ASRock X99M Extreme4 And Fatal1ty X99M Killer Review

ASRock is ready to take on EVGA in the battle for enthusiast-oriented microATX motherboards. Can the company best known for value conquer its gaming-centric competitor in overclocking and features, or will this be a pure pricing play?

The old idiom “good things come in small packages” is particularly applicable to babies and jewelry. But small is a relative term. For instance, mini-ITX gets lots of attention. But it doesn't have the flexibility to suit the needs of typical high-end gamers. Worse, mini-ITX steals the spotlight from what I consider to be a truly useful form factor, microATX.

Lop the last three slots off of a full ATX motherboard and you've just defined the microATX standard. That means microATX still has enough room around the CPU interface to include a big voltage regulator or support four memory channels. Builders still get up to four slots, which is enough for most, and two-way CrossFire or SLI, which also covers the majority of enthusiasts. In fact, microATX’s only performance-oriented restriction is that, with less slot space to waste, manufacturers tend not to blank out the top slot space in favor of oversized on-board devices.

Many builders realized microATX’s potential for semi-portable gaming machines right before they forgot about them in favor of mini-ITX. A few stood by the design, though. A handful of companies kept the candle lit with power user-class motherboards until recently, and now other companies are stepping in to fill the niche.

We recently gave EVGA’s X99 Micro our seal of approval for standing up to its full ATX rivals in every measurable metric. Now it’s ASRock’s turn. A comparison of its X99M Extreme4 and Fatal1ty X99M Killer motherboards to the X99 Micro may be enlightening, but a comparison between the two ASRock boards is even more entertaining.

LGA 2011-v3 Micro ATX Motherboard Features
 ASRock X99M
Extreme4
ASRock Fatal1ty
X99M Killer
EVGA X99 Micro
(131-HE-E995-KR)
PCB Revision1.021.021.0
ChipsetIntel X99Intel X99Intel X99
Voltage Regulator12 Phases12 PhasesSix Phases
100.0 MHz BCLK99.94 (-0.06%)99.94 (-0.06%)100.19 (+0.19%)
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 2111
USB 3.0446
USB 2.0444
Network221
eSATA11None
CLR_CMOS Button111
Digital Audio OutOpticalOpticalOptical
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio555
Other DevicesNoneNoneNone
Internal Interfaces
PCIe 3.0 x16
(5960X, 5930K)
2 (x16/x16)
SLI, CrossFire
2 (x16/x16)
SLI, CrossFire
3 (x16/x16/x8)
SLI x3, CrossFire x3
PCIe 3.0 x16
(Core i7-5820K)
3 (x16/x8/)
SLI, CrossFire
3 (x16/x8/)
SLI, CrossFire
3 (x16/x8/x4)
SLI x2, CrossFire x3
PCIe 2.0 x161 (x4)1 (x4)None
PCIe 2.0 x1NoneNoneNone
USB 3.01 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)
USB 2.02 (4-ports)2 (4-ports)1 (2-ports)
SATA 6Gb/s10106
SATA ExpressNoneNoneNone
4-Pin Fan225
3-Pin Fan33None
FP-Audio111
S/PDIF I/ONoneNoneOutput Only
Internal ButtonsPower, ResetPower, ResetPower, Reset, CLR_CMOS
Internal SwitchDual BIOS IC SelectorDual BIOS IC SelectorNone
Diagnostics PanelNumericNumericNumeric
Other ConnectorsTB (Card) HeaderTB (Card) HeaderEVGA Probe-IT, M.2 Wi-Fi
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA10x SATA 6Gb/s
(Includes M.2, eSATA)
10x SATA 6Gb/s
(Includes M.2, eSATA)
6x SATA 6Gb/s
(Includes M.2, SATA-E)
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATANoneNoneNone
USB 3.0NoneNoneVL805 PCIe
ASM1042 PCIe
Networking
Primary LANWGI217V PHYWGI217V PHYWGI217V PHY
Secondary LANAR8171 PCIeKiller E2200 PCIeNone
Wi-FiNoneNoneNone
BluetoothNoneNoneNone
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC1150ALC1150ALC1150
DDL/DTS ConnectDTS ConnectDTS ConnectNone
WarrantyThree YearsThree YearsThree Years

ASRock uses the same PCB for both boards, just like Asus and Gigabyte did when they were part of this group. But unlike those competitors, ASRock doesn’t leave any component space unfilled on the less-expensive version, instead switching to a cheaper Ethernet controller from the same brand. Both boards have dual-networking to stand against EVGA’s extra USB 3.0 in value calculations, and the Killer also adds goodies to the box to justify the price hike over its Extreme4 sibling.

