After almost a decade of total market dominance, Intel has spent the past few years on the defensive. AMD's Ryzen processors continue to show improvement year over year, with the most recent Ryzen 5000 series taking the crown of best gaming processor: Intel's last bastion of superiority.
Now, with a booming hardware market, Intel is preparing to make up some of that lost ground with the new 11th Gen Intel Core Processors. Intel is claiming these new 11th Gen CPUs offer double-digit IPC improvements despite remaining on a 14 nm process. The top-end 8-core Intel Core i9-11900K may not be able to compete against its Ryzen 9 5900X AMD rival in heavily multi-threaded scenarios, but the higher clock speeds and alleged IPC improvements could be enough to take back the gaming crown. Along with the new CPUs, there is a new chipset to match, the Intel Z590. Last year's Z490 chipset motherboards are also compatible with the new 11th Gen Intel Core Processors, but Z590 introduces some key advantages.
First, Z590 offers native PCIe 4.0 support from the CPU, which means the PCIe and M.2 slots powered off the CPU will offer PCIe 4.0 connectivity when an 11th Gen CPU is installed. The PCIe and M.2 slots controlled by the Z590 chipset are still PCI 3.0. While many high-end Z490 motherboards advertised this capability, it was not a standard feature for the platform. In addition to PCIe 4.0 support, Z590 offers USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 from the chipset. The USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 standard offers speeds of up to 20 Gb/s. Finally, Z590 boasts native support for 3200 MHz DDR4 memory. With these upgrades, Intel's Z series platform has feature parity with AMD's B550. On paper, Intel is catching up to AMD, but only testing will tell if these new Z590 motherboards are up to the challenge.
The OC Formula line from ASRock returns with the Z590 OC Formula. The ASRock Z590 OC Formula was designed in collaboration with Nick Shih to facilitate record breaking extreme overclocking.
The ASRock Z590 OC Formula features a powerful 16-phase VRM utilizing top-tier 90 A power stages along with a 12-layer PCB and even an OLED display. Along with the overclocking aids and features, the Z590 OC Formula also includes 2.5 Gb/s LAN and WiFi 6E, and a healthy complement of storage options. Let's see how far the ASRock Z590 OC Formula can go!
|CPU Support:||10th / 11th Gen Intel Core Processors|
|Power Design:||CPU Power: 16-phase |
Memory Power: 2-phase
|Integrated Graphics:||Dependent on installed CPU|
|Memory:||2x DIMM, supports dual-channel DDR4-6000+ (OC) MHz|
|BIOS:||Dual AMI UEFI BIOS|
|Expansion Slots:|| 3x PCIe x16 slots (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4) |
2x PCIe 3.0 x1 Slots
|Storage:|| 8x SATA 6 Gb/s ports |
3x M.2 ports*
|Networking:||1x Intel I225V 2.5 Gb/s LAN|
1x Intel I219V Gigabit LAN
1x Intel 802.11ax WiFi 6E
|Rear Ports:||2x Antenna Ports|
1x PS/2 Keyboard Port
1x PS/2 Mouse Port
1x Optical SPDIF Out Port
3x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A Ports
1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C Port
4x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A Ports
2x RJ-45 LAN Ports
1x BIOS Flashback Button
1x BIOS Selection Switch
1x Clear CMOS Button
5x HD Audio Jacks
|Audio:||1x Realtek ALC1220 Codec|
|Fan Headers:||8x 4-pin|
|Form Factor:||EATX Form Factor: 12.0 x 10.5 in.; 30.5 x 26.7 cm|
Packaging and Contents
The front of the ASRock Z590 OC Formula box features a dark background with yellow accents. Inside the front flap, the board can be seen directly along with panels outlining key board features.
The back of the box features more highlights, along with a top-down shot of the board, several panels detailing prominent features, a shot of the rear I/O, and the specifications list.
The accessories are above standard and include extras like Velcro cable ties. The full list of accessories includes:
- Quick installation guide, support CD
- 4x SATA data cables
- 2x ASRock WiFi 2.4/5/6 GHz antennas
- ASRock screwdriver
- 3x Screws for M.2 sockets
- 3x Standoffs for M.2 sockets
The ASRock Z590 OC Formula features a distinct design with a black and acid yellow color scheme.
The CPU socket is open enough for most air coolers.
There are three M.2 slots on the ASRock Z590 OC Formula. All of these feature full-coverage heatsinks. The top socket is located to the right of the two DIMM slots, which is unusual.
Note that the top M.2 slot is PCIe 4.0 compliant and will only function when an 11th Gen CPU is installed.
The ASRock Z590 OC Formula features a host of overclocking controls, the full list includes:
- Power button
- Reset button
- Rapid OC button (+)
- Rapid OC button (–)
- PCIe ON/OFF switch
- Nick Shih's OC profile 1 button
- Nick Shih's OC profile 2 button
- Nick Shih's OC profile 3 button
- LN2 mode switch
- Slow mode switch
- Retry button
- Safe Boot button
The ASRock Z590 OC Formula offers three PCI Express x16 slots, all of which are metal-reinforced. The top two slots are PCIe 4.0 compliant, while the bottom slot is PCIe 3.0 only. The board has a total of eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports which are angled 90 degrees.
The ASRock Z590 OC Formula has a great I/O offering that includes an optical S/PDIF Out port and Wi-Fi 6E.
- 2x Antenna ports
- PS/2 Keyboard port
- PS/2 Mouse port
- Optical SPDIF Out port
- 3x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A ports
- USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port
- 4x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports
- 2x RJ-45 LAN ports
- BIOS flashback button
- BIOS selection switch
- Clear CMOS button
- 5x HD audio jacks
Networking on the ASRock Z590 OC Formula is handled by an Intel I219V as well as an Intel I225V 2.5 Gb/s controller. For wireless connectivity, there is an Intel WiFi 6E module.
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