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ASRock X299 OC Formula Motherboard Review

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Introduction

If you aren’t deep into the overclocking scene, the name Nick Shih might not mean anything to you, but if you poke around many of the CPU benchmarking record charts online you’ll often see the handle ‘nickshih’ on the front page. The Brainchild of ASRock’s OC Formula lineup, Nick knows what it takes to break records and ASRock brings that to Intel’s X299 platform with the X299 OC Formula.

ProClockers would like to thank ASRock for sending the X299 OC Formula over to check out!

ASRock’s take on the X299 OC Formula:

Rules are meant to be broken. Limits don’t exist. There is no spoon. Only motherboards that are custom made for overclockers.

  • Supports Intel® Core™ X-Series Processor Family for the LGA 2066 Socket
  • 13 Phase CPU Power Design + 2 Phase Memory Power Design, Dr. MOS
  • Supports Quad Channel DDR4 4600+(OC) Memory
  • 5 PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 PCIe 3.0 x4, 1 PCIe 2.0 x1
  • NVIDIA® 4-Way SLI™, AMD 4-Way CrossFireX™
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec), Supports Purity Sound™ 4 & DTS Connect
  • 8 SATA3, 2 Ultra M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3)
  • 3 USB 3.1 Gen2 (1 Front Type-C, 1 Rear Type-C, 1 Rear Type-A)
  • 6 USB 3.1 Gen1 (2 Front, 4 Rear)
  • Dual Intel® Gigabit LAN
  • ASRock RGB LED
  • Hyper BCLK Engine III
  • OC Formula Kit, Nick Shih’s OC Profile

Features & Specifications

Designed for Overclockers!

Rules are meant to be broken. Limits don’t exist. There is no spoon. Only motherboards that are custom made for overclockers.

13 Phase CPU Power Design + 2 Phase Memory Power Design

Features sturdy components and completely smooth power delivery. Offers unmatched overclocking capabilities and enhanced performance with the lowest temperature.

Quad Channel Memory Support (One Dimm Per Channel)

A special 8-layer layout that allows OC Formula supports Quad-Channel memory. Ideally designed for extreme memory overclocking with huge potential and stability.

Ultra Cool XXL Aluminum Alloy Heatsink & Heatpipe Design

Supports up to 450W CPU with airflow. Extra-large aluminum alloy heatsink along with heat pipe that effectively takes away heat from the MOSFET, so that your whole system may perform more stable.

Hyper BCLK Engine III

An additional external base clock generator that supports PCIe frequency overclocking. It provides a wider range of frequencies and more precise clock waveforms, allowing any user to get most from their CPU investment with precise, stable overclocking.

Front USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C

Front USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C header delivers up to 10 Gbps data transfer rate and next-generation reversible USB design to the front panel of the computer case.

OC Formula Power Kit  – Digi Power, Dr. MOS

 

OC Formula Connector Kit – Hi-Density Power Connector, 15μ Gold Contact

 

OC Formula Cooling Kit – 8 Layer PCB, 2oz Copper PCB, Heat Pipe Design

  

Retry/Reset/BFG Button

Retry Button – Restart system immediately with cold boot when the system needs to be forced shutdown or retry the same BIOS setting by training again.

Reset Button – Quickly reset the system without cold boot.

BFG Button – Enforce system to boot as default but keep BIOS setting if pressing this button during power-cycle.

PCIe ON/OFF

Enable or disable the PCIe slots with a flick of your finger

Rapid OC

To manually raise or lower the system’s CPU ratio, BCLK frequency or CPU Vcore voltage

LN2 Mode

Use the onboard switch to activate LN2 Mode and disable the CPU’s thermal protection.

Nick Shih’s OC Profile

It’s your chance to learn a few tricks from the champion. The legendary overclocker Nick Shih has added a few presets for different levels of overclocking.

Supports 4-Way SLI / CrossFireX VGA Cards

This flagship motherboard is able to support 4-Way SLI or 4-Way CrossFireX effortlessly. Not only support gaming graphics card, it is also fully compatible with NVIDIA® Quadro® & AMD FireProTM professional desktop workstation graphics solutions.

