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May 6, 2013

ASRock Z87 Motherboard Series Detailed

ASRock is serious about breaking the 1 million motherboards-shipped mark for this year. The company is going into the emerging Intel Z87 chipset-based socket LGA1150 motherboard market with an extremely strong lineup covering a wide range of price-points. The company is preparing as many as three OC series models, two Fatal1ty series ones, and six Extreme series models. A defining feature of ASRock's lineup is the introduction of onboard 802.11 ac WLAN controllers on select models. The "/ac" brand extension denotes this feature. 

Three of the company's top models based on the Z87 Express chipset include the Z87 Extreme11, Z87 Fatal1ty Professional, and Z87 OC Formula. The Z87 Extreme11, available with the /ac option, is the company's flagship socket LGA1150 motherboard, maxing out the platform's feature-set, and augmenting it with an additional PCI-Express lane budget, Thunderbolt, 802.11 ac, and a plethora of connectivity options. The Extreme series targets consumers who want the most connectivity. Other models in the series include the Z87 Extreme 9(/ac), Z87 Extreme6(/ac), Z87 Extreme 4, and the micro-ATX Z87M Extreme4.

ASRock's OC series targets overclockers, and features stronger VRM circuitry and features that help overclock CPUs and graphics cards, at the expense of connectivity. The company's Z87 OC Formula does just that, in featuring a strong CPU VRM, the ability to wire out up to three graphics cards, and additional voltage domains to stabilize them. The board features connectivity options similar to the Z87 Extreme 6, and an /ac variant is available. With this series, ASRock is introducing a micro-ATX model that's fit for serious overclocking, the Z87M OC Formula.

Brand Fatal1ty's association with ASRock lasted longer than with any other motherboard maker, with the company unveiling two of its first LGA1150 motherboards bearing the badge, the premium Z87 Fatal1ty Professional, and the value-conscious H87 Fatal1ty Performance. The Fatal1ty Professional features a unique design, which targets high-end gaming PC builds. It supports 3-way multi-GPU, connectivity gamers use, Creative Sound Core3D audio, and probably Killer or Intel wired networking. The H87 Fatal1ty Performance appears to be based on H87 Extreme4 board design, with the addition of A-Style Purity audio, and probably Intel wired networking. The entire Z87-based lineup model names are tabled below.