ASRock E3V5 WS (Intel C232) Super Alloy Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Today’s motherboard review lands right in the middle of everything. Not because it’s all over the place, but because it has a lot of usage scenarios and support for pretty much any setup. You could use ASRock’s E5V5 WS motherboard in a gaming system as well as in a server setup as both of those setups are fully supported, but its real area of operation is to act as the base for a powerful workstation.

The ASRock E5V5 WS uses an LGA 1151 socket and the board is compatible with both E3-1200 v5 processors such as the one I’ll be using later on in this review, but it also supports normal 6th Generation Intel Core processors – so basically the entire Skylake and Skylake-S line-up. As backbone behind the CPU that you end up using is the Intel C232 chipset that is perfectly tuned for workstation environments and a motherboard like this. Memory wise you can use normal DDR4 DIMMs as well as ECC UDIMM memory modules with a speed of up to 2133 MHz in the four DIMM slots with 15μ gold contacts for a total of up to 64GB RAM.

The gold contacts in the memory slots aren’t the only quality feature in this motherboard. The E3V5 WS motherboard is part of ASRock’s Super Alloy series and comes with premium 50A power chokes and is made of a high-density glass fabric PCB. It also features ASRock’s full spike protection that protects from sudden surges, lightning, and electrostatic discharges (ESD).

The network connection isn’t controlled by the average low-performance controller either and we find an Intel PHY i219LM controller on this motherboard. The Gigabit Ethernet controller supports Wake-On-LAN, supports 802.3az energy efficient ethernet and PXE. The Ethernet controller is one of the parts that is protected by the Full Spike Protection. The second part with protection is the USB. The ASRock E35 WS features two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel and you can connect another four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports via headers. All of these are protected by the ASRock Full Spike Protection. The audio is also protected by this and we find a 7.1 channel HD Audio controller, the Realtek ALC892. It features Blu-ray audio support and uses ELNA solid audio capacitors. Last but not least, you also find legacy PS2 connectors for both your mouse and keyboard.

 

Internally we find good expansion options too. Since we are dealing with an Intel-based motherboard, we also get IRST for RAID setups across the six SATA3 6 Gb/s connectors. Supported modes include the normal RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 modes.

There are two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots that support both Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards as well as consumer graphics cards. There is also full support for the use of AMD’s CrossfireX technology for multiple graphics card usage. As I mentioned earlier, you can make a great workstation with this motherboard. There are three more PCIe Gen3 x1 slots available for further expansion and neither of them will be blocked by the use of two-slot graphics cards. Even with a CrossfireX setup, you’ll still have access to the three x1 slots.

Quality hardware and components are just one side of the story, we also need a good BIOS and proper software to have the best experinece. The E3V5 WS comes with both of those features too. The UEFI BIOS has the easy EZ mode dashboard besides the advanced setup pages, which contains multiple readings of the system’s current status. You can check the most crucial information of your system, such as CPU speed, DRAM frequency, SATA information, fan speed, etc.

Even better, you can reach the tech support purely from the systems BIOS, as long as the system has an internet connection. You can also install LAN drivers onto your windows installation directly from the BIOS.

The ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) technology allows you to establish an internet curfew or restrict internet access at specified times for your kids. Stay in control of their surfing times without yelling. This probably isn’t the most used function in a workstation system, but it could be used to shut down any connection attempts outside of office hours. Another useful feature is the USB Key function that can replace the password question when you log into windows. Do it by plugging a USB drive in instead.

The well-known ASRock XFast RAM and XFast LAN are also built into this motherboard. The XFast RAM feature allows you to fully utilize the memory space that otherwise can’t be accessed in 32-bit systems, among others. XFast LAN is a quality of service protocol that prioritizes the important traffic so you don’t have to wait for loading times. ASRock Live Update and APP Shop also help to make the maintenance easier.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.

Key Features:

  • ASRock Super Alloy
  • Server-Grade LAN chip support
  • Supports the Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 Processor & 6th Generation Intel Core Processors (Socket 1151)
  • Supports DDR4 2133 & ECC UDIMM memory modules
  • 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 and 3 PCIe 3.0 x1
  • Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), ELNA Audio Caps
  • 6 SATA3 and 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear)
  • Supports Full Spike Protection, ASRock Live Update & APP Shop
  • Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit, 8.1 64-bit, 7 32-bit, 7 64-bit, Server 2012 R2 64-bit, Server 2012 64-bit, and Server 2008 R2 64-bit support

Packaging and Accessories

A quality motherboard also deserves a great look package, and the E3V5 WS got that. The front makes no secret about the boards power.

On the rear of the box, you will find a detailed photo of the motherboard itself as well as feature highlights and specifications.

