ASRock recently organised organised a local showcase for a slew of new motherboards featuring Intel’s Z170 chipset, at a private event in BIG Hotel, Singapore for power users.
While these motherboards are no stranger to anyone who’s been keeping up with news in the world of technology (they were first revealed at Computex in June), it is only now that these boards are making their way to official retail channels around the island. Like every other major motherboard manufacturer, ASRock has very kindly segregated their products into various categories in order to cater to different market segments.
ASRock’s Z170 boards will come in Extreme, Gaming and OC Formula trims that were present on the previous chipset series, Z97. Unlike previous incarnations, ASRock’s Z170 series doesn’t feature a ‘Pro’ trim level, so the entry-level for Z170 users would be the Extreme trim. Users should be familiar with the usual perks that come with an Extreme board, such as the large aluminium VRM heatsinks and ASRock’s Super Alloy component branding.
Chris Lee, Marketing Deputy Director of ASRock giving the presentation
A few new features also make their debut with Z170 such as Combo Caps which combines two different types of platinum capactiors in order to attain a more responsive and more stable VCore. There’s also I/O Armor which is a solid protective shroud over the rear I/O ports. ASRock says this prevents static discharge from occuring through the I/O ports.
Onboard audio has also seen a marked improvement; now featuring the Realtek ALC1150 codec with 115dB SNR in ASRock’s third iteration of Purity Sound. The exceptionally high signal to noise ratio (as compared to other onboard audio codecs) means it is able to deliver much cleaner sound output as compared to codecs of before.
ASRock’s newly launched gaming series is a rightful competitor against Asus’ Republic of Gamers offerings. Incorporating uprated components as well as design cues from ASRock’s own Fatal1ty series products of previous generations, the newly launched Gaming Series represents ASRock’s step forward in commitment towards serious gamers.
The flagship Gaming Series board, the Z170 Gaming K6 is a prime example; featuring Fatal1ty’s renown black and red colour scheme and ASRock’s striking new Praying Mantis emblem. Gaming Series boards come equipped with Killer Networking for optimum management of networking throughput.
As far s overclocking capabilities go, it seems that the Gaming Series boards will fall on par with the Extreme series boards, featuring the same 12 phase VRM design which is no different from the one found on the Extreme 7.
OC Formula returns as the most powerful and feature-rich trim level on the Z170 series. As if 12 phases weren’t enough, the OC Formula boasts an over-the-top 18 phase VRM design that could put many other competing products to shame.
Designed in conjunction with renown overclocker Nick Shih, the OC Formula may look like a God-tier motherboard encompassing 4 PCIe 3.0 x16 slots supporting Quad SLi or QuadFire setups. Caveat emptor though – because the Z170 chipset is designed with only 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes available (16 of which feed the Skylake CPU), and the board does not feature a PLX chip that increases the number of lanes available to the PCIe slots, do not expect true quad-card performance out of the platform. Three M2 slots are also available but as each M2 slot requires PCIe 3.0 x4, you will not be able to use all the M2 slots without disabling something else.
Last but not least, ASRock also launched a USB 3.1 front panel which plugs into any SATA Express port to bring a pair of USB 3.1 Type A and Type C ports to the front fascia of your chassis. This nifty device is bundled with selected ASRock motherboards that have a ‘+’ suffix to their model name – the Z170 Gaming K6+ for example.
Good guy ASRock has also made these panels widely available at brick and mortar stores so you will be able to enjoy the convenience of having USB 3.1 on your front panel as long as your motherboard supports SATA Express.