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ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review

ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review

Manufacturer: ASRock
UK price (as reviewed): £108 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $157.99 {ex TAX)
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There's little doubt that ASRock has come a long way in recent years and now sports features that compete with the best that the likes of Asus has to offer.

It's Internet Flash feature, which allows the board to get online, download a new BIOS and update itself, all from the EFI and not the OS, is just one example, plus many of its boards also cater for overclockers and enthusiasts with dual BIOS, premium capacitors and alloy chokes.

These features filter all the way down to some of its cheaper boards and at £108 the Fatal1ty Z97 Killer is pretty affordable too, despite donning the Fatal1ty brand name as well.

As we mentioned in our various Z97 preview articles, there's some debate over new storage features, namely SATA Express and M.2, and which to include but it certainly seems that price doesn't come into the equation too much as the Fatal1ty Z97 Killer includes both.

Z97 Motherboard Group Test - Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review Z97 Motherboard Group Test - Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review
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The layout is reasonable although none of the SATA ports are mounted parallel to the PCB and all are located at the base of the board, which may or may not suit your particular setup. All the power connectors and USB 3 header are located right at the edge of the PCB, although the large VRM heatsink is both close to the CPU socket and 8-pin EPS 12V connector, which could prove awkward.

Z97 Motherboard Group Test - Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review Z97 Motherboard Group Test - Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review
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There's no SLI support, but CrossFireX is supported although the second PCI-E slot only runs at x4 mode if you're thinking of a dual card setup. In addition, there are two 1x PCI-E slots with one of these placed above the top 16x slot, which can make things easier and despite many other manufacturers doing away with them entirely, there are two PCI slots as well at the base of the PCB.

Z97 Motherboard Group Test - Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review Z97 Motherboard Group Test - Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review
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Sadly there are no on-board power, reset or CMOS clear buttons, although it does sport noise isolated audio circuitry, a Killer E2200 Gigabit Lan port plus numerous other gaming-related perks courtesy of Fatal1ty, including a dedicated mouse port that allows you to specify the USB polling rate from 125Hz to 1000Hz. The I/O panel meanwhile, offers four a piece of USB 2 and USB 3 ports, plus DVI, HDMI and VGA connectors while the main PCB also offers a Thunderbolt AIC connector.

Overclocking and EFI

The EFI is somewhat basic but still easy to use, with overclocking especially proving to be a fairly hassle-free task. Most of the options you'll need to tweak for a multiplier overclock are all on one page in the OC Tweaker section, as are the outputted frequencies based on your new settings, which is handy.

Z97 Motherboard Group Test - Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review
Click to enlarge

Z97 Motherboard Group Test - Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review
Click to enlarge

Z97 Motherboard Group Test - Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review
Click to enlarge

Z97 Motherboard Group Test - Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review
Click to enlarge

Z97 Motherboard Group Test - Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Review
Click to enlarge

We were amazed to see that the Fatal1ty Z97 Killer boot in at 4.7GHz using our usual 1.27V, and as it seemed perfectly stable here and able to handle the temperatures, we tried for 4.8GHz too. We were surprised again as the Fatal1ty Z97 Killer managed to hold steady here - something only one Z87 board managed, but seeing as a number of other Z97 boards have also managed this feat, it seems that whatever manufacturers have done, it's also aided overclocking a little. Even so, a maximum overclock from a board costing less than £108 is a very good show indeed.

Specifications
  • Chipset Intel Z97
  • CPU support LGA1150 compatible
  • Memory support 2 slots: max 32GB
  • Sound 8-channel Realtek ALC1150
  • Networking Killer E2200 Gigabit
  • Ports 6 x SATA 6Gbps / 4 + 1 x SATA Express 10Gbps via Intel Z97, 1 x M.2, 8 x USB 2 (4 via headers), 6 x USB 3 (2 via headers) 1 x LAN, audio out, line in, mic, Optical S/PDIF out, HDMI, DVI, VGA
  • Dimensions (mm) 305 x 218
  • Extras Thunderbolt header

Head over to the final page to see the performance analysis and conclusion.