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ASRock Fatal1ty X99 (Intel X99) Professional Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Apr 30, 2015 2:08 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: ASRock

Packaging and the Board

 

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The box advertises the gaming features of the board as well as some noteworthy features such as the 12 phase VRM. ASRock tends to strap the boards to anti-static foam inside and anti-static bag, and this method gets the job done when it comes to protecting the motherboard.

 

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Accessories are plenty; 6x SATA6G cables, 3x 2-Way SLI bridge (1 long and 2 short), 3-Way SLI Bridge, IO Shield, SATA saver power connectors, screws for M.2, manuals, case badge, and driver DVD. There is also a key for 3-months free XSplit Broadcaster for broadcasting your game play, so if you have wanted to try out a streaming service this might benefit you.

 

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I have circled the fan headers on the board. The headers circled in blue are 4-pin PWM headers and the four headers circled in red are 3-pin voltage mode headers. Extensive fan control is available through the UEFI and Windows. The heat sinks are very red, almost a shade of crimson, which blends well with the slots. It's a lot of red, meaning you should probably go with a red themed build for this board if you care about color coordination. The back of the board is pretty bare, with the exception of a slim heat sink for half the VRM power MOSFETs which are located on the backside of the PCB. The isolation of the audio circuitry is visible as well, but there are no LEDs to light up the divide.

 

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The back panel IO features a 2x1GBit NIC (1x Intel and 1X Killer), 6x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard and mouse, a 7.1 TOSLINK for audio with S/PDIF out, and a Clear CMOS button.

 

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The PCI-E layout on this motherboard is done so the red slots are meant for GPUs, while the black slot can be used for a GPU if you don't use the Ultra M.2 port as that is where the Ultra M.2 slot gets its 4x PCI-E 3.0. With a 40-lane CPU, 8x is routed to the black slot providing the GPUs a total of 32x lanes. This means that 3-way and 4-way SLI/CF are at 8x/8x/16x/0x and 8x/8x/8x/8x respectively (starting with the topmost red slot). With a 28-lane CPU 4x is routed to the black slot and 24x is left for 2-way and 3-way SLI/CF at 16x/0x/8x/0x and 8x/8x/8x/0x respectively (starting with the topmost red slot). This is one of the better slot allotments I have seen allowing Ultra M.2 and 4-Way SLI/CrossFireX to work at the same time.

 

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Purity Sound 2 is ASRock's upgraded ALC1150 implementation with high quality Nichicon electrolytic audio capacitors, dual amplifiers, and PCB isolation. The Killer NIC also gets its own EMI shield, and you can also catch a glimpse of the mini PCI-E slot meant for a WIFI/BT card. An extra PCI-E power port is located below the audio section, which is for extra PCI-E power for 4-way multi-GPU configurations.

 

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There are 10 SATA6G ports from the PCH. S_SATA3_3 shares its bandwidth with the M.2 slot that uses 4x PCI-E 2.0 (not the Ultra M.2 slot). This trade of bandwidth is to allow for SATA based M.2 drives to work in the slot, as the Ultra M.2 supports PCI-E only M.2 SSDs.

 

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Here are the Ultra M.2 and M.2 slots, the Ultra has PCI-E 3.0 from the CPU while the other M.2 slot has PCI-E 2.0 from the PCH and SATA based M.2 SSD compatibility.

 

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This board has a lot of handy OC features including PCI-E disable, LN2 Mode, and Slow Mode switches for extreme overclocking. Voltage read points, on-the-fly multiplier and voltage control buttons, Dual BIOS selector switch, DirectKey button, and POST code display are also included. To top things off ASRock provides the expected power, reset, and backpanel Clear CMOS buttons as well.

 

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There are two USB 3.0 front panel headers as well as an internal USB 3.0 header for an open air test bench.

 

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The 12 phase VRM is advertised to be capable of boasting 1300W, and this large heat sink cools it all down.

 

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These are the heat sinks, all of them use screws and contact looks great on the VRM and PCH.

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