Reviews > Motherboards > Review: ASRock Z77 OC Formula

Review: ASRock Z77 OC Formula

Published by Marc Büchel on 04.12.12 (25001 reads)
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Conclusion

General   + -
The first impression the OC Formula from ASRock leaves, makes us want more. We like the individual design of this board, which actually isn't that easy to achieve anymore. Since ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and co finally found out that people, especially in the western part of this world, prefer simple and decent color designs, quite a lot of color combinations have already been chosen.
The OC Formula is a motherboard that really targets extreme overclockers, but nevertheless ASRock succeeded in crafting a product that is equally attractive to the guys handling LN2 or watercooling/aircooling setups. Both worlds will be able to squeeze maximum out of their systems using this board.
  - Design
- PCI-Express 3.0 Slots
- 6x SATA3 (6Gbps)
- 40 millimeter fan to cool power design
       
Layout   + -

Basically the ASRock OC Formula's Layout has been very well thought. Once more practical are the angled SATA connectors as well as the power- and reset-buttons. There is also a debug display which is very useful in case you should have issues with a component in your system or the board itself. Even the placement of the PCI-Express x16 is well chosen. There is a total of three of these slots between two slots there are always two empty slots. We think this is a good number of PCI Express x16 slots for a overclocking/gaming motherboard altough most gamers will never use three graphics cards in their build. But still it leaves you with plenty of options if you want to plug in other expansion cards. Overclockers will also like the voltage readouts but basically this board is more suitable for overclockers than enthusiast gamers.

  - Angled SATA connectors - Power/Reset-Button onboard
- Debug display
- Space around the CPU socket - Voltage readouts - Watercooling
- OC Buttons
 
       
Performance   + -
At this point we would have expected more from ASRocks Overclocking motherboard. A closer look at the 2D-Performance shows that this board comes in third to the bottom and in our 3D performance rating it scores second to last. There is only one benchmark where the OC Formula really excels and this is 3D Mark 01. Concerning all the other benchmarks the results are somewhere between the last spot and the center span of our comparison tables. Unfortunately the power consumption is also quite high and with a third to last and last spot ASRock doesn't convince us.   - 3Dmark2001 - Power Consumptoion - Performances on average
       
BIOS / Overclocking   + -
Finally the overclocking part but first let's talk about the BIOS first. The BIOS is excellent, ASRock did a great job. It is just perfect. Nick Shih's overclocking profiles seems to work well with our processor and you have a quick access to overclocking BIOS to save/load them. There are predefined memory profiles to help you chose the right subtimings for your beloved memory, you have to know which IC they are based on though. Those profiles are accompanied by a setting that lets you chose how the BIOS has to ajust subtimings - Performance or Compatibility (understand tight and loose timings). The overclocking on this motherboard is very easy and pleasant. The BIOS is very easy to configure and the motherboard worked well and did what we expected it to do. We pushed our i7 3770K to 5GHz stable under aircooling without any issues. Also memory overclocking was really easy and good. My processor can do 1'460 MHz on the memory (limitation by the IMC (Integrated Memory Controller) on the best motherboards around working a bit with BIOS settings. On the OC Formula I didn't need to work with the BIOS at all, I just set the basic settings and it worked like a charm. It was even possible to boot directly at DDR3-2800 which most of the other motherboards I had failed to do. A more detailed overclocking article on the OC Formula will be released soon.   - Best BIOS from ASRock ever - Memory Overclocking  
       
Recommendation   + -
We strongly recommend this motherboard to overclockers. Being Extreme overclockers or "normal" overclockers you have to consider this motherboard as the OC Formula can keep up with ASUS's ROG offer. We removed a star to the rating due to the lack of efficiency of the board, hopefully it will be fixed with a future BIOS.   - Overclocking
- Enthusiasts
 
       
Rating
We give the ASRock Z77 OC Formula four out of five stars.



Page 1 - Introduction Page 11 - PC Mark 7
Page 2 - Specifications / Delivery Page 12 - SiSoft Sandra 1
Page 3 - Features Page 13 - SiSoft Sandra 2
Page 4 - Layout Page 14 - UC Bench
Page 5 - Connectors and I/O Page 15 - Super Pi 1M / 32M
Page 6 - BIOS Page 16 - wPrime 1024M Multi Core
Page 7 - Test setup Page 17 - Games
Page 8 - 3D Mark 11 Page 18 - Power Consumption
Page 9 - 3D Mark Vantage Page 19 - Performance Rating
Page 10 - 3D Mark 2001 SE  Page 20 - Conclusion


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Author: m.buechel@ocaholic.ch







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