ASRock Z170A-X1 preview – simplistic design and a lot of features

The last two motherboard previews we did were those of MSI X99A Gaming Godlike Carbon and ASRock X99 Extreme6/3.1. The former targets gamers who want to use the maximum potential of their components, whereas the latter is meant for professionals who do photo or video editing.

Today we shall discuss a model that is affordable and is meant for those of you who want to use more than one GPU in their system. Yes, even though it uses a simple design language, ASRock Z170A-X1 offers some very good options that we would like to examine.

If you are interested in ASRock Z170A-X1, you can check its price and availability here: http://amzn.to/2as9KQc

Overclocking capabilities and safety

asrock_z170ax1ASRock Z170A-X1 offers overclocking capabilities, just like most motherboards in this price range. However, for those of you who want to increase their CPU frequency for the first time, ASRock have included an extraordinary BIOS. It is simplified with two modes, and it takes a few clicks to overclock your chip in a way that is likely to be safe. After performing such an operation, it is recommended that you conduct several tests to make sure the CPU won’t overheat and cause instability.

Additionally, you can also increase RAM frequencies. Most DDR4 RAM sticks operate at a stock frequency of 2133 MHz. ASRock’s motherboard gives you the option of pushing this up to 3466 MHz+. After having reviewed Crucial Ballistix Elite, we can confirm that there really is an increase of performance at higher frequencies. Furthermore, the Taiwanese company has also thought about providing the necessary safety. The feature Full Spike Protection protects the components installed to ASROCK Z170A-X1 from short circuits that may accidentally appear.

Supported processors and PCI slots

Z170A-X1(L2)Since ASRock Z170A-X1 supports DDR4 RAM, you may have rightly guessed that the motherboard also supports the latest socket – 1151. The compatible CPUs vary from Celeron G3900 to Intel Core i7-6700K, which exceeded 7 GHz after being overclocked. Also possible are combinations with Pentium, Core i3, and Core i5 processors if you are after a more affordable chip.

The motherboard offers a total of five PCI slots, two of them being PCIe. Unfortunately, the second of the latter is x4 which means that you can’t achieve an SLI configuration because NVIDIA recommends a minimum x8 PCIe slots for these types of combinations (with more than one “green” GPU). However, if you have an AMD graphics card, there won’t be problems in the CrossFire mode. One of the PCI slots is flexible, which means that you can add all kinds of PCI devices – the bandwidth will be limited to PCIe Gen3 x1.

Specs sheet

Socket 1151
Supported processors Intel Celeron/Pentium/Core i3/Core i5/Core i7
RAM 4 x DDR4-3466+(OC) slots, up to 64GB of RAM
Chipset Z170
Sound Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec
Connectivity Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
Features
  • 8x USB 3.0 (two front, six rear)
  • HD audio jacks: Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
  • 1x PS/2 keyboard
  • 1x PS/2 mouse
  • 1x RJ-45 LAN port with an LED indicator
  • 1x DVI-D

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