ASRock X299 Extreme4 and X299 OC Formula Motherboards Review – One Feature Rich Board For Core-X Platform Under $200 US and The Other Designated For Overclockers
ASRock X299 Extreme4 / ASRock X299 OC FormulaQ3 2017
ASRock X299 Extreme4 and X299 OC Formula Motherboards - Conclusion
ASRock X299 Extreme4 Motherboard
Starting off with the ASRock X299 Extreme4, well I am pleasantly surprised with this offering. The board is aiming the entry level segment on the X299 front but does so many things right that high end X299 products like the ones that initially launched failed to do. The power delivery system for instance, X299 boards that launched on day 1 were mostly blamed for poor power delivery that caused CPU throttling and stability issues on even the 8 core chips. Here, I was running a 12 core chip without any issues whether in stock or overclocked configurations.
The next part I liked about this motherboard is the new XXL heatsink design that ASRock has developed for their X299 motherboards. Both X299 motherboards I was sent by ASRock for this review use the same fundamental cooling design and it does wonders compared to the Taichi. Aluminum heatsink with proper heatpipe cooling make sure that the VRMs don’t overheat that could lead to potential system deterioration. Furthermore, the updated power delivery system means that you could reach some good overclocks even on the most entry level of motherboards such as the X299 Extreme4. I had the Core i9-7920X running at 4.4 GHz across all cores stable, I also had the memory running at overclocked frequencies which resulted in a good performance boost in many productivity applications.
Coming to the feature set, the motherboard has it all. It’s a killer package when it comes to features as you get abundance of USB 3.1 ports, dual M.2 ports, Intel LAN, Purity 4 audio, a motherboard design that matches almost every PC build and even the option to add in an WiFi module to a third M.2 Key-E slot.
When it comes to expansion slots, the motherboard can support up to two discrete cards in full x16 mode. I tested a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti configuration on my sample board and it ran fine. The two full length PCI-e slots are best for 2-Way Crossfire and SLI support which is the go-to setup these days as beyond that, scalability becomes poor. The 8 SATA III ports are enough for the most high-end storage users.
Without a doubt, ASRock’s X299 Extreme4 offers killer value at a price of just $189.99 US which also makes it the most affordable X299 motherboard option available in the market. At the given price, the ASRock X299 Extreme4 puts many high-end and costly boards to shame with a superb feature set and lot’s of potential when it comes to overclocking with superior power delivery and cooling system onboard.
ASRock X299 OC Formula Motherboard
The second motherboard is also an interesting one. Designed by ASRock’s in-house overclocker, Nick Shih, this motherboard is targeted at overclockers and does lots of things right in that regards such as the high-end power delivery system, one DIMM per channel memory, OC specific buttons and notches on the motherboard and a quality cooling system.
The 13+2 phase power supply provided me with the highest overclock I have reached on my Core i9-7920X. With 4.6 GHz stable and 4200 MHz, I called it a day. Obviously I could have pushed the system further but this is where I found the sweet spot without breaking the power and temps barrier. The cooling system was a slight upgrade over the X299 Extreme4, making use of a fin stack array on both aluminum heatsinks and the PWM supply was slightly more beefed up to allow for LN2 OCs which this motherboard is officially certified for. Nick Shih’s signature on the board gave it a very premium feeling which one should expect out of a quality board like this.
Aside from that, if you look it from a non-overclockers perspective, you’d still find it to be a great motherboard as it rocks all the features you’d expect from a high-end motherboard. It has dual LAN ports, dual M.2 ports, great audio running from the Purity Sound 4 system, RGB LEDs on the PCH, 6 SATA ports, a total of 5 PCI-e slots with support for quad channel NVIDIA SLI and AMD CFX capabilities and lots of USB 3.1 ports.
But at the end of the day, the price of this motherboard is $399 US which was recently cut to $369 US at certain retailers. Even $369 US is a lot to pay for a motherboard. Sure, the X299 OC Formula is a premium board targeting the overclocking niche and it has a nice feature set but when boards like Extreme4 exist, it is really hard to recommend this to a regular customer. At the same time, the OC profiles stored on this board make sure that even those regular users can enjoy overclocked performance without having to mess around with the board while overclockers can have a LN2 joy ride with this product.