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ASRock Z87 Extreme11/ac Motherboard Review

Rating: 9.0.

The 4770K offers quite possibly the highest per-clock performance numbers of any consumer-grade processor currently on the market. It’s just that fact which makes Haswell’s multiplier-unlocked Core i7 a plausible option for workstation applications. And with that possible usage scenario comes the requirement for workstation-grade LGA 1150 motherboards. Is ASRock’s flagship LGA 1150 motherboard, the Z87 Extreme11/ac, the perfect partner for a powerful, Haswell-based workstation?

Equipped with a myriad of controllers to offer support for a large proportion of the market’s desirable connections, ASRock’s Z87 Extreme11/ac clearly sticks to its workstation and power-user theme. With twenty-two (yes, that’s 22) SATA connections, 16 of which operate at SAS 12Gb/s speeds from an LSI SAS 3008 controller and 3X24R expander, the Z87 Extreme11/ac shows great potential for IO-heavy tasks such as media creation and manipulation.

Backed-up by a pair of Thunderbolt 2 ports, up to a dozen USB 3.0 connections, dual Intel Ethernet chips, 802.11ac WiFi, and a strong audio solution, ASRock’s Z87 Extreme11/ac has a ton of connectivity options.

Oh, and let’s not forget 4-way SLI and CrossFire support made possible by a PLX PEX 8747 PCI-E 3.0 bridge chip. But if those PCI-E lanes will be better suited for serving expansion cards, the Z87 Extreme11/ac provides support for up to three monitors via the onboard display channels and pair of Thunderbolt 2 ports.

On paper, ASRock’s Z87 Extreme11/ac is an extreme powerhouse intended for high-performance usage environments. But does that mouth-watering specifications sheet translate into compelling real-world performance?



  • A-Style : Home Cloud, Purity Sound™, 802.11ac WiFi
  • 22 x SATA3 (16 x SAS-3 12.0 Gb/s + 6 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s) from LSI SAS 3008 Controller+ 3X24R Expander
  • AMD 4-Way CrossFireX™ and NVIDIA® 4-Way SLI™ supported by PLX PEX 8747 Bridge
  • Supports 4-Channel, Dual-Port Thunderbolt™ 2 Technology
  • Premium Gold Capacitor Design, Digi Power, 12 Power Phase Design, Dual-Stack MOSFET
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 2933+(OC)
  • 4 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 2.0 x1, 1 x mini-PCIe
  • VGA Output/Input: 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort-In, 2 x mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt™ 2
  • Intel® Dual Gigabit LAN with Teaming
  • 1 x eSATA, 2 x mSATA, 12 x USB 3.0, 7 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x ASRock Wi-SD BOX (Supports 4 USB 3.0 ports and an SD 3.0 card slot)
  • Supports A-Tuning, XFast 555, Easy Driver Installer, FAN-Tastic Tuning, USB Key

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  1. Superb review and what a hell of a motherboard, out of my price range, but I agree, its a masterpiece of engineering prowess!

  2. I hear a lot of negative press about asrock, being ‘cheap’ etc, but in recent years its completely changed. I own a Z77 asrock board and its been rock solid, and holds a good overclock. I would buy them again. This is a fully loaded mobo, thats for sure!

  3. Its a good point, Haswell on a core per core basis and clock per clock basis is actually Intels’ ‘fastest’ chip. better than the 4960x etc.

    I haven’t read all of the review yet, but it looks to be mighty impressive, with a price tag to match. Good review indeed Luke.

  4. Z87 good chipset. Extreme mainboard