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Thread: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4




  1. #1
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    Default ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4

    Hey guys,

    So I'm going to get an Intel i7-4790k CPU for my new build but am wondering what should I get for the motherboard?
    I have it set down to either ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4 using the helpful guide from Tom's.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...oard,3902.html

    However the problem now is deciding between the two, and this is the part I'm really having trouble with.
    I've read on the features that each board have and lacks, however it all seems really confusing and I don't
    seem to know what exactly they do.

    Here are the features for each board:
    http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z97 E...6/index.us.asp
    http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z97 E...4/index.us.asp

    And here's a simplified comparison chart:
    http://www.asrock.com/mb/compare.asp...l=Z97 Extreme4

    I'm really confused by all the names and abbreviations, like thunderbolt m2 etc. and don't have the slightest clue what they mean.

    I'm trying to decide whether it's worthwhile to spend more on the Extreme6 board for its extra features,
    however I'm all new to PC building and don't know about all these terms and new techs.

    Would really appreciate if you can help out with it by giving a more in depth explanation.


    Also I'm planning on overclocking my CPU a few years later. However I can't determine which one is better
    for this since the benchmark I've found on Tom's are based on two different CPU setups.

    2014 Enthusiast Z97 Motherboard Roundup Results: Overclocking
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...d,3824-26.html

    Which one can attain the higher overclock and efficiency while maintaining lower power and heat?
    Last edited by sapped; 12-14-2014 at 08:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Britgeezer is offline Member
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    Default Re: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4

    I have both boards. I just put the Extreme 4 in my server and have the Extreme 6 in one of the other multiuse PC's in the house.

    I like both boards and for the cost difference $20-40 its just a matter of comparing the features.

    If you don't know what the M2 feature is you probably will not use it and just put your OS on an SSD.

    What components do you plan to add (SLI ?) and how will you use the PC, both will OC quite well if that's your preference.

    Without that information its hard to exclude the Extreme 4 for the average user and if you can afford the $ difference I don't think you will regret it - bragging rights must be worth something..

  3. #3
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    Default Re: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4

    These two boards are very similar in features, the Extreme 6's added features are:

    Dual networking chips, vs one on the Extreme 4. Dual network chips is helpful if you connect multiple PCs together on your home network, which can also be accomplished with a simple network switch.

    Ultra M.2 SSD connector, not on the Extreme 4. Currently zero M.2 (a different connector that standard SATA drives, and higher speed potential) SSDs that can take full advantage of this connector. But if you plan on using a Samsung XP941 M.2 SSD, or future versions, then this connector is a must. But this interface uses PCIe 3.0 lanes and if used will have your video card running at x8 instead of x16, so a tradeoff there.

    Thunderbolt header. Intel's high speed interface only fully used by Apple currently. You must buy a Thunderbolt card to use the header, almost no cards exist now, and the ones that do may not interface correctly. Plus you need Thunderbolt compatible devices to use this feature.

    The last two features are more for future proofing than anything else, and that assumes those features will become mainstream in a couple years. Still not required features for anyone.

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    Default Re: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4

    Thank you guys so much for the reply mate!

    I'm only getting a 1TB hard drive for my new rig at the moment due to budget issue, I'm thinking of skipping the SSD for now and buying it sometime later on my next trip when its cheaper.

    Also I'll not be getting any optical drives. So that means lesser SATA ports does not affect me at all?

    And it looks like I won't be needing the Thunderbolt tech as well.

    So it looks like the only extra feature which I might need is Ultra M.2, although somethings important I forgot to mention before is that I'm building the new rig mainly for gaming:

    1. I'll be buying a single Radeon R9 290 for my GPU, so I'll not run CrossFire or dual card.

    2. I mainly play extremely CPU intensive games like Total War, Arma, Mount & Blade etc. some of which are not even optimized for multi core CPUs.

    So I'm wondering will the Ultra M.2 SSD have better performance for games in CPU limited instances? Compared to standard cheaper SSD or maybe even HDD. Does it improve framerate, loading performance or reduce stuttering?


    Also something I'm really confused at the moment is with regard to this review:
    AnandTech | ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Review: Ultra M.2 x4 Tested With XP941

    I'm having a hard time reading it and don't know if I understand correctly since I'm still all new to this, but does it mean using the Ultra M.2 actually decrease the game performance? I'm probably understanding it wrong cos it sounds too crazy. But if so, does it affect me if I'm using only a single card and no SLI/Crossfire and also using ATI instead of Nvidia?

    So now I've added that the rig is mainly for gaming, which one do you think is worth it in the end? Appreciate your comments mate.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4

    Quote Originally Posted by sapped View Post
    Thank you guys so much for the reply mate!

    ...

    Also something I'm really confused at the moment is with regard to this review:
    AnandTech | ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Review: Ultra M.2 x4 Tested With XP941

    I'm having a hard time reading it and don't know if I understand correctly since I'm still all new to this, but does it mean using the Ultra M.2 actually decrease the game performance? I'm probably understanding it wrong cos it sounds too crazy. But if so, does it affect me if I'm using only a single card and no SLI/Crossfire and also using ATI instead of Nvidia?

