ASRock Z97 Extreme6 In The Box

The Z97 Extreme6 is currently the least expensive motherboard we have tested from the 9-series range at $170. At this price point, for P67, we had ASRock motherboards with cables and USB 3.0 front panel devices. However the modern motherboards boards are actually more expensive to make, and with computer cases now supplying four USB 3.0 ports at the front, there is no need for the front panel extras unless they integrate some form of WiFi. Also because the Z97 Extreme6 uses two M.2 and SATAe, the cost of integrating those into the platform might also affect the depth of the bundle.

In the Z97 Extreme6 box, we get:

Driver DVD
Manual
Rear IO Shield
Four SATA Cables
HDD Saver Cable
SLI Bridge

Aside from the HDD Saver cable, which has to be present for the HDD Saver feature, this package is very light. Due to the 10 SATA ports on board, four SATA cables amounts to half should the M.2 x2 be in use, and there is no specific extras to the package that might make the product stand out.

ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Overclocking

Experience with ASRock Z97 Extreme6

I am pleased with ASRock’s persistence with all the automatic overclock options. It allows users to experiment with the lower overclocks and move up to the more stringent challenges for their expensive silicon. Typically automatic overclock options are also aggressive on voltages, so when a user hits a temperature limit they can manually go in and reduce the voltage as required.

The Power Saving option in A-Tuning is a good idea for extreme power conscious individuals. In general, a lot of what most users do is very brief and takes less than a second to implement on a modern system. By bringing the MHz down and moving the CPU into a more power efficient range, the overall power consumption is lower saving a few cents here and there.

For our manual overclocking we used the BIOS as usual, moving the load line calibration up to Level 1, similar to the extreme auto overclocking, and started from there. We hit 4.6 GHz at 1.3 volts, although this gave a rather toasty 95ºC peak during OCCT in our open test bed.

Methodology:

Our standard overclocking methodology is as follows. We select the automatic overclock options and test for stability with PovRay and OCCT to simulate high-end workloads. These stability tests aim to catch any immediate causes for memory or CPU errors.

For manual overclocks, based on the information gathered from previous testing, starts off at a nominal voltage and CPU multiplier, and the multiplier is increased until the stability tests are failed. The CPU voltage is increased gradually until the stability tests are passed, and the process repeated until the motherboard reduces the multiplier automatically (due to safety protocol) or the CPU temperature reaches a stupidly high level (100ºC+). Our test bed is not in a case, which should push overclocks higher with fresher (cooler) air.

Overclock Results:

ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Software 2014 Test Setup, Power Consumption, POST Time
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  • peterfares - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    It was stated in the article, using 4 lanes for M.2 from the chipset would leave too little lanes left for controllers and other onboard peripheral devices. Reply
  • SirKnobsworth - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    The chipset allows up to 8 PCIe lanes. Maybe having 8 USB 3 ports and 10 SATA ports matters for some, but certainly not everyone. If you use 4 lanes for M.2 you can still have 4 additional lanes going to the NIC/x1 slots/whatever, 4 USB 3.0 ports, and 6 SATA ports, noting that FlexIO allows some flexibility in that arrangement. Reply
  • Galatian - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    This! Thousand times this! I mean at least give the option. My PC if only a gaming machine. I have one SSD inside, one mouse, one keyboard and one XBox Controller receiver. I have no need for more ports. At least give me some option: as I said it's either this extreme or the other extreme, but nothing in between. Reply
  • isa - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    But the article also said a reason was m.2 cards would mostly or only be offered in 2 channel flavors, and that makes no sense to me since I believe the z97 chipset supports 4 channels of PCIe 2.0 for m.2. I agree many would want 4 channels even if meant sacrificing a few usb ports or whatever, so I'd think the market would provide 4 channel m.2 cards to support those customers. Reply
  • Luke_Higdon - Sunday, April 10, 2016 - link

    Question: "Can you explain to me why no mainboard manufacturer is using 4 lanes from the chipsets PCIe 2.0? I mean that would be enough for the Samsung SSD and still has room left."

