REVIEW Asrock Z87M OC FORMULA (Pic Heavy) :)

Discussion in 'Intel x86 CPUs and chipsets' started by gazza30, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. gazza30

    gazza30 Member

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    Asrock Z87M OC Formula Review
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    Ok Well today i received my new Z87 motherboard so i thought i’d share a few pictures and do a small review.

    First up the Z87M OCF is the micro atx version so the box was pretty compact. Opening up you’ll find the usual gear manuals support CD, Gpu bridges Sli / CF , Gelid extreme thermal paste ,a few sata cable and of course the backplate.

    As per the name this board is tailored to.. well everyone i think but especially overclockers or to those of you that like to have a punchy gamer without the need for the room size case. It doesn’t let you down in the looks department either bright yellow , black and gold caps to pimp it out sure does set it off nicely.

    Well lets check out some pic's yeh!!

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    6 sata 3 ports great for people needing plenty of storage , and power / reset buttons in the corner plus the dual bios switch to the left.

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    Quick overview of the board bottom right you can see the LN2 switch and the slow mode switch pretty much standard on any benching boards lately. If you bump it without realizing you'll be wondering why oh why is my CPU stuck at superslow speeds but it is handy for benching.

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    Now the backplate pretty normal stuff here ps2 port , plenty of usb ports , full size display port, HDMI in and out , E-sata never used one myself but hey its there , another cmos reset button , and the usual sound input / outputs both digital and analog.

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    closeup of the ram slots , post code reader plus LN2 and slow mode switch. Small winge here but no voltage read points where i'd thought for sure i'd find them guessing the full size OC Formula will have them.

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    nice clean looking cpu socket area , easy to insulate for sub-zero cooling sessions.

    The onboard sound i thought was worth a mention, as with many boards of late board makers are really starting to pay attention to people wanting a decent integrated sound option without having to spend more money on a sound card. Sure you can get better sound from an expensive sound card but give it a go first i was pretty surprised at how well it handled gaming / movie / music duties.


    Now to the Asrock UEFI Bios


    plenty in here to tweak that’s for sure but don’t panic. The board has some really nice predefined ram and cpu overclocks ready for you to try without the need to run extreme LN2 cooling or even water cooling for some of them.


    For the benchers theres some pretty serious presets as well all customized by Asrocks in house an overclocking guru Nick Shih.

    Presets range from 5.8 - 6.6ghz cpu overclocks and some crazy tuned memory presets for Samsung , Hynix , PSC , BBSE and even Hyper based memory kits.

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    Nice layout with the majority of tweaking done in the OC Tweaker Tab

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    Some pretty usefull extreme OC profiles just make sure you have the cooling to mess with these you have been warned.

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    Here we go air and water coolers have not been left out either. Feel free to tune your own profiles from scratch though.

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    And now to the ram all the ram profiles you could ever want

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    And more

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    And wait for it more. Once againg feel free to tune your ram from scratch or just set an XMP profile if you like.

    So let talk about setup few things i can see straight up if you going to run sli/cf cards will be packed together restricting airflow but those are the breaks when choosing an m-atx board unless you choose to water cool them that is. Looking forward to seeing some builds here on OCAU using this little monster.


    The Silver Arrow fitted no problems at all due to a nice clean socket layout around the cpu and even had room to run some Gskill Tridents. Although if you want to run an additional 2 sticks you would need to remove the top red fin of the heatspreader off one stick.


    the install of win7 went off without a hitch using a usb stick so it was nice and fast popped in the bundled driver / utility disc and just let it install almost everything except the odd peice of bloatware. Well that was easy and after a couple of reboots looks like i’m good to go.


    Lets head back to the bios and set defaults so we can do a comparison between defaults and then later on perhaps a small overclock on air and top it off with some Extreme Cooling Clocks to see what sort of gains we can get.


    So enough talk lets take the Asrock OCm Formula for a stroll shall we.


    Hardware Specifics for testing.


    Win7 64 bit

    Intel 4470k

    Gskill 2600ddr3 2x4gb

    Corsair AX1200

    MSI 7970 Lightning 13.4 driver

    Hdd 1.5tb Seagate

    Thermalright silver arrow


    Synthetic Tests

    XTU

    Cinebench

    3D mark 11

    3d mark firestrike


    Game tests

    Screen res of 1920x1080 was used for all game tests

    Battlefield 3

    Hitman


    Lets check out some results first results where ran at optimized defaults then again at 4.2 with a small oc on the gpu 1220 core / 1800 mem

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    Now for a small 4.2 OC and a bump to the GPU at 1220 / 1800


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    So now for some extreme cooling results wanted to do the same list of tests but only managed a couple due to condensation issues so i pulled up rather than continue on until things went Boom.

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    All in all a couple of decent runs considering my first subzero sessions with the board and hopefully many more to come.
    Solid little board and really easy to work with under air or extreme cooling.

