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ASRock Unveils Non-Z170 Motherboards Designed To Overclock (Updated)

Update, 1/21/16, 12:05pm PT: During CES, ASRock showed us some non-Z170 motherboards designed for overclocking, and we produced this story below. We spoke with many other companies during the show, and there were varying opinions on the matter. We followed up with this article. Behind the scenes, Intel hasn't been pleased. In fact, one source at Intel said outright that the company did not support these efforts in the slightest. Now, word comes from ASRock that the company has decided it will not be moving forward with these boards. Here is the statement, in full:

ASRock has decided to remove SKY OC technology from these motherboards’ feature lists since it is not compliant with Intel Skylake CPU specifications.

Super Micro also got in touch with us to inform us that its non-Z170 overclocking motherboards will have C-State and Turbo Boost enabled when the BCLK is set to 100 MHz, but the system automatically disables these features to ensure stability when overclocking beyond 100 MHz.

Original article:

ASRock announced that it will release four new non-Z170 motherboards designed to overclock multiplier locked Skylake processors. Three of these motherboards are intended for consumer oriented SKUs, while the fourth is designed for socket LGA 1151 Xeon CPUs.

In order to overclock Skylake CPUs with base clock increases on non-Z170 motherboards the systems required a few hardware level modifications, according to ASRock. The company did not go into detail on what these changes were, but at least one change made was required in order to unlock the voltage controls essential to achieving a high overclock. It doesn't appear that ASRock will be able to push these changes out to its existing products, but it will release two H170 motherboards and a B150 board with these features.

Starting with Skylake, Intel opted to remove support for LGA 1151 Xeon CPUs on consumer oriented chipsets, creating a number of workstation chipsets for these processors instead. Because Xeon CPUs released on consumer sockets have been popular budget alternatives to the high-end Core i7 processors, ASRock applied the necessary hardware changes to a C232 chipset motherboard as well in order to make an overclockable platform for LGA 1151 Xeon CPUs.

All four of these motherboards are designed with features similar to low-end Z170 chipset motherboards. All of them support 10 phase digital power designs, multi-GPU configurations, and with the exception of the H170 Pro4 OC, they all use the high-end Realtek ALC1150 audio codec. The H170 Performance/OC motherboard even features dual-BIOS chips.

ASRock Non-Z170 OC Motherboards
MotherboardB150 Gaming K4/OCH170 Pro4/OCH170 Performance/OCE3V5 Gaming/OC
AudioRealtek ALC1150Realtek ALC892Realtek ALC1150Realtek ALC1150
LANKiller E2400Intel i219VIntel i219VIntel i219V
Memory4 x DDR4 2133 MHz4 x DDR4 2133 MHz4 x DDR4 2133 MHz4 x DDR4 2133 MHz
Storage Connectivity6 x SATA-III6 x SATA-III1 x SATA Express1 x M.2 Key M6 x SATA-III1 x SATA Express1 x M.2 Key M6 x SATA-III

ASRock didn't say what these motherboards would cost, but a company representative mentioned that they should be less expensive than low-end Z170 motherboards.

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Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.