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We analyzed the ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer, a mid-range socket LGA1150 motherboard based on Intel B85 chipset. It is part of the Fatal1ty Killer series, which means it uses high-end audio and Ethernet chips. The motherboard also brings four SATA-600 ports and four USB 3.0 ports.
The Intel B85 is the most basic chipset for fourth-generation Core i CPUs from Intel. Its main differences from the high-end chipset for this platform, the Z87, are the lower number of SATA-600 ports (four instead of six) and USB 3.0 ports (also four versus six), the absence of RAID and SRT (Smart Response Technology) support, and the support for only one PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot. There is no support (at least officially) for changing the clock multiplier on “K” unlocked CPUs, which makes it bad for overclocking.
You can see the ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer motherboard in Figure 1. It uses the ATX form factor, measuring 12” x 9.6” (305 mm x 244 mm).
Unlike the Z87, the B85 chipset does not allow the bandwidth of the PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot to be shared with a second (and a third) slot.
The Fatal1ty B85 Killer comes with one PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot, two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, one PCI slot, one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (which always works at x4 speed), and three PCI slots.
The motherboard supports CrossFireX, but not SLI technology.
[nextpage title=”Memory Support”]
Intel socket LGA1150 CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor, not the chipset, that 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 LGA1150 processors supports DDR3 memories up to 1,600 MHz. According to ASRock, the Fatal1ty B85 Killer also supports memories up to 1,600 MHz.
The Fatal1ty B85 Killer has four memory sockets. Since DDR3 memory modules can be found in capacities up to 8 GiB, you can have up to 32 GiB with this motherboard if you use four 8 GiB modules.
In order to enable the dual-channel mode, you must install two or four identical memory modules. If using two modules, install them in sockets of the same color.
[nextpage title=”On Board Peripherals”]
The Intel B85 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip has four SATA-600 ports and two SATA-300 ports, with no RAID support. The ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer offers all of them. Figure 4 shows the SATA ports.
The Intel B85 chipset supports 12 USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports. The ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer offers eights USB 2.0 ports, four located on the motherboard’s rear panel and four available through two headers located at the motherboard; and four USB 3.0 ports, two available on the motherboard’s rear panel and two available through a header.
The ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer does not support FireWire ports.
This motherboard supports 7.1 audio format, i.e., eight channels. 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 by capturing and editing analog audio (e.g., converting LPs to CDs or MP3, converting VHS to DVDs or any other digital format, etc.).
The codec chip is shielded against electromagnetic interference, and the audio interface is equipped with a TI NE5532 amplifier for the frontal headphone output. 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 one Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by an Atheros Killer E2200 chip, a high-performance Gigabit Ethernet controller. Like the codec, this chip is also shielded, as you can see in Figure 5.
In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard’s rear panel with a shared PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector, four USB 2.0 ports, VGA output, DVI-D output, HDMI output, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, optical SPDIF output, and the analog audio connectors.
Figure 7 shows the simple set of accessories that comes with the motherboard.
[nextpage title=”Voltage Regulator”]
The voltage regulator of the Fatal1ty B85 Killer has six phases for the CPU. The voltage regulator is controlled by an Intersil ISL9582 integrated circuit.
Each phase is driven by two SM4337NSKP transistors.
The ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer uses high-end solid Japanese electrolytic capacitors and ferrite coils.
If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.
[nextpage title=”Overclocking Options”]
The ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer has a few overclocking options. Below, we list the most important ones (1.10 BIOS):
- CPU Core Voltage offset: from -1.000 V to +1.000 V in 0.001 V increments
- CPU Cache Voltage offset: from -1.000 V to +1.000 V in 0.001 V increments
- System Agent Voltage Offset: from -1.000 V to +1.000 V in 0.001 V increments
- CPU Analog I/O Voltage Offset: from -1.000 V to +1.000 V in 0.001 V increments
- CPU Digital I/O Voltage Offset: from -1.000 V to +1.000 V in 0.001 V increments
- CPU Input Voltage Offset: from -0.600 V to +0.400 V in 0.01 V increments
- CPU Input Voltage: from 1.200 V to +2.300 V in 0.01 V increments
- Memory Voltage: from 1.165 V to 1.800 V in 0.005 V increments
- Chipset (PCH) 1.05 V Voltage: from 0.977 V to 1.322 V in 0.005 V increments
- Chipset (PCH) 1.5 V Voltage: from 1.369 V to 1.699 V in 0.005 V increments
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer include:
- Socket: LGA1150
- Chipset: Intel B85 Express
- Super I/O: Nuvoton NCT6776D
- Parallel ATA: none
- Serial ATA: two SATA-300 and four SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (no RAID support)
- External SATA: none
- 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: four USB 3.0 ports, two on the motherboard rear panel and two available through one header on the motherboard, controlled by the chipset
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): none
- Thunderbolt: none
- On-board video: controlled by the CPU; VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI connectors
- 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: one Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by an Atheros Killer E2200 chip
- Buzzer: no
- Infrared interface: no
- Power supply required: EPS12V
- Slots: One PCI Express 3.0/2.0 x16 slot, one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (working at x4), two PCI Express x1 slots, and three PCI slots
- Memory: Four DDR3-DIMM sockets (up to DDR3-1600, 32 GiB maximum)
- Fan connectors: One four-pin connector and one three-pin connector for the CPU cooler, three three-pin and one four-pin connectors for auxiliary fans
- Extra features: None
- Number of CDs/DVDs provided: One
- Programs included: Motherboard utilities
- More Information: https://www.asrock.com
- Average price in the U.S.*: USD 97.00
* Researched at Amazon.com on the day we published this review.
The ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer can be defined as a simple motherboard with some pluses only found on high-end models.
It is inexpensive, and this is reflected in the absence of extra features such as overclocking options, SLI support, etc. It brings also a relatively low count of SATA-600 and USB 3.0 ports, since it uses a simple chipset and brings no extra chips to control more ports. It will not claim the attention of extreme overclockers or gaming enthusiasts.
However, for the user who is looking for an inexpensive motherboard to build a computer based on an Intel socket LGA1150 CPU, with four or less storage units and only one video card, and will not try any overclock, the ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer has a terrific cost/benefit ratio, mostly because of its high-end audio and Ethernet interfaces.