ASRock Z170 OC Formula Motherboard Review

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Z170 OC Formula Overclocking

One thing about Overclocking is that it varies greatly from one system to the next, even using the exact same components, you can still get significantly different results.  We have overclocked this CPU several times in the past and the maximum we have been able to get a stable overclock is 4.7GHz, at 4.8GHz we would get the BSOD or random lock-ups.  So 4.7GHz is our known overclock cap with this hardware.  This was done simply by increasing the CPU Multiplier within the BIOS slowly, then increasing the voltage until we were unable to go any further without a high probability of damage to the system components.



With the ASRock Z170 OC Formula, we were able to blow past the 4.7GHz limit up to 4.9GHz!  This took increasing the voltage to 1.43V, which is still a comfortable (although high) voltage.  We hoped to get a 5.0GHz out of the system, however it was highly unstable.  A 22.5% boost in CPU clock speed for quick and simple overclock isn’t bad at all.  As we get to testing, we’ll see whether this translates into a significant performance boost.  However, if you are going to be using your system mainly for gaming, we  have seen very little game performance boost when overclocking.  Games are seemingly GPU limited rather than CPU limited with the i7-6700K.

Using the built-in Optimized CPU OC Setting, we were able to overclock the CPU to 4.8GHz with a single click of the mouse.  This pre-configured overclock feature isn’t a new item on motherboards and is not unique to ASRock Z170 OC Formula, I was surprised that they provided four different pre-configured OC settings, all of which were extremely easy to use.

Even overclocking the memory is made easy.  Within the DRAM Configuration one of the options is the DRAM Frequency, this pops up a new window that has DDR4 clock speeds starting at 800, going up to 4133MHz!  Without any other adjustments, the Kingston Fury DDR4 kit went to 2933MHz, a 10% boost in memory clock speeds.  Going to 3000MHz the system was unbootable and we had to use the BIOS reset button to go back into the BIOS to make adjustments.


Throughout the testing phase we will test the system at the base CPU clock speeds of 4.0GHz and 2666MHz for the memory, in addition to the overclock speeds of 4.9GHz for the CPU and 2933MHz for the memory.


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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!


    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


        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.


        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….