ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer
As mentioned in the introduction, ASRock managed to release the first desktop motherboard with a PCIe 2.0 x2 m.2 socket, for high speed storage that breaks past the SATA III barrier. It would be a disservice to overlook the other great features of this product, since ASRock packed so many in an ATX design.
The "Killer" portion of the name refers to the Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 network interface that reduces network latency when gaming. If ASRock put all of the significant features in the product name, we couldn't even use it as a title for this article. Purity Sound increases the fidelity of the onboard audio system; especially in the low frequency range. The board supports AMD's Socket AM3, and AM3+ processors, including AMD's 5GHz (4.7 GHz before Turbo) FX9590 processor. Quad SLI and three-way CrossFireX are also supported.
Today we are focused on the m.2 socket though, and this motherboard not only supports the full bandwidth, but it also supports up to 22x110mm drives. The SanDisk A110 is a 60mm length card, but the SATA 3.2 specifications support cards nearly twice as long for massive flash based storage devices. The ASRock board also supports 42mm and 80mm drives.
SanDisk A110 m.2 PCIe SSD
We've previewed and reviewed the SanDisk A110 in the past, and we still get excited every time we pull it out of storage. It's sad that we've had to keep it tucked away until now, but it's finally time to use this drive for personal use, now that we have a motherboard that supports its features, and still gives us dual GPU capability.
The SanDisk A110 breaks past the SATA III limitations, and provides up to 740 MB/s sequential read and 625 MB/s sequential write performance. The 4K random read performance is up to 115K IOPS. You just can't do that with SATA III; it only comes from PCI Express based storage.
At the time of writing, neither the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer, nor the SanDisk A110, were available at Newegg or any other e-tail shops we frequent. The ASRock board announcement just happened, so we should see retail availability just after CES. With products on the market, SanDisk should follow suit and release a retail A110. They should follow suit, that doesn't mean they will, but it would be nice to see these drives at Newegg, or at the very least in the channel via CDW or another outlet.