Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

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Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:39 am

I have been waiting, and these have finally just arrived in the channel. This is my first Asrock board (in fifteen years of AOpen, ASUS, Abit, MSI, Intel, and Gigabyte). So far, I'm impressed.

I went with the Z68 Extreme 4 Gen3 to replace my aging but loved Q9650 and Gigabyte EP45-UD3PP. I'm liking the UEFI BIOS.

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?M ... me4%20Gen3


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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:38 pm

That's a nice looking board, at least the day of rainbow colored madness seems to be at an end. The clear CMOS on the port cluster is nice too, I wish I had that on my current board.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:20 am

What do you intend to use the PCI slots for?
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 7:09 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:What do you intend to use the PCI slots for?


I don't need the PCI slots. All three of my expansion cards are PCIe.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:43 pm

All those golden cap's are neat too! I wonder if they plated normal cap's or perhaps these are special order? I've never come across these on a mobo yet...
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:55 am

That is a very handsome looking motherboard. I like the golden caps. I wish the board was hunter green instead of black - gold caps on a hunter green mobo would look exquisite.

Anandtech has been preaching the Asrock gospel, and I must say I've become a believer, though I don't yet have an altar (i.e. an Asrock mobo of my own) to pray at. Maybe some day.

I wish Bulldozer would just launch already so I could know the answer to the BD or SB question and start scoping out my next mobo. I've got $200 sitting in Paypal and sometimes it's pretty difficult not to spend it.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:07 pm

thegleek wrote:All those golden cap's are neat too! I wonder if they plated normal cap's or perhaps these are special order? I've never come across these on a mobo yet...


I think they ordered them with a plated color.

The Z68 Extreme 4 (non-Gen3) appears to have the same Japanese polymer solid caps, but not in gold. I think Asrock added the gold to complement the black board.

I think it works out pretty well that way. Meet my new baby.

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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:40 am

LoneWolf15 wrote:I think it works out pretty well that way. Meet my new baby.

I've been meaning to ask you what/where you purchase that black sound-proofing stuff you put inside your cases? Is it easy to apply? Does it really do anything besides look nice?
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:10 pm

thegleek wrote:
LoneWolf15 wrote:I think it works out pretty well that way. Meet my new baby.

I've been meaning to ask you what/where you purchase that black sound-proofing stuff you put inside your cases? Is it easy to apply? Does it really do anything besides look nice?


It is called Paxmate, it's about 4mm thick adhesive-backed high density foam. Frozencpu and other mod shops carry it, it is relatively inexpensive.

How well it works depends on what you want from it. It is helpful with thinner, lighter aluminum cases that are more prone to vibration, or thin budget-steel cases. I doubt it is as effective with heavier steel cases, for those, you will probably need a thicker insulator which costs a lot more and isn't as easy to work with.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:35 pm

LoneWolf15 wrote:It is called Paxmate, it's about 4mm thick adhesive-backed high density foam. Frozencpu and other mod shops carry it, it is relatively inexpensive.

How well it works depends on what you want from it. It is helpful with thinner, lighter aluminum cases that are more prone to vibration, or thin budget-steel cases. I doubt it is as effective with heavier steel cases, for those, you will probably need a thicker insulator which costs a lot more and isn't as easy to work with.

Not sure if my case qualifies for thin/heavy steel... It's the Cooler Master HAF 932 (Official Link | Newegg Link)... Best guess since it weights 29lbs, it's thick?
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:50 pm

UPDATE

As much as I really like this board, it is being returned.

I have had two relatively modest problems with it (floppy drive not recognized in Windows despite being able to boot from it, and my PCIe TV tuner not being recognized properly either, even though it is fine in other system boards). They appear to be Rev. 1.00 BIOS quirks. My problem is that after submitting a support ticket, the polite (and reasonably prompt) support on the other end can only tell me to "return the board".

I replied, adding additional detailed troubleshooting info that I'd tried, thinking I could shed light on the issues and get additional help or questions asked.
Reply --"return the board".

It doesn't appear that I'll be getting any support, and I'm just past the 30-day return mark, but I managed to enlist the excellent customer service at NewEgg to take the board back and waive the restocking fee. I believe that exchanging the board for an identical one won't solve my problems, so I have a Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD5 on the way.

I really liked that Asrock board; it had all the features I wanted, and was stable, at a great price. Unfortunately, the support is lackluster, and I don't have faith in what kind of support I'll get if I have further issues.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:32 am

I have to say that Asrock's response impresses me. Many companies will do anything to keep you from returning their products even if that means leaving you stuck with a problem or being in a completely unworkable state. And that is if they even reply at all. So even though you are stuck returning the board I'm rating that customer service experience as a thumbs-up.

