ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer

Manufacturer: ASRock
UK price (as reviewed): £187.24(inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $249.99 (ex Tax)

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If you're after a good-looking micro-ATX X99 motherboard for your shiny new Haswell-E CPU and dinky case, you can probably just skip to the conclusion and then reach for your wallet. ASRock's latest X99 motherboard looks absolutely fantastic.

It builds upon some significant headway that the company has made in the aesthetics department and we had similar feelings with the Fatal1ty Z97 Killer too. A plethora of gold capacitors mixed well with the bright red metallic heatsinks.

Of course, looks aren't everything when it comes to motherboards but the Fatal1ty X99M Killer isn't exactly lacking when it comes to features either. It has a plethora of power circuitry refinements, with a 12 power phase design, premium 60A Power Chokes, Nichicon 12K Platinum Caps, NexFET MOSFETs plus some fairly substantial cooling too. There are two large heat pipe-touting heatsinks that are certainly more elaborate that EVGA's micro-ATX X99 offering - the EVGA X99 Micro.

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There's beefed-up on-board audio too, with a standard Realtec ALC1150 audio codec sporting Nichicon Fine Gold capacitors, a TI NE5532 premium headset amplifier and perhaps more importantly, 115dBSNR, EMI sheilding cover and noise-isolated PCB. It's one of the few sub £200 X99 boards we've seen with dual Gigabit LAN ports too, one in the form of Intel's I218V and also a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200.

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We were pleased to see on-board power and reset buttons along with an LED POST code readout and there's a CMOS clear switch on the rear I/O panel as well. The PCB is an understandably busy place, not least of all because the Fatal1ty X99M Killer has the full complement of 10 SATA 6Gbps ports running off the Intel X99 chipset, but there's a 4-pin molex power connector for the PCI-E ports too in addition to all the audio circuitry. It's also managed to cram in two BIOSes with a switch to toggle between the two.

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Speaking of the PCI-E slots, there are no 1x or 4x slots here - although you can obviously use any of the three 16x slots for 1x and 4x devices if need be. Sadly, the one issue amongst an otherwise good layout is the fact that only the top two PCI-E slots can run at full x16 mode. The third lower slot, which is ideally where you'd want to put your second graphics card if it were air cooled, only supports up to x8 speed. This is a tad disappointing
compared to some of the ATX boards we've tested, which have managed to space the full speed slots for better GPU cooling in two-way graphics setups.

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Still, if you're water-cooling the cards then this won't be an issue but with AMD cards expecially, the first and second slots are so close together than you'll likely see some thermal throttling, possibly even negating the benefit of using both x16 speed slots in the first place. In terms of next-gen storage, there's no SATA Express, but thankfully, price-wise, the Fatal1ty X99M Killer isn't hideously expensive and actually costs the same as EVGA's X99 Micro, which has fewer SATA Ports. Furthermore, the ASRock board includes an Ultra M.2 port which can utilise up to four of the CPU's PCI-E 3.0 lanes for a maximum bandwidth of 32Gbps. Most current motherboard M.2 solutions use two PCI-E 2.0 lanes and thus "only" have a maximum bandwidth of 10Gbps.

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As far as extras go, there's not quite the lavish offerings of Asus' premium boards but there are a few interesting things nonetheless. ASRock's HDD Saver allows you to effectively hide hard disks on your PC and turn them off using software to save power. there are two dedicated HDD Saver ports and even an on-board power connector and included cable to power two SATA hard disks. ASRock has also added Key Master, a very similar feature to Asus' Keybot, which allows you to create custom macros using a non-programmable keyboard and also a sniper mode for mice - essentially a low sensitivity mode for those delicate headshots. You can read more on all the additional features included with the Fatal1ty X99M Killer here.

Specifications

  • Chipset Intel X99
  • Form factor Micro-ATX
  • CPU support Intel Socket 2011-v3 (Haswell-E, Xeon)
  • Memory support Quad-channel, 4 slots, max 64GB
  • Sound 8-channel Realtek ALC1150
  • Networking Intel's I218V, Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200.
  • Ports 1 x Ultra M.2 32Gbps, 10 x SATA 6Gbps, 6 x USB 3.0 (2 via header), 8 x USB 2.0 ( 4 x via header), 2 x LAN, audio out, line in, mic, Optical S/PDIF out
  • Dimensions (mm) 244 x 244
  • Extras None

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