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ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review (Page 2)

By Steven Bassiri from Aug 7, 2015 @ 8:38 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: ASRock

Packaging and the Board

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ASRock's box features their new original logo which is supposed to resemble the claws of a Pray Mantis. Packaging is well done, the board is on top of anti-static foam inside and anti-static bag protected from the elements.

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Accessories include 4x SATA6G cables, IO shield, 2-Way SLI bridge, screw for M.2, driver DVD, case badge, and manuals.

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The ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6 has 6 fan headers circled in blue, and there does seem to be both PWM and dc (voltage mode) fan control for each header, but I am unsure how to change the fan to either PWM or DC mode, it might be automatically done. This is a welcomed upgrade from their X99 motherboards, and ASRock provides a lot of customization options in the UEFI for fan speed.

For Z170, ASRock has stepped up the aesthetics of their Z170 motherboards, and the gaming series has been made over. A plastic shield covers up the IO panel and the audio section of the motherboard while providing a glimpse of the audio hardware as a teaser. ASRock is using more neutral black tones on their heat sinks with touches of red, which is much easier to match with case accessories compared to their previous solid color scheme. The PCH heat sink has a raised praying mantis logo, and it actually fits in quite nice with the rest of the aesthetics. The back of the PCB is pretty much bare except for two drivers for the VRM, and ASRock's USB 3.1 driver and switch chip.

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The IO Panel features 6x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, a single NIC, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, PS/2 KB/Mouse, 7.1 audio outputs with TOSLINK, and a clear CMOS button.

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The PCI-E layout is pretty simple; for starters all PCI-E slots are PCI-E 3.0. The black ports are all PCI-E 3.0 1x ports directly routed to the PCH and the last full sized 16x slot is 4x directly routed to the PCH. The first and second PCI-E 16x slots are 16x and 8x electrical and operate at 16x/0x or 8x/8x if both slots are occupied.

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The Z170 PCH provides six SATA6Gb/s ports, so ASRock added two more through an ASMedia controller. There are two SATA Express ports which share four SATA ports with the PCH's ports. One of these SATA Express ports shares bandwidth with the M.2 slot, so if either is in use then the other is disabled. A USB 3.0 internal header is located right below the 24-pin connector as well for an easy reach for front panel USB 3.0 wires.

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ASRock is now in their third generation of upgraded integrated audio with Purity Sound 3. It features Nichicon fine gold capacitors, dual amplifiers, and PCH isolation.

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The M.2 slot on the Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6 runs at 4x PCI-E 3.0 (32Gb/s). If you use the M.2 slot, then SATA Express (SATA_EXP0) and its corresponding SATA ports (SATA3_0 and SATA3_1) are disabled. ASRock has located two customized backlit buttons at the top of the motherboard, one is for power and the other is for reset capabilities.

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A POST code display is located at the bottom of the motherboard right above a header for an add-in ThunderBolt car. ASRock's IO shield covers up the IO panel while their heat sinks do a nice job cooling the VRM.

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The heat sinks make solid contact with the PCB. The shield over the IO panel and audio section is made of plastic, but it looks high quality.

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