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22 comments
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  • Mac266
    Just a quick error,
    Chipset for all X99 boards is listed as Z97
  • Crashman
    1606826 said:
    Just a quick error, Chipset for all X99 boards is listed as Z97


    Fixed, thanks. In case you're wondering, that type of error occurs from continuously recycling tables.
  • Calculatron
    Go ASRock!
  • ocer9999
    Whoa, both are really tempting! Need to start saving!
  • HideOut
    To bad the killer model seems to suffer a high markup at amazon according to the green link.
  • Lutfij
    Nice work Thomas! Guess you were sitting on this board in your lab for some time now huh ? :D :)

    Anyways, good writeup and keep em coming. Now to find someone crazy enough to shell out on a X99 platform inside an N200 ... hmmm.
  • Crashman
    291971 said:
    Nice work Thomas! Guess you were sitting on this board in your lab for some time now huh ? :D :) Anyways, good writeup and keep em coming. Now to find someone crazy enough to shell out on a X99 platform inside an N200 ... hmmm.


    It takes a couple weeks to get stuff published, unless there's an NDA and everyone puts everything else to the side. These would be among the stuff put to the side though :(
    At least you knew it was coming :)
  • Mac266
    8708 said:
    Fixed, thanks. In case you're wondering, that type of error occurs from continuously recycling tables.


    Onya Crash. Nice review as well.
  • m32
    The ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer LGA 2011-v3 is selling for $250 ($230 AMIR) on Newegg. Amazon currently isn't selling it on Amazon, and 3rd parties are known to over mark products.
  • RedJaron
    Tom, what would it take to get ASRock to start putting more 4-pin fan headers on their boards? I love their products, been using a Z68 Ex4 Gen3 for three years and just built a friend's machine on an H97M Pro4. But I love quiet PCs. Having PWM signalling for all the chassis fans, and not just the CPU coolers, means it runs as quiet as possible during web surfing and other downtime.
  • Crashman
    570460 said:
    Tom, what would it take to get ASRock to start putting more 4-pin fan headers on their boards? I love their products, been using a Z68 Ex4 Gen3 for three years and just built a friend's machine on an H97M Pro4. But I love quiet PCs. Having PWM signalling for all the chassis fans, and not just the CPU coolers, means it runs as quiet as possible during web surfing and other downtime.
    I don't know, but we have an ASRock guy who can pop in and read this stuff.

    And you're experienced enough to know that some boards offer voltage-level fan speed control on 3-pin.
  • RedJaron
    8708 said:
    And you're experienced enough to know that some boards offer voltage-level fan speed control on 3-pin.

    Yes, and I've set those on my board to keep the other fans as quiet as practical. But those are static settings. I'd much rather have a thermal controlled fan that can throttle up and down as needed. I'm fortunate enough to have a case with a built-in fan controller ( Raven 3, ) but that's only for the two bottom intakes. And they stay on low 99% of the time. But the top fan is the one that's more audible since it's closer to my ears. I'd love that one to be on a PWM header, but to do that I'd need to get a splitter for my two CPU cooler fans. It's not a big expense or trouble, but I'd rather not have to deal with it.
  • Crashman
    570460 said:
    8708 said:
    And you're experienced enough to know that some boards offer voltage-level fan speed control on 3-pin.
    Yes, and I've set those on my board to keep the other fans as quiet as practical. But those are static settings. I'd much rather have a thermal controlled fan that can throttle up and down as needed. I'm fortunate enough to have a case with a built-in fan controller ( Raven 3, ) but that's only for the two bottom intakes. And they stay on low 99% of the time. But the top fan is the one that's more audible since it's closer to my ears. I'd love that one to be on a PWM header, but to do that I'd need to get a splitter for my two CPU cooler fans. It's not a big expense or trouble, but I'd rather not have to deal with it.