    Thanks for looking :D
     
  2. snappy1

    snappy1 Member

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    Great review, think I may look at this boards big brother, my Z77 OC formula has been bulletproof:thumbup:
     
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    gazza30

    gazza30 Member

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    Cheers snappy really happy with my first Asrock purchase rock solid beast of a board.
    Had a look at its big brother but thought i'd go for the little guy this time. Interesting though the full size OC Formula only runs Quad Sli and Sli only but supports 4 way crossfire although only at x8-4-4-4 which i didn't like.

    For a true 4 way board thats got decent bandwidth across the pcie slots your looking at $430 and beyond last i checked.
     
  4. snappy1

    snappy1 Member

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    Were they cascade clocks?
     
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    gazza30

    gazza30 Member

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    Yeh mate cascade at -115 / -120 quick and dirty OC's so should be able to get some more out of it.
     
  6. Yamunsa

    Yamunsa Member

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    nice review m8 and great pics. i'm a fan of matx but haven't tried asrock before. how was the formula drive tool and does the Z87M have the dehumidifier function like it's big brother?
     
  7. bobster

    bobster Member

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    I nearly bought this but I got a good deal on GENE VI, regrets now the GENE is causing me grief now
     
  8. Bullants

    Bullants Member

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    Nice review gazza,thinking off getting this board soon,I have the OCF and its awesome.Hey Yamunsa,I was the same never tried asrock before and must say it is such a solid board for benching , I use the lite version of formula drive and is great.The formal coating on the big board is great too
     
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    gazza30

    gazza30 Member

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    First matx board ive ever owned to be honest but it packs a hell of a punch for the size. As for the formula drive software its pretty solid easy to get working unlike my last gen Asus board. Dehumidifier function i'll have to check but I'm 99% sure I saw it in bios somewhere.

    You could always sell it on the forums and try the Asrock. Certainly not regretting my purchase :thumbup:

    Thanks Bull was fun to do plus a little benching along the way. Yeh I mainly use the lite version of formula drive comes without the extra bloat but even the full version installs nice and quick.

    2 things I wish the mini had is Voltage read points and the conformal coating even if you still need to insulate an extra layer of protection can't hurt :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  10. bobster

    bobster Member

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    So a few motherboards later I now own this board so I thought I would add my 5c to this review,

    Pros
    1. Sound is better than the Gene and the MSI gaming series in my opinion
    2. Msata, Mini PCI-E and Esata ports
    3. 5 Point fan control in BIOS of CPU + 2 Chassis fans
    Cons
    1. VRM heatsink are a little close to cpu so it got in the way a little of my heatsink brackets on my coolermaster T4
    2. Limited Control of Chassis Fan 2
    3. PWR Fan connector is pointless

    This board has what you need and thats about it.... Intels Z87 chipset + good power management + good sound.
     
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    gazza30

    gazza30 Member

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    surprising you had issues with an average tower style cooler I used a Thermalright Silver Arrow which is a monster. There would be issues with using the first ram slot and tall ram sinks but most people are happy with 8gb so 2nd and 4th slot are in use.
    The ease of use is what still gets me, so easy to OC with.
    Glad your liking the sound I was quite surprised with it myself board makers are really paying attention to quality onboard these days :thumbup:
     
  12. bobster

    bobster Member

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    Bad bracket design from coolermaster but its a budget cooler until i get WC in there
     
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    gazza30

    gazza30 Member

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    Yeah I guess its hard for both cooler and mobo makers to get 100% compatibility.
    Going a Corsair closed loop or custom water?
     
  14. bobster

    bobster Member

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    Custom, I had the H100i it was very very disappointing for OC'd Haswell, unless you are prepared to put up with the noise you won't like to temps.
     
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    gazza30

    gazza30 Member

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    Nice one post some pics of your oc keen to see how you go with it :thumbup:
     
  16. bobster

    bobster Member

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    What tips can you give with oc, been using ASUS too long now
     
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    gazza30

    gazza30 Member

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    What oc volts etc did you get with last board?

    The right hand side in bios gives a pretty good description of what most settings do and the oc tweaker tab is pretty much where you'll be spending most of your time once you do the initial bios setup.

    See how you go but the optimized oc settings for 4.2 at the top of the oc tweaker page is not a bad place to start very safe voltages applied nothing crazy then push on from there.
     
  18. bobster

    bobster Member

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    4.2Ghz 100% stable at Adaptive 1.18v with an 0.02v offset, LLC/Vdrop brings it to 1.25v sometimes.

    Temps arn't great on atm with my elcheapo Coolermaster
     
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    gazza30

    gazza30 Member

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    I would stay away from adaptive voltage settings go with override so there is no chance that the board may overvolt on its own. You will find if you keep all settings the same and just up the cpu multi up adaptive voltage setting may request more vcore than you've set.
    Also try drop LLC to 3 pretty sure setting 1 was the most aggressive more than likely overvolting slightly especially if your adding +.o2v offset. You should find your temps come back down a bit once you make the changes :thumbup:
     
  20. bobster

    bobster Member

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    Overclocking postponed until I get a Devil Canyon!! This mobo better support it!!
     

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