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Closer Look at ASRock Z77 Extreme4

The package of the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 mainboard is designed similarly to that of the top model, although the box itself is noticeably thinner and there is no handle:

The back of the box also displays a photo of the board as well as mention of the supported functions, technologies and features.

The accessories bundle is significantly more modest, there is no additional panel with the USB 3.0 ports and only two SATA cables. The complete list if included accessories is provided below:

  • Two SATA cables with metal connector locks, one with an L-shaped lock and another one – with a straight one;
  • A bridge for two-way Nvidia SLI graphics configurations;
  • I/O Shield for the back panel;
  • A brochure about the functionality of mainboard BIOS and accompanying software;
  • User manual in multiple languages;
  • DVD disk with software and drivers.

The similarities between ASRock Z77 Extreme4 and its elder sister are very general. The Extreme4 board is noticeably smaller: it is only 218 mm wide instead of the 244 mm, which is the maximum standard width for the ATX form-factor. It doesn’t have some of the features the top model has. However, its basic functionality remained practically untouched.

For example, just like the top mode, ASRock Z77 Extreme4 also uses digital 8+4 processor voltage regulator circuitry. It also has four memory DIMM slots that will support up to 2800 MHz operational frequencies and will accommodate up to 32 GB of RAM. There are the same additional retention holes around the processor socket and there are two connectors for processor fans – one three-pin and one four-pin connector. The voltage regulator components that heat up during work are also topped with two additional heatsinks, just like on the top model. The only difference is the shape of these heatsinks, the absence of a connecting heatpipe, and the use of plastic push-pins with springs for all heatsinks instead of the more reliable screws.

As for the expansion slots, there are two PCI Express 3.0/2.0 x16 slots capable of sharing their bandwidth evenly and supporting AMD Quad CrossFireX and Nvidia Quad SLI. Besides those, there are two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots and two regular PCI slots. The mainboard also has glowing Power On and Reset buttons as well as a POST-code indicator. Six Serial ATA ports implemented in the chipset include four SATA 3 Gbps and two SATA 6 Gbps ports. They are joined by two SATA 6 Gbps ports implemented via ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Just like on the Extreme6, one of these additional ports is combined with an eSATA port on the back panel. However, unlike the other mainboard, ASRock Z77 Extreme4 doesn’t have a DisplayPort and doesn’t support IEEE1394 (FireWire).

As a result, the back panel of ASRock Z77 Extreme4 has the following ports and connectors:

  • A universal PS/2 connector for keyboard or mouse;
  • Four USB 3.0 ports (blue connectors). Two of them have been implemented via ASMedia ASM1042 controller, and the functionality of the Intel Z77 Express chipset delivers another two ports and an internal pin-connector for two more USB 3.0 ports;
  • D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI video Outs;
  • Glowing “Clear CMOS” button;
  • Two USB 2.0 ports, six more are laid out as three onboard pin-connectors;
  • One eSATA 6 Gbps port implemented via ASMedia ASM1061 controller, which is combined with one of the internal SATA 6 Gbps ports implemented via the same controller;
  • A local network port (network adapter is built on Gigabit Broadcom BCM57781 network controller);
  • Optical S/PDIF and five analogue audio-jacks provided by eight-channel Realtek ALC898 codec.
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