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Four Z87 Express Motherboards For Three- And Four-Way SLI

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.

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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.

  • iam2thecrowe
    Am i missing something here? I dont see the point of reviewing 3 and 4 way sli boards and not testing 3 and 4 way sli. Seems rather pointless since any average motherboard will perform well in adobe, productivity etc benches dependent on the cpu....
    Reply
  • Crashman
    This was really just about finding any board that supports Nvidia's requirements about how that third card is connected. We found some, I overclocked them, now I have enough data to pick a board for the System Builder Marathon. But that only explains why overclocking took priority!

    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.
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    12341788 said:
    They all use the same PLX bridge, so you would have seen a whole bunch of identical gaming results. The general benchmark set looks for unintended overclocking/underlocking, power and memory bandwidth issues, so you can see the actual performance difference. And there's still an overclocking section.

    These boards had to be tested for general performance and stability like any other boards. The PLX controller is the equalizer when it comes to games.

    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.
    Reply
  • Kraszmyl
    "internally-mounted external USB 2.0 port for ReadyBoost fanatics" on the asus z87.

    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.
    Reply
  • Memnarchon
    I would love to see Asus Maximus VI Extreme, but it seems ASUS didn't want to give a 2nd board and prefered the Z87 WS....
    Reply
  • markaflias
    Where are the sli/cfx tests ? Non sense
    Reply
  • west7
    no cfx test i think the review title is misleading
    Reply
  • Traciatim
    where are the sli/crossfire benchmarks and comparisons with traditional non-switched setups?

    Hey guys, we have these awesome new setups for supreme graphics pumping power! Watch it zip files like every other board!
    Reply
  • chumly
    Those heatsinks on the Asus look like the would interfere with large CPU coolers.
    Reply
  • duramax08
    Why are they still making motherboards with PS/2 connections? Its time to move on, replace those baby's with some USB 3.0!
    Reply