Intel Z390 Motherboard Overview: 50+ Motherboards Analyzedby Ian Cutress & Gavin Bonshor on October 8, 2018 10:53 AM EST
ASRock Z390 Extreme4
The ASRock Z390 Extreme4 hails from a long line Extreme4 branded boards which go as far back as Intel's Z77 chipset which was released back in 2012. Fast forward to now and the new Z390 Extreme4 has a semblance of the previous Z370 Extreme4 board but with some key differences. First of all the Z390 Extreme4 now includes an M.2 heatsink for the bottom slot and the rear panel cover has classier ASRock branding across it. The RGB LED lighting zones remain in the same places from the heatsinks and audio PCB cover and that's where the differences end; aside from specifications of course and the fact that this board has the newer Z390 chipset included. ASRock advertises a 12-phase power delivery and has included a pair of 12 V ATX CPU power inputs; an 8-pin and 4-pin. The board also has support for DDR4-4300 memory with up to 64 GB of capacity across four available RAM slots.
ASRock has kept the same PCIe slot layout as the Z370 Extreme4 with a total of three full-length PCIe 3.0 slots with the top two being treated to a coat of ASRocks Steel Slot protection; bandwidth wise they operate (from top to bottom) at x16, x8 and in x4. Also included are three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots and the board has support for up to two-way CrossFire and three-way SLI multi-graphics card configurations. The board has a total of four RAM slots with support for up to a maximum of 64 GB in total. Storage wise the Z390 Extreme4 has eight SATA ports with six coming from the chipset and another two from an ASMedia SATA controller with support for 0, 1, 5 and 10 RAID arrays. The two M.2 ports do feature support for both PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA, but it's worth pointing out that these likely that these slots will share bandwidth with other ports.
On the rear panel is two USB 3.1 Gen2 with a Type-A and Type-C port included along with a further four USB 3.0 Type-A ports. In addition to a PS/2 combo port is a trio of video outputs consisting of a DisplayPort, HDMI and a D-Sub. The Z390 Extreme4 doesn't have any wireless networking capability but there is scope to purchase an E-key PCIe adapter and the rear panel includes a bracket for it. The single wired LAN port is powered by an Intel I219V Gigabit controller while the S/PDIF and five 3.5 mm audio jacks are impelled by a good quality Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec.
The Extreme4 motherboards usually combine a good mixture of features, specifications and for the new iteration, the ASRock Z390 Extreme4 has a recommended launch price of $180 which is reasonable all things considered. The board has everything minus integrated Wi-Fi and is aimed more at enthusiasts than gamers; plenty of Phantom Gaming boards for those. There is the added wow factor of RGB built into the heatsinks and overall the design follows a much cleaner and neutral aesthetic than the new Phantom branded boards.