We're not sure how much the Fatal1ty branding is really adding to ASRock's brand image, but at least the Fatal1ty series of motherboards stand out from the company's other products. The latest addition is the Fatal1ty 990FX Professional and as the name gives away, this board is based on the AMD 990FX chipset for AMD's FX-series of, ah yes, that's right, the new CPUs haven't launched yet, but anyhow, onwards to the motherboard.

We're not sure how much the Fatal1ty branding is really adding to ASRock's brand image, but at least the Fatal1ty series of motherboards stand out from the company's other products. The latest addition is the Fatal1ty 990FX Professional and as the name gives away, this board is based on the AMD 990FX chipset for AMD's FX-series of, ah yes, that's right, the new CPUs haven't launched yet, but anyhow, onwards to the motherboard.

As with all of ASRock's other Fatal1ty branded boards, this one too sports the black and red colour scheme.  Nothing much stands out at first glance, possibly because of the colour scheme that hides much of what's going on. It's still surprising how much better AMD's chipsets are compared to what Intel offers for the general consumer market, even though the 990FX is a high-end chipset. The Fatal1ty 990FX Professional board sports two full x16 PCI Express slots as well as another one with four lanes worth of bandwidth and of course a pair of x1 PCI Express slots and two PCI slots.

That still leaves a total of six PCI Express lanes for peripherals, although ASRock hasn't gone for the ideal mix of extras in our opinion. The SB950 southbridge offers a set of six SATA 6Gbps ports and ASRock has decided that this is more than enough, something of a shortcoming on a high-end board like this in our mind. There are no less than three Etron USB 3.0 host controllers though; two are connected to pin-headers for four front USB 3.0 ports while the third controller connects to the rear ports. Other additions include a pin-header for a FireWire port and a serial port, as well as two pin-headers for an additional four USB 2.0 ports, power and reset buttons and a POST80 debut LED.

Around the back there are two PS/2 ports, five USB 2.0 ports, one "Fatal1ty mouse port", two USB 3.0 ports, a FireWire port, two eSATA ports, a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports, 7.1-channel audio with optical and coaxial S/PDIF out and a clear CMOS button. ASRock has used a pair of Broadcom Ethernet controllers and the eSATA ports are via a Marvell SATA 6Gbps controller.

The VRM is a 12+2 phase design and it's said to be using a Digital PWM. One thing we'd like to point out is the three fan headers by the CPU socket which is great for anyone intending to use watercooling, as sometimes there just aren't enough fan headers conveniently located. There are an additional three fan headers as well, although these aren't quite as ideally located. One thing that struck us as odd is the location for the front panel pins, as they're located below the bottom x16 slot and a bit awkward to get to. Overall this is a pretty decent board, but the main question is how much it'll retail for and when there'll be a new FX-series CPU to go in that socket…

Source: ASRock