RGB LED

Build your own colorful lighting system! RGB LED and header allows users to connect LED strip and create their unique PC style easily. The ASRock RGB LED utility can be downloaded directly or from an all-in-one utility ASRock Live Update & APP Shop!

Dual Ultra M.2 For SSD

Two of the world’s fastest PCIe Gen3 x4 Ultra M.2 slots that deliver up to 32Gb/s transfer speed, it also supports SATA3 6Gb/s M.2 modules.

Dual Intel® LAN

Users are able to connect two LAN cables to this motherboard’s rear I/O. Dual LAN with Teaming function enabled on this motherboard allows two single connections to act as one single connection for twice the transmission bandwidth, making data transmission more effective.

XXL Aluminum Alloy Heatsink – Extra large aluminum alloy heatsinks that effectively take away heat from the MOSFET and chipset so that your whole system may perform more stable.

Premium 60A Power Choke – Compared to traditional chokes, ASRock’s premium 60A power chokes effectively make the saturation current up to three times better, thus providing enhanced and improved Vcore voltage to the motherboard.

Dr. MOS – Dr. MOS design features the latest SPS (Smart Power Stage) technology. It’s optimized for monitoring current and temperature of each phase, thus delivering smoother and neater power to the CPU with enhanced performance and OC capability.

Nichicon 12K Black Caps – Supreme 12K black capacitors with lifespans of at least 12,000 hours. Compared to other counterparts on high-end motherboards that merely have lifespans of around 10,000 hours, ASRock applied Nichicon 12K Black Caps that offer 20% longer lifespans and provide more stability and reliability.

Matte Black PCB – A new mysterious matte black and copper color scheme to match the prestigious components on ASRock’s high-end motherboards.

High-Density Glass Fabric PCB – High-Density Glass Fabric PCB design that reduces the gaps between the PCB layers to protect the motherboard against electrical shorts caused by humidity.

 

 

Specifications

A Closer Look

As our sample came as an OEM sample, it did not have retail packaging to show you. It came well protected, but only included the rear I/O shield and a driver disk.

The board itself is wrapped in ESD safe foam inside the ESD bag.

Unlike most extreme overclock oriented boards, the X299 OC Formula actual maintains an ATX footprint and doesn’t extend outwards to EATX sizing. The overall layout itself is fairly understated and sticks to the grey pallet for colors and has a large racing stripe up the front edge.

The rear of the board isn’t highly exciting, only the smooth matte black coloring. There are quite a few IC’s and other components back here though so subzero coolers are going to need to pay attention to prep work here.

Rear I/O covers all of the bases without any unneeded extras. Two USB 2.0 ports sit above a dual personality PS/2 port. A BIOS flashback button is next to the button to clear the CMOS. Four USB 3.0 and a pair of USB 3.1 ports can be found just under the dual Intel-powered Gigabit LAN ports. Last is the typical 8 channel audio ports and an optical output.

The top half of the board is centered (or slightly off-centered actually) around Intel’s LGA 2066 socket. Flanking it are a quartet of DDR4 DIMM slots, configured for maximum ram performance with one stick per channel. The right side of the board is covered in overclocking and related controls.

The bottom half of the board is pretty much all PCIe slots, comprised of no less than Five X16 slots, an x4 slot, and a lonesome x1 slot. Two Turbo M.2 slots flank the chipset Heatsink and support up to 110mm drives in PCIe or SATA flavors.

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Along the bottom of the board is a plethora of I/O connections. First up is front panel audio available from a normal and also a right-angle header, a clear CMOS jumper, and an RGB header. Next is a Thunderbolt expansion header, a TPM module connection and a pair of USB 2.0 headers. Next up are the two BIOS chips with yellow stickers as well as a selection jumper nearby, an assortment of front panel I/O connections, two 4-pin fan headers and the 2-digit diagnostic readout.

Going up the front edge of the board are a bank of six SATA ports, and another pair of SATA ports higher up. A PCIe 6-pin power connection is next for injecting more power into the PCIe bus for stable overclocking and the main 24-pin power connection.

