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ASRock Fatal1ty X99 Professional/3.1 (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 24, 2015 9:37 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: ASRock

Packaging and the Board

 

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The box carries a picture of the famous gamer Fatal1ty. The packaging is well done, the board is zip tied into a foam container and there is an antistatic bag covering the board.

 

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Accessories are plenty; 6x SATA6G cables, two 2-Way SLI bridges, one extended 2-Way SLI bridge, USB 3.1 card (A+A), IO Shield, SATA Saver power connectors, screw for M.2, manuals, case badge, XSplit trial card, and driver DVD.

 

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I have circled the fan headers on the board, there are a total of six headers, two circled in green are 4-pin PWM headers, and four circled in blue are 3-pin voltage mode headers. The crimson red heat sinks are vibrant and actually look quite nice in person. It can be a little overpowering depending on your color scheme, especially if it isn't red. The back of the board has some components on it, there are backside MOSFETs and they are protected by a red shield. You can see the PCB isolation for the audio, the Intel NIC, the doublers/dual drivers for the CPU VRM, and the socket holes which aren't present on most other X99 ASRock motherboards.

 

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The back panel IO features a 2x1GBit NIC, 6x USB 3.0 ports, 1x C-Type USB 3.1 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard/ mouse, a 7.1 TOSLINK for audio with S/PDIF out, and a ClearCMOS button.

 

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The PCI-E layout on this motherboard is optimized for 4-Way SLI/CrossFireX. Eight PCI-E 3.0 lanes from the CPU are routed to the middle black slot, which is linked to the Ultra M.2 slot. If you install an M.2 drive into the Ultra M.2 slot, it will disable this slot. The first and third red 16x slots operate at 16x/16x when two cards are installed, and when 4 cards are installed these each go down to 8x, while they each give 8x to the red 16x slots below them.

 

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Dual M.2 slots are present. The one near the CMOS battery is a 2x PCI-E 2.0 M.2 slot, and will support both PCI-E and SATA based M.2 drives. When that slot is in use the S_SATA3_3 will be disabled. The second M.2 slot is an Ultra M.2 slot meaning it was 32Gb/s of bandwidth opposed to the 10Gb/s of the other M.2 slot. There is also a half-size miniPCIe slot located between the Purity Audio and Killer NIC EMI shields. A MOLEX power receptacle is there for extra PCI-E power when running three or more GPUs.

 

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There are 10 SATA6G ports from the PCH. S_SATA3_3 shares its bandwidth with the PCI-E 2.0 M.2 slot. SATA Express is also present, and those two SATA ports near the connector can be used for SATA or SATA Express. Two USB 3.0 front panel headers are located north of the PCH which is great for cable management. A USB 3.0 port is located near the two USB 3.0 internal headers and can be used as a normal USB slot on an open-air test bench.

 

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Even though this is a gaming centric motherboard, there are a ton of overclocking features. The Fatal1ty X99 Professional/3.1 has rapid OC buttons for on-the-fly frequency and voltage adjustment, voltage read probe connectors, LN2 mode switch, slow mode switch, and PCI-E disable switches. Some LEDs adjacent the 24-pin connector show boot, VGA, CPU, and memory status. Moving to the bottom of the board there is a trusted POST code display, a direct key button, dual BIOS selector button, and your power and reset buttons.

 

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ASRock has the socket with the extra pins. They refer to it as X Series OC Socket as it allows for higher cache frequency overclocking and lower required IMC voltages for higher DRAM clocks.

 

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The board also carries a powerful 1300W 12 phase VRM, which is cooled by a hefty heat sink.

 

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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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