Inside the box is a user manual, a driver disk, two SATA cables, and an IO shield besides the motherboard itself.

ASRock X99 BIOS Updates Reveal Broadwell-E Line Up

Ahead of Intel’s much awaited Broadwell-E processor launch, ASRock announced the release of a new BIOS with support for X99 CPUs that are available on today’s market. The update applies to all of the motherboard manufacturers’ X99 product lines.

The new Broadwell-E processors will fit in the same LGA2011-V3 sockets as their Haswell predecessors and introduce a 14nm manufacturing process. The new BIOS will support the new ten core Core i7-6950X, the Core i7-6900K, i7-6850K and i7-6800K processors. So far there has been little in the way of information on the new processors available from reliable sources. ASRock is the first reputable place to confirm Intel’s offerings (well, the names at least) ahead of the Intel announcement due at Computex 2016. Although, MSI was the first motherboard manufacturer to release widespread BIOS updates for their X99 range.

There were rumors at one point of Intel cancelling the Broadwell-E range in favour of some Skylake chips. However, the release from Asrock certainly thwarts this. The ten core beast, the 6950X will run at a base clock of 3GHz and have a 3.5GHz boost clock, boasting 10 cores and 20 threads. From the release, it will be unlocked to allow enthusiasts and professional overclockers to tinker and overclock the processors to the absolute maximum they can get. It’ll come with a whopping 25MB of layer three cache and will work in most X99 motherboards, providing the manufacturer releases a new bios that can support them.

Will you be upgrading to the latest from Intel as soon as it hits the market? Let us know in the comments below.

ASRock Reveals Z170M OC Formula Motherboard

ASRock has revealed a nice-looking micro-ATX variant of its flagship socket LGA1151 motherboard, namely the Z170M OC Formula, which features some rather impressive overclocking features. The first thing you might notice when you have a look at this product for the first time is that it offers just two DDR4 DIMM slots even though its form factor could have supported another pair. That’s because ASRock has decided to utilize the PCB real-estate on more reliable electrical components. The motherboard draws power from a mix of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, and it makes use of a 14-phase VRM in order to condition that power for the CPU.

The 10-layer PCB used for the Z170M OC Formula greatly reduces overall electrical interference, which is always a big plus. Since it was designed with overclocking in mind, this product features onboard clock fine-tuning buttons as well as DirectKey auto-overclocking controls and a system that allows manual switching between two redundant firmware EEPROM chips. Other highlights include a HyperBClk Feature, which ensures finer control over the base clock. When it comes to expansion slots and storage, the motherboard comes with two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot and eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports that create two 16 Gb/s SATA-Express connectors. A pair of USB 3.1 ports and eight USB 3.0 ports are also a part of the package, not to mention the Intel gigabit Ethernet interface and the Purity Audio 3 solution.

ASRock Announces The A88M-ITXac FM2+ Motherboard

With the release of AMD’s upcoming Zen architecture upon us, it seems motherboard manufacturers are attempting to maximize sales from the current AM3+ and FM2+ platforms before it’s been replaced. To enthusiasts opting for the best possible hardware solutions, this isn’t going to interest them, but there’s still some usage scenarios where the low-cost options make sense. For example, you could use this motherboard in a HTPC or create a home-made NAS. The ASRock A88M-ITXac adopts the compact ITX form-factor and based on AMD’s A88X chipset supporting FM2+ APUs and CPUs. Furthermore, the socket is wired to two DDR3 slots housing up to 32GB of dual channel DDR3-2400 memory. There’s also a single x16 PCI-E graphics slot, to insert a high-end discrete GPU.

On another note, the motherboard contains six SATA 6Gb/s ports, an M.2 port on the reverse side of the PCB, and 802.11ac WLAN capable of speeds up to 433 Mbps. ASRock have also implemented Bluetooth 4.0 functionality and gigabit Ethernet. In terms of connectivity, there’s a HDMI 1.4a port, dual link DVI, D-Sub, four USB 3.0 ports and 6-channel audio solution. Another intriguing feature revolves around the ability to use a discrete Radeon graphics card in combination with an APU. This enhances the gaming performance and utilizes every aspect of your hardware setup.

Even though the FM2+ socket is rather outdated, I still believe there’s some merit to purchasing the platform especially if you’re building a small form factor media PC. The A88M-ITXac offers a great deal of features in a neat package. Although, there’s no information yet regarding pricing or availability. Hopefully, this should be unveiled very soon especially when you consider Zen is just around the corner.

Do you think there’s still a need for AM3+ or FM2+ motherboards? I personally wouldn’t purchase one, but at least consumers have that extra option for a low-cost build.

