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.
ASRock combines its neon green design with multiple areas of integrated RGB LEDs.
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.
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Kamen Rider Blade - Thursday, April 1, 2021 - linkI think a Single PS/2 Port with dual colors to represent a Combo Port for KB & Mouse is fine. No need to use more Rear I/O Panel space than 1x Port IMO.
Silver5urfer - Monday, April 12, 2021 - linkYep, with PS/2 ports you can install Windows 7 onto the machine successfully and then install the modified xHCI USB3.0 drivers for Intel / AMD. Those ports are super useful for these mature platforms of AMD and Intel.
Gen-An - Thursday, April 1, 2021 - linkSOOOO ready for this board. It's been ages since there was an OCF board (X299). Lots of choices this generation with this, the Apex, Tachyon, Dark and Unify-X all announced.
Hxx - Thursday, April 1, 2021 - linktoo bad these new 11 gen chips suck big time. I guess u could always grab a cheap 10850k or something and have your way with it on this board.
meacupla - Friday, April 2, 2021 - linkThings I like
2x slots of RAM for shorter traces and higher overclocking potential
Boot error code 7 segmented LED
Easy to access power, reset, cmos reset and DIP switches, on both the forward and rear of the board
8x USB 3 ports
Things I don't like
Weird color scheme
It's not AM4
meacupla - Friday, April 2, 2021 - linkor, in other words, it's a shame Intel's 11th gen. i9 is such hot garbage.
Silver5urfer - Monday, April 12, 2021 - linkNah, after reading on the hot garbage called AGESA. I'm almost convinced that Intel is better choice for a far stable system.
Oxford Guy - Saturday, April 3, 2021 - linkJust in time to celebrate Intel’s elimination of the overclocking warranty program.
Silver5urfer - Monday, April 12, 2021 - linkCan we replace these CNVi Wifi modules with something like Intel 8265 ? Since Intel doesn't provide the drivers for Win7 on these cards while the 8265 and Killer NICs have Win7 drivers.
Silver5urfer - Monday, April 12, 2021 - linkJust checked the landing page, the board looks very different and good to see OC Formula series back, also they added a ton of good quality features at-least from the marketing. The only bad part I noticed is how they attached VRM fans behind the heatsink.