The UEFI setup utility found on the Z68 Pro3 is similar to that found on the H61M/U3S3 and other ASRock motherboards. For those looking to easily overclock the motherboard, there is the "Advanced Turbo 50" mode as well as optimized GPU and CPU overclocking settings. Additionally, the CPU ratio, host clock override, DRAM timings, voltages, and various other controls can be manipulated.
Like the H61/H67/P67 motherboards tested thus far, the ASRock Z68 Pro3 motherboard worked under Ubuntu 11.04 in a relatively "out of the box" experience, sans the integrated graphics. The Sandy Bridge graphics support on Ubuntu 11.04 is troubling due to outdated components, which can lead to stability issues and other problems depending upon the workload and system configuration. Additionally, for this Z68 motherboard when initially booting Ubuntu 11.04 the display would be lit up but then go blank.
To workaround the broken display issue, nomodeset can be passed to the kernel command line so that the Intel kernel mode-setting driver won't be in use, and since user-space mode-setting is no longer supported for Intel hardware, it falls back to using the VESA driver. When the system was up with the VESA display driver, the latest xf86-video-intel DDX was built from Git source on 13 July. When using this newer DDX driver than what is found in Ubuntu 11.04, the DVI and HDMI outputs on the ASRock Z68 Pro3 had properly lit up. After that, it is just a matter of pulling in the latest kernel and Mesa for proper OpenGL support. The Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 release was also tested, which had too required updating the xf86-video-intel driver to avoid this display problem.
The only other Linux support caveat to the ASRock Z68 Pro3 that was spotted is the lack of LM_Sensors support for monitoring the motherboard's integrated sensors (thermal, fan speed, voltages) under Linux. However, practically no new motherboards we come across work with LM_Sensors, at least initially. Likely in due time the appropriate ASICs will be supported by the LM_Sensors kernel drivers, but it is not there yet. Fortunately, to most consumers this is not a big deal.
For those interested in Linux benchmarks of the ASRock Z68 Pro3, see the ASRock H61 review where a comparison was made to this Z68 motherboard and Intel's reference H67 motherboard. The results are not too surprising.
Overall, the ASRock Z68 Pro3 offers a decent set of features for a Z68 motherboard while not being too expensive. The ASRock Z68 Pro3 does support Lucidlogix Virtu, but it does not offer SLI / CrossFire compatibility (due to lacking a second PCI Express x16 slot) like many other Z68 motherboards. There are also only two Serial ATA 3.0 ports on this motherboard. Also lacking are any DisplayPort outputs, eSATA, or IEEE-1394 Firewire.
While the ASRock Z68 Pro3 may not be the most feature-rich motherboard, the attractive point about the product is it is much lower price-point than most Intel Z68 motherboards. At the time of publishing, the Z68 Pro3 is retailing for just $130 USD, which is a bargain compared to other $200+ Z68 motherboards. The ASRock Z68 Extreme4 does offer more in terms of features over the Pro3 variant, but at a $200 price tag.
The only complaint about this motherboard in terms of Linux support is nothing that is really ASRock specific, but just the lack of LM_Sensors compatibility for the onboard sensors and the un-surprising Sandy Bridge Linux graphics problems that require updating the stack. The Intel Z68 motherboards have the extra step of needing the very latest DDX.
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Phoronix Product Rating: 8 / 10