For just under $200 the ASRock Z97 Extreme is a good base to build a Broadwell or Haswell platform on for significantly less than a brand new Haswell-E system. The design is quite clean and well spaced out to allow the use of a large cooler along with integral heat sinks improving the looks and thermals of the motherboard. The first two PCIe 3.0 16x slots share 16 lanes between them, the third slot is PCIe 2.0 and is limited to a maximum of two lanes, with two 1x and a mini PCIe slot each getting one lane. Four of the remaining PCIe 3.0 lanes are taken up by the M.2 socket, which gives you up to 32Gbps of transfer speed, not too shabby for a Z97 board. There are a lot of other features, including two separate physical UEFI chips and a very comprehensive software suite to manage the system, which you read about at The Tech Report.
"With Broadwell compatibility and a secondary M.2 socket connected to four PCIe Gen3 lanes in the CPU, ASRock's Z97 Extreme6 might just be the most future-proof Haswell motherboard around. It's surprisingly affordable, too, despite having loads of other extras. Read on for more on a truly unique Z97 contender."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- GIGABYTE GA-X99-UD4 LGA 2011-v3 @ [H]ard|OCP
- ASUS X99 Deluxe Review @ OCC
- ASRock X99 OC Formula @ The SSD Review
- ASRock X99 Extreme4 Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- ASUS AM1M-A Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer AM3+ @ Benchmark Reviews