The ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer is a mid-range microATX motherboard for the new Intel high-end “Haswell-E” processors, based on the new LGA2011-v3 socket. It includes two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, ten SATA-600 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, and high-end audio and Ethernet controllers. Let’s take a good look at this board.
The new Intel X99 platform supports the new socket LGA2011-v3 processors. However, it is not compatible with former socket LGA2011 CPUs, which require motherboards based on the Intel X79 chipset. The main difference between the two platforms is that LGA2011 processors are compatible with DDR3 memories, while LGA2011-v3 CPUs can use the new DDR4 standard.
The main differences between the X99 and the X79 chipsets, besides the CPU support as mentioned above, are the number of USB 3.0 and SATA-600 ports: the X99 offers ten SATA-600 and six USB 3.0 ports, while the X79 supports only two SATA-600 ports and has no native support for USB 3.0 ports.
In Figure 1, you see the ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer motherboard. It uses the microATX form factor (9.6 x 9.6 inches or 244 x 244 mm).
Socket LGA2011-v3 processors have a maximum of 40 PCI Express 3.0 lanes (some models have only 28 lanes) for video cards. This allows a very high-end configuration for the PCI Express x16 slots when a CPU with 40 lanes is installed, but the exact configuration used will depend on the model of the CPU that will be installed.
The ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer comes with two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, both of them working always at x16 mode if a 40 lane processor is used, and at x16/x8 if a CPU with 28 lanes is installed, and one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (working at x4).
The motherboard supports SLI arrays, and CrossFireX with up to two video cards.
There is also an M.2 slot, which is compatible with PCI Express 3.0 x4 and SATA M.2 modules.
[nextpage title=”Memory Support”]
Intel socket LGA2011-v3 CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor, not the chipset, which defines what memory technologies you can have and the maximum amount of memory that is possible. The motherboard, however, may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.
The integrated memory controller from socket LGA2011-v3 processors officially supports DDR4 memories up to 2,133 MHz. According to ASRock, the Fatal1ty X99M Killer supports memories up to 3,000 MHz.
One of the most important features of the socket LGA2011-v3 processors is the support for the quad-channel memory architecture, which allows the memory to be accessed in 256-bit mode for higher performance. Since each memory module is a 64-bit entity, four memory modules are needed to enable this architecture. If only two or three memory modules are installed, the memory will be accessed under dual- or triple-channel architecture, respectively.
The ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer has four memory sockets (two at each side of the CPU socket) and you can have up to 64 GiB with this motherboard if you use four 16 GiB modules.
In order to enable the quad-channel mode, you must install four identical memory modules.
[nextpage title=”On Board Peripherals”]
The Intel X99 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports ten SATA-600 ports (there are no SATA-300 ports), supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5).
The ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer offers those ten SATA-600 ports (one of them shared with an eSATA connector at the rear panel, and another port shared with the M.2 slot). All SATA ports are located at the motherboard’s edge and rotated 90 degrees, so that video cards will not block them.
The Intel X99 chipset supports eight USB 2.0 ports and six USB 3.0 ports. The ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer offers eight USB 2.0 ports, four soldered on the rear panel and four available through two headers located on the motherboard. It also supports six USB 3.0 ports, four soldered on the motherboard rear panel and two available through a header on the motherboard, controlled by the chipset.
One of the USB 2.0 ports (the top-most one on the stack containing the PS/2 port) is a “Fatal1ty mouse port”, which allows you to manually configure its polling rate between 125 Hz and 1 kHz.
The ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer does not support FireWire or Thurnderbolt ports.
This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format, i.e., eight channels plus two independent channels for audio streaming. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the Realtek ALC1150 codec, which is an excellent audio codec, providing 115 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. These specifications are good even for the user who wants to work professionally capturing and editing analog audio (e.g., converting LPs to CDs or MP3, converting VHS to DVDs or any other digital format, etc.).
The analog audio outputs are independent and the motherboard also comes with an on-board optical SPDIF output. It also has a header labeled “SPDIF_OUT”, where you can install an adapter to have a coaxial SPDIF output or to connect a cable to older video cards that required a physical connection to have audio on their HDMI outputs.
The analog audio outputs are independent only if you use a 5.1 analog speaker set. If you install a 7.1 analog speaker set, you will need to use the “line in” jack.
The portrayed motherboard has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one controlled by an Intel i218V chip and one controlled by an Atheros Killer E2200 chip.
Both the audio codec and the Killer E2200 chips are protected from interference with metallic shields, as shown in Figure 5.
In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel, with a shared PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector, a Clear CMOS button, four USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA-600 port, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, four USB 3.0 ports, one optical SPDIF output, and the analog audio jacks.
