|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 Motherboard|
|Posted by Ed Smith|
|Sunday, 22 April 2012 22:25|
Page 5 of 10
Photos, The Motherboard
A straight overhead overview, to kick our tour off:
From above we see nice looking heatsinks, a floppy drive connector, the Molex and mini-PCIe mentioned previously, a POST cost LED, a fairly serious CPU power section and power/reset button.
Time to flip it over. Looking at the back we can see the PCIe x16, x8, and x4 slots easily by the number of pins soldered.
We also see that each CPU power inductor is wired for sense individually, no paired "phases" from that standpoint. We'll zoom in a bit for good measure.
Along with a nice view of the drivers and sense wires, we can also see two of the "+4" CPU power phases on the right there. My guess is that they feed the "System Agent" inside the CPU. The SA contains the memory controller, L3 cache and integrated GPU, among other things.
As long as we're zooming, we'll zoom top side of this area, too. The gold capacitors really do look cool. Are they better than normal caps? I have no way to test.
CPU power connector is in the standard spot, right next to it is the voltage controller. Also note that there are both 1155/1156 heatsink mounting holes as well as 775 mounting holes, this is a nice touch and fairly rare on modern boards. The heatsinks are a nice combination of stylish and effective, too. Lastly for this picture, note the pair of CPU fan connectors (one 4p for PWM, one 3p) as well as two more for chassis fans. Lots of fan connectors make me happy.
Here's an end view of the heatsink, lots of surface area here!
Nearby we find the Molex and mini-PCIe connectors:
The Molex connector will feed more 12v to the PCIe slots for running high power cards with a hardcore OC in CFX/SLI. It helps protect the ATX24P connector from melting as seen on some boards. For a board that only has two PCIe slots for SLI/CFX it is probably overkill. I'm not one to argue against overkill though!
The mini-PCIe slot can be used for a small SSD for caching, or for a notebook type wifi card. Or anything else that can use such a slot of course. Now it's rear IO time!
This board has you covered for display options! VGA, DVI, HDMI and Displayport. That's quite a list.
The usual multi-channel audio and SPDIF optical output exist, as well as a PS2 mouse/keyboard port (thank you!), clear CMOS button, Gigabit ethernet, eSATA6, Firewire, four USB3 ports and two USB2 ports. The display outputs take up a lot of room that could be used for USB ports, that is my only gripe. I'm glad there are two USB2 ports, as windows installers don't always have USB3 support and I've found it to be quite difficult to install windows with no keyboard/mouse. Lastly, yes the board is warped, no it is not an issue.
As long as we're looking at ports, we'll look along the bottom edge of the board, too.
Two more USB, a nicely positioned HD_Audio port, a COM serial port, a floppy drive connector (!), two different IR ports, Firewire, three more USB ports, CMOS jumper, 4p PWM fan header, front panel connectors and a POST code LED. Whew! That's a big collection. While we're looking at a PCIe slot, take a look at the latch on it. It left-right rather than being something you push in or pull out. It works pretty well but can be quite difficult to work with between the back of a GPU and a large CPU heatsink.
Let us not forget the power and reset buttons and BIOS chip, either. I'm very happy to see the BIOS chip socketed, it makes it easier to replace if you completely trash your BIOS beyond repair.
Last for basic IO, the SATA ports. Note the triangles telling you which port is which, and the notation on which controller the port leads do. Very nice. One of the two on the right is also connected to the eSATA6 port on the rear IO panel.
Nearby (and housing the SATA controllers for six of those ports) we find the PCH and its heatsink. I rather like the heatsink
Very cool looking, plenty of surface area for cooling too.
We certainly cannot forget the ram slots and their power section however. They're rated at 2800+, but that will take an IvyBridge CPU as the SandyBridge memory controller can't reach that high. On the plus side, IB CPUs should be here in a week or so if my sources are correct.
Also lurking near the ram slots is a USB3 header.
This guy is worth discussing as well, it is a PCIe multiplexer that feeds the gigabit Ethernet, 1x PCIe slots, mini-PCIe slot, and other such things off of a single PCIe 1x connection. This frees up an entire x4 connection to go to the bottom PCIe slot. Pretty snazzy.
That about does it for the unique bits, if you're really curious about the individual ICs feel free to post in the funkykit.com forum and I'll fill you in. Personally I think it's time to install this thing in a case!