    So now I've added that the rig is mainly for gaming, which one do you think is worth it in the end? Appreciate your comments mate.
    I can see how you were confused by the Anandtech description of the situation. I'll try to make it more clear.

    The conclusion first, yes the M.2 SSD in the Ultra M.2 slot does cause a loss in gaming performance. But ONLY if you have an M.2 x4 SSD connected to the Ultra M.2 port. The performance loss is small and depends on the game and the monitor/resolution you are using. It does not matter if the video card is NVIDIA or AMD/ATI. It makes perfect sense why the M.2 SSD in the Ultra M.2 slot does this.

    All Z97 mother boards (and earlier boards except X79 and X99, and ones with PLEX chips), or really the Intel Haswell processors used in them, have 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Just 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes provided by the Haswell CPU.

    On Z97 boards a single video card is connected to a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot. It will have all 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes available to use.

    (Whether or not the video card actually needs all 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes to perform well is another question, one that Anandtech answered with their tests.)

    The Ultra M.2 slot uses four PCIe 3.0 lanes, but only when an M.2 x4 SSD of that type is connected to the board. The four PCIe 3.0 lanes it uses can only come from the one source the board has, the Intel Haswell processor that provides the 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes.

    So if an M.2 x4 SSD is connected to this board, four PCIe 3.0 lanes are used, so the single video card is left with (16 - 4) 12 PCIe 3.0 lanes.

    Since a video card can only use 16, 8, or 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes, with 12 available after the M.2 x4 SSD is connected, the video card will be running in x8 mode.

    The Anandtech article showed that for a single video card running at x8, there is very little performance loss, 1.4% less performance in one game.

    With a two card SLI and the M.2 x4 SSD, with the 12 PCIe 3.0 lanes available, one card runs at x8, the other at x4.

    Again the performance drop was low, but there was NO performance gain using SLI, since the cards were running at x8 and x4. The real point here is with a two card SLI running at x8 and x4, there was very little difference between that and a single video card.

    The Z97 Extreme 4 does not have an Ultra M.2 slot. But that does not make it better than the Extreme 6 for gaming. The Ultra M.2 slot is an option you may or may not use. If you don't use an option that will slightly decrease gaming performance, how does that make the board worse?

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    Smile Re: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4

    Ahh thank you so much for explaining it to me clearly parsec, I really appreciate this, and also for ur help on the other thread.
    It looks like I will not be needing any of the extra features that Extreme6 has.

    Although this poped up just then, what do you think about the MSI Z97 Gaming 5? Since it is within the budget range of both boards.

    And also it's in Tom's top of the month approved list:
    Best Motherboards 2014 - Intel and AMD Gaming Motherboards

    Here's the review:
    Best Z97 Motherboard Between $120 And $160

    It also seems to be more popular on PCPartPicker than the Extreme4 & Extreme6:
    Choose A Motherboard - PCPartPicker Australia

    Again thank you so much for this bro! You've been really helpful. :)

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    Default Re: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4

    My preference is for MSI products mainly because of their comprehensive support in their forums where the provide excellent support with FAQs, and detailed support with beta bioses, useful stickies and other topics.

    MSI Forum: https://forum-en.msi.com/

    MSI sub forums:

    Check it out.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4

    Quote Originally Posted by sapped View Post
    Ahh thank you so much for explaining it to me clearly parsec, I really appreciate this, and also for ur help on the other thread.
    It looks like I will not be needing any of the extra features that Extreme6 has.

    Although this poped up just then, what do you think about the MSI Z97 Gaming 5? Since it is within the budget range of both boards.

    And also it's in Tom's top of the month approved list:
    Best Motherboards 2014 - Intel and AMD Gaming Motherboards

    Here's the review:
    Best Z97 Motherboard Between $120 And $160

    It also seems to be more popular on PCPartPicker than the Extreme4 & Extreme6:
    Choose A Motherboard - PCPartPicker Australia

    Again thank you so much for this bro! You've been really helpful. :)
    Great, glad that helped you!

    I don't have personal experience with the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 board, so I can't give you an opinion on it.

  9. #9
    Britgeezer is offline Member
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    Default Re: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4

    Look carefully at that budget - going with an SSD now (and installing the OS and your preferred games on it) will save time and effort later. A 1TB drive is very cheap for the game data or less frequently played games.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 or Extreme4

    I just purchased the Extreme6. As explained earlier the difference of a graphics card running at x16 and x8 is negligible so I think using the Ultra M.2 slot in a single gfx card scenario is totally acceptable.... HOWEVER, if you plan on going SLI you'll have to chose between that and using the Ultra slot, as SLI will only function at x16 or x8, and not x4. That's why I'm not totally sure if I made the right choice in going with the Extreme6 over the Fital1ty Pro. On the other hand the board seems to be working fine so far and I could potentially upgrade to one, more powerful card, in the future.

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