The ASRock Z590 OC Formula Motherboard: By and For Overclockersby Gavin Bonshor on April 1, 2021 9:40 AM EST
ASRock and its in-house extreme overclocker Nich Shih have created the latest in its series of high-end enthusiast-grade motherboards. The OC Formula brand returns, famed for its good extreme overclocking performance, with the ASRock Z590 OC Formula. As a high-end clocking board, it is equipped with two DDR4 memory slots as close to the socket as is feasibly possible with the cooler recommendations for improved memory performance. This means support for DDR4-5600 out of the box, but it can go higher - the Z590 OC Formula also comes with a 12-layer PCB for improved signal integrity. It is equipped with a large 16-phase power delivery with premium 90 A smart power stages. It also comes with an OLED display, a hardware-based overclockers toolkit, and benefits from Intel's latest Wi-Fi 6E CNVi, and 2.5 Gb Ethernet, making it a solid option for all levels of enthusiast.
Although the extreme overclocking circle has been getting smaller over the last decade, it is still much alive and resembles an art form. Using more aggressive sub-ambient cooling methods such as dry ice, liquid nitrogen, and in some cases, liquid helium, extreme overclockers have been pushing both Intel and AMD's silicon to its limits for many years. It's been quite a while since ASRock readied up a model capable of competition in the XOC arena. Still, legendary overclocker Nick Shih has helped its engineers design its latest overclocking focused motherboard, the ASRock Z590 OC Formula.
The ASRock Z590 OC Formula drops its recognizable yellow color scheme for an odd green/neon green and black design. Located in the board's center is a new OLED display that can display multiple operating specifications such as voltages, and frequencies, which for overclockers looking for real-time monitoring will find useful.
The top-right hand corner is a hardware-based overclockers toolkit that includes DIP switches for enthusiasts looking to disable or enable the board's three full-length PCIe slots. This also includes a slow mode switch, an OC retry button, an LN2 mode switch, a power switch, a reset switch, and on-the-fly frequency adjustment buttons. There are also three numbered buttons that allow direct access to three of Nick Shih's personal overclocking profiles. For extreme tweakers, there are five V-probe voltage monitoring points.
Focusing on the primary specifications, two full-length PCIe 4.0 slots can operate at x16 and x8/x8, a full-length PCIe 3.0 x4 slot, and two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots. For storage, ASRock includes a total of eight SATA ports, six from the chipset with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays, and two available from an ASMedia SATA controller. Located around the PCIe slot area and forming an L shape around the chipset heatsink are three M.2 slots, with one PCIe 4.0 x4 and two PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA M.2 slots. Other notable elements include a front panel USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C header, a 5-pin Thunderbolt AIC connector, two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, and two USB 2.0 headers, as well as a total of eight 4-pin cooling connectors.
On the rear panel is one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, three USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and four USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports, with two PS/2 ports designed for legacy keyboard and mice; these are a staple of extreme overclocking as USB ports can often stop responding during extreme cooling sessions. Also present are five 3.5 mm LED color-coded audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output driven by a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec, as well as a clear CMOS and BIOS Flashback switch. Despite being targeted as an extreme overclocking motherboard, ASRock also includes an Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE and Intel I219-V Gigabit controller pairing, with Intel's latest AX210 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi.
The ASRock Z590 OC Formula looks like a formidable option for pushing Intel's latest 11th generation Rocket Lake processors to the moon and back. Still, it also provides plenty of features for the everyday user. While conventional overclocking focused models of yesteryear have stuck to the basic and core fundamentals designed to deliver the ultimate performance, the Z590 OC Formula balances things out by making it functional with the latest controllers for everyday use too.
ASRock hasn't provided any information about the availability of the Z590 OC Formula or any form of expected pricing.