Page 1:Gaming Raises The Mainstream
Page 2:ASRock Z97 Extreme4
Page 3:Z97 Extreme4 Software
Page 4:Z97 Extreme4 Firmware
Page 5:Asus Z97-A
Page 6:Z97-A Software
Page 7:Z97-A Firmware
Page 8:Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 5
Page 9:Z97X-Gaming 5 Software
Page 10:Z97X-Gaming 5 Firmware
Page 11:L337 Gaming Z97-Machine
Page 12:Z97-Machine Software
Page 13:Z97-Machine Firmware
Page 14:MSI Z97 Gaming 5
Page 15:Z97 Gaming 5 Software
Page 16:Z97 Gaming 5 Firmware
Page 17:Test Hardware And Benchmark Configurations
Page 18:Results: 3DMark And PCMark
Page 19:Results: SiSoftware Sandra
Page 20:Results: 3D Games
Page 21:Results: Audio And Video Encoding
Page 22:Results: Adobe Creative Suite
Page 23:Results: Productivity
Page 24:Results: File Compression
Page 25:Power, Heat, And Efficiency
Page 27:Picking A Value Leader
ASRock Z97 Extreme4
ASRock gives users interested in the latest drive interface their choice between M.2 or SATA-E though traditional chipset connections, and if you don't have a storage device compatible with either technology, you can get similar performance through a couple of SATA ports via RAID.
An ASM1042AE controller adds two USB 3.0 ports to the rear panel, bringing the total to six without sacrificing the chipset-driven USB 3.0 front-panel connector. Two USB 2.0 ports are also seen here, along with VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, and DisplayPort display outputs for the CPU’s integrated graphics engine.
Fed by Intel’s i218V PHY, the single GbE port provides connectivity without consuming a PCIe lane, thanks to the chipset’s dedicated networking link.
The Z97 Extreme4 also provides two additional SATA ports via a single-lane PCIe-based controller. Unfortunately, that one lane limits those two attached drives to 5 Gb/s combined throughput. And you’ll not likely use the third PCIe x16 slot for a storage device because it steals four of the CPU’s sixteen total lanes from the second slot when it's active.
If you were building a three-way CrossFire rig or simply adding three cards to support a wall of displays, you’d probably prefer that PCIe 3.0 x4 link to the PCIe 2.0 x4 interface that would have otherwise been available from the chipset. On the other hand, SLI users will find that they need the middle slot to keep all eight of its available pathways.
One of the Z97 Extreme4’s smarter features is a switch allows you to manually select one of two firmware ROMs, rather than relying on the often-unreliable “smart” switching certain competitors use. Better still, the use of socketed ROMs provides cheap insurance against dead ICs.
ASRock is particularly proud of the Z97 Extreme4’s “Purity Sound” audio solution with enhanced headphone amplification and DTS Connect support as well.
The Z97 Extreme4 includes only four SATA cables to serve its eight internal headers, but one potentially-nice added feature is its HDD-Saver cable. Using a bundled application, users can switch power on and off to their storage drives to increase drive longevity, save energy, or reduce noise when the devices aren’t being used.
A rigid SLI bridge is also provided.
- Gaming Raises The Mainstream
- ASRock Z97 Extreme4
- Z97 Extreme4 Software
- Z97 Extreme4 Firmware
- Asus Z97-A
- Z97-A Software
- Z97-A Firmware
- Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 5
- Z97X-Gaming 5 Software
- Z97X-Gaming 5 Firmware
- L337 Gaming Z97-Machine
- Z97-Machine Software
- Z97-Machine Firmware
- MSI Z97 Gaming 5
- Z97 Gaming 5 Software
- Z97 Gaming 5 Firmware
- Test Hardware And Benchmark Configurations
- Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Results: 3D Games
- Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Results: Adobe Creative Suite
- Results: Productivity
- Results: File Compression
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- Picking A Value Leader