On another subject, I was just looking at the I/O cluster of the mobo in you picture above and I started wondering about the "Reste CMOS" button - that looks like it could easily be pressed accidentally. I'd be worried about that if I had that board.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:28 pm

I had no problems with any of the buttons, even though I cabled the board twice (two different power supplies).

I can't rate the experience as positive. Asrock support basically pushed the problem off on the reseller, for one. Secondly, I didn't even get any questions for more information, or even a "have you tried...". I got the distinct impression that returning the board was the path of least resistance for the Asrock "tech", and they did what they did to make their life easier, not to solve an issue that would improve the product.

I found that a discredit to the engineers who designed the board; it's got great features and manufacturing quality. I think with the right troubleshooting, it could be a killer board in perhaps 3-4 months. The entire Gen 3 lineup is pretty good --with the same BIOS work, the less expensive Z68 Extreme 3 Gen 3 would be poised to be the absolute best value for the buck mainboard in the market at $130.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813157271

I'm quite sure my board isn't defective, it just needs BIOS work. I just can't trust that work to happen.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:40 pm

In my experience, counting on direct tech support from a mobo manufacturer is a fool's errand. Find a brand you generally trust (for me that would be Asus these days), and in spite of that, expect that you may still get an occasional lemon. I got a runaround from them on support for a failed BIOS flash a few years back; I eventually dealt with it myself by buying a 3rd party replacement BIOS chip. The BIOS chip cost me about what it would've cost to ship the mobo back if I'd managed to convince Asus to take an RMA anyway.

The only motherboard vendor I'd say I've had generally positive customer support experiences with was DFI; and they bailed out of the consumer motherboard market a few years ago.

Bottom line: Buy a brand with a good reputation, and cross your fingers.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:52 pm

I made the decision to go with a GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD5 instead. My last Gigabyte board (the EP45-UD3P, now in Shoes' hands as of the TR swap meet) was the best board I have ever owned, and I've owned quite a few.

I'm kind of bummed missing the UEFI BIOS and a few other features I had, but nobody had all of them, and if the board performs well and stably, a UEFI BIOS is nice, but not must-have. The one ASUS board I looked at (ASUS P8Z68-V PRO) reviewed great, but had some complaints from people mention some teething troubles about only getting two RAM sockets out of four working, or being picky about which memory modules it would work well with; those with issues mentioned experiences with ASUS support that reminded me of Asrock.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:02 pm

I still want to like this board, even with a few warts here and there. We've seen a few Z68 issues that have yet to be fully fleshed out, but I'm hoping that most of them from any manufacturer will be cleaned up in due time.
I'm still looking at making the GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD my next board, as its onboard 20gb mSATA SSD will be used with the Z68's SRT technology as a cache to my RAID'ed WD Black 1tb HDs. The Asrock board was (and still is) #2 on my list for my build, but it is indeed a distant #2 until another board offers an mSATA for a built in SSD.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:11 pm

I believe that Asus designs good hardware. They're better than most about offering driver and BIOS updates for download. Previous experiences trying to contact them and get a response from their Tech Support folks were extremely frustrating.

HOWEVER...

With the Intel P67 chipset fiasco earlier this year, Asus stepped up to the plate and offered excellent customer service. Asus replaced my P8P67-M Pro motherboard at no charge, shipped the replacement in advance of the return, paid overnight shipping both ways, extended the warranty on the new board and gave me a set of earphones as a gift. I don't see any way that they could have done better.


The motherboard that gave me the most satisfactory ownership experience was my Gigabyte GA-X48-DS4. It's still doing well in a family member's PC.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:12 pm

I still want to like this board, even with a few warts here and there. We've seen a few Z68 issues that have yet to be fully fleshed out, but I'm hoping that most of them from any manufacturer will be cleaned up in due time.
I'm still looking at making the GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD my next board, as its onboard 20gb mSATA SSD will be used with the Z68's SRT technology as a cache to my RAID'ed WD Black 1tb HDs. The Asrock board was (and still is) #2 on my list for my build, but it is indeed a distant #2 until another board offers an mSATA for a built in SSD.


I've had two different mSATA SSDs (one I bought, one I was asked to review by a vendor) in my ThinkPad. Great concept, it works very well, though in my case, it works as a boot drive.

For use in Intel's SRT technology, I'd like to see them release a 32GB SLC model to improve a little on the 20GB version.

While disappointed, I do want to see the Asrock lineup succeed, and I hope the issues are resolved soon. The Gen3 boards could make them a much bigger player in the market if they resolve the issues.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:41 pm

LoneWolf15 wrote:UPDATE

I believe that exchanging the board for an identical one won't solve my problems, so I have a Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD5 on the way.