The top front corner is very busy with all of the system and overclocking related controls.  Behind the power connections, we have a USB 3.1 front panel header, a USB 3.0 header, and Intel’s VROC RIAD key connection. Next up are a pile of buttons and switches. The bank of 4 switches near the menu button is the PCIe disable switches for turning off GPU’s and other cards for troubleshooting without removing hardware. Below them are the Slow Mode and LN2 mode switches, as well as the BFG, Reset and Retry Buttons, and the large, lighted Power button. Above these are the Rapid OC control buttons.  The top corner also includes another RGB header and two more 4-pin fan headers.

The top edge of the board really doesn’t have much of interests as far as connections go outside of the main 8-pin CPU power and auxiliary 4-pin CPU power connector sitting next to the VRM heatsink.

The VRM heatsink is made of two parts, but only one comes in contact with the VRM system.

The two sides are connected with a large heat pipe to provide more surface area for cooling the massive 13-phase power delivery system.

The 13-phase VRM segment is quite impressive visually but serves to feed heavily overclocked CPU’s the stable power they need, often well into the hundreds of watts, and under extreme cooling, upwards of 4 digits worth of wattage.

One of several Intersil ISL69138 fully-digital PWMs that handles a large number of power phases across the board is found between the front DIMM slots and the Rapid OC Buttons.

Realtek’s ALC1220 codec provides the OC Formula’s Audio outputs.

ASMedia’s ASM1061 provides two of the SATA 6Gbps ports.

The ASM3142 controller is one of two, this one providing the front panel USB 3.1 ports, while the 2nd provides the same ports on the Rear I/O Area.

More than a dozen NXP L040838 PCIe 3.0 switches route the available PCIe lanes to the appropriate slots depending on what is plugged in and how man PCIe lanes your installed CPU has.

The OC Formula’s Chipset heatsink is surrounded on the underside with RGB LED’s that start pulsing slowly the first moment you plug in your power supply. The colors and effects can be changed from ASRock’s software.

Under the heatsink is Intel’s X299 PCH chip, which really isn’t much to look at, but handles almost everything on the board outside of primary PCIe lanes and memory.

System Configuration & BIOS

For the Purpose of this review, we’ll load this system up with the following:

Intel Core i7-7820K

Galax GTX 1070 HOF

64GB GeIL EVO Spear (4x16GB) 3200MHz C16

256GB Samsung 850 Evo

Corsair RM1000 PSU

Samsung 960 Pro 2TB M.2 NVMe SSD

 

ASRock’s EZ Mode is just that, easy. From one page you can see and do everything you need to get up and running quickly from turning on XMP, seeing what hardware is installed, adjusting boot order, and even changing performance profiles.

If you need to get more serious about things, pressing F6 will bring you to the advanced side of the UEFI BIOS.

Given this boards’ prowess for overclocking, you’ll probably spend most of your time in the BIOS tinkering around in the OC Tweaker section.

The board comes with several extreme profiles saved that were made by NickShih himself, and will give you a jump start on extreme overclocking.

If you aren’t dealing with sub-zero cooling, the profiles in the Optimized section just below are more applicable to air and liquid cooling.

You can tweak all things CPU under the CPU Configuration sub-menu.

The DRAM configuration sub-menu has a mind-bending amount of options and timings to tweak.

All main voltages can be tweaked from the Voltage menu.

Everything related to the Fully Integrated Voltage Regulator (FIVR) can be found in its own sub-menu

Things like Hyper-Threading and other technologies can be adjusted from the Advanced section of the BIOS.

The Tools menu has a handful of very useful options and was our first stop to update the BIOS.

The Hardware Monitor area is for keeping an eye on everything from voltages to fan and pump RPM’s and for adjusting cooling profiles related to them.

The security menu isn’t often used outside of corporate environments, but it’s here if you do use it.

Last but not least is the boot menu where you can adjust boot order, turn on num-lock, and other related things.

Software

Live Updated & App Shop gives you easy access to all tools and software you need.

Even drivers and BIOS updates.

If you have quick boot enabled, you know the boot sequence is so fast you cant even get back to the BIOS if needed. Restart to UEFI solves that issue.

