Well, audio is audio to the average Joe, but gamers and enthusiasts will appreciate the better than average audio experience. The headset audio is particularly robust thanks to the amps. It's somewhere between the performance of a standard board and higher end GIGABYTE OP AMP experience. Overall, it's about as decent as any of the boards that have come across us so far, short of using a discrete audio solution.
Performance is on par if not nearly the same as the much more expensive ASUS X99 Deluxe's performance. The M.2 PCIe continues to impress in terms of performance. It sometimes makes regular budget SSDs seem like they're standing still.
The ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer fills a more unique void in the X99 gamer category. The micro-ATX size for a good platform, with some upper echelon features, without a hefty premium. The Purity Sound 2 provided a good gaming audio experience, especially through many of our high end quality gaming headsets in the lab. Network management is always a nice touch given so many spammy style programs that hog up bandwidth, and you have your choice of Intel and Killer for your connectivity needs with two ports. Most importantly, the X99M Killer was actually a pleasure to work with during installation and configuration, proving that ASRock is also continuing to improve and grow. It also overclocks quite well which was not expected given its price range and form factor.
There are only a couple very minor issues with the platform mainly relating to the BIOS, F-Stream LifeStyle features and 3pin fan headers. More intuitive BIOS descriptions in the BIOS are always helpful especially if users don't have or need to open the manual. A few simple LifeStyle features shouldn't require a reboot and could use a little more information to help new or less technically inclined users. We're also at a point where all boards should feature 4pin (PWM) fan headers rather than 3pin. However, these aren't deal breakers and are pretty minor.
As mentioned earlier, the $249.99 US price point is definitely on the lower side for an X99 based board, allowing enthusiasts and gamers to own the ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer sooner. The extra features, performance and overclocking make the fact that it is micro-ATX, a non issue. Unless you need more PCI-e slots.
That said, if you're upgrading your system, and don't see a need for an ATX board, the ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer micro-ATX gaming motherboard comes highly recommended.
- Attractive gamer theme design
- Stable performance
- Overclocks relatively well (4.4GHz)
- BIOS easy to figure out
- F-Stream software comes in handy for managing
- Just the right amount of fan headers and storage
- Better quality audio improves the gaming experience
- Good Night LED function didn't work
- Key Master and Fatal1ty Mouse Port best for basic peripherals only
- LifeStyle feature descriptions are needed
- 3pin fan headers are outdated
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
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