Close up with the ASRock Z97X Killer
Taking a look at the motherboard, you can see the typical black and red color scheme that is associated with the Fatal1ty series of motherboards. Like most people, we are fans of the black and red color scheme because it really does match extremely well. This really is a great looking motherboard; let's move in closer and see just what exactly we're dealing with here today.
Moving in closer, you can see just exactly what we're dealing with from the expansion side of things. We have three PCIe x1 slots along with three PCIe x16 slots. The later run in the typical setup, which means x16 with one used, x8/x8 with two used, and x8/x4/x4 if all three are used. Between the top two x16 slots, you can see that ASRock has also included the popular M.2 slot that has made an appearance on the new Z97 chipset. While it still might be a little while before we see people make use of this, we can't deny the fact that almost every Z97 motherboard we have looked at offers it.
Heading to the bottom of the board, you can see a standard design. You can see our normal line up of headers, including USB, COM1, audio, and front panel. On the left side, you can see that ASRock offers a Molex power connector that should be used for people wanting to make use of a multi-GPU setup. On the right side, you can see our two BIOS chips.
Turning the corner, you can see our SATA setup that includes six SATA III ports and a single SATA Express port. All these ports, including the M.2 port we just mentioned above, run off the Intel Z97 controller.
Starting to head north, you can see a typical setup that sees our 24-pin ATX power connector along with a USB 3.0 header to the left of it. We've got our four standard DDR3 DIMM slots offering support for 32GB of DDR3, ranging in speed from 1066MHz all the way up to 3200MHz+ via overclocking.
Moving around the corner, you can see our standard 8-pin CPU power connector, and moving out a bit, we get a look at the CPU socket area, which like most these days is very clean looking. The heat sink quality is great, and you can see the red looks fantastic when looking closer, especially up against the black PCB. There's really not too much to say here, as the setup is pretty standard with plenty of room for just about any type of heat sink setup.
Finishing up our look at the motherboard, we head over to the I/O side of things where we start with two USB 2.0 connectors along with a combo PS2 port. Moving along, we have display out options via VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI. Continuing along, you can see we have six USB 3.0 ports, four that run off the Intel Z97 chipset and two that run off of the ASMedia ASM1042AE controller. Gigabit networking is provided via the Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 series chip, while the Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec provides five auxiliary ports and an optical port.