ASRock’s Formula Drive is nearly one-stop shopping for adjusting important performance aspects and even overclocking right from Windows.

The Rapid OC Configuration is where you can set hot-keys for live adjustments to clocks and ratios in real time, similar to the physical buttons on the board itself.

ASRock’s Timing Configurator allows you to see all of the memory timings, rather than just the first few main ones like most software’s.

Testing & Performance

General Performance Testing

All performance testing was done with the i7 7820X and GTX 1070 at default clock speeds and auto settings everywhere applicable. Games where ran at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and higher settings enabled.

 

PCMark 8

“Use the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.”

ASRock’s X299 OC Formula comes out of the gate swinging, taking first in all 3 categories of PCMark 8’s testing.

 

Super PI Modded 1.5

“In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr.Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environments such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.”

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Equipped with our 8 core i7-7820X, the OC Formula turns in a respectable 7 minutes and 33 seconds on Super Pi for 32 Million digits.

CPU Performance Testing

CINEBENCH R15

“CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.

CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.”

In a multi-threaded workload, the OC Formula misses taking first place by a mere 4 points with a solid 1748 score.

 

7-Zip

The benchmark shows a rating of MIPS (million instructions per second). The rating value is calculated from the measured speed, and it is normalized with results of Intel Core 2 CPU with multi-threading option switched off. So if you have modern CPU from Intel or AMD, rating values in single-thread mode must be close to real CPU frequency. There are two tests, compression with LZMA method and decompression with LZMA method. Once the total passes reaches 100, the score is taken

7 Zip’s built-in benchmark gives us similar results, the OC Formula is about 700 points from taking first place.

 

Memory Performance Testing

AIDA64 Engineer Edition

“FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.50 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises. The new AIDA64 update implements AVX-optimized benchmarks for the upcoming Intel Sandy Bridge processors, adds a brand new video encoding benchmark, and supports the latest AMD and NVIDIA graphics processors.”

Part of the ‘OC Formula’ is strong memory performance from the single stick per channel optimized layout, and it doesn’t disappoint.

It also shows a snappy latency for quad channel memory, coming in at 71.5 nanoseconds.

Passmark Performance Test – Memory Mark – Threaded

“Fast, easy to use, PC speed testing and benchmarking. PassMark PerformanceTest ™ allows you to objectively benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests and compare the results to other computers.”

Passmark Memory Mark runs a different battery of testing to produce a numerical score, and the OC Formula is again in the top rankings of our tested samples.

SiSoft Sandra

“SiSoftware Sandra provides a robust package of diagnostic tools for testing your system and teasing out its problems–or potential headaches.”

SiSoft’s Multi-threaded bandwidth testing gives us the best float operation bandwidth we’ve seen yet at just over 69GB/s, as well as strong Integer and Aggregate performance.

 

Storage Testing

ATTO Disk Benchmark

“As the industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage & network connectivity products, ATTO has created a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware utility to help measure storage system performance. As one of the top tools utilized in the industry, Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid state drives, RAID arrays as well as connections to storage. Top drive manufacturers, like Hitachi, build and test every drive using the ATTO Disk Benchmark”

There are no apparent bottlenecks with storage bandwidth through the SATA controller.

CrystalDiskMark 3.0

“CrystalDiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows measuring sequential and random read/write speeds.”

CrystalDiskMark shows about the same, nearly the rated speeds of our Samsung Test Drive.

We also tested an M.2 Slot with a Samsung 960 Pro 2TB drive and get a solid performance from it as well.

 

Game Testing

3DMark – Fire Strike

“Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today”

We get good performance out of the OC Formula on Firestrike, but find it sitting a few hundred points back in the pack.

3DMark – Time Spy

“3Dmark Time Spy is a new DirectX 12 benchmark test for Windows 10 gaming PCs. Time Spay is one of the first DirectX 12 apps to be built “the right way” from the ground up to fully realize the performance gains that the new API offers. With DirectX 12 engine, which supports new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading, Time Spy is the ideal test for benchmarking the latest graphics cards.”

