Closer Look: Fatal1ty 990FX Killer
The ASRock Gaming motherboards sport the Fatal1ty title, and it is proudly broadcast with its logo on the box of the Fatal1ty 990FX Killer. The Fatal1ty title comes to ASRock motherboards via their partnership with Fatal1ty, Inc. If you are unfamiliar, Fatal1ty is the pseudonym of the famous professional gamer Johnathan Wendel. After a hugely successful professional e-sports gaming career, Fatal1ty started his own brand and partners with many manufacturers to make products focused towards gamers.
The Killer part of the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard comes from another ASRock partnership, this time with Qualcomm. The Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 Intelligent Networking Platform is designed to maximize network performance towards online games and streaming media. The Killer E2200 uses Qualcomm’s Advanced Stream Detect technology to detect and accelerate game traffic over other network traffic. That means my wife’s Pinterest habit shouldn’t make me lag. The Killer E220 also prioritizes chat programs such as TeamSpeak and Ventrilo.
The four DIMM slots on the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard are color-coordinated, black and red, and they are clearly labeled. DDR3_A1 is the closest to the APU socket, followed by A2, then B1, and B2 is closest to the 24-pin power connector. If you want to take advantage of both channels, make sure you use either both red or both black DIMM slots. ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard is touted as supporting RAM speeds of up to 2450MHz+ when overclocking. The 990FX chipset itself supports 2100MHz RAM when overclocked and it supports speeds up to 1866MHz normally. The four DIMM slots support up to 64GB of memory.
The ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard is a full ATX motherboard, and a gaming motherboard to boot. Even so, it only sports three full PCIe slots and two PCIe x1 slots. For the full PCIe slots, the first two run at x16 and the last one runs at x4. They are, of course, PCIe 3.0 slots, so they have plenty of bandwidth to play with. The three slots limit you to triple CrossFireX or SLI configurations, but that should be plenty to keep you in the playable FPS range.
There is a reason why a fourth full PCIe slot is absent. If you look closely, you’ll see another port in between the first and second PCIe slots. That’s the m.2 SSD slot. The ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard was actually the first motherboard to implement m.2 Gen2 x2 with 2 PCIe lanes for a full 10Gb/s theoretical bandwidth. That’s twice as fast as the 5Gb/s on m.2 Gen2 x1 solutions and, according to ASRock, runs up to 3X faster than the m.2 SATA 3.0 implementations. To use the m.2 slot on the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard, you’ll have to disable the eSATA port on the rear I/O panel, as the two share PCIe lanes.
Just opposite the PCI slots are the SATA 3.0 6Gb/s ports. The 990FX chipset, with the SB950 southbridge supports six SATA 3.0 ports. Five of them are here on this end of the motherboard and the sixth is located on the I/O panel in the form of an eSATA port. Of the five SATA ports that are located here at the bottom of the motherboard, four are situated horizontally. This allows for the use of longer video cards that can often cover up the SATA ports. As a gaming motherboard, it’s important that the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard makes accommodations for stuff that gamers are likely to have, including long video cards. The fifth SATA port here is a vertical port. It’s always nice to have one vertical port, as the horizontal ports are, in my experience, more difficult to plug in to. The 990FX chipset, to no one’s surprise, supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 configuations.
To round out our closer look, let’s take a gander at the I/O panel. The ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard I/O starts off with two legacy PS/2 ports. I feel like ASRock is catering to whiny, non-conformist gamers here. I don’t even like to see one PS/2 port on current motherboards, but two is just overboard. The justification is the n-key rollover capability of PS/2 keyboards. Seriously, though, if 64-key rollover isn’t enough for you, you need to re-evaluate your gaming style. USB keyboards have reached the point that PS/2 is now antiquated. As it is the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard only offers 10 of the 14 available USB 2.0 ports available from the 990FX chipset and the SB950 southbridge. Replacing those PS/2 ports with USB 2.0 ports would tickle my fancy just fine.
Speaking of the 10 USB 2.0 ports used by the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard, six of them are here on the rear I/O panel. The other four are available through headers on the motherboard. Four of the seven USB 3.0 ports are also located here on the back panel, along with an eSATA port. The Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 LAN port is back here as well, accompanied by 7.1 channel audio ports, including an S/PDIF port.