ASRock looks for redemption and finds it with this overclocker-friendly gaming motherboard.
ASRock has something of a controversial reputation in the enthusiast community. While the company is the third largest motherboard maker by volume shipped, it often plays second fiddle to companies by the likes of Asus, MSI, or Gigabyte in the critical consciousness of gamers.
But now ASRock is looking for a comeback. It wants to break into the high-end gaming market that Asus has defined — and dominated — with its Republic of Gamers line. But can ASRock compete in this category with its Z87 FATAL1TY Killer? (abbreviated from hereon in to Z87 Killer) Let’s find out.
Board layout and configuration
As the name implies, the Z87 Killer is based on Intel’s Z87 chipset and supports LGA1150 based processors. The board has four DDR3 DIMM slots and supports up to 32 GB of RAM. There are three PCIe 3.0 x16 expansion slots (with full support of SLI and CrossFire X technology), four PCIe 2.0 slots, six SATA 6G ports, and 6 USB 3.0 ports. A notable absence is the lack of wireless support and extra drive controllers.
For onboard audio, the board has a RealTek ALC 1150 audio codec that can pump out 7.1 audio with a signal-to-noise ratio of 115dB for analog outputs at a 192 kHz sampling rate.
If you’re wondering where the “Killer” namesake comes from, it’s likely from the inclusion of the Atheros Killer E2200 Gigabit Ethernet controller.
Take a look at the board layout below:
In order to test the Z87 Killer’s performance, we put the board through a variety of standardized tests in VR-Zone’s labs. The testing system contained an Intel Core i7 4770K, 8GB of RAM, and a GeForce GTX 750 graphics card. Of course testing results will vary widely due to the components used, but the point of this exercise is to see if the motherboard causes any sort of unnecessary slowdown.
As you can see the board performs quite well in this bevy of synthetic benchmarks. Check out some of the results below:
All things considered, ASRock’s Z87 Killer is a solid mid-range board with plenty of features. For most gamers it’s more than enough.
During testing the Z87 Killer was stable and speedy. Unlike some of ASRock’s older boards, there were no hangups or reboots.
There are some oversights that would have made the board a little better: onboard WiFi is surely missed (it’s available in the high-end Extreme11 board) and the board layout can become a bit crowded once it gets populated.
Overall ASRock has a solid board on its hands, and its well worth the $124 it currently retails for on Newegg.
- Good value for money.
- Overall high-quality, no build quality issues.
- Missing onboard WiFi
- Awkward board layout when populated with components.