ASRock Releases BIOS Update to Fix Skylake Instability Bug

Intel’s Skylake architecture has received a number of negative headlines regarding its high cost compared to the previous generation, flexing with high pressure coolers and most recently, stability issues during heavy workloads. The stability bug predominately revolves around demanding software like Prime95 and caused systems to hang on a regular basis. Thankfully, motherboard vendors including ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and now ASRock have quickly identified the problem and launched BIOS fixes. Here is the original statement from Intel:

“Intel has identified an issue that potentially affects the 6th Gen Intel® Core family of products.  This issue only occurs under certain complex workload conditions, like those that may be encountered when running applications like Prime95.  In those cases, the processor may hang or cause unpredictable system behavior.  Intel has identified and released a fix and is working with external business partners to get the fix deployed through BIOS.”

As you can see, Prime95 is now completely stable across every ASRock 100-series motherboard, and all you have to do is apply the latest BIOS update. It’s great to see manufacturers release bug fixes so quickly especially when the issue impacts on system stability. Clearly, it’s only a minority of people who use complex workloads such as Prime95. On the other hand, I’d theorize that most Z170 customers overclock their CPU and require stress testing programs to gauge if a certain frequency/voltage combination is stable.

Personally, I’d recommend using AIDA64’s stress test because it appears to have fewer issues with Skylake CPUs. Although, it’s safe enough to run OCCT or Prime95, especially after the BIOS update. It seems Skylake has disappointed users and prices definitely need to come down to respectable levels. In the UK, an i7-6700K can cost upwards of £350, which almost defies belief!

Have you upgraded to Skylake or moved to the X99 platform instead?

ASRock Reveals SKY OC Technology

We all know that Intel’s Skylake K-series CPUs have great overclocking potential, but what about chips that don’t come with an unlocked multiplier? Usually, these processors can’t be overclocked much or even at all, but thanks to ASRock’s new SKY OC Technology, there’s actually hope on the horizon. The company has recently unveiled this incredible technology, which allows users to overclock any Intel Skylake i7/i5/i3 and even Pentium non-K CPUs on ASRock Z170 motherboards. ASRock’s engineers have figured out a way to overclock these products without modifying their multipliers but by focusing on their BCLKs instead. Actual lab tests are definitely promising, as they have shown that an Intel Core i5-6400 CPU can actually achieve up to a 60% higher frequency using ASRock’s Z170 Pro4 and the SKY OC technology.

There are a couple of drawbacks to using this tech, though, but I think that the gains far outweigh the costs. One limitation is related to Intel’s onboard graphics, which is disabled when SKY OC is applied. The second drawback involves CPU Turbo Ratio and C-State, both of which are also disabled. Considering the fact that the technology will mostly appeal to gamers who aren’t using integrated GPUs anyway, it’s probably safe to say that SKY OC will be received with open arms by numerous Intel users. This isn’t the first time that ASRock has introduced an impressive overclocking tool, as it has previously enabled memory overclocking for Non-Z Skylake motherboards. Below you will find a list of BIOS versions that are known to support SKY OC.

ASRock Introduces Memory Overclocking for Non-Z Skylake Motherboards

ASRock motherboards usually feature a twist of some sort, setting them apart from the rest. They had the overclocking feature for CPUs on the H87 and B85 non-Z motherboards and recently they added the memory overclocking easter egg to their Z170 Skylake motherboards that allow automatic overclocking of select memory modules. Now they are going one step further and have cracked the RAM overclocking limitations on the non-Z Skylake boards B150, H170, and H110.

The ASRock DDR4 OC feature appears in the UEFI BIOS when the user has installed certain memory modules such as those from Kingston or Samsung. This otherwise hidden feature allows you to overclock the memory frequency from 2133MHz to a max of 2800MHz – providing a 30% boost in clock speed. Intel normally doesn’t feature memory overclocking on anything but the top Z-line motherboards, but ASRock cracked this limitation and the feature is now also available on select ASRock H170, B150, and H110 motherboards. Test show that DDR4 Non-Z overclocking can deliver a 5% memory performance boost measure with SiSoftware Sandra memory benchmark on an ASRock B150 chipset motherboard.

So with a hidden feature like this, how would you know when it is enabled or not. Well, the BIOS boot screen will not show a plain white ASRock icon anymore but instead one that has a coloured light effect added, making it easy to recognize.

