 1 x TPM Header
- 1 x Power LED and Speaker Header
- 1 x AURA RGB LED Header*
- 1 x CPU Fan Connector (4-pin)**
- 1 x CPU Optional/Water Pump Fan Connector (4-pin)***
- 2 x Chassis Fan Connectors (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
- 1 x Chassis Optional/Water Pump Fan Connector (4-pin)****
- 1 x 24 pin ATX Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector)
- 1 x 8 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector)
- 1 x Front Panel Audio Connector (15μ Gold Audio Connector)
- 1 x Thunderbolt™ AIC Connector (5-pin)
- 1 x Thunderbolt™ AIC Connector (10-pin)*****
- 3 x USB 2.0 Headers (Support 6 USB 2.0 ports) (Intel® Z270) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
- 1 x USB 3.0 Header (Supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) (Intel® Z270) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
- 1 x USB 3.0 Header (Supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) (ASMedia ASM1074 hub) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))

*Supports up to 12V/3A, 36W LED Strip.

**The CPU Fan Connector supports the CPU fan of maximum 1A (12W) fan power.

***The CPU Optional/Water Pump Fan supports the water cooler fan of maximum 1.5A (18W) fan power.

****The Chassis Optional/Water Pump Fan supports the water cooler fan of maximum 1.5A (18W) fan power.
CHA_FAN1 and CHA_FAN2 can auto detect if 3-pin or 4-pin fan is in use.

*****Only one Thunderbolt™ AIC Card is supported.


• Back I/O Ports
- 2 x Antenna Ports
- 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
- 1 x D-Sub Port
- 1 x DVI-D Port
- 1 x HDMI Port
- 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
- 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A Port (10 Gb/s) (ASMedia ASM2142) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
- 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C Port (10 Gb/s) (ASMedia ASM2142) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
- 4 x USB 3.0 Ports (Intel® Z270) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
- 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
- HD Audio Jacks: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone

• Hardware Monitor

- Temperature Sensing: CPU, CPU Optional/Water Pump, Chassis, Chassis Optional/Water Pump Fans
- Fan Tachometer: CPU, CPU Optional/Water Pump, Chassis, Chassis Optional/Water Pump Fans
- Quiet Fan (Auto adjust chassis fan speed by CPU temperature): CPU, CPU Optional/Water Pump, Chassis, Chassis Optional/Water Pump Fans
- Fan Multi-Speed Control: CPU, CPU Optional/Water Pump, Chassis, Chassis Optional/Water Pump Fans
- Voltage monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, CPU Vcore, DRAM, VPPM, PCH 1.0V, VCCSA, VCCST

• Accessories
- Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
- 4 x SATA Data Cables
- 1 x ASRock SLI_HB_Bridge_2S Card
- 3 x Screws for M.2 Sockets

• BIOS
- 2 x 128Mb AMI UEFI Legal BIOS with multilingual GUI support (1 x Main BIOS and 1 x Backup BIOS)
- Supports Secure Backup UEFI Technology
- ACPI 6.0 Compliant wake up events
- SMBIOS 2.7 Support
- CPU, GT_CPU, DRAM, VPPM, PCH 1.0V, VCCIO, VCCST, VCCSA, VCCPLL Voltage Multi-adjustment

• Software and UEFI
Software
- ASRock A-Tuning
- ASRock AURA RGB LED
- ASRock APP Charger
- ASRock XFast LAN*
UEFI
- ASRock EZ Mode
- ASRock Full HD UEFI
- ASRock My Favorites in UEFI
- ASRock Instant Flash
- ASRock Internet Flash
- ASRock Crashless BIOS
- ASRock UEFI System Browser
- ASRock UEFI Tech Service
- ASRock Easy RAID Installer

- Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), Google Chrome Browser and Toolbar

*These utilities can be downloaded from ASRock Live Update & APP Shop.

• Operating System

- Microsoft® Windows® 10 64-bit (For 7th Gen Intel® CPU)
- Microsoft® Windows® 10 64-bit / 8.1 64-bit / 7 32-bit / 7 64-bit (For 6th Gen Intel® CPU)*

*To install Windows® 7 OS, a modified installation disk with xHCI drivers packed into the ISO file is required. Please check our User Manual for more detailed instructions.
For the updated Windows® 10 driver, please visit ASRock's website for details.

• Form Factor
- ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm
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Old 17th March 2017, 5:43 PM   #2
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Unboxing

The Asrock Z270 Extreme4 comes in similar packaging to most of their other product lines. Featuring hues of Blue and White “X” logo for EXTREME on a Black background. The usual specifications and info located on the back of the carton.