    Really...I hate to add fan controller tests, but it appears that some onboard fan controllers are capable of dynamic voltage adjustment while others are not. And then there are those that are not controlled at all (wide open all the time).
  • Lutfij
    Most high end boards will feature a suite to setup your fan profiles with a voltage/temperature curve. I haven't used ASrock boards extensively but I know that is a feature set found on Asus' boards.

    RedJaron,
    You could perhaps look into the 8 way PWM splitter by Swiftech... ?

    8708 said:
    It takes a couple weeks to get stuff published, unless there's an NDA and everyone puts everything else to the side. These would be among the stuff put to the side though :( At least you knew it was coming :)
    ;) The teaser was given away by non other than you on the EVGA X99 Micro thread mate...so if anything, thank you for fulfilling my expectations :D

    Honestly speaking, I must agree with matx boards as they offer better flexibility than an atx board and is a step up from a mitx pcb.
  • ocer9999
    8708 said:
    570460 said:
    8708 said:
    And you're experienced enough to know that some boards offer voltage-level fan speed control on 3-pin.
    Yes, and I've set those on my board to keep the other fans as quiet as practical. But those are static settings. I'd much rather have a thermal controlled fan that can throttle up and down as needed. I'm fortunate enough to have a case with a built-in fan controller ( Raven 3, ) but that's only for the two bottom intakes. And they stay on low 99% of the time. But the top fan is the one that's more audible since it's closer to my ears. I'd love that one to be on a PWM header, but to do that I'd need to get a splitter for my two CPU cooler fans. It's not a big expense or trouble, but I'd rather not have to deal with it.
    Really...I hate to add fan controller tests, but it appears that some onboard fan controllers are capable of dynamic voltage adjustment while others are not. And then there are those that are not controlled at all (wide open all the time).



    Just try the Swiftech splitter, I think its under 10 bucks
  • Eggz
    Where is Asus on this?!

    The Rampage IV Gene is one of my favorite all time boards.

    I hope they make an Asus Rampage V Gene!

    The IV Gene came out two years after the ATX version, so hopefully they'll move faster on LGA2011-3 than they did on LGA2011.
  • FritzEiv
    Chin1Chu: For whatever reason it looks like you got caught in our process to ensure bots don't get in here. Not sure why but looking into it. Meanwhile, you can send an e-mail from that contact page. It's not to Crashman directly, but if you specify your purpose it should get to him.
  • RedJaron
    8708 said:
    Really...I hate to add fan controller tests, but it appears that some onboard fan controllers are capable of dynamic voltage adjustment while others are not. And then there are those that are not controlled at all (wide open all the time).

    291971 said:
    Most high end boards will feature a suite to setup your fan profiles with a voltage/temperature curve. I haven't used ASrock boards extensively but I know that is a feature set found on Asus' boards. RedJaron, You could perhaps look into the 8 way PWM splitter by Swiftech... ?

    1798473 said:
    Just try the Swiftech splitter, I think its under 10 bucks

    My old-ish board does not support dynamic voltage on the 3-pin headers. It simply gives a static level option. The 4-pin of course allows me to set target speed and temp. I didn't extensively look at the fan levels on the H97 rig I just built since we were using a 4460 with all stock fans so PWM on the CPU and chassis fan was good enough. I may have my buddy poke around and tell me what he finds. I'd love it if that became a standard-ish feature on most current and new boards.

    I wasn't aware of that splitter, but I will look into it. Their site currently says it's out of stock. Yes, it's inexpensive, but my whole point is that other manufacturers offer more PWM headers for comparable prices already, thus not needing fan splitters in the first place.
  • ralanahm
    I thought for a second Intel released another version, Core i7-5960"K" at 1.28v that was for overclocking.
    I think like you said before reused table.. maybe you can make you tables have references (cpu) so you type it in once and it will be correct on all the pages. so you don't have to reread every digit/char 3 times over.
  • hornedfrog86
    Thank you, would 4.45 GHz make this an average 5960X?
  • r0llinlacs
    I have been more than happy with my Asrock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer. But AMD gets no love around here. Killer ethernet DID drop my pings from 50's to 20's. Everybody thinks Asrock is cheap. Maybe they used to be. But now it seems they make the best boards for the money. Mine 990FX Killer was only $130 and everything else in that price range was basically absolute junk for what I wanted and junk specs compared to this board.
  • thehax
    It's the better sound-solution, not the gaming-stuff, that made me choose the Killer over the Extreme4.