The story is about the same with TimeSpy, within fighting distance of first, but still a few hundred points back from first at stock settings.

Grand Theft Auto: V

“When a young street hustler, a retired bank robber, and a terrifying psychopath find themselves entangled with some of the most frightening and deranged elements of the criminal underworld, the U.S. government and the entertainment industry, they must pull off a series of dangerous heists to survive in a ruthless city in which they can trust nobody, least of all each other.”

Real game testing appears to follow the same trend, but 171 FPS is nothing to sneeze at and is only 3 FPS behind first place.

Metro: Last Light

“It Is the Year 2034. Beneath the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow, in the tunnels of the Metro, the remnants of mankind are besieged by deadly threats from outside – and within. Mutants stalk the catacombs beneath the desolate surface, and hunt amidst the poisoned skies above.”

Developed by 4A Games and published by Deepsilver, Metro: Last Light uses the 4A game engine. At its highest settings, the 4A game engine is capable of bringing all but the most extreme gaming systems to their knees.

Metro: Last Light is not heavily bound by CPU performance so this is more a measure of overall system effectiveness and lack of bottlenecks or other issues, and we see the OC Formula has none.

Overclocking

We start out from stock settings and try to see how far we can push the CPU and memory systems before we encounter system instability or crashing. Once we find a benchmark stable overclock, we run a few tests and note the increase in score. For fun, we often push the clock up as far as it will go and still boot to windows. While not in any way stable, its fun to see how far you can actually push it.

As this board’s prowess is overclocking, we are going to deviate from the normal routine here a bit. After testing our usual I7-7820X CPU, we’ll also throw all the hardware we have in it and see how it fares with other CPU’s as well.

 

 

We’ll start out with the Intel Core i7-7820X we compared with, and see what we can push it to.

We started out in the BIOS and picked the pre-made profile for 4.7Ghz which worked perfectly, but we know this CPU can do more.

Using ASRock’s Formula Drive software, we were able to skip the lengthy reboot process each time we adjusted the clock settings. In the end, we were able to push our 8-core CPU to 4.95Ghz, which pretty well ties our best stable overclock with this particular piece of silicon.

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The Overclock bumped our Cinebench score from 1748cb to 2087cb, a pretty nice increase!

We were also able to do some minor tasks like browsing the web and editing pictures at 5.1Ghz, but it was unstable under heavy benchmarking loads. Breaking the 5Ghz mark with all 8 cores and 16 threads is fun, even if its instability is impractical.

 

Core i9-7960X

Next, we’ll turn up the heat with Intel’s monster Core i9-7960X that packs a whopping 16 cores and 32 threads. With a TDP of 165W already, and showing in our own testing of easily breaking the 600W mark under overclocked load, this is a serious test of ASRock’s 13 phase VRM.

The i9-7960X comes in at a stock clock speed of 2.8Ghz, but turbos under light loads into the lower 4Ghz range.

Using a similar procedure, we managed to shove all 16 cores up to 4.8Ghz which again ties our best clock speed with this chip.

In a similar fashion, this overclock also make a big impact on our Cinebench scores, raising us from 3132 to 4037, not bad at all!

 

Intel Core i7-7740X

With a base clock speed of 4.3GHz, the i7-7740X is already pretty snappy, we see it here running its max turbo boost of 4.5GHz.

While we could boot at up to 5.5GHz, it wasn’t fully stable. We were able to get 5.3Ghz fully stable for benchmarking.

And for the 3rd time, we see a noted increase in multi-threaded performance.

 

RAM

Starting out at XMP speeds, we’ll push the ram as far as we can as well.

We were able to push the ram up to 3800Mhz in quad-channel mode, which is the highest this kit has been able to do so far.

In Dual Channel mode, were actually able to push to a full 4GHz on the memory, several hundred MHz higher than we’ve ever managed with this kit!

Overall, the X299 OC Formula is quite capable in the overclocking department. We pretty well matched all of our best overclocks on all three of our CPU’s proving the limiting factor here is our silicon, rather than the board. On the memory side of things, we actually got the best overclock this particular GeIL kit has done yet, which says something to the improved memory layout ASRock has used.

