Intel Socket 1155 Roundup June 2011 (H67,P67 and Z68)
ASRock Z68 Pro3
A reasonably plan box is used by ASRock for their Z68 Pro3 board with a number of logos telling us about the key features. Inside we find a basic bundle which includes software, drive cables documentation and an IO shield.
As with the P67 board ASRock use a black ATX PCB for this board with plenty of blue/white hardware and as expected this is a Z68 board with Lucid Virtu technology present. A single passive heatsink, on the Southbridge, is present and ASRock advertise the board as having Duracaps which are 100% Japanese conductive polymer capacitors.
As this is a Z68 board it features support for all socket 1155 CPUs, including the high end i7-2600K with the ability to select multipliers in the BIOS and like the P67 board on the last page heatsink holes for 775 and 1155 coolers are present.
Down at the bottom left of the board we find the add-in card slots and these run from PCIe16x through three PCIe x1 to two PCI. Over at the bottom right are six SATA ports which are split into two SATA 6GB/s (white) and four SATA 3GB/s (blue) with all supporting RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10.
Further up the board we find four dual channel memory slots which are capable of holding 32GB of memory with official support hitting 2133MHz. These slots sit alongside a standard 24-pin power connector and the board also features an 8-pin socket.
Round on the back panel we find there is a single PS/2 socket which sits below 2x USB 2.0. Beside this are VGA, DVI and HDMI and then we have 2x USB 3.0 (Etron), Realtek GB LAN, 2x USB 2.0, optical audio and 3.5mm audio in/out which use the Reaktek 892 chipset.
Of course the presence of video out means we can take advantage of our on-board Intel GPU if we wish.
One of the key benefits of moving to an ASRock Z68 based system is the option of choosing a board with the new and improved UEFI BIOS with GUI support.
The BIOS GUI is best shown in video form (above) and as demonstrated it has full mouse/keyboard functionality and an improved look and feel over previous BIOS versions. This makes changing settings much easier, even for novice users.
Like the P67 board with this BIOS we can control all of the standard configuration options as well as enter the OC Tweaker screen where we can enhance the performance of the system through minor bus speed increases and full multiplier control (on compatible CPUs). A USB based BIOS flashing tool is also available to make that process quick and easy, again even for novice users.
ASRock also supply a decent software suite with this board including Extreme Tuning Utility which gives us a control over the board in Windows, including BIOS profiles. ASRock also provide USB speed enhancement software a free trial of Cyberlink Media Expresso/DVD suite, anti-virus and fast charging of portable devices via USB.
In recent months we have taken a look at a number of Z97 boards, including Gigabytes exceptional Z97X- Gaming G1 WIFI-BK and their more affordable, mainstream Z97X-Gaming 5. Of course when it comes to motherboards there are many needs and budgets which require solutions and so as with their...