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ASRock X99 OC Formula/3.1 And Fatal1ty X99 Professional/3.1

ASRock’s latest X99 boards fill the budget gap between the high-end and premium motherboard markets, but do their features justify the extra price?

Software

ASRock Formula Drive and Fatal1ty F-Stream differ only in logo. Both programs pushed our CPU to 4.30 GHz at 1.25V using automatic tuning and stability test methods, and both programs carry over the “Optimized CPU OC Settings” from firmware. Both motherboards also require a reboot to switch between firmware-based overclocking profiles.

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The “Tools” menu of both programs provides access to most of ASRock’s legacy software, including a functional RAMDisk, network packet prioritization, an “off” switch for front-panel LEDs, a fan tuning application carried over from firmware, a heat-cycling program to reduce condensation in extra-damp environments, a USB key-based login app and a program to enable or disable power to hard drives connected through the HDD Saver power cable.

I don’t put a lot of faith in software overclocking, so I wasn’t shocked when the “Apply” button didn’t work after a “BCLK Frequency” change. Perhaps something wasn’t configured properly in firmware…

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While there are plenty of hardware features to admire between these two nearly-identical motherboards, the biggest change in software compared to their cheaper siblings is found under the “System Browser” button of “System Info”. The popup shows readings from a plethora of integrated motherboard temperature sensors.

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Included with freeware utilities in its App Shop program, ASRock Live Update provides access to the company’s update servers.

Unlike the limited-function or broken apps of some competitors, ASRock Timing Configurator provides full access to most memory timings, including CAS latency, and it works in real time (as confirmed with CPU-Z).

XFast LAN is a customized version of cFOS network optimization software included with all ASRock boards, even those that include other packet prioritization software.

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ASRock’s Fatal1ty X99 Professional/3.1 also includes the app designed specifically for its special Killer Network controller.

The Fatal1ty X99 Professional/3.1 driver disk includes a copy of XSplit’s software, though most users will probably want to download the newest version. The included premium upgrade code works for three months.

  • obababoy
    That gold is beautiful! If X99 wasnt a complete waste of a gamers money I would upgrade my z97 setup.
    Reply
  • MonsterCookie
    I am wondering whether these newer Intel chipsets do actually support the VT-d extensions for virtualization?
    By looking at the board, it is full with PCI-e bridge chips to enhance the number of PCI lanes the CPU can address. However, this trick is a no-go with VT-d, since you need direct access to the hardware, and it cannot sit beyond a PCI-e bridge. I have similar issues with my HP Z800 due to trashy Intel chipset.

    This is why I had to buy a dirty AMD FX8350, because on AMD all features are supported. Otherwise I would have not even poked an AMD system with a 10 foot pole.


    Btw, Tom's.
    WHY ON EARTH does that red arrow at the top of the page occupy half of my screen vertically, and it scrolls down as I scroll down the page so I cannot get rid of it at all?
    You are reviewing tiny 1080p screens, so you should know that occupying 10% of the visible area with a useless arrow is not cool.
    Reply
  • MonsterCookie
    BTW, I forgot to mention that in general Killer NICs pretty much suck. On Linux they often do not work at all, which is tragicomic considering that they actually run an embedded-Linux on the cards embedded-CPU itself.

    Just throw in a good Intel Gigabit NIC, and that will rock with close to theoretical speed, no messing around with drivers, VM-ware, KVM and Xen recognize them too. Try to do that with a "Killer" NIC.
    Reply
  • popatim
    The GAMING Charts shows the CPU as an i7-4790k .

    Oooppssie.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    16348993 said:
    I am wondering whether these newer Intel chipsets do actually support the VT-d extensions for virtualization?
    By looking at the board, it is full with PCI-e bridge chips to enhance the number of PCI lanes the CPU can address.
    No, those aren't bridge chips, they're just the electronic version of a double-pole switch. I don't know how software would even know that they're there. Unlike the bridging switches, there are no extra lanes provided, the platform always gets 40 from a 40-lane CPU or 28 from a 28-lane CPU, and these become "fixed" as soon as the device is installed. The PCH lanes are fixed without having any device installed..
    Reply
  • goinginstyle
    Another sucktastic review. Of course no matter the price ASRock will receive an award, just like MSI always does even with stability and crap software and EFI controls. What is your problem with Asus? You pretended to review the Ramage V Extreme board but really did not go into detail on it. Seems like you have a personal issue with Asus, especially noticing the lack of reviews in the last six months. The Rampage V is a much better product than the two ASRock boards and your opinion about enthusiasts wanting to save money and go with ASRock is laughable at best. You have no clue what enthusiasts want or desire. The two ASRock boards are a joke. Just read the forums and other reviews.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    16353633 said:
    What is your problem with Asus? You pretended to review the Ramage V Extreme board but really did not go into detail on it. Seems like you have a personal issue with Asus, especially noticing the lack of reviews in the last six months.
    Asus sent the Rampage V Extreme specifically for O/C testing, having voiced concern that our value analysis doesn't account for the extra time and expense they put into firmware and software development. A full review would require us to buy our own sample, and we haven't gotten there yet.
    Reply
  • tpovic
    THIS SHOULD BE UNDER ALL MOTHERBOARD TESTS
    so maybe in a few years us not buying this crap they turn around and inovate!