[nextpage title=”Other Features”]
The portrayed motherboard supports the installation of a TPM (Trusted Platform Module), in charge of storing encryption keys in order to increase the security of the computer.
The ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer has power and reset buttons, as shown in Figure 7.
This ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer has a POST diagnostics display that shows through a two-digit code which component is preventing the computer from turning on.
In Figure 9, you can see the accessories that come with the ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer.
[nextpage title=”Voltage Regulator”]
The CPU voltage regulator circuit of the ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer has 12 phases for the CPU. The voltage regulator is controlled by an Intersil ISL6379 chip, using a digital design. Each phase uses one FDMS3660S (“22CF 07OD”) integrated circuit, which contains both the “high-side” and the “low-side” MOSFETs.
The ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer uses 12K Platinum electrolytic capacitors from the Japanese maufacturer Nichicon, and 60 A ferrite chokes, which is an excellent configuration.
If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.
[nextpage title=”Overclocking Options”]
The portrayed motherboard has several overclocking options. Below, we list the most important ones (1.42 BIOS):
- CPU Base Clock: from 90.00 MHz to 300.00 MHz in 0.1 MHz increments
- CPU Core Voltage: from 0.800 V to 2.000 V in 0.001 V increments
- CPU Core Voltage Offset: from -0.500 V to +0.500 V in 0.001 V increments
- CPU Cache Voltage: from 0.800 V to 2.000 V in 0.001 V increments
- CPU Cache Voltage Offset: from -0.500 V to +0.500 V in 0.001 V increments
- System Agent Voltage Offset: from -0.300 V to 0.600 V in 0.001 V increments
- CPU Input Voltage: from 1.200 V to 2.300 V in 0.010 V increments
- Memory Voltage: from 1.000 V to 1.800 V in 0.010 V increments
- Chipset PLL Voltage: from 1.200 V to 1.800 V in 0.10 V increments
- CPU I/O Voltage: from 0.900 V to 1.500 V in 0.075 V increments
- Chipset 1.05V Voltage: from 0.900 V to 1.500 V in 0.050 V increments
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer include:
- Socket: 2011-v3
- Chipset: Intel X99
- Super I/O: Nuvoton NCT6791D
- Parallel ATA: none
- Serial ATA: ten SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5)
- External SATA: one eSATA-600 port ar the rear panel (shared with one of the internal SATA-600 ports)
- USB 2.0: eight USB 2.0 ports, four on the motherboard real panel and four available through two headers on the motherboard
- USB 3.0: six USB 3.0 ports, four on the motherboard rear panel and two available through a header on the motherboard, all of them controlled by the chipset
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): none
- Thunderbolt: none
- On-board video: no
- On-board audio: produced by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC1150 codec (7.1+2 channels, 24-bit resolution, 192 kHz sampling rate, 115 dB SNR for the outputs, and 104 dB SNR for the inputs), on-board optical SPDIF output
- On-board LAN: two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one controlled by an Intel i218V chip and one controlled by an Atheros Killer E2200 chip
- Wireless LAN: no
- Buzzer: no
- Infrared interface: no
- Power supply required: EPS12V
- Slots: two PCI Express 3.0/2.0 x16 slots (working at x16/x16 with a 40-lane CPU or at x16/x8 with a 28-lane processor), one PCI Express 2.0 16 slot (working at x4), and one M.2 PCI Express x4/SATA slot on the motherboard
- Memory: four DDR4-DIMM sockets (up to DDR4-3000, 64 GiB maximum)
- Fan connectors: one four-pin and one tree-pin connectors for the CPU cooler, and one four-pin and two three-pin connectors for auxiliary fans
- Extra features: support for TPM, POST status display
- Number of CDs/DVDs provided: one
- Programs included: motherboard utilities
- More Information: https://www.asrock.com/
- Average price in the U.S.*: USD 230.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this article.
The ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer is a basic yet resourceful motherboard for socket LGA2011-v3 systems. It brings only the features offered by the chipset (ten SATA-600 ports and six USB 3.0 ports), which is enough for most users. You may see the fact it has “only” four memory sockets and “only” two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, but the fact is that only a few users will actually install eight memory modules and more than two video cards. It also lacks SATA Express ports, but this standard is not popular yet.
The highlights of this motherboard are the audio section, which uses a high-end codec with an outstanding signal-to-noise ratio, and the high-end Gigabit Ethernet controller. Besides that, it includes an M.2 slot that is compatible with both SATA and PCI Express M.2 modules.
In short, if you intend to build a gaming computer or workstation with an LGA2011-v3 CPU and do not want to spend money on a motherboard full of bells and whistles, the ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer is the right choice.