Z87 Extreme9/ac Software
ASRock includes a variety of freeware and trial software on its installation CD, in addition to ODM-supplied and its own branded applications. These include XFast USB by FNet, XFast LAN packet prioritization by cFos, Restart to UEFI, and various freeware and shareware discussed in a previous review. Realtek’s DTS-enabled audio control interface replaces the non-DTS-enabled Creative software found in some of the firm’s other high-end boards.
We were able to confirm much of ASRock’s OC Tweaker functions through CPU-Z and DIMM slot measurements. The program’s limits are tied to motherboard hardware limits, which are fairly consistent for ASRock’s full-sized enthusiast-grade motherboards.
ASRock A-Tuning also has an automatic overclocking algorithm with a built-in stability test. It pushed our Core i7-4770K to 4.30 GHz at 1.20 V, which is a perfectly acceptable target for this heat-constricted CPU. Our tests at 1.25 V generally yield a limit of around 4.6 GHz.
The Thunderbolt device manager is new to the Z87 Extreme9/ac, and accurately shows that I have no Thunderbolt devices to connect. Fortunately, our storage editors handle those details, and the hardware on this board is consistent with previously-tested configurations.
After spending two days per board on a "one week" article, I couldn't add more tests. The general benchmark set looks for unintended overclocking/underclocking, power and memory bandwidth issues, so you can see the performance difference attributable to each board's CPU and DRAM configuration differences. It runs from a .bat file, so it didn't add significantly to the article's completion time.
The PLX bridge that these all share represents the "great equalizer" when it comes to CrossFire and SLI configuration, so that portion of all three boards should be identical. I understand that things that should be the same in theory are occasionally different in practice. My apologies for not having the extra 1-day per board for additional tests.
I think testing 3/4 way sli would still be valid, as it doesn't always work properly, in the past there have been compatibility problems with certain gpu's/boards/firmware/controllers and certain benchmarks completely failed.
Those have nothing to do with readyboost. The internal usb ports are very common on workstations and you put CAD dongles and equivalent items in them so that you can lock them inside the case and don't have to worry about some one stealing them from the outside or them taking up an outside usb port.
Hey guys, we have these awesome new setups for supreme graphics pumping power! Watch it zip files like every other board!