Non-Z OC support:

  • H170 Motherboards: H170M Pro4, H170M Pro4S, H170 Combo, H170A-X1/3.1, H170A-X1
  • B150M Motherboards: B150M Pro4S, B150 Combo, B150M Combo-G, B150A-X1, B150M-HDS, B150M-HDV
  • H110 Motherboards: H110M-HDV, H110M-HDS, H110M-I, H110M-DGS

ASRock Introduces Fatal1ty Z170 Professional Series Gaming i7 Motherboard

ASRock introduces their newest motherboard as the “highest performance gaming motherboard available” and it surely is packed full of great features. The ASRock-Fatal1ty Z170 Professional Series Gaming i7 is built with Intel’s latest chipset, the Z170, and supports the 6th generation Intel Core processors as well as the fastest DDR4 modules around. It has 12 power phases, three native graphic output options, and four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots for triple CrossFireX or Quad SLI setups.

The Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming i7 doesn’t lack any sort of connectivity. It is equipped with Dual gigabit Intel LAN, three Ultra M.2 slots, ten SATA3, and three SATA Express ports. There are plenty of USB connectors with a total of up to eight USB 2.0, eight USB 3.0, and two USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports. Naturally, it also features a Fatal1ty mouse port with extra low latency. The audio is covered by a 7.1 Channel HD Audio codec (Realtek ALC1150) that supports Purity Sound 3 & DTS Connect.

Both the PCI Express slots and the memory slots have gold-plated connectors for optimal connection and the caps are Nichicon 12K Platinum Caps, creating a stable platform for your gaming experiences. The external base clock generator provides a wider range of frequencies and a more precise clock that helps overclockers with more control over their system. All in all, this motherboard has it all.

ASRock’s Z170 Motherboards Feature DDR4 OC With Select Modules

It isn’t always that all features in software are revealed right away and that is also what seems to have happened with ASRock’s latest Z170 BIOS. It had a hidden feature that only was revealed when certain memory modules were inserted and that is an automatic overclocking of these memory modules. Now that feature in itself isn’t new and it’s something that has been on several motherboards that I have owned, but it’s a nice one.

The feature has now been officially revealed, but not only that, it was also revealed in a very funny way. In the spirit of Halloween, ASRock made a funny video demonstrating it where you’ll meet Darth Vader as well as a Minion and more.

The automatic memory overclocking feature could get as much as 31% higher clock rates out of the memory modules used, if they are compatible. For now this seems to be limited mostly to Kingston and Samsung memory modules. One of the examples mentioned is that it can take Kingston 2133MHz modules and overclock them up to 2800MHz.

 

The above is kind off the boring news, now to the fun part: the video. I really don’t want to spoil it for you, as it should be experienced yourself. It is only 3 minutes and 30 seconds long and in my opinion it is well worth the time.

ASRock states that all Z170 motherboards will have this “hidden feature”, however at the end of the day it is still largely dependent upon the memory modules you install, which might or might not trigger DDR4 OC. It also requires you to upgrade to the latest UEFI BIOS available at the time of writing.

ASRock Releases Upgraded BeeBox NUC Mini-PC

ASRock released an upgraded version of their tiny NUC mini PC, the BeeBox. The BeeBox is now available with a quad-core processor, 32GB eMMC SSD and comes bundled with a free copy of Windows 10. The BeeBox is also available in a new silver coloured version now on top of the black, gold, and white versions.

The new quad-core CPU is an Intel N3150 SoC and the NUC comes with 2GB DDR3 1600MHz, upgradeable to 16G. You can add plenty of storage despite the small 0.6l volume of the NUC. You can add both an mSATA SSD and a 2.5-inch drive, allowing you to reach 3TB storage and beyond in the near future with newer and bigger drives.

Beebox is the world’s first mini PC with a Type-C USB port and it is the only one to support triple monitor, H.265 decoding and 4K video playback through two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort. The whole system has low power consumption and is extremely quiet while powered on. It is nearly silent when run in Eco mode where it could be used for light tasks such as torrent downloading. So bedrooms aren’t excluded from the possible locations to place it. Another added bonus is the included IR control so you can control it from the couch or bed.

Have you made the switch to ultra compact systems somewhere in your home or do you still prefer the large systems with endless possibilities everywhere? Let us know in the comments.

ASRock’s New G10 Gaming Router Is Now Available

ASRock showcased their G10 gaming router back at Computex and we have been wondering since then when it finally would become available. That time has arrived now as ASRock announced the availability of this impressive and strong-looking router.

ASRock’s G10 gaming router takes your wireless signal as well as feature list to a whole new level for routers. Starting with the 4T4R 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless connection that is the fastest ac with up to 1733Mbps on the 5GHz band and 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band thanks to the 8 dipole high power antennas hidden inside this unit. Whether the fact that the antennas are internal will affect the range is something to be seen in reviews and actual testing.

