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Based on the not very well-known Intel Z75 Express chipset, ASRock's Z75 Pro3 introduces some enthusiast-class functionality at a price point that fits within our budget. In essence, this platform is identical to the company's Z77 Pro3, minus support for Intel's Smart Response Technology and $13.
Most important to us is that, armed with a Z75 Express PCH, it should be able to bolster our processor frequency and memory data rate.
Both this Pro3-series board and the one based on Z77 Express include one 16-lane PCIe 3.0-capable slot, one PCI Express x16 slot limited to x4 transfers at second-gen signaling rates, a PCI Express x1 slot, and two PCI slots.
Four DIMM slots support up to 32 GB of DDR3 memory in a dual-channel configuration, with overclocking as high as 2,800 MT/s. Other on-board features include a pair of SATA 6Gb/s connectors, four SATA 3Gb/s connectors, and internal headers for two USB 3.0 and six USB 2.0 ports. Rear I/O connectivity includes two more USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 port, Ethernet, display outputs, and audio jacks.
Oh happy day. No longer limited to capped memory data rates by entry-level motherboards and CPUs, we avoided the basic DDR3-1333 RAM we're so used to buying. Instead, we spent a bit more on a 4 GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1600 kit, rated at CAS 9 latencies and 1.5 V.