ASRock Z170 Extreme 7+ Motherboard Overview
For ASRock’s Z170 Extreme series they have gone with a black and dark gold color design. So the PCB of the board is black and the accents on the heatsinks are dark gold. There are large heatsinks covering the power delivery components and the PCB. There is also a plastic shield covering the rear I/O and the audio solution on the board.
Starting at the CPU socket we have the LGA1150 socket that supports Intel’s Skylake processors. This board features a 12-phase all digital power design that makes use of premium 60A power chokes, Nichicon 12K platinum capacitors, and Dual-Stack MOSFETs. Compared to traditional chokes, ASRock’s premium 60A power chokes effectively make the saturation current up to three times better, thus providing enhanced and improved Vcore voltage to the motherboard. Supreme 12K platinum capacitors on this board have lifespans of at least 12,000 hours. Compared to other counterparts on high-end motherboards that merely have lifespans of around 10,000 hours, ASRock applied Nichicon 12K Platinum Caps that offer 20% longer lifespans and provide more stability and reliability. Dual-Stack MOSFET (DSM) is another innovative MOSFETs design by ASRock. The silicon die area is increased by stacking two dies into one MOSFET. The larger the die area, the lower Rds(on). Compared to traditional discrete MOSFET, DSM with larger die area provides extreme lower Rds(on) 1.2 mΩ, so the power supply for the CPU Vcore is more efficient.
At the top left corner of the motherboard you will find the 8-pin EPS connector for the CPU and the 4-pin CPU fan header. Weird that this header is not closer to the CPU socket itself.
Moving over to the right side of the board there are two more 4-pin fan headers before the memory slots. One is the optional CPU fan header and the other is a simple fan header. There are four DDR4 DIMM slots that support DDR4 memory up to 3866 MHz (O.C.). At the edge of the board there is another 4-pin fan header, smaller clear CMOS button, larger power and reset buttons, 24-pin ATX power connector, dual USB 3.0 headers and another 4-pin fan header.
Coming down the edge of the board you have three SATA Express ports and four SATA 6GB/s ports. All three of the SATA Express ports are powered by the PCH or Z170 chipset. The four SATA 6GB/s ports are controlled by the ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Keep in mind if you happen to not want to use SATA Express that opens two SATA 6GB/s ports per SATA Express port. So in total you have 10 SATA 6GB/s ports.
At the bottom of the board is where you are going to find the rest of your headers and switches. From right to left you have your speaker and power LED headers, three USB 2.0 headers, a post code LED display, the rest of your front panel headers, BIOS select switch, clear CMOS jumper, TPM header, COM port header, and HD audio headers.
At the far end of the board is where you are going to find the Purity Sound 3 audio solution. Most of it is covered by the I/O armor. The Purity Sound 3 audio solution features 7.1 CH HD audio with Realtek ALC1150 audio codec, 115dB SNR DAC with Differential Amplifier, TI® NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier (Supports up to 600 Ohm headsets), Pure Power-In, Direct Drive Technology, and has PCB isolate shielding.
As far as expansion slots go you have four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16, x8/x8, x8/x4/x4) and two PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots. The board has full support for quad NVIDIA SLI and 3-way AMD CrossFire.
In between the PCI-Express slots you will find three Ultra M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4) slots. These slots are also compatible with ASRock’s U.2 Kit for installing some of the world’s fastest U.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 SSDs. Above the top PCI-Express slot is a mPCIe slot that is used for an optional WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 card. Finally there is another 4-pin fan header.
At the rear I/O from left to right you have two USB 2.0 ports, a combination PS/2 port, DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, two USB 3.1 ports (one type-A, one type-C), dual Gigabit Ethernet, four USB 3.0 ports, HD audio and a bracket for WiFi antennas if you happen to get the optional module.