The ASRock Z97 Anniversary is an inexpensive socket LGA1150 motherboard based on the Intel Z97 chipset, supporting the fourth and the forthcoming fifth generation Core i processors. It brings six SATA-600 ports and six USB 3.0 ports. This motherboard was named after the Pentium 20th Anniversary Edition G3258 processor, and we will try to figure out what makes it targeted at this particular CPU.

In order to celebrate the 20 years of the Pentium brand, Intel released the Pentium G3258 processor, a.k.a. Anniversary Edition. What makes this CPU unique is that it has an unlocked clock multiplier, just like the Core i5 and i7 “K” models. So, this processor is targeted at the user who, in the golden ages of overclocking, liked to buy an inexpensive processor and overclock it to achieve clock rates higher than the then available high-end models. The Pentium G3258 has a 3.2 GHz clock but is promised to reach at least 4.5 GHz through overclocking.

Being a motherboard sold as “the best motherboard for the Pentium 20th Anniversary Edition G3258”, you may think this motherboard has all the features overclockers look for, such as a high-end voltage regulator circuit, a clear CMOS buttom, POST status display, voltage monitoring points, etc, but this is not the case. This motherboard is, in fact, a very basic one, as you will see.

The Intel Z97 Express chipset is a Z87 chipset rebranded for marketing reasons. They are identical and, therefore, have the exact same specifications. Most motherboards based on this chipset support the new SATA Express and M.2 (successor to the mSATA) connectors, but these are mechanical features provided by the motherboard, not by the chipset.

Like the Z87, the Z97 supports six USB 3.0 ports, six SATA-600 ports, Smart Response (installing an SSD as a cache for the main hard drive), Smart Connect (allowing the computer to receive emails and refresh webpages while in sleep mode), and Rapid Start (faster boot times) technologies.

You can see the ASRock Z97 Anniversary motherboard in Figure 1. It uses the ATX form factor, measuring 12” x 7.5” (305 x 190 mm).

ASRock Z97 AnniversaryFigure 1: ASRock Z97 Anniversary motherboard