ASRock Z77 Extreme4—Visual Inspection

ASRock are still insistent with bringing the black gold philosophy to its range, as seen here with the Z77 Extreme4 and later with the Z77 Extreme6. The main point you may immediately notice is the size and depth of the heatsinks covering up the power delivery—they are smaller than previous iterations of ASRock boards, and no longer connected via a heatpipe. This is indicative of quite a few boards we are looking at today, due to the low power requirements of the new processors and as a result, the lack of heat produced at stock voltage.

The socket area is relatively clean, especially to the south where we have no large intruding heatsink. The VRM heatsinks however do brush right up against the Intel specifications for the socket area, so you ultimately have only two directions (to the PCIe and towards the memory) in which to play around with big air coolers. The socket area is adorned with five fan headers—three along the top edge of the board and two chassis headers near the top PCIe x1 slot. The other header on board is along the bottom next to the two-digit debug.

The board is actually not a full ATX sized board—from left to right, it measures only 21.8 cm, rather than the standard ATX size of 24.4 cm. As a result this means ASRock do not have to deal with the far right holes in the motherboard for case mounting, and hence why the SATA ports in the bottom right are neatly tucked away. In this corner, we have the six SATA ports from the PCH (two SATA 6 Gbps, four SATA 3 Gbps) and another two from an ASMedia ASM1061 controller (SATA3_A1 is shared with an eSATA port, however). The internal USB 3.0 header is located nearer the 24-pin ATX power connector, perhaps indicating that is for both front case use and rear case use, taking up the space where the first PCIe x1 is.

The chipset heatsink is rather small, compared to Z68 and X79 boards, and is not connected via heatpipe to any other heatsink nearby. On the south side of the board are the standard array of audio and USB headers, along with a fan header and power/reset buttons. It is good also to see the two digit debug on the board as well.

The PCIe layout is indicative of what we will see on many Z77 boards this year, which do not use any form of PCIe lane expansion, such as a PLX chip. In this case, we have an x1, an x16 (x8 on dual card), a gap, a PCI, an x8, another PCI, and another x1. This is some smart thinking, as even with a dual GPU setup there is space for two single width PCIe x1 cards and a PCI card (which contrary to what some people think are still used in reasonable numbers).

Despite the stock image from ASRock looking a little bent on the back panel, we have a typical Z77 arrangement for IO. From left to right, a combination PS/2 port, two USB 3.0 ports (blue), a D-Sub output, a DVI-D output, HDMI, a clear CMOS button, two USB 2.0 ports (black), an eSATA port (red), gigabit Ethernet, two more USB 3.0 ports (blue), and a standard array of audio jacks featuring an optical SPDIF output.

Board Features

ASRock Z77 Extreme4
Size ATX
CPU Interface LGA-1155
Chipset Intel Z77
Power Delivery 8 + 4 Phase
Memory Slots Four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32 GB
Up to Dual Channel, 1066-2800 MHz
Video Outputs HDMI 1.4a, DVI-D, D-Sub
Onboard LAN Broadcom BCM57781
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC898
Expansion Slots 2 x PCIe x16 Gen3
2 x PCIe x1 Gen2
2 x PCI
Onboard SATA/RAID 2 x SATA 6 Gbps (PCH), Support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
2 x SATA 6 Gbps (ASMedia ASM1061)
4 x SATA 3 Gbps (PCH), Support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
USB Two USB 3.0 at rear (PCH)
Two USB 3.0 at rear (ASMedia 1042)
One USB 3.0 header (PCH)
Onboard 4 x SATA 6 Gbps
4 x SATA 3 Gbps
1 x IR Header
1 x CIR Header
1 x COM Header
1 x SPDIF Header
Power/Reset Buttons
Two Digit Debug LED
6 x Fan Headers
Front panel audio connector
3 x USB 2.0 headers (support 6 USB 2.0 ports)
1 x USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports)
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX connector
1 x 8-pin 12V connector
Fan Headers 2 x CPU Fan Header (one 4-pin, one 3-pin)
3 x CHA Fan Headers (one 4-pin, two 3-pin)
1 x PWR Fan Headers (3-pin)
IO Panel 1 x Combo PS/2 Port
1 x HDMI 1.4a
1 x DVI-D
1 x D-Sub
1 x Optical SPDIF
2 x USB 2.0
4 x USB 3.0
1 x eSATA 6 Gbps
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
1 x Clear CMOS
Audio Outputs
Warranty Period 3 years from date of purchase
Product Page Link

 

Rather than dump a Realtek NIC/Audio combination on this board, ASRock have gone for a Broadcom NIC. This means either they have struck a deal, or it works a lot better for their ASRock LAN software. ASRock are one of few motherboard manufacturers to state they support HDMI 1.4a on their website specifications as well. As one of the cheaper boards of this roundup, the Z77 Extreme4 actually comes away pretty well in terms of features.

Lucid’s Take on Virtu MVP and How it Should Work ASRock Z77 Extreme6
POST A COMMENT

145 Comments

View All Comments

  • GreenEnergy - Sunday, April 08, 2012 - link

    Indeed. Personally im looking at the Intel DH77DF:
    http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/...

    I dont see the need for anything bigger than mATX anymore. And for most mITX will do everything and abit more.

    Personally I got a hint from another person. So I will be looking at the DH77DF, 2x8GB, GTX 680 and a i5 3570 and put it into a Silverstone SG08.
    Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Monday, April 09, 2012 - link

    Agreed. mATX or smaller for me plz! Reply
  • Paapaa125 - Sunday, April 08, 2012 - link

    What is the actual significant difference between Asus P8Z77-V and P8Z77-V Pro? The only things I noticed were a few more phases in power supply (not significant). Reply
  • Byte - Sunday, April 08, 2012 - link

    The only diff I see is the 12 vs 8 power phases, extra USB3.0 header, and pictures look like it includes a usb and esata pcie 1x card. Reply
  • ASUSTechMKT - Monday, April 09, 2012 - link

    Pro offer higher quality back I/O bracing for the display connections,
    High phase count 12+4
    Additional front USB3 front header
    ESATA via bracket
    Additional fan header

    Otherwise all other key features and hardware implementation is the same.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Sunday, April 08, 2012 - link

    Given this statement on the first page, why does the chart indicate that the Panther Point chipsets provide 4 USB 3.0 ports? Reply
  • Knifeshade - Sunday, April 08, 2012 - link

    First page, the paragraphs detailing the various features. You spelled Cougar Point in place of where I think you mean to say Panther Point.... Reply
  • DesktopMan - Sunday, April 08, 2012 - link

    PCIe / PCI info in the last page table would be appreciated. Good overview. Quite curious to see if the memory stuff from Asus actually does anything. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Sunday, April 08, 2012 - link

    All 6-series chipsets are said to support PCIe 3 in this table. Would that work with Ivi and a proper GPU? Would be the first time I heard about this. And since PCIe 3 is supposed to be a new feature of the 7-series I suppose it's a typo. Reply
  • GreenEnergy - Sunday, April 08, 2012 - link

    Well, alot of 6 series boards supports PCIe 3.0 due to the controller is on the CPU (Ivy Bridge). Essentially the only reason besides BIOS for PCIe 3.0 support on the 6 series, is the added switches for splitting the PCIe x16 into two x8. Thats also why the basic 6 series boards got a bigger chance of PCIe 3.0 support. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now