Articles: Mainboards

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Just like other leading PC mainboard makers, ASRock didn’t stop after announcing a large line-up of products at the time of Intel seventh series chipset launch. The company continues to regularly roll out new mainboard models with different feature set and different prices, trying to ensure that they have all user groups covered. In the beginning of our review series we introduced to you two ASRock mainboards – Z77 Extreme4 and Z77 Extreme6, then we reviewed ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Professional, and after that we tested ASRock Z77 Extreme9. These models differ quite noticeably from one another, but they do have one thing in common: all of them overclocked our processor and memory to their maximum without any problems. However, even though ASRock mainboard didn’t have any problems with overclocking, the company decided to come up with a special mainboard dedicated solely to overclocking – ASRock Z77 OC Formula.

When the company engineered this product, they received assistance and recommendations from a famous overclocker – Nick Shih. We have already talked about special overclocker products from other mainboard makers, therefore, it is particularly interesting to see what ASRock has come up with, and how this mainboard is different from regular mainboards as well as competition.

Packaging and Accessories

ASRock Z77 OC Formula mainboard comes in a very large box. The front of the box doesn’t bear too much information. There you will find just the mainboard model name, its image in the form of a race car and a few logotypes. However, you can open the top flip-cover attached with Velcro pads and see detailed description of the mainboard functionality inside. By the way, the box is rectangular. I am specifically stressing this aspect, because the design of the package is so sophisticated, that it may seem the package is of a convex shape.

When we describe mainboard packaging, we always refer to relative characteristics, like big or small, thick or thin cardboard. Of course, it is not that hard to measure the box and provide its exact dimensions, but these numbers do not really matter, that is why we never actually do it. However, the sticker on ASRock Z77 OC Formula box gives us a good idea not only of its impressive size, but also of its significant weight.

The mainboard is additionally protected with a composite casing of soft polyurethane foam material, and beneath it there is a two-section packaging for included accessories. The smaller section contains manuals. Inside the larger accessories section you won’t find a pile of parts, but a soft velour draw-string bag with “OC Formula” on it. All the accessories are neatly arranged inside this bag and include the following items:

  • Six Serial ATA cables with metal connector locks, half with L-shaped locks and another half – with straight ones;
  • Two power adapters for SATA devices;
  • A hard bridge for Nvidia SLI graphics configurations;
  • A module with two USB 3.0 ports, a rear panel bracket and a set of retention screws;
  • A syringe with GELID GC-Extreme Thermal Compound;
  • I/O Shield for the back panel;
  • OC Stands for an open testbed setup;
  • A brochure about the functionality of mainboard BIOS and accompanying software;
  • User manual in multiple languages;
  • DVD disk with software and drivers;
  • ASRock OC Formula sticker for the system case.

We have already pointed out before that ASRock mainboards are bundled with a very convenient universal module featuring two additional USB 3.0 ports. This module is originally designed to be installed into the free 3-inch bay of your system case, so that you could have two USB 3.0 ports on the system case front panel. If there are no empty bays available, or if the new case already comes with the front panel USB 3.0 ports, then you can use the enclosed bracket to add these ports to the back panel. However, until today we haven’t really paid attention to the fact that the module also has a special metal plate with holes in it, which can accommodate a 2-inch drive, and there is a corresponding set of screw included with the accessories. As for other quite common accessories, we have to mention that ASRock Z77 OC Formula now comes with a system case sticker, a syringe with high-quality GELID GC-Extreme thermal compound and a set of feet called “OC Stands”, which will come in very handy if you intend to use ASRock Z77 OC Formula in an open testbed setup.

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