The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
High-end and H370 might not be a common occurrence, as the H370 and B360 chipsets that recently launched are meant to be on the more affordable side, but ASRock has delivered a high-end H370 motherboard. The Fatal1ty H370 Performance is aimed at gamers and power users alike who have opted to not buy a K-SKU CPUs as they don't care for overclocking and just want a motherboard that works. Let's take a look at this high-end H370 motherboard from ASRock.
The Fatal1ty H370 Performance features dual x4 PCI-E 3.0 M.2 slots, Gbit LAN port, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, and SATA6Gb/s.
The Fatal1ty H370 Performance costs only $122.42
Packaging and Fatal1ty H370 Performance Overview
Packaging and Overview
Packaging is done quite well, and the motherboard is very well protected in the box.
The accessory package includes two SATA6Gb/s, IO shield, case badge, M.2 screws, manuals, post card, and driver DVD.
ASRock has made some changes from their typical fan offerings. They do have the standard five headers, the CPU one is circled in red and is a PWM header. The other four headers are PWM or DC mode headers (you can set that up in the UEFI), and each can pump up to 2A of current into anything that might need that much current. The motherboard looks high-end with gray shields, and the back of the board is bare of components.
The rear IO panel features a PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, VGA, DisplayPort, HDMI, Gbit LAN, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, and gold plated 7.1 audio output with S/PDIF out. There is also a mount for a WIFI antenna.
We have one PCI-E x16 slot running at x16 PCI-E 3.0, the second x16 slot is PCI-E 3.0 x4, and will drop down to x2 if either the third or fourth PCI-E x1 slot is occupied. The other x1 slots and the x4 slot are routed to the PCH. Both Ultra M.2 slots are x4 PCI-E 3.0, and both support SATA devices.
If M2_1 is occupied by a SATA device, SATA_2 will be disabled. If M_2 is occupied by a SATA device, then SATA_1 will be disabled, if it's a PCI-E device SATA_0 will be disabled. If M2_3 (the WIFI slot) is occupied, the second PCI-E x1 slot will be disabled. The WIFI slots supports Intel's new CNVI technology.
We get two internal USB 3.0 headers on the motherboard and six SATA6Gb/s ports.
Near the 8-pin power connector, we find an RGB LED header. Another RGB header and an addressable RGB header (similar to ASUS's) are located near the USB 2.0 headers. We also get a COM header at the bottom of the motherboard.
We get two USB 2.0 headers on the motherboard as well. All the heat sinks are screwed into the motherboard.
ASRock Fatal1ty H370 Performance Circuit Analysis
Fatal1ty H370 Performance Circuit Analysis
The Fatal1ty H370 Performance shows some secrets when we remove the heat sinks.
The VRM is in an 8+2 phase configuration. It uses a UPI Semiconductor uP9521P which offers at least 6 or maybe 8 PWM channels. The CPU phases are controlled by uP1961 doubler with integrated drivers and output to SinoPower SM4337 (high-side) and Sinopower SM4336 (low-side), each phase gets one of each. The iGPU phases use uP1962 single phase drivers and use two low-side MOSFETs per phase. The VCCSA and VCCIO get their own phases made up of the same MOSFETs.
The memory VRM is made up of a single phase PWM controller from Richtek and two low-side MOSFETs The memory VRM uses the same MOSFETs but in a two-phase configuration.
ASRock Fatal1ty H370 Performance Circuit Analysis Continued
Fatal1ty H370 Performance Circuit Analysis Continued
The ALC1220 audio chip is used, along with Gold series capacitors, and a NE5532 amplifier. A physical PCB divide is there to improve audio quality.
An Intel i219v PHY provides the GBit LAN port from Intel. An ASMedia ASM1543 type-C controller is used for the rear IO type-C port, and two ASM1562 USB 3.1 re-drivers are used to improve the USB 3.1 signal from the PCH.
A Realtek RTD2168 provides the VGA port. A GL850G is used as a USB 2.0 hub for the two internal headers, a nuvoTon N76E885AT is used for normal RGB LED support, and a STMicro ST75185 microcontroller is used for the new addressable RGB LED header.
The main SuperIO is the NCT6791D, and the motherboard features a single 128Mbit/16MB BIOS ROM.
BIOS and Software
The UEFI is similar to that of many other ASRock motherboards, and it has two operating modes, a beginner mode, and an advanced mode. You get fan control in the form of a GUI and a manual input menu. All the settings were needed where right there, and we didn't have an issue finding anything.
Software applications include APP Shop, Polychrome RGB, F-Stream, Key Master, and X-Fast LAN.
