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Round-Up: Four Z68 Motherboards From $220 To $280

Overclocking

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
ASRock Z68 Extreme7Asus P8Z68 DeluxeGigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD5MSI Z68A-GD80
CPU Base Clock95-110 MHz (0.1 MHz)80-300 MHz (0.1 MHz)80-200 MHz (0.1 MHz)38-282 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierUp to 60xUp to 59x16x to 59xUp to 60x
DRAM Data Rates1066-2133 (266.6 MHz)800-2400 (266.6 MHz)800-2133 (266.6 MHz)800-2133 (266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.60-1.70 V (5 mV)0.80-1.99 V (5 mV)0.75-1.70 V (5 mV)0.80-1.80 V (5 mV)
VTT Voltage0.86-1.42 V (13 mV)0.80-1.70 V (6.25 mV)0.80-1.70 V (20 mV)0.95-1.55 V (10 mV)
PCH Voltage0.78-1.65 V (9 mV)0.80-1.70 V (10 mV)Not Adjustable0.78-1.72 V (5 mV)
DRAM Voltage1.20-1.80 V (15 mV)1.20-2.20 V (6.25 mV)0.90-2.60 V (20 mV)1.11-2.46 V (7.25 mV)
CAS Latency5-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles5-15 Cycles5-15 Cycles
tRCD4-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRP4-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRAS10-40 Cycles4-40 Cycles1-40 Cycles10-40 Cycles

All of these enthusiast-class motherboards boast wide enough voltage and frequency ranges to please aggressive overclockers, though they might not be up to extreme overclocking techniques. Asus does aim to satisfy the liquid nitrogen crowd with a 1.99 V maximum at the CPU core. Gigabyte eliminates the one adjustment that has little to no benefit, but introduces a lot of risk.

Our own efforts are a little more modest than other overclocking attempts you've likely seen, as we've implemented in-house standards to only recommend settings we feel encourage a longer processor life span on air cooling. After all, 5 GHz doesn't do much good if your machine only lasts two months.

Going past 4.7 GHz at a mere 1.35 V is a huge accomplishment, and for that Asus deserves big credit.

Though we've seen this CPU hit a 108 MHz BCLK in the past, we’re perfectly happy that this crop of products yields 107 MHz. After all, the Core i7-2600K has unlocked mutipliers for higher performance gains, so we continue to recommend K-series chips.

Adding the highest DRAM clock to its CPU clock and performance win, the P8Z68 Deluxe takes the lead in every test we've thrown at it except efficiency. There are a few other considerations we must make before we can consider it an award winner, though.

  • crisan_tiberiu
    I own an AsRock Z68 Pro 3 MB, and i am vere pleased with it.
    Reply
  • RazorBurn
    Only Asus and AsRock for me.. Tried severals boards thru the years yet only this two has never failed me..

    My AsRock AliveNF6G-VSTA in my warehouse full of dust, mites, cobweb still works.. Recently upgraded to 4GB RAM and GTS 450 1GB video card..
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    i would like to see a more budget oriented roundup, not everyone wants to spend that much on a motherboard for 0.5 of an FPS increase, or overclock 100mhz more out of their cpu.....
    Reply
  • beenthere
    Intel mobos are way over-priced IMO. In my many years of building PCs the only two mobos that I ever had fail were Asus. As far as performance and reliability I'd rank these mobo brands as follows:

    Gigabyte
    MSI
    Asus
    Asrock
    Reply
  • flong
    I own the AsRock Extreme 4 Gen 3 board and it seems to be a very good board. I had the Asus Pro V before and had problems. I can say from experience that Asus's customer service is VERY poor to say the least. While their boards seem to be high quality according to most reviews, if you do have a problem don't count on Asus being around to help you out. I sent my board back to NewEgg and I had to argue with Newegg to get them to warranty it which was disappointing. Amazon does not have this problem and for my next motherboard purchase I will probably go through Amazon.

    The answer to my first email question to Asus came a three full weeks later AFTER I had decided to return the board. AND the answer was an absolutely stupid response that did not address the real problem. Still wanting an answer to my question, I clarified the question and sent it back to Asus again. TWO weeks later I got ANOTHER asinine response from them. At that point I realized I was wasting my time.

    I don't know how good AsRock's customer service is since I have not had a problem with the board.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    iam2thecrowei would like to see a more budget oriented roundup, not everyone wants to spend that much on a motherboard for 0.5 of an FPS increase, or overclock 100mhz more out of their cpu.....I believe you missed this:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68xp-ud3-dz68db,2980.html
    Reply
  • Mark Heath
    9519804 said:
    I believe you missed this:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68xp-ud3-dz68db,2980.html
    Crashman to the rescue again :)
    Reply
  • Novuake
    Intel boards are not that bad, yes their Enthusiast boards are, but for a good while after LGA1155 came out they had the cheapest USB3/SATA 3 LGA1155 boards available, I think they still do... I would have to check.
    Reply
  • Luay
    The Asrock Extreme7 belongs in another NF200 equipped Tri-fire/Tri-SLI round-up with the UD7, ROG and FTW boards, and I think it would still win based on value.
    Real enthusiasts, on the other hand don't use integrated graphics and already have a dedicated SSD. Enter P67 in the round-up and the winner would still be for almost 18 months running, the $255 Asus P67 WS Revolution.
    Reply
  • ojas
    Hey Tom's. Make Wolfgang read articles like these too. He needs them.
    Reply