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Z77 Extreme4 Applications

Seven Sub-$160 Z77 Express Motherboards, Reviewed

ASRock’s current installation CDs include an “Install All” option that, fortunately, can be modified after opening the company's setup routine. Several of the applications are simply annoying, while others may be unnecessary to most users.

Most obnoxious of all is SmartView, which begs users to start its trial period every time you launch your browser.

Norton Internet Security trial alerts are made a little less annoying by the knowledge that some users might actually need a temporary A/V solution. A gadget was also present, though easy to ignore.

Even less bothersome (and perhaps even useful to some folks) is the inclusion of THX TruStudio Crystalizer. Added to entice users into purchasing Creative’s $25 TruStudio Pro upgrade, this free version adds dynamic range to digital music (louder louds and quieter quiets), helping address the limitations imposed during analog-to-digital conversion.

Simultaneously annoying and useful, ASRock’s XFast USB software prompts users to remove and reconnect any previously-undetected USB storage device before attempting and often achieving in its effort to improve transfer performance.

Potentially more useful is ASRock’s XFast LAN application, which lets you specify network packet priority, among other things.

ASRock also includes Intel’s Smart Connect software, which can wake a system occasionally to download updates from apps like Twitter and Facebook. This feature actually alleviates the annoyance of waiting for a bunch new messages to stream in when you first sit down at your PC.

Other applications include ASRock’s Instant Boot hibernation utility, a trial copy CyberLink MediaEspresso for use with the included Virtu MVP software, and ASRock 3 TB+ Unlocker to enable large drive access within 32-bit operating systems.

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