FLIR Thermal Imaging

We’ll start out with a big Thank You to FLIR for sending us the new FLIR ONE PRO to assist in this part of the reviews.

About the FLIR ONE PRO:

The FLIR ONE Pro gives you the power to find invisible problems faster than ever. Combining a higher-resolution thermal sensor able to measure temperatures up to 400°C with powerful measurement tools and report generation capability, the FLIR ONE Pro will work as hard as you do. Its revolutionary VividIR™ image processing lets you see more details and provide your customers with proof that you solved their problem right the first time. The updated design includes the revolutionary OneFit™ adjustable connector to fit your phone, without taking the phone out of its compatible protective case. An improved FLIR ONE app lets you measure multiple temperatures or regions of interest at once and stream to your smartwatch for remote viewing. Whether you’re inspecting electrical panels, looking for HVAC problems, or finding water damage, the new FLIR ONE Pro is a tool no serious professional should be without.

 

THERMAL IMAGING: HOW IT WORKS

Thermal cameras work by converting that heat energy, emitted or reflected by practically everything on earth, into color images. These color images enable anyone to not only see in total darkness and through smoke and haze but to also safely measure temperature without touching a surface. They are sensitive enough to differentiate temperature differences to fractions of a degree.

Want one yourself or want to know more?

 

Testing environment – approximately 20C/68F

We decided to test the VRM cooling with our heavy hitting Intel Core i9-7960X CPU clocked at 4.5Ghz across all cores. We have a 120mm fan blowing air around the VRM area as this test is pushing over 500W through the VRM’s.

Measuring the VRM Heatsinks after 30 minutes of run time under heavy load, we find the main VRM heatsink has reached around 53C.  The second heatsink connected by a heat pipe has climbed to 45C. an 8C delta between the two means the heat pipe is working, but perhaps not as well as it could with only a couple inches of heat pipe separating the two.

What is even more interesting is the temperature of the motherboard between the VRM area and the CPU socket. We measured as high as 74C here with it showing 68C above at the moment.  It is likely even higher right around the VRM components themselves as the board itself doesn’t contact the heatsink. ASRock uses an 8-layer 2oz copper PCB for this board, so it will conduct some heat away by design, but we would like to see the bulk of the heat captured and removed by the heatsink itself.

The lower half of the board stays cool. The X299 Chipset’s heatsink never quite reached 40C, even during storage testing, so there should be no issues here. The warm spot near the GPU is from the GPU’s exhaust, not from the board or components on it.

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

ASRock has upped the bar with the X299 OC Formula. While they have used nearly the same VRM design to great effect on several other boards, including the Fatal1ty X299 Professional Gaming i9 we reviewed awhile pack, the addition of more overclocking controls and a much-improved single stick per channel memory layout makes a difference. While we didn’t break any in-house CPU overclocking records, we roughly tied our previous bests. Its readily apparent the silicon samples we have are the limiting factor and the OC Formula is capable of MUCH more. On the memory side of things, the OC Formula put a solid 200MHz on top of our previous top quad channel overclock with this EVO Spear kit to a solid 3800MHz and actually did the same in Dual channel mode, upping out record from 3800Mhz to a full 4GHz.

Aesthetically, and while this is a bit subjective, the OC Formula doesn’t get much better. The gunmetal grey heatsinks over a matte black PCB are gorgeous. The RGB lighting around the chipset seems more of a ‘me too’ approach in the recent RGB craze when this board is built for performance first rather than getting by on looks alone, but thankfully it can be turned off easily enough.

Thermal performance of the board was solid, it handled out heavy hitting I9-7960X without any throttling, but watching it react on the IR camera made us wonder if some improvements could be made to VRM cooling. Perhaps more thermal pads to help soak up some of the heat from the PCB itself.  It didn’t limit us, so we would hold it against ASRock.

Overall, if you are looking for a sleeper of a board,  ASRock’s X299 OC Formula is your board. It doesn’t have the bling of other boards, but it has capabilities they only dream of. Given the $370 street price at time of publishing, this board comes highly recommended.

Great Job ASRock!

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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