ASRock Z77 OC Formula Review
We actually had to borrow that above image from ASRock as the box was made of the same material as the EVGA Z77 FTW we reviewed a few weeks ago, it is very hard to get a good image with all the black on the box and the material. It is very nice in person, however our camera just can't capture its majesty.
Now the accessories are easy to photograph, they are all inside that nice black felt bag which is then placed under the motherboard in the box. Let's list them:
- 6x SATA III Cables
- I/O Shield
- Two applications of GC-Extreme
- USB 3.0 Front Panel Bay
- Backpanel bracket for USB 3.0
- 2x MOLEX to eSATA connectors
- 10x Plastic motherboard standoffs (For use of board outside case…)
- Manuals/Driver DVD
No voltage read connectors are provided, even though the type of receptacles they use are found on many MSI boards, there are probe attachments for this which MSI provides, and we are saddened that ASRock did not provide them. Without them you are going to have an issue getting your full-sized probe head to stay in the receptacle without bending/damaging the pin inside the receptacle. If you have this board you should try to find a way to make your own attachments, or get thinner probe heads for your multimeter. Not the biggest issue, but still, every board with read points which can take an attachment we have been provided with attachments, even mid-range Z68 MSI boards. We are however grateful that ASRock decided to provide read points.
The color scheme is a bit odd; we have black, gold, and yellow. The gold and yellow really don’t match as well as you would think. The only part that is yellow is in the slots, if they were black it would probably match better, however the board wouldn’t be so recognizable.
The motherboard is an eATX form factor, from the outside it really just looks like it could be a very well equipped mid-range motherboard; however upon closer inspection we see some very nice features. The board has 15 temperature sensors including the CPU and PCH sensors which are a really nice feature if you want to monitor each part of the board. There are 8 fan headers, 2 of them are 4-pin PWMa nd they are grouped in four parts of the board in groups of 2. One of them is taken up by the VRM fan. The VRM heatsinks is pretty huge, enough to absorb any heat from the 12 phase VRM. ASRock provided a POST Code display as well as a bunch of voltage read points, some buttons for changing frequency variables on the fly, and buttons for power and such.
Back Panel I/O:
- 6x USB 3.0
- 4x USB 2.0
- 1GBit LAN
- TOSLINK 7.1 Audio
The backpanel I/O isn't numerous, just a bunch of USB, no eSATA, nothing other than USB. A single HDMI port is used as the video output, if this board wasn't named OC Formula then it would be a concern.
These are the voltage read points we talked about earlier, not just main voltages, they read some other auxilary voltages as well. Right on the edge of the board is a set of PCI-E disable switches which can turn on/off the three main PCI-E slots. The two buttons that are plus and minus control frequency, multiplier, or voltage depending on what you set with the included software.
Next to the VRM are two sets of power connectors to support high current loads.
There is a Molex connector here but it is angled in the worst position possible inside a case, however if the board is on a test bench it won’t be too hard to hook it in. There are 3 full sized PCI-E 16x slots, the first is the electrically 16x , the second is 8x , and the last is 4x from the PCH. That means the last slot is PCI-E 2.0 only (no 8+4+4 configuration on this board).
The back of the board has some backside NexFETs which are protected by this backpanel metal cover. There is something i want to note, but it might just be due to our sample, the last set of mounting holes on the PCB doesn't align correctly with standard ATX mountings. We use the same test bench for every board that we have reviewed from more than 4 different manufacturers, and they all are a perfect fit except with this board, however it isn't such an issue since you don't really need more than a few screws to fit.