Just like the Extreme4 from ASRock the Pro3-M also relies on the Z68 chipset for most of its features and functionality. They share the same color theme and overall looks, same amount of ram as well as the same CPU support which means you can overclock the K-series processors. But that about it when it comes down to the similarities of the two motherboards.
The Pro3-M is the smaller brother of the Z68 Pro3 except for the Pro3-M is a mATX motherboard. Being a mATX motherboard this model is sure to be a big hit with the home theatre buffs out there due to its small size and still have some overclocking capabilities on the CPU and iGPU enhancing the video playback even more.
The Pro3-M uses a 4+2 power phase arrangement to regulate power and stability to the CPU’s vCore and DIMM slots. Unlike the bigger brother the Pro3-M does not use the Digi Power PWM which means we may hit the same overclock levels we did on the Extreme4 and with the same stability at the higher clocks. But it is nice to know we can overclock with this chipset unlike the H67 chipset.
The Pro3-M uses a total of three heat sinks to cool the power regulators as well as the PCH. These sinks are not linked by a heat pipe as the other models under ASRock’s Z68 class.
The integrated memory controller of the socket 1155 processors supports up to DDR3 133MHz with dual channel support. According to ASRock the motherboard maxes out at 32GB of DDR3 up to 2133MHz but getting 8GB modules is near impossible and can be very expensive.
The mATX motherboard is targeted at individuals that tend to use the IGPU onboard the motherboard. But if you are not one of those you can elect to install a discrete GPU in the lone PCIe x16 slot onboard the motherboard. There are two more x1 PCIe slots as well as a standard PCI standard slot which gets its usage from an ITE IT8892 bridge controller.
Onboard the motherboard in the lower right hand corner is a total of five SATA ports. The three blue ones are SATA II while the two white ones are SATA III. The reason there are only three SATA II ports when the Intel PCH supports four is because the forth one is located on the rear of the motherboard in the I/O section. All five ports support RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10.
Next, we take a look at the I/O portion of the motherboard:
- VGA, DVI, display port and HDMI
- 6 USB ports (4 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0(Etron EJ168A)
- 1 eSATA
- LAN port (Realtek RTL8111E)
- 1 optical S/PDIF out
- 7.1 channel audio (Realtek ALC892)
And just like the Extreme4 and any other motherboard based on the Z68 chipset, Lucid Virtu is supported. Meaning that if a discrete GPU is installed the Virtu software will assign the graphic task to the best suited GPU device.