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ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Dec 22, 2015 5:49 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: ASRock

Packaging and Overview

 

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The board is smaller than ASRock ATX boards and carries the ASRock Praying Mantis logo. Packaging is great; the board is well protected.

 

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Accessories are a bit basic for a gaming product; WirelessAC/BT antenna, 2x SATA6Gb/s cables, M.2 screw, IO panel, ASRock case badge, double-sided tape for the antenna, driver DVD, and two manuals.

 

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The ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/AC has three 4-pin PWM fan headers circled in blue. While you might think three headers is a bit low, it is more than most Mini-ITX boards. These headers are controlled through the UEFI or Windows. Mini-ITX boards only carry two DIMMs and one PCI-E slot, and in this case, ASRock has used DDR4 DIMMs which only have latches on one side to make installation easier.

 

The layout seems to have taken into consideration larger air coolers; I was able to mount a Noctua NH-D15. The board's red slots and heat sinks match perfectly with each other, and this board looks quite good inside a case. While it looks like the board has a lot of red, the board is so small that this amount of red doesn't look bad at all inside of a case. The back of the motherboard carries a good amount of ICs so be careful when mounting it.

 

The IO panel on the Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac carries antenna jacks, PS/2 keyboard or mouse, 2x HDMI, DisplayPort1.2, 6x USB 3.0 (one is a Fatal1ty gaming mouse port), S/PDIF digital, USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C, RJ-45 Gbit NIC, and headphone out, line in, and microphone audio ports. There is also a ClearCMOS button on the back of the motherboard.

 

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The Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac has a nice red heat sink that covers up the CPU phases of the VRM. There is a single 8-pin CPU power header located where it would be on a full-sized ATX board.

 

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Two fan headers are located on either side of the CPU at the top of the board, and the other one is on the edge near the DIMMs. A USB 2.0 internal header is also located there, and a USB 3.0 internal header is located below the 24-pin power connector. Two of the SATA6G Ports (also an SATA Express port) are located outside the memory DIMMs (these are disabled when the M.2 slot is occupied). Case headers and other headers are located outside the DIMMs near the edge of the board as well. Installing a long video card will not impede connecting to headers.

 

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ASRock has provided four more SATA6Gb/s ports on the other side of the DIMMs and an mPCIe Wireless AC/Bluetooth 4.0 card in an angled mPCIe connector. There is a single BIOS ROM in a DIP socket for easy replacement. There is an M.2 4x 32Gb/s slot on the back of the PCB, and if you install an SATA-based drive, it will disable the SATA Express connector and the two SATA ports that are part of the connector.

 

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The PCH and VRM heat sinks are connected by an 8mm heat sink. Thermal pads are used, and they seem to make very good contact (better than normal) to the PCH and the VRM MOSFETs.

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