The inside packaging is also in-line with Asrock’s other products, with the assortment of accessories and manual on top, and the motherboard below secured with foam and zip-ties all within a large anti-static bag.











Accessories included with the motherboard are 4x SATA 6Gb/s Cables in fashionable black, 3x M.2 SSD securing screws, an Asrock 2 Slot High Bandwidth SLI Bridge, IO Shield, Post card, Support CD, User Manual and Software Setup Guide.





And here it is, the Asrock Z270 Extreme4. It is based on the LGA 1151 socket using Intel’s Z270 Chipset. The White to the IO cover is super bright, and match the large X symbol on the 4 layer PCB. AURA RGB lit areas are included behind the PCH, IO Cover and Purity Sound 4 logo’s. This is a full ATX design and measures in at 30.5cm x 24.4cm. PCB is of a 4 layer variety.






There is no surprises to the rear of the board. The finish is good, and all soldering is of a high quality without too many sharp points. Not saying it’s smooth, but didn’t end up with the usual abrasions on my delicate finger tips.





The CPU power supply is cooled by 2 individual heatsinks. Unlike the Asrock Z270 Fatal1ty K6 motherboard I previously reviewed, there is no heatpipe to connect the two.





Removing the heatsink we can see the power components. I believe it to be a 6+4+1+1 setup. Included are Asrock's premium 45A chokes and 12K Nichicon Black Caps. There is also an additional 2 phases for the memory, which is standard on most boards.





The Asrock Z270 Extreme4 supports 4 Dimms of DDR4 memory up to 3866+ speeds at XMP rating, and for a maximum capacity of 64Gb. Keep in mind this is not a not a top of the line board, so support for higher RAM speeds is not the same as higher priced boards. The 3866+ support is only for a single module, so you may only be able to achieve up to 3600 or 3733 in dual channel or possibly lower with 4 dimms installed. Different topology setups allow for different needs when it comes to memory engineering. I will test this further in the overclocking section.





Asrock have provided a M.2 Wi-Fi port to under the IO Cover for anyone that wishes to install their own Type 2230 Wi-Fi/BT module. This port makes use of the additional PCI-E lanes available on the new chipset.





IO panel connections are sufficient, though a lot less than others. Here we have the bracket for the optional Type 2230 Wi-Fi/BT Module, PS2 connection, 4x USB 3.0 ports, VGA Port, HDMI Port, DVI-D Port, USB Type-A, USB Type-C, LAN RJ-45 Port, Optical SPDIF Out Port and Audio IO ports.





Add in card support is of a typical nature. On the Asrock Extreme4 we have 3x PCIe 3.0 X1 slots, 2x reinforced PCIe 3.0 X16 slots and an additional PCIe 3.0 X4 slot. It includes support for AMD 3-way CrossFireX as well as Nvidia SLI. Available setups are for Single GPU - x16, Dual GPU – 8x/8x, Triple GPU – 8x/8x/4x.





The PCH Heatsink carries the theme through with the Black/White contrast. Around the edge on the PCB is around 10x AURA controlled RGB LED’s which add the customizable colourful glow to the area. Under the heatsink we can see the new generation chipset.








Included with the Z270 Extreme4 is a dual bios setup. Very handy if a bios flash goes wrong, so you can switch to the second bios to attempt a recovery, or if it is damaged, you can still make use of the motherboard.





Asrock have taken advantage of the new chipset setup and now provide the option for 2x M.2 PCIe SSD’s to be installed. One is located in an accessible position above the 1st PCIe x16 slot, and the other in an offset position below the PCH heatsink, still almost handily accessible depending on what add in cards have been installed. When the M.2 Drives are installed though, you will lose 2 available SATA Connections per drive.





Luckily, Asrock have provided a total of 8x SATA 6Gb/s connections for your storage needs, all orientated at 90 degrees. So the loss of a possible 4 connections for the M.2 drives when in use still allows for a further 4x drives to be installed. Asrock provide software for RAID setups for those that want the extra speed or mirroring security.





Sound is supplied through the Purity Sound 4 system that utilises the new Realtek ALC1220 audio codec. This provides 7.1 channel audio though the Optical SPDIF connector, or 5.1 channel via the Audio I/O connections. Other features are Nichicon Fine Gold Series Caps and 120dB SNR DAC with Differential Amplifier. It’s located under a RGB lit shroud and positioned with physical PCB separation to reduce electrical signal noise.









