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ASRock Extreme 4 vs. Pro3

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May 20, 2011 4:14:25 PM

Hello all. This is my first post here. I am on the cusp of buying a motherboard for my newest build and thus far know everything I want except for the motherboard. I can say right away that I don't care about Crossfire or SLI because this machine is going to be strictly for video work (Cinema 4D, After Effects, Premiere). However the only thing that has me torn is that the Extreme 4 has the Digi Power, Advanced V8 + 2 Power Phase Design while the Pro3 does not. Since I will be overclocking I don't know how important of a factor this should be for me. I just don't want to waste the extra money on the Extreme 4 if I'm really not going to need it's features. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

My build so far is :

CPU - Intel Core i5-2500K
Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar Bue 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s
Video Card - GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support
Memory - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
PSU - Ultra LSP550 550-Watt Power Supply

More about : asrock extreme pro3

a c 107 V Motherboard
May 20, 2011 5:33:56 PM

Both the Pro3 and Extreme4 have an 8+2 power system. However, the Pro3 has an analog-controlled version whereas the Extreme4 has a new digitally-controlled system. Theoretically the digital control is more precise and should provide smoother power to the CPU, resulting in lower temps and higher overclocking potential.

Having said that, my Pro3 board has no problem overclocking my 2500K to 4.8GHz, and it's been at that speed since the last week in January when the parts were delivered and I assembled it. Both the B2 and B3 versions of the Pro3 board overclocked to the same speed.

While digital control might be nice, analog control isn't bad ... it's just not as precise. It served us overclockers well for years, and so far digital hasn't shown definitively that it's actually any better. Maybe when 22nm CPUs come out it'll make a difference, but for now analog is just as good.

Edit: All of the above referred to the P67 boards. If you're asking about the Z68 boards, the Extreme4 has an 8+4 phase power system while the Pro3 appears to have a 4+3 or maybe 5+2. Either way it's an odd number, which is weird.

By the way, I'd suggest going with a different brand of power supply. Antec, Corsair, XFX, and SeaSonic would all be better choices.
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May 21, 2011 5:20:38 AM

Good answer Leaps, I learned something. Thanks.
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a b V Motherboard
May 21, 2011 3:45:08 PM

Fully concur with Leaps from shadows.
I'm guessing that both are Z68 versions as Z68 will be the better choice for video work and the ability to add a small SSD to cache a large HDD (For storage).

@ Leaps-from-shadows.
Very minor point on "Theoretically the digital control is more precise..."
Analog has an infinite number of points between two points where as digital has a finite number. For example Digital may go from 1->2->3 where analog can go from 1 -> 1.2 -> 1.75 and every point inbetween.(Just used simple numbers to illustrate). BUT practically speaking digital is better in the implementation for a given cost.
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a b V Motherboard
May 22, 2011 2:08:12 AM

I agree with Leaps and the Chief, but would raise one concern for your rig: expandability. If you go with the Pro you are limited to 4 SATA 3.0 GBps and 2 6.0 GBps while the Extreme has 4 6.0 GBps ports. SATA III is the future and if you are going to need extra storage in the future then you should consider the Extreme4's price against having to pay for a new mobo upgrade.

BTW, I had an Ultra PSU in an old rig and had to replace it because of failure. I'd definitely agree with Leaps recommendation on the PSU.
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May 22, 2011 1:55:53 PM

Thanks for all your help. Very useful information!
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May 22, 2011 4:06:29 PM

The thing that turns me off of the PRO, is that it doesn't come with MOSFET heatsinks. So if you want to overclock the PRO3, it would be a good idea to get some heatsinks on those little guys.
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June 16, 2011 6:43:04 PM

if you're still looking for info...
i have been using the P67 extreme 4 for about a week now and i must say it is perty dang cool. right now i'm using using only one case fan and the stock cpu heat sink and my cpu temp has yet to go over 60C at load (27C in the room) and the mobo max at about 43C (around there, probably lower). Basically it is a rather cool board.

also it's a really simple setup (threw the thing together and it booted up first try), and yet it has many features for enthusiast.

it says it has four 6Gb sata3 ports but it really only has 3 fully functioning ones... what i mean by that is that one of them is tied to the esata on the I/O so if you use the esata you can only use there sate3 ports. also you can only use two of the sata3 ports for your boot drive and those two also are the only sata ports that can be used for RAID. you can use all four of the sata2's for your boot drive.

I haven't had that much time to really test the software and utilities but so far i like it. The "Asrock eXtreme tuner" is really handy, it (as it should) allows you to monitor temps but it also allows you to control all the fans attached to the mother board and it has some oc options.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/asrock-z68-extreme4...
this is an article that covers the software and utilities.

the only problem is that some times if you use a usb wireless mouse it can be a little glitch (most defiantly a driver issue but i haven't gotten around to finding out which one; usb, mouse, ect.)

the heatsinks on the board (the ones around the cpu, not on the cpu) are rather large which is good for cooling I imagine but they may or may not be a problem if you use a larger cpu heatsink (still waiting on my new one so idk yet).

i can't think of any thing else right now, but if you have any questions...


my rig:
‚ÄéCase: NZXT GAMMA
MoBo: ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3)
CPU: Core i5-2500K
GPU: XFX HD-685X-ZNFC
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB,
PSU: 600W OCZ StealthXStream 2
Boot drive: 500GB WD Caviar blue
Data Drive: 1TB Seagate Barracuda
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