Many thanks to...

We must thank the following companies for kindly providing hardware for our test bed:

Test Setup

Test Setup
Processor Intel Core i7-4770K ES
4 Cores, 8 Threads, 3.5 GHz (3.9 GHz Turbo)
Motherboard ASRock Z97 Extreme6
Cooling Corsair H80i
Thermalright TRUE Copper
Power Supply OCZ 1250W Gold ZX Series
Corsair AX1200i Platinum PSU
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ 4x4 GB DDR3-1600 9-11-9 Kit
Memory Settings 1600 9-11-9-27 1T tRFC 240
Video Cards MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB (1150/1202 Boost)
ASUS HD7970 3GB (Reference)
Video Drivers Catalyst 13.12
NVIDIA Drivers 335.23
Hard Drive OCZ Vertex 3 256GB
Optical Drive LG GH22NS50
Case Open Test Bed
Operating System Windows 7 64-bit SP1
USB 2/3 Testing OCZ Vertex 3 240GB with SATA->USB Adaptor

Power Consumption

Power consumption was tested on the system as a whole with a wall meter connected to the OCZ 1250W power supply, while in a single MSI GTX 770 Lightning GPU configuration. This power supply is Gold rated, and as I am in the UK on a 230-240 V supply, leads to ~75% efficiency > 50W, and 90%+ efficiency at 250W, which is suitable for both idle and multi-GPU loading. This method of power reading allows us to compare the power management of the UEFI and the board to supply components with power under load, and includes typical PSU losses due to efficiency. These are the real world values that consumers may expect from a typical system (minus the monitor) using this motherboard.

While this method for power measurement may not be ideal, and you feel these numbers are not representative due to the high wattage power supply being used (we use the same PSU to remain consistent over a series of reviews, and the fact that some boards on our test bed get tested with three or four high powered GPUs), the important point to take away is the relationship between the numbers. These boards are all under the same conditions, and thus the differences between them should be easy to spot.

Power Consumption - Long Idle

Power Consumption - Idle

Power Consumption - OCCT

Long idle and idle power consumption are relatively normal for the Z97 Extreme6, although the load power consumption is 10-20W higher than the other motherboards listed here. We have another motherboard tested but not written up yet which also shows the same as the ASRock though, indicating there may be some power saving implemented on some motherboards but not others, or more fundamental efficiency differences due to components.

Windows 7 POST Time

Different motherboards have different POST sequences before an operating system is initialized. A lot of this is dependent on the board itself, and POST boot time is determined by the controllers on board (and the sequence of how those extras are organized). As part of our testing, we are now going to look at the POST Boot Time - this is the time from pressing the ON button on the computer to when Windows 7 starts loading. (We discount Windows loading as it is highly variable given Windows specific features.)  These results are subject to human error, so please allow +/- 1 second in these results.

POST (Power-On Self-Test) Time - Single MSI GTX 770

Like some of the other Z97 motherboards, the default POST time extends to almost 20 seconds. However when stripped of the extra controllers, the Z97 Extreme6 is a very impressive 6.9 seconds.

ASRock Z97 Extreme6 In The Box, Overclocking System Benchmarks
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43 Comments

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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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