ASRock Z87 Extreme6/AC Conclusion

Everyone has their own ideas as to what constitutes a perfect motherboard.  My first question is usually ‘what price band are we talking about?’, as that would define the level of ‘extras’ above the base model.  When I first looked at the unassuming ASRock Z87 Extreme6/AC, the main feature for me was the 802.11ac dual band WiFi module on board.  Having had the time to test the Extreme6/AC, it is clear to me now that the board is so much more than just the AC.

Now when I started to prepare this review, I was circling around the main motherboard manufacturers asking for their $200 motherboards – something around this mark, perhaps up to 10% above and below this mark, whatever in this price bracket the manufacturer believes will be its best seller.  It is a value that tends to be popular enough for enthusiasts going for new builds, and I like the fact it contrasts many of the super high-end value reviews we see at launch day.  This price band gives the manufacturer the option of one or two SKUs to send me – either something lower which may attract more users, or at the high end to expose the feature set.  I am glad each manufacturer sent me something different (mid-range, gaming-range) – ASRock went in at the high end of my request with the Extreme6/AC at $220 (-$20 instant rebate in June for NA), but I am glad they did.

For that $200/$220, we get ten SATA 6 Gbps ports, eight USB 3.0 ports, 802.11ac dual band WiFi, Realtek ALC1150 audio, DVI-I, dual Intel NICs, HDMI-In and x8/x4/x4 PCIe.  Ding ding, we have a connectivity winner.  This product is hitting an obscene price point compared to the motherboards around it, and could very well be this generations Z77X-UD5H, which we rated highly for similar reasons.  Of course with all this onboard, something has to give – as a result we do not get a black coating covering the traces on board, the CPU VRM heatsinks are a little small, most of the fan headers are 3-pin and there are no voltage check points or similar for overclockers.

There is always room for improvement, and the main goal from ASRock should be to improve their software.  It gets an upgrade from Z77 for Z87, but the simple things like correct spelling should be sorted before a reviewer gets hands on a motherboard.

In terms of performance the Extreme6/AC comes with MultiCore Turbo as standard, giving that extra boost over motherboards that do not have it.  Against the boards that do, the ASRock seems to have good efficiency, and the x8/x4/x4 does help against the x8/x8+x4 setups in tri-GPU mode.  The XFast software helps the Extreme6/AC generate new records in USB performance, both for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, and Windows 7 POST times fall under 12 seconds which is always good.  The only two downsides for performance come at the expense of DPC Latency which is quite high for Z87 (314 microseconds), and there is no good software to accurately monitor the CPU voltage on the motherboard.

Nevertheless, the ASRock Z87 Extreme6/AC is a great motherboard to play with, especially in connectivity alone.  Other manufacturers will have a big challenge to offer something at this price point with more functionality.  ASRock have truly hit the nail on the head, and if I were buying a motherboard today, as an 802.11ac WiFi user, the Extreme6/AC would be on the short list.  For these reasons, I feel no shame in offering the ASRock Z87 Extreme6/AC our Editor’s Choice Silver Award.  The Extreme6/AC is an exciting play by ASRock that the competition will struggle to match.

ASRock Z87 Extreme6/AC
AnandTech Editor’s Choice Silver Award

MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming Conclusion ASUS Z87-Pro Conclusion – Silver Award
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  • HexiumVII - Sunday, June 30, 2013 - link

    Hey Ian! Maybe run the Asrock Z87 in water and let us know how waterproof it is! Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, July 8, 2013 - link

    You guys DO talk about how motherboard manufacturers have less and less to do now; with Intel moving more and more things onto the CPU die. Yet for some reason you still fail to ask WHY motherboards are getting MORE expensive. Not less. I got an AMAZING motherboard with SLI and massive overclocking ability that's rock solid back in 2007 for 125 dollars. Yet now that the northbridge isn't even ON the motherboard anymore I have to pay 175 for the SAME level of performance... WTF is that! Reply
  • adridu59 - Monday, July 8, 2013 - link

    It looks like you are playing the marketing game, because ALC1150 (nominally ALC900) is just a tweaked ALC898 (same as ALC889 and ALC892).

    More info: http://www.overclock.net/t/1398739/is-realteks-alc...
    Reply
  • Rafalus - Sunday, July 28, 2013 - link

    Hi, Is it possible to stop TPU tuning eg when it reach 4.5GHz as I did not want to raise it higher? Reply
  • SilentRyder - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    Honestly i believe this integrated Voltage Regulator will cause many problems. If we check the previous Ivy Bridge main boards, They do have a huge power regulator designed on the top side of processor socket. Now the whole idea of power supplied from the mainboard is gone off. May be this technology will benefit laptops or any other mobile devices. but this is certainly a bad idea for desktop users.

    We would certainly have HEAT problems, which i am truly afraid of. I do not think haswell will support enough for overclocking. i never over clock my self but i am sure INTEL will change this concept on its new generations.

    Even laptops running in high temperature can be a issue.

    How many of us are satisfied with the intel built in Graphics processor?
    Reply
  • clyman - Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - link

    So far, it meets my needs just fine. I am sure it would meet the needs of all my customers. I did put a fluid filled cooler on the processor, but that was only needed while running OCCT. I will add a video card should i ever need one. Reply
  • clyman - Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - link

    I have the ASUS Z87-PRO mobo and was hoping someone had a few answers here for me, haven't seen anything related though. My problem is that no matter what I do, the multiplier will not go above 39 and I cannot find out why. Is that due to having 1600 MHZ memory?

    Another issue is that when I update AI Suite 3 from the original on the supplied CD, it will not recognize my WIFI Engine adapter, however it finds it with the original. ASUS techs have been useless on both of these points as they say have no information regarding overclocking and no one has a clue about the WIFI Engine. I have been given all kinds of advice, all fruitless. I can't get them to understand it simply will not recognize the device on the updated version. I think it is a bad update, they want to RMA it.

    Any help on these issues would be appreciated.
    Reply
  • LoCk3d - Friday, December 20, 2013 - link

    A problem encountered someone USB Charger + function? I do not detect the device, I enabled ERP in bios but still does not work. Help me please ! Reply

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