One of our most memorable last-year impressions was the discovery of ASRock mainboards. Well, of course we had known that company well before and regularly reviewed their products but we had moderate expectations. Really, could ASRock successfully compete against the leading Taiwanese manufacturers? Their mainboards used to be direct rivals to products from such companies as Biostar or Elitegroup. So, it came as an unexpected and yet very pleasant surprise that ASRock mainboards made a huge leap forward in just a couple of years. And most importantly, we are talking not just about a few specific models but an entire line-up of very successful ASRock LGA1155 mainboards, which we regularly reviewed throughout 2012. Today’s ASRock mainboards are highly competitive and run neck and neck with the leading offerings from ASUSTeK and Gigabyte, and that is not due to the fact that they come at a lower price. They do offer comparable functionality, quality of manufacture and very comfortable and pleasant user experience.
ASRock’s product range is extensive so everybody can find a mainboard to suit their needs. That’s why our tests of ASUS F2A85-V PRO and Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-UP4 are followed by this review of a Socket FM2 mainboard from ASRock. The two mentioned models are the top of their respective series, so we’ve taken ASRock’s flagship model - FM2A85X Extreme6 - for the sake of a fair comparison.
Packaging and Accessories
Like products from ASUS and Gigabyte, ASRock is easily identifiable by the exclusive design of the product packaging.
A small picture of the mainboard can be found on the back of the box along with a list of key specs and features.
The box is about as thick as those of ASUS and Gigabyte mainboards but longer and taller due to unique packaging: besides a conventional antistatic pack, the mainboard is additionally protected with a frame made of soft porous material. The accessories are not too numerous, as we have expected, but sufficient for using the product:
- Four Serial ATA cables half with metal L-shaped connector locks and another half with straight locks;
- I/O Shield for the back panel;
- A brochure on the BIOS functionality and bundled software features;
- User manual in multiple languages;
- DVD disk with software and drivers.