Author: Adam Wilson
- The BIOS
- Included Software
- Unique Board Features
- System Overview and Testing Procedure
- Testing - CPU & Memory
- Testing - System
- Testing - Video
- Testing - Gaming
- Comparison Testing
- Final Thoughts
Unique Board Features
ASRock know that when you overclock, things can go wrong. They also know that sometimes you have to switch hardware out or completely remove it in order to attain stability. The constant removal of PCI-E devices can damage the connection between the GPU and the PCI-E slot, or simply damage the slot, resulting in issues down the line. It also saves a lot of time when troubleshooting, as if you’re trying to determine the root of an issue, you have to remove hardware one by one in order to ascertain the root of the issue.
Solution? Have a way to disable the PCI-E slots. ASRock have included a nifty little box in the top right corner of the board with three switches on it, one for each PCI-E slot. If you want to disable that slot for any reason, you can do so by simply flicking the switch.. when the motherboard is powered down, of course.
Rapid OC is a very unique and interesting feature that’s been added to the ASRock OC Formula. When combined with the software Rapid OC, you’re able to adjust voltage, multipliers, and BCLK on the fly without needed to enter BIOS or use ASRocks Formula Drive.
First, open ASRock’s “Rapid OC” software utility that comes on your driver disc.
You can set hot keys to switch between the three modes; BCLK, Ratio (Multiplier) or Voltage (VCore.) Of course, you can do it manually by selecting the required mode via the drop down list. You can also set a maximum voltage so that if you accidentally get trigger happy, you won’t completely overvolt your chip and destroy it – useful, that!
Next press the Rapid OC buttons to tweak as needed. Does it work? Yes! I tried it myself and find it a very interesting approach to overclocking.
Twin Power Cooling
Twin Power Cooling may seem familiar to you if you keep up with the motherboard market segment. ASRock have implemented two heat channels into the ASRock OC Formula’s VRM heatsink.
The first is a traditional heatpipe that utilizes heat dissipation through the heatspreader itself as well as the active cooling fan on the left side of the heatspreader.
The second is a water channel for those wanting to water cool their components. Utilizing ⅜” ID barbs, setting it up with an existing water cooling loop should be straightforward. There is a huge benefit to adding water through this area as VRMs get naturally very hot.
However, there is a downside. Utilizing the water channel on the heatsink is going to add restriction to your loop if you’re not using 3/8” ID tubing natively. Those using 1/2“ ID tubing (or higher) may want to reconsider using the twin-power cooling system, as the added restriction may have a worsening effect on your cooling potential throughout the entire loop.
Whilst not a huge feature, ASRock’s OC Stands are small plastic feet that can go inside the mounting points on the motherboard. Not useful for everyone, but for those wanting to overclock with extreme cooling methods such as liquid nitrogen or helium, it allows you to raise the board off of your surface of choice. This is good as it can help prevent board bow and also gets some air beneath the board to help dissipate the heat created.
I also used two of these to keep the corners of the board steady when in my case, as SSI boards use regular ATX mounting holes whilst being longer. So I put two in the corners of the board to prevent it from bending, as the ATX 24 Pin insertion and removal can take some force.