If you’re not familiar with the professional overclocking scene, then you might not be familiar with who Nick Shih is, but suffice to say that he’s one of the world’s top five overclockers. He also happens to work with ASRock and he has now designed a motherboard together with ASRock targeting professional overclockers.
The new motherboard is called the Z77 OC Formula and although the model shown at Computex is far from the final product, it gives us a good idea as to what ASRock is planning on doing. For starters we have watercooling support for the power regulation circuitry, although there’s also a small fan to aid with the airflow which might be impeded otherwise by the rather large heatsink ASRock has slapped on the board.
There’s also plenty of room around the CPU socket and as you can see, ASRock has used several different kinds of capacitors and they claim this will help reduce noise which can potentially help with hitting higher overclocking speeds for the CPU thanks to cleaner power being delivered.
The slot layout is fairly basic compared to many high-end boards with only two x16 PCI Express 3.0 slots, one x16 PCI Express 2.0 slot (four lanes
electrically) and two x1 PCI Express slots. In addition to the standard six SATA ports, ASRock has added an additional four SATA 6Gbps ports. The board also has no less than 10 USB 3.0 ports, of which four are via pin-headers. The board also has – as you’d expect on an overclocking friendly motherboard – Voltage readout points, manual overclocking buttons, a POST80 debug LED – as you can see, the board actually has two, as ASRock wanted to implement a feature where the CPU clock speed would be displayed on the LEDs, but sadly this wasn’t technically possible – and of course additional power connectors.
The rear I/O is also fairly spartan with the previously mentioned six USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 port, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF, an HDMI port and a clear CMOS button. One the board is finalized it should apparently be shipping with a front and rear USB 3.0 panel/bracket.
Kitguru says: The Z77 OC Formula isn’t expected until later this year and by then it’s possible that quite a few things have changed, so we’ll just have to wait and see what ASRock comes up with.