First Looks: ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Professional
Here at the CPU socket area, there is an over-engineered 16 power phases surrounding the LGA1155 socket which are cooled by heatpiped heatsinks (low profile to avoid any HSF installation problems). It is worth nothing that the first PCIe x1 slot practically cannot be used as it is clearly blocked. The same heatsink obstruction might also be a problem with the adjacent PCIe x16 slot if there is a blackplate on the installed video card.
Down at the memory slots we have the other eight phases for power delivery to the DIMMs. We were surprised to see the decadent ATA133 IDE connector which have disappeared altogether on recent boards already.
There are a plentiful 10 right angled SATA ports (six are SATA 3.0) for the storage aficionados, which should be handy during file swapping sessions at lan parties. The (overclocker) mandatory PORT-80 diagnostic LED and onboard power/reset buttons are present as well.
ASRock engineers have been sensible here, putting three slots between the first two PCIe x16 slots so that SLi/CrossFireX setups get enough airflow. There is also the cheeky inclusion of the floppy connector, which practically have no use in modern computing experiences.
PLX 8608 switch chip to provide more lanes for the extra host controllers.
ASMedia ASM1061 for two additional 6Gb/s SATA ports
ASMedia ASM1083 PCIe to PCI bridge chip
For audio, we get the uninspiring Realtek ALC898 8-channel codec.
Like on previous boards, ASRock has opted to use Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet controllers, which is decent.
ASMedia ASM1442T TMDS level shift IC for the onboard HDMI/DVI outputs
The VIA VT6330 is an interesting embedded solution, integrating both the mutually exclusive IEEE 1394a and PATA host controller.
EtronTech EJ188H's four USB 3.0 outputs compliments the other two direct from the Z77 PCH.
Stay tuned for our full review of the ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Professional!