ASRock Reveals Lineup of Z97 Motherboards

Going along with what a whole bunch of manufacturers are doing, ASRock is also previewing its next-generation of motherboards. Despite having one of the numbers blurred out on all of the boards, there's no doubting that these are boards based on the upcoming Z97 chipset.

The boards in this preview include the ASRock Z97 Extreme4, the Z97 Extreme6, the Fatal1ty Z97 Killer, the Fatal1ty Z97X Killer, the Z97E-ITX/ac, as well as the Z97 OC Formula. This counts six motherboards, and they all address wildly different users.

Starting with the Z97 Extreme4 and Z97 Extreme6, we can immediately see that both of these boards are largely identical. They are both designed on an ATX form factor, have three PCI-Express x16 slots, a 12-phase VRM circuit, and ASRock's Purity Sound 2 hardware. The difference between the Extreme4 and the Extreme6 appears to come down to networking (one additional Gigabit Ethernet port) and the storage connectivity, as the Z97 Extreme6 carries a couple more SATA ports along with an additional M.2 slot.

Moving on, we come across the Fatal1ty Z97 Killer and the Fatal1ty Z97X Killer. The difference in the name is just an additional X, though we do run into a couple of differences between the boards. Both of the boards are again based on the ATX form factor and have ample connectivity options, though the Fatal1ty Z97X Killer carries an additional PCI-Express slot and actually has the SATA-Express connector. Both of the boards also have a Killer networking adapter, which is from where part of their names come.

The overclocking oriented board is the Z97 OC Formula. We often find that the OC Formula boards from ASRock are among the higher-end boards, and this is no exception. The board carries a 12-phase VRM circuit which is driven by not one, but two 8-pin EPS connectors for extra juice. The board also has a total of four PCI-Express x16 slots, plenty of storage connectivity including an M.2 slot, as well as the Purity Sound 2 chips already found on the other boards as well as the Killer NIC. As a cherry on top, the board also comes with a number of voltage measurement points which can be used in conjunction with an actual multimeter for more accurate voltage readouts.

Lastly, we have the Z97E-ITX/ac board. This is, as the name implies, a Mini-ITX board also based on the Z97 chipset. While not all the features of the Z97 chipset will be exploited on this board, it does give you a Mini-ITX board capable of overclocking and achieving effectively the same performance as a full-size ATX board, assuming you don't install more than one graphics cards on the ATX board. VRM circuitry is completed with a 6-phase design, and there are four SATA3 ports along with a single SATA-Express connector. Networking is provided through the Intel NIC rather than a Killer chip. At the end of the product name we also find the letters "a" and "c," which indicate that the board will carry wireless 802.11ac capabilities.

Pricing and a handful of exact details remain unknown so far, but it probably won't be too long until the products are launched and all the last questions are answered.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • With X99 coming soon who cares about Z79?
  • Quote:
    With X99 coming soon who cares about Z79?

    When you don't care about it doesn't mean no one else cares.
  • Not much added except more PCI-E lanes right? Next upgrade worth making will be when DDR4 comes out.