To accompany the launch of the unlocked Pentium Anniversary Edition processor, manufacturer ASRock has announced two budget-friendly Z97-based motherboards: the Z97 Anniversary and the Z97M Anniversary.
The reason that the two Z97-based boards are budget-oriented is because the unlocked Pentium Anniversary Edition processor can only be overclocked on a Z-series motherboard, and with the CPU being a budget CPU, it would only be right that there is a budget motherboard accompanying it. A budget motherboard that doesn't support overclocking simply wouldn't make sense.
The Z97 Anniversary is a simple ATX-size motherboard with a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot along with three PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots, topped off with two legacy PCI ports. Ethernet is provided by the built-in Intel LAN that has four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a single HDMI port, stereo analog audio, and an old-school PS/2 port for legacy peripheral connectivity.
The Z97M Anniversary is a Micro-ATX board with a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots and two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots. Rear I/O is largely identical to the Z97 anniversary, with the exception of added DVI and PS/2 port, VGA, and two USB 3.0 ports swapped for USB 2.0 ports.
ASRock has indicated that the 20th Anniversary Unlocked Pentium Processor, which is clocked at 3.2 GHz by default, will be able to overclock to about 4.4 GHz on the Z97 Anniversary board. Of course, depending on your skills and chip you might be able to get beyond that, or might have some difficulty reaching it.
Exact pricing for the units remains unknown, though we know that these are budget boards so they will fall into a budget price category.
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What don't you like about the micro board that the standard board has?