The ASRock G10 comes with one WAN and four LAN ports for wired connectivity as well as two USB 3.0 ports for direct storage and printer attachment. The router will be available in several models where some of them come with a detachable 2-in-1 dongle called H2R that may serve as an independent travel access point (AP) and an HDMI dongle for projecting your handheld device’s screen onto an HDMI compliant monitor, otherwise known as Miracasting. It is compatible with both Apple, Android, and Windows and it will also be sold separately for those who don’t want to settle for Chromecast.

Another really cool feature in the G10 gaming router is its IR capabilities. It can learn any infrared signal from your current remotes and then send them out on command. That allows you to control any IR device within range of the router through an easy to use smart-app on your mobile phone or tablet.

ASRock Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac offers native 4K 60Hz Video Out

ASRock has come a very long way over the last years, moving from a budget company to a force that shouldn’t be dismissed, and that is proven again by the quite impressive Fata1ty branded Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac mini-ITX motherboard. Despite its size, it packs amazing features and a solid build quality.

The first feature to stand out on this little marvel is the native 4K 60Hz video output capabilities thanks to the HDMI 2.0 port. HDMI 2.0 was introduced quite a while ago, but its adoption has been more than sluggish. That also means that this is the first 100-series chipset mITX motherboard with just that feature.

Moving on and you’ll find anything else that you’ll want from a Gaming motherboard. ASRock added the Fatal1ty mouse port, Intel-based Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, and an 802.11ac wireless network card.

The Gaming-ITX motherboard features plenty of USB connections, ranging from USB 2.0 to USB 3.1, SATA3 ports, a single SATA-Express port. Other connections include a PS2 dual-port, onboard audio, a PCIe x16 Gen3 slot, and more. Hidden on the rear of the motherboard you’ll also find an ultra M.2 slot.

The motherboard is built on an 8-layer PCB and adopts an eight power phase design. IUt’s further built with Super Alloy and Gaming Armor design, such as the Premium 60A Power Chokes, Dual-Stack MOSFET, Nichicon 12K Platinum Capacitors, Hi-Density Power Connector, 15μ gold contacts and Digi Power.

ASRock didn’t reveal a global availability or MSRP price, but it can already be had in some regions such as Germany where it retails starting from €193.04. It surely isn’t the cheapest, but it’s also quite impressive on its feature list.

ASRock Releases Dual DDR3/DDR4 B150M Combo-G Motherboard

Every time there has been a change to a new DDR standard, motherboard manufacturers have often retained some models that continue to use the older ram specification. This time around, we’re getting a number of boards with dual support, being compatible with both DDR3 and DDR4. Today ASRock has quietly launched their B150M Combo-G motherboard with support for both DDR3/3L and DDR4 ram with Intel’s latest Skylake LGA1551 platform.

Based off the budget B150 chipset, the mATX board boats all of the usual modern features. Despite not being an overclocking board, there are six digital phases for power along with high-quality solid state inductors. Gigabit LAN is provided via an Intel chip while audio is provided by a Realtek ALC887 Audio Codec with ELNA capacitors. For expansion cards, 2 PCIe x16 slots are provided but the 2nd one comes from the chipset. Rounding off the features, we have up to 6 USB 3.0 ports along with full electrical surge protection.

Along with the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi H170Z3, the B150M Combo-G will be one of the better choices for those hoping to retain their DDR3 ram. As noted earlier, both 1.5v and 1.65v DDR3 should work with Skylake just fine and having DDR4 support as well means that a future upgrade to newer ram is possible. Unfortunately, both DDR3 and DDR4 cannot work at the same time and that is unlikely to change.

ASRock Booth @ Target Open Day

Target Open Day 2015: We’ve just stopped by the ASRock booth here at the famous B2B event in Leeds, and as you can see, ASRock have brought along a great range of motherboards to show off. As you’ve no doubt seen in quite a few of our recent motherboard reviews, ASRock are making some great solutions right now, from their cost effective and energy efficiency Braswell motherboards, which come with the CPU in a BGA socket, right up to their flagship Z170 gaming focused motherboards. There’s nothing especially new here, with the exception of the recently launched Z170 products, but it’s still great to see them out on show.

The Z170 PRo4 is a stunning beast, featuring that stark contrast of black and bronze finishes, a welcome break from the often black and red that we’ve seen time and time and time and time again. It’s also packing a mean punch in the audio department, as you can see from the DAC and solid caps in the bottom left of the board.

OK, so we’re back to the black and red stuff again, but I’ll let that one slide as the Fatal1ty series has long kept this theme and it works well with that crazy looking VRM heat sink at the top, perfect for helping this board take on some impressive overclocks.