Last edited by headin2001; 17th March 2017 at 6:03 PM.
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Old 17th March 2017, 5:44 PM   #3
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Overclocking

Manual OC

Ok, now I’m what I would like to call an “enthusiast overclocker”. I have been in the hobby now for many years, and like to delve in and fine tune my BIOS to suit me. Anyone that has used an Asrock bios in the past will find it all very familiar. The bios has two menu types, and the advanced menu is the one to be using. It is very easy to navigate and you will have every setting you could need.

So, with only changing:
⦁ Set the DRAM to XMP. Or alternatively you can leave memory setting til after test CPU stability.
⦁ Set the VCore to Manual and apply a voltage you are comfortable with. Kabylake CPU’s are fine in the range of 1.35v to 1.45v for daily use if temperatures are kept in check.
⦁ Set the multiplier you would like for the CPU (in my circumstance, went straight for 50x)
⦁ Set LLC value to Level 1 for consistent voltage or 2 for minimal drops (some find this the better setting on this motherboard).
⦁ Hit F10, save the BIOS and check it out in windows
⦁ Adjust the Cache ratio if you would like to push higher. I went for 45x, knowing the limits of this CPU, and that it is achievable on most.
⦁ Run your stability tests and increase the Core Ratio until you either hit your thermal limit, or it fails you selected stability tests.
⦁ Once you are happy with the stability speed, you can then adjust the VCore one step at a time to find the best possible voltage setting for the CPU to be stable. If you hit a point where it become unstable, increase the VCore 0.01v and test once more.

A quick note for Kaby Lake. New for the series in bios is the ability to set an offset multiplier for AVX instruction sets, much like has been adopted on the 2011-3 platform for a while now. Depending on the CPU’s ability, you may be able to achieve a stable OC for daily/gaming at 100-200Mhz higher than Prime/Realbench/XTU speeds. With trial and error, you will find the best setting for all uses with this addition.

For anyone that would like to overclock and keep the power saving options working, instead of setting a manual voltage, you can alternatively use the offset option. It is a bit more trial and error until you find the right offset, but will allow you to keep your overclock and still have the power savings that the newer generations are built for.

We all have our own process, and obviously finding a maximum stable clock at a voltage isn’t always this simple, but with what’s above, it’s basically that simple. Mine is 3x XTU Bench Runs, 3 consecutive passes of Cinebench (a bad OC will usually show within these 2 quite quickly), a good hour pass with Asus Realbench V2, as it is a good overall system stability test, followed by some good old fashioned gaming, in my case, Battlefield 4. I find Battlefield the best to bring things to their knees, pushing the RAM, CPU and IO’s, PCH and GPU. It all gets a hammering. I’m not a fan of Prime95, but if you want to run it for days on end, it’s totally up to you.

Here is the results, which I have put through my suit of stability testing and found to be totally reliable in gaming, 3D rendering and googling. One thing to note on this sample, is I ran into a maximum of 4500Mhz for cache when running X265, XTU and Prime95. No other benchmarks did I have an issue with, and was able to run up to 4800Mhz with good stability. This could be down to a bios issue, or a hardware design issue, both of which I am not sure, so maybe an updated bios in the future may help.






Memory Overclocking

Memory overclocking was tedious as always. For those that like to dabble in the black art, it can be a mix of frustration and tribulation. Lacking a Debug LED makes it all the more difficult.

But, being price-point hardware, we have to work on it the same way we did over 10 years ago. A speaker helps in these circumstances. The other difficulty to overcome is the extra settings available on other higher end boards can hold things back a bit, so we are limited with some settings in the background being controlled by the bios algorithms to do the work.

Where did we end up. Using the Samsung B-Die based memory, I found the maximum speed I was able to obtain was 3600 at 2t timings.





Pushing further to tighten timings up, and bring back to 1t timings, speed became the first necessity to change. After many boot loops, and some thorough testing, I was eventually able to run at reasonably tight timings at a speed of 3200C11-11-1t at 1.6v. Not bad at all. This proved stable in all my testing, and even at 3200C12 I was also able to run at 1.5v which is almost a daily speed at very tight secondary and tertiary timings.



