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Apr 25, 2014

ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 Is a Surprisingly Powerful Mid-Range Motherboard




ASRock may have unleashed five different Z97-based motherboards, but one of them is likely to outsell all the others, because mid-range products always sell the best. There's a reason they're called “mainstream” after all.

The motherboard in question is called ASRock Z97 Extreme 4, which means that it still has some pretty nifty assets but manages not to cost an arm and a leg. Presumably, anyway. Since ASRock hasn't exactly shared the prices with us, we can't really do anything other than guess at this point in time. Anyway, the newcomer has a similar black and blue color theme as the ASRock Z97 Extreme 6, sharing many of the visual elements with it really. Still, it does only have 8 SATA 6.0 Gbps ports instead of 10, and a single Gigabit Ethernet port instead of a pair. The rest of the spec sheet seems to be pretty similar though, from the 12-phase VRM (voltage regulation module) to the four DDR3 DIMM memory slots (which allow for up to 32 GB memory at any given time).

Moving on, there are three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, leading to the possibility of triple-SLI and CrossFireX multi-GPU configurations. Add to that three PCI Express x1 slots and you have expansion slots for pretty much everything, from video to audio and I/o adapters of all kinds. You can even install an audio card if you think the on-board solution is not good enough. Do keep in mind, though, that Purity Sound technology with 7.1 channel surround sound is actually pretty good. ASRock may have designed the Z97 Extreme 4 as a mid-range board, but only in comparison to the others in the 9-Series. In the big picture, it's still pretty powerful. If the company manages to keep prices on the level, it might steal customers from Gigabyte's own Z97 Enthusiast motherboards that came out a couple of days back.

That said, other than the parts we have already enumerated, the ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 boasts VRM heatsinks, a separate PCI Express power connector (for extra stability), M.2 slots (for add-in mini PCI Express cards and SSDs) and eSATA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. A VGA port, two USB 2.0 connectors, 6 USB 3.0 ports and PS/2 exist as well. Make sure to read the name of the product carefully when you start browsing online. The ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 and Z97 Extreme 6 don't just sound but also look a lot alike.

ASRock Z97 Extreme 4
Image credits to ASRock

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