The Extreme is designed similar to the Fatal1ty, but comes with that more fetching bronze. as well as a front panel add-on that gives you that much loved USB type-C connector!

The small, fast and super quiet BeeBox! A tiny form factor PC and these are quickly gaining in popularity due to their compact size and stylish looks; certainly a lot more manageable that a desktop chassis!

ASRock Z170 Extreme 7+ (LGA 1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


Z170 and Skylake are here, finally! The true successor to Haswell and Haswell Refresh and the first 100% successful 14nm process. Broadwell works, but due to limitations and problems, it was an extremely late release and didn’t really wow us. Skylake is set to change that by bringing back true overclocking with a fully unlocked BLCK to really allow users to fine tune an overclock thanks to the 1MHz increments. Along with this, Z170 also brings huge connectivity through 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes and 10 USB 3.0 lanes; although some manufacturers may not utilise the full amount of lanes.

ASRock is a big player in the motherboard market, producing the renowned Extreme series across both Intel and AMD CPU’s. The Extreme series offers top quality components with great style and functionality. In recent years, the series has taken multiple different colour schemes from blue and white, black and silver and now the best (in my opinion), black and copper. Along with that, the simply huge arrowhead style heat sink covers are gone and replaced with a much more subtle design.

Today we have the top of the line Z170 Extreme 7+, although I would expect an Extreme 9 in the near future. Featuring all of the key features that ASRock motherboards have incorporated for many years such as Ultra M.2 and Purity Sound. Thanks to the new Z170 chipset, ASRock has gone above and beyond with the connectivity. Typically you see one M.2 port, however, ASRock added an extra two. This might not seem amazing, but when you consider the ultra fast Intel NVME SSD drives, adding three in RAID 0 would make for an incredibly fast storage solution; let’s find out how well it performs in today’s review.

Key Features

Manufacturers nowadays need to find innovative ways to stand out from the crowd, ASRock is no exception and has crammed a huge array of features into this motherboard.

  • USB 3.1
  • USB Type-C
  • Turbo M.2
  • Purity Sound 3
  • NVIDIA SLI
  • AMD Crossfire
  • Dual Intel LAN
  • USB 3.1 Front Panel
  • Digi Power
  • Super Alloy
    • XXL Aluminium allow heatsink
    • Premium 60A Power Choke
    • Dual stack MOSFET
    • 12k Platinum capactiors
    • Premium memory alloy choke

Packaging and Accessories

The box is very similar to the rest of the Extreme range; a strong outer case with a carry handle.

On this particular box, it puts a main focus on the Super Alloy features of the motherboard.

Inside the box is a conservative amount of accessories, driver disk, manual, I/O shield, rigid SLI bridge and 4x SATA 6Gb/s cables.

Along with those, ASRock is also bundling in an additional USB front panel connection interface, but not traditional USB 2.0 or even 3.0, but USB 3.1 in Type A and Type C formats. The cables below are what are needed to enable the fastest possible data transfers and plug into the SATA Express ports on the motherboard.

When you look at the front cover, it is relatively plain. Personally I would have mounted two PCBs on top of each other to give 2x of each port or even temperature monitoring LED’s.

There is so much room behind the panel, maybe you could use it for cable sorting?

ASRock N3700-ITX Braswell SoC Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


There comes a time for every enthusiasts when someone asks them to build a computer that is quiet, efficient, small and cheap. I know most of us would tend to go straight for an Intel i3/AMD APU and a mini-ITX motherboard, but sometimes even those options are too costly. So what do we decide on? We could look on the second-hand market or look at SoC options.

SoC options have been around for years; inside some netbooks with the Intel Atom range or even some NAS options in recent years. What we tend to think of when considering these options is how poor they are when trying to do medium workloads such as word processing, image processing and web browsing at the same time.

When used correctly, a SoC option can make perfect sense. Many consumers tend to buy them for HTPC (Home Theatre PC) or home-built NAS options; which is exactly what they’re designed for. These are extremely low power options, which can handle basic tasks such a 1080p video playback; although in today’s market, 4K playback is becoming the norm.

How much does something like this cost? It can be as low as £50 for a no fuss model, when it would cost roughly that much for just a CPU in most cases. Along with it being seriously cheap, they are seriously low power, drawing as little as 15W, so even the most budget of power supplies could run it (although we wouldn’t recommend buying cheap power supplies).

The sole purpose for SoC options like this is for simple media playback and simple web browsing, but just how much different are they from the current top dog enthusiast CPU, the Intel Core i7-4770k? Let’s find out.

Key Features

Despite these Braswell based motherboards being at the lower end of the spectrum, they do include some nice features.

