Asrock's z170 pro4: a review

     

In this article, we’ll be looking at ASRock’s Z170 Pro4 motherboard which we’ve sầu paired with Intel’s venerable i7-6700K. This motherboard is easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing motherboards that ASRock’s ever made. If there is one thing that I love sầu its bare metal & this motherboard is absolutely defined by its bare copper heatsinks.

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Bringing Back Bare Copper

The combination of brushed copper with a tactful semi-gloss PCB is both understated và extremely appealing due lớn its simpliđô thị. Unlike a lot of other motherboards on the market the Pro4, neither appears neither boyish nor utilitarian và has a kiến thiết that will age with grace.

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Admittedly the heatsinks have sầu a certain kind of retro styling lớn them. But it’s not nearly as aggressive sầu in that respect as some of Biostar’s offerings. There’s also the plastic bracket that encapsulates the I/O bloông chồng and then runs down to the base of the board in front of the PCI-E slots. It’s a feature reminiscent of the Sabertooth line of motherboards from ASUS. I’m indifferent to this feature. On one hvà, I don’t really want plastic near the heat-sinks on my motherboard. On the other h&, it has yet khổng lồ cause any problems.

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Basically, any modern port you could want is present on this motherboard. Alas, the system we built used one of Intel’s NVMe PCI-E SSDs so we haven’t had a chance lớn put the M.2 or SATA Express ports to lớn use.

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Over the last two years motherboard makers have sầu been spending a lot of time trying lớn bring prestige to their audio solutions. ASRock’s integration of ELNA Audio low noise capacitors is their take on this trkết thúc. Luckily its system, that outside of the branding, is basically invisible to lớn the user. In this respect the Pro4 is neither ahead of or behind competing motherboard audio solutions but rather it just is. The audio chất lượng is so competent that it’s unremarkable.

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The Pro4 does have sầu a rather unusual expansion slot layout. There are gaps where slots would normally be in two places both of which are directly below PCI-E X16 slots. There’s also a three slot gap between each PCI-E X16 slot so conceivably you could run a pair of three slot wide graphics cards on this motherboard. Three slot wide graphics cards are a silly proposition but it’s clear that ASRoông chồng designed the Pro4 with GPU cooling as a priority when they were deciding on the slot layout.

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The CMOS battery and replaceable BIOS ROM sit right next khổng lồ each other down by the USB, Audio, & front panel headers. Perhaps the strangest thing about this motherboard is the 4-pin Molex connector near the center of the motherboard that can supply extra power the PCI-E slots if needed. It’s a feature that was present on a lot of older ASRoông xã motherboards but has generally fallen out of favor over the past few years.

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Baông chồng panel I/O options are plentiful with a PS/2 port, six USB 3 ports, HDXiaoMi MI, DVI, Gigabit Ethernet, & a conventional audio bloông chồng. The only items that you might miss here are a USB Type C option & an optical audio port.

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The Pro4 is a full ATX motherboard. This is a khung factor that’s fallen out of favor lately in lieu of mATX and ITX designs. There is an mATX variant of this kiến thiết dubbed the H170M Pro4 which on the outside appears quite nice.

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The Z170 Pro4 has ten phase power delivery which is more than adequate lớn support the needs of our i7-6700K. I could see the volume of space surrounding the CPU socket being a concern for people interested in mounting very large rifle or tower-style CPU coolers. Our Corsair H220 closed water cooling unit mounted without any clearance issues.

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In closing ASRock’s Z170 Pro4 offers the best parts of Intel’s Z170 chipmix in an attractive looking package at a very reasonable $99 price point. If you’re putting together a Skylake-based PC it’s certainly worth considering.S|A


Chuyên mục: Tin Tức