ASRock Z77 Extreme4 Motherboard


The Intel Z77 chipset will be released in April, but we had the privilege of getting the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 for a “first look” article. It will be a mainstream socket LGA1155 motherboard targeted to the forthcoming “Ivy Bridge” processors (third-generation Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors) and also supporting the current “Sandy Bridge” models (second-generation Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors). Let’s see what the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 will have to offer.

The Intel Z77 will be an upgraded version of the Z68 chipset with the same basic features (Intel Smart Response Technology and Virtu video switching technology), plus native support to four USB 3.0 ports. It will also include the addition of two new technologies: Smart Connect (allowing the computer to receive emails and refresh webpages while it is in sleep mode) and Rapid Start (faster boot times).

In addition, the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 supports the Virtu Universal MVP, which allows you to combine the performance of the integrated graphics processor available in the CPU with the performance of any video card installed. This is similar to what occurs with the Hybrid SLI and ATI Hybrid Graphics technologies, with the notable difference of not being limited to GPUs from a specific manufacturer.

ASRock has already announced seven different motherboard models based on the Intel Z77 chipset. In the table below, we compare their main specifications.

Specification Fatal1ty Z77 Professional Fatal1ty Z77 Professional-M Fatal1ty Z77 Performance Z77 Extreme6 Z77 Extreme4 Z77 Extreme4-M Z77 Pro4
Form Factor ATX microATX ATX ATX ATX microATX ATX
Memory Sockets 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
PCI Express x16 3 x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4) 3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4) 2 (x16/x4) 3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4) 2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8) 3 x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4) 2 (x16/x4)
PCI Express x1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1
Mini PCI Express 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Standard PCI 2 0 2 2 2 0 3
SATA-300 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
SATA-600 6 4 2 4 4 4 4
eSATA-300 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
eSATA-600 1 1 0 1 1 1 0
USB 2.0 10 8 10 8 8 10 10
USB 3.0 8 6 6 6 6 4 4
FireWire 2 0 0 2 0 0 0
Gigabit Ethernet 2 1 1 1 1 1 1
VGA No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
DVI No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
DisplayPort Yes Yes No Yes No No No
Audio ALC898 ALC898 ALC892 ALC898 ALC898 ALC898 ALC892
Voltage Regulator 16+8 8+3 8+4 8+4 8+4 4+2 4+2
Price USD 235 NA NA USD 175 USD 155 NA USD 130

In Figure 1, you see the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 motherboard.

ASRock Z77 Extreme4 motherboardFigure 1: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 motherboard

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Author: Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.

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