  • 6 USB 3.0 ports
  • 4k video playback
  • Power gear
  • Power Spike Protection

For more information on these functions, please visit the N3700-ITX product pages.

ASRock Unveil Impressive G10 Gaming Router

I was excited when I saw pictures of this at Computex 2015; the stunning sharp lines and the vibrant red colour was a nice refresh to something that we could potentially have sitting on our shelves.

From our previous coverage“It boasts all of the usual specifications such as 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi performance channels, a dual core 1.4GHz processor with 512MB DRAM, dual USB 3.0 ports, 8 internal antennae and an HDMI port. The HDMI port is for instant video streaming via a miracast dongle. Along with those hardware features, this router also features self-healing, prioritised gaming profile for the primarily connected device, adjustable power output and much more.”

Since that event, ASRock has added another interesting feature thanks to adding incorporating the IoT. This new feature gives you the ability to control ANY device on your house thanks to an additional infrared sender incorporated into the router. So, for example, your TV; you can control it with your phone over WiFi, eliminating the need for 1. a remote and 2. a mobile phone with infrared. This means you can control it while you are in another room, for real work or to mess with your family and friends.

Here is a short video explaining the new feature.

Sadly it looks like ASRock has dropped the red covers. Will you be looking to purchase this new router once released? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

ASRock N3150 Braswell Motherboard Round-up Review

Introduction and Specifications


Integrated processors and motherboards aren’t really in the direct interest of the enthusiast, where the focus is more on; in the word of Jeremy Clarkson, “POWAH”. With limited output options and they very rarely have PCIe slots for additional add-in cards, they don’t stack up to make the best option for the consumer market; so why are these even produced?

To some, it’s not about overall performance, but “will it run internet explorer, play 1080p videos and let me do basic work on?” I know many people who have an Intel Core i7 2600k (or similar) in an HTPC that is turned on once a week to play the odd movie from a pen drive. That’s serious overkill for the task and not to mention the heat it would produce, or the cost of the build. Onboard processing (SoC) options are not only perfect for less demanding tasks but also run passively thanks to a built-in heat sink.

How much does something like this cost? It can be as low as £50 for a no fuss setup, when it would roughly cost that much for just a CPU in most cases. Along with it being cheap, they are also efficient, drawing as little as 15W, so even the most budget friendly PSUs could run them (although we wouldn’t recommend buying cheap power supplies).

The sole purpose for Soc options like this is for media playback and web browsing, but how much different are they from the current top dog enthusiast CPU, the Intel Core i7-4770k? Let’s find out.

Key Features

Despite these Braswell based motherboards being at the lower end of the spectrum, they do feature some nice features.

  • At least 4 USB 3.0 ports
  • Power gear
  • Power Spike Protection

For more information on these functions, please visit the N3150M, N3150B-ITX and N3150-ITX product pages.

ASRock X99 Extreme6 Motherboard Giveaway Winner!

We love giving away prizes here at eTeknix and today is no exception. We’ve had the incredible ASRock X99 Extreme6 motherboard up for grabs in our latest competition, but now the competition has run its course and we’ve fired up the random bean machine to pick a lucky winner for this incredible prize.

The motherboard packs a lot of high-end features that will help you take advantage of many of the latest technologies, and the performance boost that they can bring. Of course, I’m delaying you like crazy here, so let’s get right to it and ask that all important question…

 

Did I Win?

ASRock VIP Event @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – On the second day of Computex, we were invited to attend a VIP conference to gain more detailed information on the booth showcased on the main floor.

Once we arrived, it was a typical affair, projector and screen with a few rows of chairs and a tantalising layout of product to our right. We were allowed to grab a few pictures before taking a seat, which primarily featured the new 100 series motherboards, ASRocks new Beebox NUC and a random TV/ monitor; which will be used in a demonstration later. Along with all of these, ASRock has a large standing banner suggesting that they have a new brand; ASRock Gaming. This will now categorise some of the motherboards under this new brand; much like previous Fatal1ty motherboards within the ‘Killer’ or ‘Professional’ branding.

The motherboard line-up featured some old classics from the Fatal1ty and Extreme Range with the new chipset and features such as USB 3.1 and USB type-C. Although they are not displayed here, ASRock also offers other 100 series motherboards based on the B150 and H170 chipsets. With the new 100 series, only the Z170’s will feature DDR4 compatibility while the rest will remain with DDR3.

  

      

We look forward to the release of the 100 series motherboards and supported processors and we aim to review them as soon as possible after launch. We will keep you updated with any news and events from the rest of Computex 2015.

ASRock Showcase G10 Gaming Router @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – During a VIP press conference with ASRock, we were given a glimpse of the brand new ASRock G10 Gaming Router.

