asrock gen3 1 Exclusive hands on pictures of ASRocks new Gen3 motherboards

Last week details of ASRock's new PCI Express 3.0 motherboards appeared on the web and today we bring you exclusive hands on pictures of the Z68 Extreme3 and Z68 Extreme7. ASRock will be using the new styling for all of its upcoming motherboards, so expect a lot more black and gold in the future, the only exception being the Fatal1ty boards of course.

Last week details of ASRock's new PCI Express 3.0 motherboards appeared on the web and today we bring you exclusive hands on pictures of the Z68 Extreme3 and Z68 Extreme7. ASRock will be using the new styling for all of its upcoming motherboards, so expect a lot more black and gold in the future, the only exception being the Fatal1ty boards of course.

Neither board holds any real secrets beyond the specs that were posted last week, but this is the first high-resolution, detailed picture of the Z68 Extreme3. A couple of things with missed with regards to the rear I/O of the Z68 Extrem3 includes a PS/2 port and optical S/PDIF out. The board also sports a POST80 debug LED which is an unusual feature for a board this far down in the pecking order. The Z68 Extreme3  is in our opinion looking like the Z68 board to get from ASRock if you're looking for something that won't be horrendously expensive, yet offering a well-balanced feature set.

asrock gen3 2 Exclusive hands on pictures of ASRocks new Gen3 motherboards

Moving on we have the Z68 Extreme7 and we're still quite flabbergasted that ASRock has made a board like this. All of the heatsinks are screwed on and the attention to detail is very high. Some interesting things that we thought we should point out is that ASRock is using two SATA 6Gbps controllers from ASMedia for this board, but more interestingly it also has a pair of Broadcom Ethernet controllers. A peculiar addition we also noticed is a pin-header for a PS/2 port, although no actual port is supplied as far as we're aware.

asrock gen3 4 Exclusive hands on pictures of ASRocks new Gen3 motherboards

As it happens, a UK online retailer has listed a price for the Z68 Extreme7 and as we mentioned last week, it's going to be expensive. The board is listed at £250 (S$490) which makes it one of the most expensive Z68 boards out there pretty much only beaten by Asus' Maximus IV Extreme-Z so far.

We'd like to pick up on something here, namely PCI Express 3.0. According to ASRock, any current 6-series motherboard should at least in theory work with PCI Express 3.0, but as soon as you involve lane switches you run into problems unless the switches are PCI Express 3.0 compliant. Sandy Bridge does not have hidden support for PCI Express 3.0 and you won't be seeing any performance advantage until Ivy Bridge comes out, or at least this is not something that ASRock has seen in their testing.

We've put a few more pictures of the boards on the next page, alongside with a few pictures of the Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3. Do note that the boards we looked at were pre-production boards and the heatsink finish isn't that of final products. ASRock is also running a competition at the moment where you can win one of its new Gen3 boards, so if you're keen on getting one, head over to the competition website.