ASRock Z170 OC Formula Motherboard Review

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Final Thoughts and Conclusions

ASRock-Z170-OC-Formula-Box-Front

ASRock might not be the first motherboard manufacturer I personally look at, however my experience with the Z170 OC Formula has shown that they are capable of making incredible motherboards and warrant a closer look at their offerings.  While experience with the Z170 chipset is limited at this time, we have had the opportunity to overclock this specific hardware configuration on three different Z170 motherboards.

While the focus on the Z170 OC Formula is obviously it’s overclocking ability, simply by raising the CPU Multiplier to 49 and increasing the voltage to 1.43V we were able to get a stable overclock of 4.9GHz!  The other two motherboards the Intel i7-6700k wouldn’t run stable above 4.7GHz.  The ASRock Z170 OC Formula has many other overclocking features available, that an expert shouldn’t have any difficulty in overclocking this motherboard much higher.  Speaking of experts overclocking the Z170 OC Formula, it is endorsed by Nick Shih a Champion Overclocker who holds numerous records.  If you’re not an expert at overclocking, but want to get the most out of your system, ASRock has done a great job at offering four different pre-configured overclocking configurations.  Talk about making it easy!

ASRock-Z170-OC-Formula-Overview

Overclocking aside, on most motherboards there are small differences in features and performance, when running the same hardware I expected the ASRock Z170 OC Formula to perform like the other Z170 motherboard I have had the opportunity to look at.  I wasn’t expecting a 3% to 5% difference in performance just by swapping the motherboard.  In nearly every test, the ASRock Z170 OC Formula received a better performance score at base clock speeds.

Other than the advanced overclocking features, the Z170 OC Formula has many other features of interest.  The extra large aluminum heatsinks are useful in keeping the Z170 chipset and the MOSFETs cool.  Perhaps the 60A power chokes, memory chokes or the Nichicon 12K Platinum Caps designed to provide more stable power to your vital components are of interest.  ASRock has used some of the best components available to make a stable overclocking motherboard.

If you are looking for a motherboard that runs the latest Intel Socket 1151 Skylake processors, and want squeeze every ounce of performance out of your components, then the Z170 OC Formula deserves your attention.  It supports the latest technology and has nearly every feature you could want on a modern motherboard; extremely easy overclocking, three M.2, capable of running U.2 drives, dual USB 3.0 internal headers with a USB 3.0 Type-A connector on the motherboard, USB 3.1 and Type-C connectors on the rear I/O panel, quad SLI or CrossFireX support, and up to 64GB of DDR4 memory at over 4500MHz (when overclocked).  The ASRock Z170 OC Formula motherboard is available now for around $252.99 plus shipping.  There are cheaper socket 1151 motherboards available, however I think you will have a difficult time finding a motherboard with the overclocking capabilities of this one.

LR_Recommended

Legit Bottom Line:  If you want to get the best performing motherboard, so far in our testing the ASRock Z170 OC Formula motherboard is the best performing motherboard at any clock speed.  If you are into Overclocking, the overclocking features on the Z170 OC Formula is enough that a Champion Overclocker, Nick Shih, has endorsed the motherboard.  Without any significant tweaking, we were able to overclock our i7-6700K to 4.9GHz, which is 0.2GHz faster than our previous “easy overclock” attempts.

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  • Mike C.

    I’m just gonna outright say it. If you are from Pittsburgh, this is a really tempting board just for the design!

  • YOUDIEMOFO

    Maybe I just do not understand the idea of it all, but how are you supposed to have quad graphics cards and still be able to utilize all four cards respectively along with three M.2 drives in a raid??

    Does this not take up more than the available PCI-E lanes allocated for the GFX/disk/HDD’s? I could see with a 2011 socket allowing 40 lanes of PCI-E 3.0 there being no problem…..I just hope someone can enlighten me as I’m always looking at tech just to see what’s avaislble for the ol’upgrade…

    • Georgian

      you the real MVP
      maybe this socket will be used for future generation of cpu on this soket, that will have more pci lanes

      • YOUDIEMOFO

        I see in the specifications of this particular motherboard here on this review it has an * (asterisk) next to where it explains the PCI-e throughput. It does not however explain what that asterisk means in lieu of the PCI-e lanes in question.

    • Steven Kean

      It seems that each motherboard does it a bit differently. The GB Z170 board specifically mentions that the PCI-E lane and SATA ports becomes disabled, where the ASRock Z170 OC doesn’t mention the PCI-E lanes, but does mention disabling the SATA ports. Another one I’m testing is like the ASRock board, only disabling the SATA ports. That seems to be the most common aspect of the M.2 implementation.

      • YOUDIEMOFO

        Nice. And thanks for shedding a bit of light on this for me. Just did not understand the asterisk by the explanation of the PCI-E lanes in the article clipping they took from the manufacturer. I sure there was something elsewhere explaining exactly what that was supposed to mean…

        • Steven Kean

          Sorry, I’ll watch those next time. The * on the PCI-E slots is just that they support NVME as boot drives, nothing to major.

        • YOUDIEMOFO

          Ah’thank you….