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Overview of the ASRock Fatal1ty X99 Professional Gaming i7 Motherboard
The opportunities it offers will be described in more detail below but for now let’s take a look at the main characteristics of the model in question:
Chipset: Intel X99
Processor socket: Socket LGA2011-3
Processors: Core i7 (Broadwell-E, Haswell-E), Xeon E5 *
Memory: 8 DIMM DDR4 SDRAM 2133/2400 ** / 2800 ** / 2933 ** / 3300 **, maximum 128 GB
PCI-E slots: 3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 + x0 + x0, x16 + x16 + x0, x16 + x8 + x8, x16 + x0 + x8, x8 + x8 + x8)
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1
M.2: 1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4 (Key M, 2230/2242/2260/2280/22110)
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4 (Key M, 2230/2242/2260/2280)
Number of connected fans: 5x 4pin (1x for water pump)
PS/2 ports: 1 (keyboard/mouse)
USB ports: 2 x 3.1 Gen2 (connectors on the rear panel (A and C), ASM1142)
4 x 3.1 Gen1 (4 connectors on the rear panel, ASM1074)
4 x 3.1 Gen1 (4 slots on the board, Z270)
6 x 2.0 (2 connectors on the rear panel, Z270)
Serial ATA: 10 x SATA 6 Gbps (Z270), 1 x SATA Express
RAID: 0, 1, 5, 10 (SATA, Z270)
Built-in sound: Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3 (7.1, HDA), Realtek ALC1150, 2x OU TI N5532
S/PDIF: Optical (output)
Networking opportunities: Intel I218-V (Gigabit Ethernet)
Intel I211-AT (Gigabit Ethernet)
Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac, 2.4 / 5 GHz
UEFI: AMI UEFI
Form factor: ATX
Dimensions, mm: 305x244
Additional features: POST indicator, buttons: enabling, restarting and resetting CMOS settings; two independent ROM microcircuits with UEFI, support for AMD 3-Way CrossFireX and NVIDIA 3-Way SLI, Fatal1ty Mouse Port.
The supply does not offer anything special, just all the necessary for assembling the system:
- • User's guide with the illustrated and described in detail UEFI subparagraphs (in English);
- • Quick user's guide;
- • disk with drivers and firmware;
- • four SATA 6Gb / s cables, two of which have a L-shaped connector at one end;
- • two antennas;
- • three NVIDIA SLI bridges (2-Way, 3-Way and 4-Way);
- • mounting for M.2 format devices;
- • case cover.
The board's design strongly resembles other solutions of the Fatal1ty series based on the latest generation of Intel chipsets – a common style is observed in the cooling system and the same plastic overlay is used above the sound path and the rear panel.
Despite the standard size of the board, some of the electronic components were transferred to the back side of the PCB – apparently not to break the aesthetic harmony of the front one.
Although the Fatal1ty X99 Professional Gaming i7 is positioned by the manufacturer as a solution for gamers, it also supports overclocking capabilities. To facilitate the process of experimenting to configure the system, the board is provided with the ‘on’ and ‘off’ buttons.
Additionally, there is also a POST-indicator and two chips with firmware, the choice between them is carried out by means of a switch, and the signaling LEDs for each of them will help avoid confusion between them. But for the Clear CMOS jumper, there is a redundant button on the rear panel, which will make the overclocking process easier if something goes wrong.
The cooling system of the power elements is small, which makes it possible to easily install large processor coolers. Heat to an aluminum radiator is transferred by a thick thermal pad.
The processor's power supply subsystem is more than serious – the six-channel Intersil ISL6369 controller through the doublers controls 12 virtual phases which makes it possible to reduce the load on the cooler.
The chipset is content with a low, but having a sufficient area, radiator, which is absolutely enough for this chip.
The number of connected to the board fans is five; one of them can be used for the pump of a liquid cooling system with a capacity of up to 18 watts. This is more than enough to organize active ventilation inside the system unit.
Now, let’s review the possibilities in terms of functionality and its expansion. The motherboard has three PCI Express x16 connectors for combining graphics cards in AMD CrossFireX or NVidia SLI mode. All of them are in so fashionable currently reinforcement. Another pair of PCI-E x1 slots allows adding several expansion cards to the system, and they are located so that they do not interfere with the graphics adapters.
The disk subsystem is represented by 10 ports SATA 6Gb/s and one SATA Express, there is also a pair of M.2 with boot support from NVMe disks. If the low-end Core i7 processors with 28 lines of PCI Express are planned to be used, then one M.2 interface will work in SATA mode. But even such number of ports is more than enough to organize volume file storage.
To enjoy the surround sound and to connect various musical equipment, the manufacturer provided the Fatal1ty X99 Professional Gaming i7 with a built-in 7.1 HDA codec Realtek ALC1150 with Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3 software support. The audio path circuits are separated from the rest of the motherboard by an insulating gap and two operational amplifiers TI N5532 are added.
Six sockets of the sound subsystem including optical S/PDIF are put out to the rear panel. Four USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, one USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A and one Type C, and two USB ports, one of which supports Fatal1ty Mouse Port technology are to be found there too. There is a universal PS/2, two network slots and a Clear CMOS button, as well as two outputs for the antennas of the built-in Wi-Fi module.
When entering the firmware, the user immediately enters the lightweight interface EZ Mode, where one can adjust the date and time, select the XMP memory profile, if available, create a RAID array, automatically overclock the system, track the main monitoring indicators, select the interface language and boot disk. From this location one can also run several built-in utilities for updating the microcode, getting information about the used components and setting up the fans.
More advanced users have an opportunity to immediately switch to the familiar Advanced Mode Main Section, which contains information about the installed processor and memory, as well as a subsection with frequently used parameters.
Tweak board settings, as well as automatic and manual overclocking tools are in OC Tweak, along with the ability to store up to five user profiles.
All the parameters are divided into categories. One subsection contains the settings responsible for the multipliers of processor cores and cache, the base frequency, the limits of power and current consumption, the operation of Turbo Boost technologies; the other – everything related to memory, the third – to power, etc.
In the Advanced section, all the secondary parameters responsible for processor-supported technologies, integrated controllers and PCI Express bus modes are placed.
Tool section, as is clear from the title, contains built-in utilities that allow updating the firmware, backup and restore data on the drive, get information about the components used, make network settings and so on.
Monitoring of the main temperatures and voltages, as well as the connected fans and their adjustment are located in the H/W Monitor.
Security settings are concentrated in the Security section, and the parameters responsible for booting the system – in the Boot one.
The board is supplied with the standard Fatal1ty series software, most of which will need to be installed with the APP Shop utility.
- • Proprietary software: APP Shop (3TB + Unlocker Utility, AppCharger, Cloud, Disk Health Report, Fast Boot, Fatal1ty Mouse Port, F-Stream Tuning Utility, Key Master, OMG (Online Management Guard), Rapid SATA Switch, Restart to UEFI, USB Key, XFast RAM)
- • Sound: Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3
- • Network: XFast LAN
The reviewed motherboard ASRock Fatal1ty X99 Professional Gaming i7 has everything needed to build a powerful gaming system based on the LGA2011-3 platform. Its potential is also at a high level, and there are opportunities for overclocking the system. Considering its positioning, the lack of additional controls or settings does not seem to be anything serious, especially at its price.