The new Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 board is part of that new look darker setup that we saw out of ASRock in terms of the ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 we looked at. The Extreme7 is a little more stand out with a really cool looking heatsink design. Considering the higher price tag associated with it, though, we'd expect the cooling setup to look a bit meaner. Still, the Extreme4 is a great looking board. Let's move in a bit closer, though, and see what exactly is going on.
Moving in closer to the board, you can see our expansion slot setup with a single Molex on the far left to help with those power hungry VGA setups. As for actual expansion slots, we've got two legacy PCI slots and two PCIe x1 slots along with three PCIe x16 slots.
Being a board that supports PCIe 3.0, though, the setup is a little different. With an Ivy Bridge based CPU, PCIe x16 slots one and two are PCIe 3.0. If one card is used it will run at x16, if you opt for two cards you're looking at x8 / x8. The third slot will run at PCIe 2.0 x8.
If you're using a Sandy Bridge based CPU, which you would be at the moment, the speeds of the slots are the same, but they all run at PCIe 2.0 instead of 3.0. Of course, you're only a new CPU away from getting PCIe 3.0 when Ivy Bridge comes out.
Looking across the bottom of the board, you can see we've got all our main headers. Starting from the left, we've got HD Audio, COM1, Floppy, Firewire, three USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Chassis Speaker and System panel header.
Other stand outs across here include the Debug LED reader above the last USB 2.0 slot and to the right you can see we've got a power and reset button onboard.
Turning the corner, we can again see those power and reset buttons along with the eight SATA ports that are present on the board. As for the specifics on the SATA ports, we've got four black SATA II ports that run off the Intel Z68 chipset and next to that we have four grey SATA III ones. The two closest to the SATA II also run off the Intel Z68 chipset while the two furthest ones which are labeled as M1 and M2 run off the Marvell SE9120 controller. As always, you want to try and run off the native Intel ports before you move over to the ones running off another controller.
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