Test System Setup
Steven's Motherboard Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty H370 Performance
- CPU: Intel i5-8400
- Cooler: Corsair H110i - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB (2x8GB) 3200MHz
- Video Card: GTX 1080 Ti - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - Boot Drive: Kingston KC1000 480GB
- Storage - USB Drive: Corsair Voyager GS 64GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 900D - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000i - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 - Buy from Amazon
- Monitor: ASRock PA328 ProArt 32" 4K - Buy from Amazon
- Keyboard: Corsair K70 LUX - Buy from Amazon
- Mouse: Corsair M65 PRO RGB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Headset: Corsair VOID RGB Wireless - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Network: ASRock XG-U2008 10Gbit Switch
- BIOS: L1.03
The motherboard has RGB LEDs built into the IO cover, audio cover, and under the chipset heat sink. They provide nice, easy lighting that doesn't stress the eyes much.
CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks
3DMark: Fire Strike
3DMark: Cloud Gate
After testing many H370 and B360 motherboards, we can see that their performance is all pretty much the same across the board, as long as you have the latest BIOS ROM. It's really how these charts should look with Z370 boards if vendors didn't try to increase speeds by small amounts by increasing BCLK a tiny bit or enabling MCE by default.
System IO Benchmarks
ixChariot Network Throughput:
ASRock's storage and network performance are solid.
Audio RMAA 5.5:
I disable all audio features, set the correct bitrates, and then test the audio with a loopback test.
Sound Judgment by Ear: Excellent, this is one of the better audio implementations on an H370 motherboard. There are five ratings for audio: 1. Problems, 2. Okay, 3. Acceptable, 4. Very good, 5. Excellent
Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption
System power is measured at the wall with an AC power meter.
Note on Thermal Images: In the temperature section, we use our Seek thermal imaging camera to capture the surface temperatures of major components on the board. I look at the VRM and then all other things that light up the screen. If there is something to worry about, then I will state it. Otherwise, I will just show the hotter running parts of the board for fun. Unless some component is over 80-90C, then there isn't anything to worry about.
All systems will act differently, so I will look for commonalities, such as how far from the VRM the heat spreads through the PCB and the difference in temperature between the front side and backside of the PCB. Keep in mind, the majority of the heat from the VRM goes into the PCB as it is a giant soldered on copper heat sink. A lower temperature on the front of the PCB points towards a more effective heat sink.
Thermal Testing at Stock Speeds:
The image on the left is always at idle, and the image on the right is at load. During ALL TESTS, fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (Corsair H110i) radiator are turned on to high (12v).
Up-close of the front of the VRM.
Up-close of the back of the VRM.
The Fatal1ty H370 Performance's VRM is excellent, some of the best I have seen, and that's due to the extremely high phase count considering you can't overclock the CPU. Anything under 60C is great, 60-80C is acceptable, and anything above 80C is a bit worrisome (if at stock).
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
High-end Basic Motherboard: The H370 Performance is ASRock's top of the line H370 motherboard, and not only does it look high-end, but it also features many high-end features.
VRM: The VRM on the H370 Performance is pretty big and decent, and I have no doubt that the motherboard will easily support 95W TDP CPUs. The motherboard also has large heat sinks on the VRMs to cool them down, and in the end, the VRMs don't get that hot.
Internal USB Support: Many H370 motherboards have a single USB 3.0 header and a single USB 2.0 header, but the H370 Performance has two of each. ASRock even used a USB 2.0 hub to allow for two USB 2.0 headers.
Upgraded Audio: Many H370 motherboards have just a Realtek ALC1220 or lower controllers. Here ASRock has used the ALC1220, added a Texas Instruments amplifier, audio capacitors, and gold plated connectors.
Rear IO: You only get four type-A ports on the rear IO, as most of the space has been taken up by a VGA connector, and you also get one type-C connector. The motherboard also lacks the new Intel WIFI chip but has the full infrastructure to install it, along with the empty bracket on the back of the rear IO panel.
The ASRock Fatal1ty H370 Performance is a solid motherboard with great aesthetics and a great amount of features. You can add WIFI, control RGB and addressable RGB strips, plug in a VGA monitor, use USB 3.1 devices, and listen to pretty good audio.
ASRock put a lot of effort into gaming features, so they made upgrades to audio that many others did not, included a huge VRM, improved lighting support, and front panel USB support. Many people buy i5-8400s and other non-K SKUs for gaming and might want an H370 motherboard to match, and for that, the H370 Performance is a good buy.
The Bottom Line: ASRock's H370 Performance is loaded with features, upgradability, and quality aimed at gamers and enthusiasts alike.
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