ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional preview

asrock fatal1ty z68 pro ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional preview

By now you've hopefully already seen our quick post from earlier today about ASRock's new Fatal1ty Professional motherboard and as it didn't include much in terms of details about the new board, we figured we'd do a follow-up post with much more detailed pictures. The board was on display during a joint ASRock and Thermaltake event held in Taipei earlier today that was focusing on a sponsorship of a Ukrainian Starcraft II gamer that goes under the nick name of White-Ra and who just happens to be one of the world best Startcraft II players

 ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional preview

By now you've hopefully already seen our quick post from earlier today about ASRock's new Fatal1ty Professional motherboard and as it didn't include much in terms of details about the new board, we figured we'd do a follow-up post with much more detailed pictures. The board was on display during a joint ASRock and Thermaltake event held in Taipei earlier today that was focusing on a sponsorship of a Ukrainian Starcraft II gamer that goes under the nick name of White-Ra and who just happens to be one of the world best Startcraft II players.

asrock fatal1ty z68 pro ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional preview

Although the Fatal1ty Z68 Professional looks very similar to the Fatal1ty P67 Professional at first glance, several things have in fact changed, for one reason or another. The most obvious change is the heatsink which has the reverse colours scheme, something which makes it easy to tell the two boards apart.

asrock fatal1ty z68 pro 1 ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional preview

More important changes include a move from Etron to ASMedia for the USB 3.0 host controllers with the pin header for the front USB 3.0 ports having been relocated to the front of the motherboard, various re-arrangements of the pin-headers for other ports and what appears to be the loss of one USB 2.0 pin-header. Oh, yes, the chipset has of course been changed, but that sort of goes without saying and the board now supports Intel's Smart Response technology.

asrock fatal1ty z68 pro 2 ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional preview

The big changes are really around the back and ASRock has fitted a rather unusual array of ports. There's the customary PS/2 port, three regular USB 2.0 ports, one special USB 2.0 port with adjustable mouse polling rate, four USB 3.0 ports, a FireWire port, an eSATA port, a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports and 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out. So far things are fairly similar to the Fatal1ty P67 Professional, but this is after all a Z68 board, so ASRock squeezed in not one, but two HDMI 1.4a ports as well as a D-sub connector around the back.

asrock fatal1ty z68 pro 4 ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional preview

Considering that HDMI ports take up far less space than DVI ports and you can use a passive adapter to connect to a DVI monitor, this isn't a terrible arrangement, although we'd rather have seen a DisplayPort connector over the D-sub port. The only ports missing is one PS/2 port and the coaxial S/PDIF, but we doubt anyone is going to miss these terribly.

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It's very clear that ASRock has become a serious player in the motherboard market space and if ASRock keeps coming out with products like this, the competition is really going to have to get its act together. It wasn't that long ago that ASRock was considered a budget brand, but the company has already surpassed MSI, although it's going to be a lot tougher to catch up with the market leaders Asus and Gigabyte.

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