I really liked that Asrock board; it had all the features I wanted, and was stable, at a great price. Unfortunately, the support is lackluster, and I don't have faith in what kind of support I'll get if I have further issues.

Looks like the UD5, unlike the now-returned ASRock board, comes without a data cable connector to support your floppy drive. What solution for implementation of the floppy now?
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:00 pm

moxsea wrote:
LoneWolf15 wrote:UPDATE

I believe that exchanging the board for an identical one won't solve my problems, so I have a Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD5 on the way.

I really liked that Asrock board; it had all the features I wanted, and was stable, at a great price. Unfortunately, the support is lackluster, and I don't have faith in what kind of support I'll get if I have further issues.

Looks like the UD5, unlike the now-returned ASRock board, comes without a data cable connector to support your floppy drive. What solution for implementation of the floppy now?


None. I'll just have to use a USB one on the occasions I need it, or figure out another way.

Asrock was the only vendor left with a floppy data connector. However, if the drive doesn't work in Windows, it doesn't do me much good to have the connector in the first place. Rebuilding my system as I post this with the Gigabyte board, which has a nice, solid feel to it. I'll post about that board in another thread once I've got things online.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:40 am

moxsea wrote:What solution for implementation of the floppy now?

That's stupid. That's like asking what's the implementation for using punch cards and crap. Dead technology dude. Move on. If you still have floppies around, get a USB and transfer over those uber small footprints over to a usb stick or something!

"On 29 January 2007, PC World stated that only 2% of the computers they sold contained built-in floppy disk drives; once present stocks were exhausted, no more standard floppies would be sold." - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... lumps.html
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:36 pm

Actually, it was a well-asked question. Poster wondered what I'd choose as an alternative to the choice I already made.

I agree that a floppy drive isn't something one uses for solutions involving current technology. However, I still work with a lot of old systems. Many of those older systems cannot boot from a USB stick. I don't like burning a CD every time I need to do a Flash BIOS update for these older systems, or a Ghost boot disk tailored to that system's network card. For those kinds of things, a floppy drive is still useful in my environment. As there are no computers booted with punch cards, I agree that those are completely obsolete. :)

In this case, I will be dropping the floppy drive one board earlier. I had hoped Asrock would have let me hold on to it one last time, but it is not to be. I have a spare USB floppy that I'll use when I absolutely need to, and I'll find workarounds for the rest. I'm putting an Atech multi-card reader in that spot instead.

thegleek wrote:
moxsea wrote:What solution for implementation of the floppy now?

That's stupid. That's like asking what's the implementation for using punch cards and crap. Dead technology dude. Move on. If you still have floppies around, get a USB and transfer over those uber small footprints over to a usb stick or something!

"On 29 January 2007, PC World stated that only 2% of the computers they sold contained built-in floppy disk drives; once present stocks were exhausted, no more standard floppies would be sold." - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... lumps.html
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:49 pm

So LoneWolf, what will you do then when the floppy's on mobo's aren't supported by anyone in the world? They'll be as useful as 8track tapes... meh
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:36 pm

thegleek wrote:So LoneWolf, what will you do then when the floppy's on mobo's aren't supported by anyone in the world? They'll be as useful as 8track tapes... meh


Then I won't need floppies anymore. Which will be a great thing.

It isn't like I'm storing data on them, or using them to install programs like that 25-30 diskette copy of Windows 95 out there (shudder). It's for one-off "I need a quick boot disk" for fixing things stuff. When systems don't use that anymore, neither will I; but while I work on plenty of new systems, I also work on the Pentium 4's and Athlon XP's of the world.
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:42 pm

LoneWolf15 wrote:
thegleek wrote:So LoneWolf, what will you do then when the floppy's on mobo's aren't supported by anyone in the world?
It's for one-off "I need a quick boot disk" for fixing things stuff.
That seems silly.
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817130124
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Re: Asrock releases new Z68 Gen3 mainboards

Postposted on Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:50 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
LoneWolf15 wrote:
thegleek wrote:So LoneWolf, what will you do then when the floppy's on mobo's aren't supported by anyone in the world?
It's for one-off "I need a quick boot disk" for fixing things stuff.
That seems silly.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817130094
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817130124


A number of older optical drives don't like RW media, in my experience. I don't like burning an -R disc only to throw it away quickly because it was single use (something that I already do more often than I'd like). I also happen to have a leftover partial case of floppies from a previous employer; I probably wouldn't go out and buy them for the sake of buying them, but they're already here.

At any rate, the drive is no longer in the system, as there is no longer a controller to support it. And yes, I can be a curmudgeon; just ask my IBM Model-M keyboard.
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