Z68 Motherboard Roundup: ASUS, EVGA, ASRock, GB, MSI, ZOTAC

ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3

With seven motherboards to cover, we opted to run through them in alphabetical order by manufacturer. Thus, the ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 is first up.

At $289.99, it’s the most expensive board in our roundup, but it’s a beauty. The PCB is black, as are all the slots, ports, and most of the connectors. Even the heatsinks are black, but they’re topped with silver-colored plating. The lettering and other shiny components are gold, creating a stunning look overall. One knock on the color scheme, however, is that the memory slots aren’t color-coded, so it’s a little tricky figuring out where to put the DIMMs in a dual-channel setup.

ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3

ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3
Specifications & Features

CPU: Supports 2nd Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 in LGA1155 Package

Memory: Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology

Supports DDR3 2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066/800 nonECC, unbuffered memory

Max. capacity of system memory: 32GB

Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

Graphics: Intel Quick Sync Video, Intel InTru 3D, Intel Clear Video HD Technology, Intel HD Graphics 2000/3000, Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX)

Multi VGA Output options: DSub, DVID, HDMI and DisplayPort

Audio:  7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec)

 Premium Bluray audio support

 Supports THX TruStudio

LAN:  PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s

 Supports Dual LAN with Teaming function

Slots:  5 x PCI Express x16 slots

 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot

 1 x PCI slot

 Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX, NVIDIA Quad SLI

SATA 3:  2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by Intel Z68, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, RAID 5, Intel Rapid Storage and Intel Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions

 4 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by ASMedia ASM1061, support NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions (SATA3_A4 connector is shared with eSATA3 port)

USB 3.0:  4 x Rear USB 3.0 ports,  1 x Front USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) by ASMedia

Smart Switch:  Power Switch with LED, Reset Switch with LED, Clear CMOS Switch with LED

Form Factor:  ATX Form Factor: 12.0in x 9.6in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm

This ATX board supports 2nd-Generation Core i7/i5/i3 LGA1155 chips, up to 32GB of DDR3-2133 (OC) RAM, and all the graphics outputs you could want, including D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI, and DisplayPort. For expansion, you get five PCI-E x16 slots, a PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot, a legacy PCI slot, support for PCI-E 3.0, and graphics support up to quad CrossFireX, and up to NVIDIA quad SLI.

Of the ten SATA ports, six are SATA (6Gbps) and four are SATA (3Gbps). ASRock delivers five total USB 3.0 ports via an ASMedia ASM1042 chip as well as a pair of USB 2.0 ports. The board itself sports power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons, all lit by LEDs.


There were a couple of nice surprises in the box, including a front USB 3.0 panel and a bracket with a PS/2 port and two USB 2.0 ports.

The ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 also comes packed with a few unique features. It has an NVIDIA NF200 chip that enables you to run two graphics cards at PCI-E x16/x16 or three cards at x16/x16/x8. Other notables include Dual LAN with Teaming, which enables two connections to act in tandem for better data flow, and XFast LAN, XFast Charger, and XFast USB, which are designed to boost the performance of your LAN connection, attached device charging, and USB performance, respectively.

When it comes to overclocking on this board, ASRock couldn’t have made it simpler; we just switched on Advanced Turbo 50 in the UEFI, and the board overclocked the processor to 4.8GHz. You can also tweak overclocking settings easily with the included ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility. More on BIOS options later.

Tags:  Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, Zotac, evga, Z68, ARock

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