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Old 17th March 2017, 5:45 PM   #4
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Benchmarks

Test Setup
CPU – Intel i7 7700K, stock 4500/4200, OC - 5000/4800
Cooler – Enermax Liqmax II 240 AIO
Thermal Paste – Coolermaster Mastergel Maker Nano
Motherboard - Asrock Z270 Extreme4
RAM – Galax HoF OC LAB 4000C19 2x8GB DDR4 (XMP Profile, Samsung B-Die IC)
Storage – Zadak511 250GB SSD
Graphics – Asus 750ti OC DirectCUII 2GB
PSU – Coolermaster GX750
Test Bench - Coolermaster Test Bench V1.0
OS – Windows 10 Pro x64



Comparison System 2
CPU – Intel i7 7700K, stock 4500/4200, OC - 5000/4800
Cooler – Enermax Liqmax II 240 AIO
Thermal Paste – Coolermaster Mastergel Maker Nano
Motherboard – Asrock Z170M OC Formula
Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6
Asus ROG Maximus XI Formula
RAM – Galax HoF OC LAB 4000C19 2x8GB DDR4 (XMP Profile, Samsung B-Die IC)
Storage – Zadak511 250GB SSD
Graphics – Asus 750ti OC DirectCUII 2GB
PSU – Coolermaster GX750
Test Bench - Coolermaster Test Bench V1.0
OS – Windows 10 Pro x64




Methodology

For benchmarking this motherboard, I have come up with a suite to show mostly CPU and memory performance.

Software used:
Intel XTU (tests both CPU and memory performance)
Geekbench 3
Cinebench R11.5 – CPU Test only
Cinebench R15 –CPU Test only
Aida64 – Memory Benchmark and Latency
3DMark Fire Strike Physics

All tests were done at both stock CPU clocks of 4500/4200 cache, and overclocked to 5000/4800 cache. Memory was set to XMP. Each benchmark was run 3 times, and the best score recorded discarding any obviously glitched runs.

Note : XTU for this particular board has been run at 5000/4500 due to the board being able to pass with more than 4500Mhz on cache.





















Last edited by headin2001; 17th March 2017 at 8:01 PM.
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Old 17th March 2017, 5:46 PM   #5
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Conclusion

The Asrock Z270 Extreme4 is the “Price/Performance” board in the Z270 line-up. I cannot find one that offers the options this provides for circa $230AUD and overclock CPU’s to a similar level to the more expensive boards.

One thing I miss is the addition of a debug LED and On/Reset switches on the board. For many that would be looking at this range of motherboard, this probably isn’t going to be an issue. But….. I am an enthusiast overclocker, and when I am tinkering away to get the most out of my system, I usually find myself reaching for these buttons and not my case switch, and checking the codes to work out where I have gone wrong. Not huge, but hey, it’s something I look for when buying a board.

The AURA RGB lighting effect are a nice step into 2017. They aren’t to the quality of lighting as the opposition like ASUS have provided, but do a nice job for a motherboard at this price point. You do see the brighter areas where the LED’s are positioned, but being only new to the RGB scene, these can only mature in the future as the products mature. One downside to the lighting is when the system is switched off, the lighting stays on. This may be a problem for some.

Sound quality from the on-board is similar to all other board I have tested with the same Realtek ALC1220 Codec. Nothing to complain about here.

For those that just want a solid day to day system, or want a Gaming system that can do it all you honestly could not go wrong with this motherboard. The money you could save on buying this could go to a step up on your GPU, SSD or CPU. For me, that’s a winner.

For the Overclocker, the Extreme4 will let you push the same daily overclocks as other boards, but if you are looking to push further, you are probably better off with a more expensive board that’s designed for it. The lack of memory speed support, Debug LED, and less efficient VRM and cooling will be the breaker.

I did find some issues with trying to run any AVX based benchmark or stability test with Cache speed set to over 4.5Ghz. This has not been an issue on this CPU and any other board I have tested, so it appears that the board may still need further bios revisions to aid it, or the circuitry isn't quite enough to match others. But.......it happily allowed for a daily 5.0/4.8 overclock with 1 hour stability on the non-AVX based Asus Realbench. As Cache speed will have little effect on daily usage, I do believe most users when overclocking will likely leave the Cache to stock or a max of 4.5Ghz anyway in order to keep voltages to a satisfactory level.





You can find the Asrock Z270 Extreme4 at the majority of the usual Australian Resellers. Staticice listing at the current time have it listed between $219AUD to $269AUD. http://www.staticice.com.au/cgi-bin/...+Z270+Extreme4

Last edited by headin2001; 17th March 2017 at 8:04 PM.
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Old 17th March 2017, 7:59 PM   #6
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Mine XMP boots 3600mhz no worries. Also, turn off LLC for better OC. Use offset voltage for best OC results. VCCPLL to 1.15v
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Old 17th March 2017, 8:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_mordred2095 View Post
Mine XMP boots 3600mhz no worries. Also, turn off LLC for better OC. Use offset voltage for best OC results. VCCPLL to 1.15v
Spot on advice there. Found the same, except I found LLC2 to work quite well. Glad your 3600 RAM boots fine, not bad for such a competitively priced board.