    Answer: No It would run at a third the speed.

    Question: I mean what do I gain from all those SATA and USB ports? Who is actually using all of them?

    Answer: Lots of people including me. I have 6 hard drives a CD player. Plus they are very cheap to make so if you buy an upgraded motherboard this is the least they could do. I understand most people don't need all of that but that is why you would buy a cheaper Motherboard. However most people have 2 hard drives and a DVD player and it is used for adapters and if you are doing RAID it could need double the amount of SATA ports or triple.

    Statement: Right now I have to choose between either a slow M.2 slot because they only allocate 2 lanes or I can go with ASRock which feels like overkill and takes away CPU PCIe lanes.

    Answer: ASrock doesn't take away PCIe lanes. CPU's are given a fixed amount of PCIe lanes typically 16. If you have a video card it takes 8 and you are left with 8 in which 4 are taken from the 950 pro. If you dont play video games and use integrated graphics from a motherboard then you can buy any motherboard that uses 3.0 PCIe for at least one slot which is most of them.
    Reply
  • Marlowe - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    All new motherboards should have pcie x4 m.2 slots to be worthwile.. There are really no excuse not to. The x2 version is a too small upgrade from old SATA. Anyone who buys a new fast pcie ssd will need x4 to fully utilize it.

    I think you can install both Win 7 and Win 8 in UEFI mode.
    Reply
  • SirKnobsworth - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    A few thoughts:

    - The SSD only supports PCIe 2.0, not 3.0, so the maximum theoretical bandwidth is 20 rather than 32 gbps. The actual performance is still far below that too though. To my knowledge there are not PCIe SSDs currently available that support gen 3, though I think OCZ will be shipping 2.0x8 SSDs soon.

    - Leaked roadmaps show that Intel will be increasing the number of PCIe lanes on the chipset rather than the processor - the chipsets accompanying Skylake should have 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes. If you want more lanes directly from the CPU then there's already an option - Intel's LGA2011 Enthusiast options have 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes from the CPU.
    Reply
  • ShieTar - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    Also, if the x2 port maxes out at 765 MBps of just below 6 Gbps, than we probably should not expect more than roughly 12 Gbps from the x4 port either. So the XP941 would be significantly closer to the interface maximum than the article suggests. Reply
  • Laststop311 - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    A lot of people want to build mini itx form factor. LGA 2011 doesn;t exist and never will it's physically too large a socket. All the people like me have a great need for increased pci-e lanes from the cpu. Controllers degrade performance and add latency.

    At the same time for mini itx you can only fit one pci-e slot on there but it would be nice if we could keep it at 16x for when gpu's do start needing the extra bandwidth and still have 8x left over for 2 4x m2 slots. 24x pci-e 3.0 cpu lanes needs to be on their mainstream. That still leaves a whole 16x gap to the enthusiast and they can increase those by 8 too to 48 lanes and keep the separation the same. Then everyone can be happy.
    Reply
  • romrunning - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    I will add my vote to wanting a mini-ITX board. To me, I really don't know anyone who is actually using 3 PCIe slots. However, I do know quite a few who are tired of the big towers.

    Also, where are these people who want a ton of SATA slots in a home PC?? The only chassis I know where I want that many ports is in a server, and there I'm getting space for 16-24 drives - not this Frankenstein of 10 SATA slots. People at home who need a lot of space (for work or pleasure) are getting a NAS, not trying to load out a machine with 6-10 drives.

    My picture of a great mini-ITX board - Z or H 9-series chipset, 4 x 6Gbps SATA ports supporting RAID 0/1/5/6, 2 x m.2 (x4) supporting RAID 0/1, no SATA Express (waste of space), 1x eSATA, 4-6 USB 3.0 ports, optional mSATA/PCIe slot for wireless add-on, and a single x16 PCIe 3.0 slot. Price it at $110-150, and I'd buy it in a heartbeat!
    Reply

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