Published On: Thu, Oct 15th, 2015

ASRock Z97M OC Formula Motherboard: Vivid Impression

ASRock typically reserves the OC Formula moniker for the company’s top overclocking models. The smaller mATX form factor does not needfully mean the power circuitry up top is compromised, so there is no reason this board ought not to post some vivid impression numbers in theory.

Z97-OC-Formula

While it retails for $136, you can often find it selling for as low as $125. The board proudly claims it was designed by over-clocker Nik Shih, if it is worth the price of admission.

Only the OC Formula line gets the gold/black scheme, and today’s contestant boasts it proudly. It does not count toward my recommendation. The OCF is decidedly a step or 3 above the lately reviewed Pro4.

Additionally, what you find on ASRock’s cheaper offering, the OCF contains a more strong VRM, full SLI support, a Killer network controller, SATA Express, an M.2 slot and a few extra tidbits. Time for a detailed look.

The heatsink may look the same as the one on the Pro4, but it’s substantially thicker, with more fins and exposed surface area for passive cooling.A 3 and a 4 pin fan header for CPU cooling are next to the four RAM slots.

Down the front edge is the usual 24 pin power plug, USB 3.0 header and 6 forward facing SATA ports. A single SATA Express port joins the regular SATA connectors.┬áThe OCF has four add-in card slots. The first and third slots wired to the CPU’s PCIe 3.0 lanes in a x16/x0 or x8/x8 configuration, meaning official Nvidia SLI support.

Between them is a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot, the CMOS battery and a socketed BIOS chip for replacement. The bottom slot is only wired for four lanes and uses the chipset’s slower 2.0 signaling.┬áThe I/O backplate packs a few nice extras compared to lesser boards.

The OCF has a PS/2 jack and four USB 2.0 ports for your peripherals. For an eSATA port, and the OCF adds one to join the 4 USB 3.0 ports for high-speed data transfer.

The Z97M OC Formula gives you all the tools you need for a capable and strong system in the mATX form factor.