This stylish verticle router carries the new ASRock Gaming branding and will fit into the new accessory line-up in the near future.

It boasts all of the usual specifications such as 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi performance channels, a dual core 1.4GHz processor with 512MB DRAM, dual USB 3.0 ports, 8 internal antennae and an HDMI port. The HDMI port is for instant video streaming via a miracast dongle.

Along with those hardware features, this router also features self-healing, prioritised gaming profile for the primarily connected device, adjustable power output and much more.

This will be available towards the end of June and have a MSRP of $239.


 


This is an ongoing conference, we will keep you updated with information as we know it.

ASRock Provide Exclusive Details on Beebox @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – Yesterday we saw a line-up of small NUC’s from ASRock called Beebox. These look like a typical mini-PC with nothing special, however at a VIP press event today; we have been given exclusive information.

The Beebox uses the latest Intel Braswell SOC for the most power efficient and powerful NUC computing experience. The case is small with subtle designs so will fit into a wide range of existing living room environments. What really sets this apart from the rest of the mini PC market is that it supports 4k the right way. Many others offer 4k in a single channel mode, the Beebox offers it in a high stability dual channel mode. This little NUC will also be the world’s first to host a USB Type-C port.

The Beebox will be available later this month with pricing starting from $140 for the barebones kit to $220 for the full system without Beebox OS. If you opted for Windows 10, you could snag a complete system for under $200.

 

 

This is an ongoing press event, we will update you as soon as we have the information.

ASRock Unviel Z170 Extreme7 Motherboard @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – In the world of technology, it is all about being the best, and ASRock is no stranger to offering some of the best products on the market.

At a press event during Computex 2015, we were given information regarding the brand new Z170 Extreme 7 motherboard. Suited for the 6th Generation Intel Skylake processors and DDR4 support, this is set to be one of the best enthusiast motherboards money can buy.

This motherboard will feature the usual specifications such as USB 3.1/ 3.0, M.2 and high-speed PCIe lanes with multi-card graphic support and also include the newest USB form factor, USB Type-C.

This is an on-going press event, we will keep you updated.

ASRock Gaming @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – If you are a computer enthusiast, you are likely to have heard of ASRock and the motherboards it produces. They have a motherboard gaming range of Fatal1ty and have now taken a similar approach to gaming peripherals and accessories. ASRock only brought a small range, 3 products, to showcase, but it is nice to see the manufacturer branching out.

In total, there are two gaming surfaces (or mouse mats) and a gaming router. The router is a very interesting design, following that of a Fatal1ty heatsink off a motherboard. It features 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels, 8 internal antennae and even an HDMI port that supports features such as Airplay.

We look forward to seeing more from the ASRock Gaming range. Any news and events we will keep you updated from the rest of Computex 2015.

ASRock Present the Beebox @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – The market for compact home computers is a relatively new one, but already the competition is fierce. ASRock has taken what it already knows from the motherboard sector and applied the same concepts to its new line of Mini PC’s, known as Beebox.

They are based on Intel’s Braswell SOC and support many of the standard features you would expect from a laptop or even desktop. USB 3.0, 3x graphical output, m.2 SSD and room for 1x 2.5″ storage drive and WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. These are some great additions to the line-up and now make the choice even harder for potential customers.

We look forward to reviewing a Beebox in the future to see how it stacks up against the competition. We will update you with any news and events from the rest of Computex 2015.

ASRock Showcase Intel Skylake Motherboards @ Computex 2015.

Computex 2015 – Computex has been a buzz of excitement over the new Z170 motherboards and Intel Skylake processors. Here we are with ASRock, one of the leaders in the enthusiast market. they are showcasing a range of Skylake motherboards from B150 to Z170 chipsets. Only the Z170 chipsets will support DDR4, where the rest will feature DDR3 for launch.

All of the Z170 range currently comes under the ‘Extreme’ and ‘Pro’ range, which has proven highly popular with consumers in the past.

We look forward to reviewing the newest motherboards from ASRock as soon as possible after launch. We will keep you updated with any news and events from the rest of Computex 2015.

ASRock RACK @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – ASRock are one of the largest motherboard companies in the world right now so it would make sense for it to branch out into other markets such as business and servers.

Even though this isn’t your typical enthusiast grade technology, the technology shown here will most likely filter down into the consumer market in the near future. Take the X99 ITX motherboard, for example, people said it couldn’t be done and it was made; then it was made better with the introduction of 4 DIMM slots.

Today we see an impressive range of motherboards including the X99 ITX motherboard and a server rack.

We look forward to bringing you more news and event updates from Computex 2015 as it happens.