Author: Adam Wilson
- The BIOS
- Included Software
- LucidLogix Lucid Virtu MVP
- System Overview & Testing Procedures
- Testing - CPU & Memory
- Testing - System
- Testing - Video
- Testing - Gaming
- Final Thoughts
Z77 Extreme6 Overview
The PCB on the Extreme6 is a brown, almost bronze color. In most lights it looks almost black, but shining a light or holding it out-of-case you can tell it isn’t. Board accents are gold and silver, with black slots.
At the top left of the board is the 8-Pin CPU header. This powers ASRock’s digital power phase, which is actually 8+2+2 phases, not 8+4 as ASRock claims. The power phases on this board are all digital, ensuring clean power is delivered to your CPU, Internal Memory Controller (aka VTT), iGP and your RAM. ASRock uses premium Japanese gold capacitors, and ferrite chokes. Beneath the 8-Pin CPU power, there is a 3-pin chassis fan header.
To the right of here are your VRM heatsinks, and your CPU socket. Z77 is a socket 1155 chipset, which means it supports the latest Ivy Bridge processors (3rd Generation Core) and also the previous generation, Sandy Bridge. Surrounding the CPU socket are 4 mounting holes for your cooler, but a cool addition here are extra mounting holes for older heatsinks designed for socket 775. This means you can bring your old cooler and still install it without issue on this board. Above the CPU socket there are 2 CPU fan headers – one 4-pin PWM header, and one 3-pin header. Below the socket are 2 3-pin chassis fan headers.
To the right are 4 memory slots. Each slot supports overclocked RAM at speeds of “2800MHz+”. RAM on the z77 chipset runs in dual-channel mode. The Extreme6 supports up to 32GB of system memory. Along the right edging of the board is the 24-pin ATX power connector, and just below that a front-panel USB 3.0 header. Beneath this are 8 SATA ports; controlled by the z77 chipset there are 4 SATA 2 (3Gbps) and 2 SATA 3 (6Gbps) ports. There are 2 more SATA 3 (6Gbps) ports controlled by an ASMedia controller. Beneath the SATA ports there are power and reset buttons – convenient if you’re running the board out-of-case or on a test bench. Next to this is a POST Debug display that will display an error code if your system fails to POST. You can reference this code in the manual or online to find out what’s wrong without having to troubleshoot every component connected.
Along the bottom of the board there are your front panel connectors, 3 USB 2.0 headers, 2 more fan headers, a clear CMOS header, IR and CIR header (used for infrared), COM header, a floppy header, a front panel audio header, a HDMI_SPDIF header, a 1394 (Firewire) header and a case speaker header.
Finally, you have 2 PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (x8 x8 when both are used), 1 PCI-E 2.0 x16 (running at x4), 2 PCI, and 1 PCI-E x1 slot. Tucked between 2 of the slots is an mSATA port. It’s nice to see this feature on a mainstream board.
Above the expansion slots is a MOLEX power connector, should your cards require more juice.
The ASRock Z77 Extreme6 sports a RealtekALC898 chip for audio. This codec supports THX TruStudio.
For connectivity there are a plethora of options. From left to right there are; PS/2 mouse/keyboard port, 2 USB 3.0, VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, eSATA, Firewire, 2 USB 2.0, Ethernet (Broadcom BCM57781), 2 USB 3.0, 5-port Audio panel with SPDIF-Out.