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Seven Sub-$160 Z77 Express Motherboards, Reviewed

Overclocking With ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility

We can’t forget ASRock’s overclocking and hardware monitoring utility, which allows users unfamiliar with or scared of UEFI changes to attempt an overclock within Windows. More hardware overclockers occasionally use the same type of software to make minor adjustments beyond what they’ve already set in a board's UEFI.

ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility opens to its hardware monitoring page, showing most of the voltage, fan, and temperature readings also found in the UEFI, without needing to exit Windows.

AXTU provides temperature-based fan control only for the CPU fans and one chassis fan header. Manual adjustment is available for the two CPU and three chassis fan headers, and our tests demonstrate that feature to work as advertised.

We slid the clock and voltage controls all the way up under AXTU’s Overclocking tab to show how far these scale. Although we didn't apply those extreme settings to our delicate hardware, we did find smaller changes in BCLK, CPU ratio, and CPU voltage reflected in CPU-Z.

UEFI overclocking profiles are repeated into AXTU’s OC DNA menu.

ASRock Inteligent Energy Saver gets a tab, but we didn’t find settings beyond On and Off.

XFast RAM is ASRock’s RAM drive utitility. RAM disks provide a super-fast place to temporarily store files while working with them, such as large images that are being manipulated in Photoshop. The capacity of any RAM-based drive is subtracted from total available system memory. ASRock points out that putting temporary files on the RAM drive minimizes strain on SSDs, and the firm even has a video that shows XFast RAM using unavailable memory (installed memory beyond the 4 GB limit) within a 32-bit operating system.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.