We were able to get Z390-based motherboards from ASRock for testing. The first is the Z390 Extreme4 model. Is it a good choice?
The CD is packed in a fairly standard cardboard box. Together with it, we receive an instruction, a motherboard with drivers, four SATA cables, an SLI bridge and three screws for M.2 connectors. So the extras are standard, although the four SATA cables are a nice addition. The warranty is 36 months.
The album looks pretty cool. It has a backlight that can be controlled by software. It is gray and black and should match computer sets created in this color scheme. The Z390 Extreme4 comes in ATX format and measures 305mm x 244mm. The processor socket supports Intel 8th and 9th generation designs. The 12-phase power section is responsible for the power supply. Its cooling is very good and there will be no problems with overheating. The processor is powered by one 8-pin and one 4-pin plug.
As standard, there are four DDR4 slots on the right side. Their maximum frequency may be 4300 MHz. The board supports XMP profiles and has special gold connectors to improve memory performance. The Z390 Extreme4 also has three PCI-E x16 and three PCI-E x1 slots. The board supports the ability to connect multiple graphics cards in even 3-Way CrossFireX or Quad SLI. The top two PCI-E slots are specially reinforced and no graphics will be able to break them.
The Z390 Extreme4 offers good disk capabilities. It has eight SATA3 6.0 Gb / s connectors supporting RAID 0, 1, 5, 10. There are also two M.2 slots supporting PCI Express on the board. One of them supports the formats 2230/2242/2260/2280 and the other 2230/2242/2260/2280/22110. The larger connector has an attached heatsink ensuring low drive temperatures during operation. The network card is Intel I219V, supporting speeds of 10/100/1000 Mb / s. The board also has an M.2 connector for connecting the WiFi 2230 Intel CNVi card. The music card is Realtek ALC1220. It offers a SNR of 120 dB and has surge protection, Nichicon capacitors and gold-plated connectors. It is supposed to provide very good sound quality.
There are tons of outputs on the PCB itself. We have, among others, two inputs for RGB LED strips, one CPU 4 pin connector, one CPU / Water pump 4 pin, three 4 pin for fans from the housing, audio input for housing connectors, Thunderbolt input, two USB 2.0 connectors, two USB 3.1 connectors, front panel USB-C connector. There are a lot of options and possibilities and you can hook up everything you want to the board. It is a pity, however, that there is no POST message display or buttons to start the motherboard.
There are also a lot of connectors on the back. Going from the top, we have two USB 3.1 Gen 1 connectors, a PS / 2 connector, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI, D-Sub, two USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 2, RJ-45, SPDIF and six connectors from the sound card. The amount is right and allows you to connect virtually anything you want. Although I would not despise, for example, two USB 2.0 connectors for older devices – surely many people would use it.
ASRock’s BIOS is one of my favorites. All options are easily accessible and nothing is hidden away. The hob allows easy control of connected fans or equipment. Literally with a few clicks we will get to the selected option. There are also no problems with overclocking or changing various settings. Novice users have at their disposal a simple menu where they can quickly set up even XMP.
From the software, two applications are worth mentioning. The first is A-Tuning. It allows you to change the operating mode of the computer, overclocking the processor or controlling the fans. It also displays all information about your hardware. The second is Polychrome Sync, which allows you to change the backlight. You can control each item separately, as well as the attached strips or LED devices. The software is clear and very easy to use. You can change the lighting styles and make everything look different.
Tests and summary
The album performed very well in the tests. The results of the USB and SATA connectors are excellent – they do not limit the connected drive. Memories show a claw, as does a processor. In games, the performance is also at the highest level. The network card works without any problems – the ping is low and the maximum connection is reached. The music card is also good for an integrated one. It will easily provide a good sound experience and only external cards are able to be better constructions. There were no problems with overclocking too – the processor calmly reached 5.0 GHz.
ASRock Z390 Extreme4 costs about PLN 860. I believe it is a very good choice for the price. The board has a backlight and the design will fit into most computers. The ASRock product offers a lot of possibilities, also regarding the connection of external or internal devices. It is worth paying attention to the 12-phase power section, which requires the connection of two connectors – 8 pin + 4 pin. The board has a clear BIOS and useful software. Tests have shown that it should not restrict components. The ASRock Z390 Extreme4 is definitely a good choice and worth considering.