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ASRock Fatal1ty X299 Pro Gaming i9 Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2066 in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 31, 2017 4:15 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: ASRock

Here are key points about the ASRock X299 Professional Gaming i9.

 

What's Hot

 

10Gbit NBase-T: The X299 Gaming i9 is the first motherboard I have seen with Aquantia's new AQC107 10Gbit NBase-T controller, which allows for speeds of 10Gbit, 5Gbit, 2.5Gbit, 1Gbit, and 100Mbit networking. NBase-T is pretty much universal, so a 10Gbit NBase-T router will support 5Gbit as well, while a 10GBase-T router wouldn't. It's also a new standard that is not only backward compatible but should also usher in a generation of less costly controllers. It also performs up to par.

 

 

Strong VRM and Cooling: The use of Intersil's brand new digital PWM and smart power stages (DrMOS based) are only part of the reason ASRock's VRM works well. The amount of copper in the PCB to the fact that the power stages are cooled on both sides and can actively monitor their current and temperature leads to much better on-the-fly optimization and an overall cooler operating VRM. Tests do show that ASRock has done a fine job.

 

Lots of USB 3.1: The rear of the motherboard has a USB 3.1 type-C and type-A port, but the motherboard also features the internal USB 3.1 type-C header. It doesn't end there, as ASRock has done something I haven't seen before. They used Texas Instrument's type-C controller and power delivery chip rather than ASMedia's (everyone else tends to use ASMedia), the TI chip is more expensive and offers more features. ASRock promises 36W support (12v at 3A) on the internal header, and that is because of the chip.

 

Solid M.2 Implementation: Unlike many other motherboards where one of the M.2 slots is heavily shared with one full sized PCI-E slot, ASRock has wired all the M.2 slots to the PCH, meaning that you won't have to lose PCI-E lanes if you use all three slots.

 

What's Not

 

Average Wireless AC: While ASRock is using an Intel Wireless AC card, it only supports 1T1R, so it's limited to 433Mbps maximum instead of the typical 2T2R cards we find on similarly priced boards that can do 867Mbps.

 

Can't run 2-way SLI with a 16 lane CPU: Because of the complicated nature of the X299 platform, this motherboard only supports 2-way SLI with 28 and 44 lane CPUs.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

ASRock's X299 Professional Gaming i9 isn't just a gaming motherboard. It's designed for many uses including gaming, but it's also a perfect fit for professionals and power users. The triple NICs, two of which are Intel and one of which is a 10Gbit Aquantia part, offer superior networking capabilities. The motherboard doesn't stop there; it also offers an internal USB 3.1 header as well as two USB 3.0 headers, two extra SATA6Gb/s ports, and a slew of features such as USB BIOS recovery.

 

asrock-fatal1ty-x299-pro-gaming-i9-motherboard-review_96

 

One reason I feel that this motherboard is better equipped to be a professional motherboard rather than a strict gaming motherboard is because of the humble aesthetics of the product. The motherboard's heat sinks and PCB are dark and look less flashy, but at the same time, the two RGB headers can be used to light up the house.

 

Overall, I was impressed with the quantity of features ASRock has packed into the motherboard, and the result is one of the most feature packed X299 motherboards on the market.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance92%
Quality90%
Features96%
Value88%
Overall TweakTown Rating92%

The Bottom Line: As the first motherboard to carry the Aquantia 10Gbit NIC along with all the premium features found on X299 motherboards, ASRock's Fatal1ty X299 Professional Gaming i9 is one of the most feature packed motherboards on the market.

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