VCCPLL lowering on these CPU is a must for anyone. It helps to keep temps down a bit. I have found a setting of less than 1.12v can give incorrect voltage reading though. This is CPU specific, not motherboard.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 9:04 AM   #8
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Please allow me to elaborate on my findings, as I have time now.

I found that I could set any Vcore with LLC 1 or 2 in bios, and I would still get random hangs at 5Ghz (AVX offset 0!) (7700k). I found that if I set it to +300mv offset, it'd pull down to ~1.33v vCore under load, but be completely stable. The same goes for above 5Ghz, but obviously requiring a higher offset +mv

I believe LLC on these boards is either bugged or poorly tuned.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 10:05 AM   #9
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Awesome review.
The AS Rock boards are coming of age in my eyes.
Have always used Gigabyte boards as they had features no others had, dual M.2 being one of them.

Probably nitpicking here, but in my opinion the terms 'software RAID' and 'hardware RAID' are too frequently misused.


Software RAID to be independent of the hardware, done at the OS level regardless of hardware support.
Think like Windows dynamic volumes and Linux RAID file systems, independent of motherboard support.

Hardware RAID is something managed outside the OS, and requires supporting hardware/firmware to work.
Think like low end integrated Promise on some boards back in the day, Intel ICHxR more recently.

Accelerated hardware RAID is as above, but typically on a dedicated card with a processor dedicated to the task.
DELL PERC6, Promise, Highpoint type devices.

Plenty of people have been pissy at me for this in the past, but if you look at the above objectively can you really fault it?


Just an afterthought are those M.2's the full 4 lanes PCIe3.0?
Will re-read, you probably mentioned it.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 11:55 AM   #10
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Awesome review.

Just an afterthought are those M.2's the full 4 lanes PCIe3.0?
Will re-read, you probably mentioned it.
I believe these will be a Software RAID still as you described with it all being controlled with the Intel RST drivers like all other mainstream boards on the marker. I didn't install a RAID set on this board, so it's hard for me to comment too much on actual speeds.

But, as far as I am aware on the Extreme4, both M.2 slots run at the full PCIe x4 Bandwidth. Drive speed test on the top M.2 slot shows the full speed which is in line. I haven't tested the second slot though unfortunately.

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Old 22nd March 2017, 1:13 PM   #11
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Please allow me to elaborate on my findings, as I have time now.

I found that I could set any Vcore with LLC 1 or 2 in bios, and I would still get random hangs at 5Ghz (AVX offset 0!) (7700k). I found that if I set it to +300mv offset, it'd pull down to ~1.33v vCore under load, but be completely stable. The same goes for above 5Ghz, but obviously requiring a higher offset +mv

I believe LLC on these boards is either bugged or poorly tuned.
Interestingly my Z170 OCF (now daily driver) LLC1 is detrimental to performance under water. I get better overclocking results in the likes of XTU at LLC2. I only use LLC1 sub zero. This has been the case on 2 of these boards.

It is possible that the more aggressive profiles are creating problems. I have also seen better results on Gigabyte setting Turbo not Extreme.

FWIW I had a Z87 Extreme 4 and it was a fantastic board. Very strong clocker only thing holding it back was VDIMM limit of 1.8v which was absolutely not a problem for 24/7 overclocks.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 3:12 PM   #12
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I believe these will be a Software RAID still as you described with it all being controlled with the Intel RST drivers like all other mainstream boards on the marker. I didn't install a RAID set on this board, so it's hard for me to comment too much on actual speeds.
That's hardware raid, albeit non accelerated.
Take awaye the hardware that makes it work (chipset in this case) then there is no more raid.
Software RAID is has nothing to do with chipset support or driver, and is configured at the OS level in Windows disk management, or most Linux filesystem tools, not with iRST or similar.
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But, as far as I am aware on the Extreme4, both M.2 slots run at the full PCIe x4 Bandwidth. Drive speed test on the top M.2 slot shows the full speed which is in line. I haven't tested the second slot though unfortunately.

image
Hard to understand why Optane even exists with speeds like that!
Then again, can't complain about tech.

These days we have fast and efficient CPU's, fast and cheap ram, and SSD's with high bandwidth and high IOPS, what amazes me still is why some application (read:games) take so long to load still.
Running X-Plane 10 or DigitalCombatSimulator doesn't see much improvement on my system.
Must be something in the way these applications are coded that causes some delays.
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