    "As we all know some (if not all) Apple laptops come without a CD drive, some do not have a Ethernet jack (WiFi only), obviously everyone heard about the new laptop with USB 3.1 being the only jack on the laptop.

    I am not saying Intel and motherboard manufacturers need to go to that extreme, but we have reached a point where removing some of these old ports will allow manufacturers to save money and pass them to the buyer.

    Is there really a need for a PS/2 port on a performance motherboard? Why not remove all the USB 2.0 ports and maybe add 2 more USB 3.0 ports.

    I recently purchased a MSI motherboards called GAMING 5, it is a gaming motherboard (duhh), marketed towards people on the gaming/performance side. Obviously anyone buying this board in the retail store is buying it with an intent to play games, and almost no one who games in 2015 uses a VGA or DVI ports, it also has PS/2 port.

    I am paying for these useless features that regular people almost no longer use, let alone gamers or people who are into PC building. You can include a HDMI to VGA or DVI adapter just in case someone out there still needs them.

    I think they need to start removing some of the legacy ports and chips and make boards cleaner, cheaper and more affordable to manufacture and buy."
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    16355398 said:
    Is there really a need for a PS/2 port on a performance motherboard?
    Yes. A lot of gamers still refuse to use anything except a PS/2 keyboard. These are the same type of people who would shell out big money for an extreme gaming rig.

    16355398 said:
    Why not remove all the USB 2.0 ports and maybe add 2 more USB 3.0 ports.
    Because the X99 chipset is limited to six USB3 ports. Often this comes as four ports on the back and one for the front panel header. Adding more USB3 requires an additional USB controller chip and that costs more money. Besides, USB2 handles basic peripherals such as keyboards, mice, printers, scanners, etc more than adequately, so removing them is unnecessary. USB3 is only necessary for external high-speed storage at the moment so there's no reason to think your keyboard and mouse must use USB3.

    16355398 said:
    I recently purchased a MSI motherboards called GAMING 5, it is a gaming motherboard (duhh), marketed towards people on the gaming/performance side. Obviously anyone buying this board in the retail store is buying it with an intent to play games, and almost no one who games in 2015 uses a VGA or DVI ports, it also has PS/2 port.
    I said the same thing in my last review regarding VGA ports. I don't think they're necessary on a Z97 or X99 board specifically meant for power users. Having a DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort still makes sense because even though you'll likely have a dGPU, at times you'll need to use the integrated video, say for troubleshooting. I've already covered PS/2.

    16355398 said:
    I am paying for these useless features that regular people almost no longer use, let alone gamers or people who are into PC building. You can include a HDMI to VGA or DVI adapter just in case someone out there still needs them.

    I think they need to start removing some of the legacy ports and chips and make boards cleaner, cheaper and more affordable to manufacture and buy."
    Your situation does not apply to everybody, nor even most people. If you think premium mboards are expensive now, imagine how pricey they'd be if they had to make 10 versions of the same board just to cater to all the people who might use it. Desktop mboards have to have a LOT of different features because the same model board will often be used for many different things.
    Reply
  • tpovic
    16359804 said:
    16355398 said:
    Is there really a need for a PS/2 port on a performance motherboard?
    Yes. A lot of gamers still refuse to use anything except a PS/2 keyboard. These are the same type of people who would shell out big money for an extreme gaming rig.

    16355398 said:
    Why not remove all the USB 2.0 ports and maybe add 2 more USB 3.0 ports.
    Because the X99 chipset is limited to six USB3 ports. Often this comes as four ports on the back and one for the front panel header. Adding more USB3 requires an additional USB controller chip and that costs more money. Besides, USB2 handles basic peripherals such as keyboards, mice, printers, scanners, etc more than adequately, so removing them is unnecessary. USB3 is only necessary for external high-speed storage at the moment so there's no reason to think your keyboard and mouse must use USB3.

    16355398 said:
    I recently purchased a MSI motherboards called GAMING 5, it is a gaming motherboard (duhh), marketed towards people on the gaming/performance side. Obviously anyone buying this board in the retail store is buying it with an intent to play games, and almost no one who games in 2015 uses a VGA or DVI ports, it also has PS/2 port.
    I said the same thing in my last review regarding VGA ports. I don't think they're necessary on a Z97 or X99 board specifically meant for power users. Having a DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort still makes sense because even though you'll likely have a dGPU, at times you'll need to use the integrated video, say for troubleshooting. I've already covered PS/2.

    16355398 said:
    I am paying for these useless features that regular people almost no longer use, let alone gamers or people who are into PC building. You can include a HDMI to VGA or DVI adapter just in case someone out there still needs them.

    I think they need to start removing some of the legacy ports and chips and make boards cleaner, cheaper and more affordable to manufacture and buy."
    Your situation does not apply to everybody, nor even most people. If you think premium mboards are expensive now, imagine how pricey they'd be if they had to make 10 versions of the same board just to cater to all the people who might use it. Desktop mboards have to have a LOT of different features because the same model board will often be used for many different things.

    Reply