After there has been a drought in terms of new AMD chipsets due to the lack of a much-needed radical change by the “red”, we can finally acquaint you with something new! A Ryzen motherboard compatible with an X370 chipset by ASRock. The full name of the model is ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4. It has a slot for two GPUs with CrossFire or SLI compatibility. What’s more, two M.2 slots are available as well as one Ultra M.2, allowing even higher transfer speeds. And last but not least, the motherload provides an option for CPU overclocking.
In this review, we will check the motherboard capabilities to utilize the full capacity of the devices connected to it such as CPU, GPU, RAM and SSD. We will also check the possibility of CPU overclocking. Stay tuned to see the new AMD flagship – Ryzen 7 1800K in action.
Meanwhile, you can browse through the various options for ASRock motherboards here: http://amzn.to/2nXNDti
ASRock Fatality X370 Gaming K4 specs sheet
|CPU support||All CPUs from the Ryzen series as well as AM4 APU processors from the Bristol Bridge А series|
|Chipset||AMD Promontory X370|
|Memory||4 x DDR4 2933+(OC)2667/2400/2133 ECC & non-ECC, un-buffered memory max 64 GB|
|Slots||2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (single at x16 (PCIE2); dual at x8 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4))
3 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slot
1 x M.2 Socket (Key E), supports type 2230 WiFi/BT module
|Disk space||6 x SATA 6 Gb/s port
1 x Ultra M.2 Socket
1 x M.2 Socket
|USB ports||1 x USB 3.1 Type-A
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
6 x USB 3.0 Ports + 1 x Fatal1ty Mouse Port (USB 3.0)
4 x USB 2.0 and 4 x USB 3.0 internal ports
|Connectivity||1 x GigaLAN Intel® I211AT|
|Rear panel connectors||2 x Antenna Ports
1 x PS/2 Mouse Port
1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
1 x HDMI Port
1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A Port (10 Gb/s) (Supports ESD Protection)
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C Port (10 Gb/s) (Supports ESD Protection)
6 x USB 3.0 Ports (Supports ESD Protection)* 1 x Fatal1ty Mouse Port (USB 3.0) is included
1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
HD Audio Jacks: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone (Gold Audio Jacks)
|Audio||Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec – 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio|
|Form factor||ATX Form Factor: 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm|
The box has a standard size for a motherboard with an ATX form factor. You will notice that the dominant colors on the box are red and black which we are accustomed to seeing in the ASRock Fatal1ty series. The brand logo and the motherboard model are printed on the upper left side of the box. At the bottom, we can see the major technologies which are supported by the motherboard, while in the rear part of the box we notice a description of ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4’s specifications.
Opening the box, we see a user’s manual, a disk with drivers and software as well as the cap of the rear panel ports. ASRock have also provided a total of four SATA cables, three screws used for fixing in place potentially mounted M.2 devices. ASRock get bonus points for including an SLI bridge in the kit.
In the picture below you can see the full content of the case and we have already mounted AMD Ryzen 7 1800X with a be quiet! PURE ROCK cooler.
Design and construction
The premium look of the motherboard matches the quality of the elements and the components used for its construction. ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 is obviously based on X370, which is the highest-end AM4 socket so far, Ryzen-compatible chipset. The motherboard also features four DDR4 RAM slots.
In the pictures below we can see that despite the installation of a massive cooler such as quiet! PURE ROCK, there is enough room for memory sticks, which are usually located in close proximity to the AM4 slot. We noticed, however, that the closest to the CPU slot can be unusable if the RAM stick you are about to install is with high coolers. Other components that surround the chip are the capacitors and throttles which control the voltage supplied to the CPU cores. The throttles are from the ASRock Premium 45A series, while the capacitors are Nichicon 12K Black, which are more efficient than the standard ones and contribute to a gradual change of voltage and this can lead to higher overclocking results.
As mentioned earlier, the RAM slots are four and they support a maximum capacity of up to 64 GB. They are dual-channel and if you want to take advantage of this kind of connection occupying only two slots you will have to connect your memory sticks to the first and third or the second and fourth slots. The motherboard also has an Ultra M.2 port, which allows even higher speeds of data transfer and recording.
Here you can see the second M.2 slot with which the motherboard is equipped. Next to it, again in a close proximity to the CPU socket, there are two aluminum cooling blocks in the traditional Fatal1ty colors – black and red. Above them in the picture you can see the beautiful lid with a Ryzen inscription on the rear panel, which according to the company limits static electricity and thus prolongs the components’ life. The next X370 Gaming K4 elements that we will take a look at are the PCIe slots. They are five, two of which PCI Express 3.0 x16. They are made of steel, while the connectors in them are covered in 15μ gold. The motherboard also supports SLI and Crossfire and when the two slots are used the PCI Express bus speeds decrease to x8.
Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 also has a CMOS check, which will show the error code if the machine fails to pass the POST test. In addition to the standard fans outputs, the motherboard is also equipped with RGB outputs, which can be manipulated through the software found on the disk or with the help of another software. In the right picture you can see the red-black cooler on the ”south bridge”, which is also equipped with an RGB lighting that glows by default… in red, of course. The motherboard has six SATA3 inputs as well as two USB 3.0 expansions that allow the connection of high-speed USB ports to the front part of the case.
The rear panel of ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 has the standard PS2 ports for a mouse and keyboard, while on both sides of these two inputs there are two antenna jacks as well as an HDMI port. 8 USB ports are also to be found, five of which are USB 3.0 and two USB 3.1 ports, one of which is the standard Type-A, while the other – the new generation USB Type-C. The input list of the rear panel is complemented by an RJ-45 port for Internet connection and a total of six jacks for audio devices.
In this section, we will take a closer look at all options for hardware modification which are provided by the ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 BIOS. For starters, you have to press either F2 or delete in order to access the BIOS. The first window gives general information about the system – the UEFI version, model, clock speed and the size of the CPU cache. The size, model and the type of RAM as well as the slot to which each stick is connected are also showed.
The OC Tweaker submenu is next. As its name suggest, it is created for overclocking enthusiasts. The CPU multiplier is in Auto mode by default. In order to unlock the CPU capabilities, you have to switch to Manual mode. Three values appear immediately after that – Boost, P1, and P2. These are the values of the CPU frequency and the first one represents the speed when there is a need for maximum performance, while the other two represent the frequency when a high temperature is reached or when there is no need for a high load. It is optimal to change only the value of the Boost attribute. Below you can see the voltage values of the CPU, chipset, and memory as well as RAM frequency which can also be changed.
The Advanced menu consists of several other submenus and the more interesting ones are CPU Configuration and Storage Configuration. There are some CPU features in the first one such as the AMD Cool’n’Quiet technology, which allows the use of less energy as it decreases the effective CPU frequency at idle. The second submenu displays detected storage devices and it also allows switching between different SATA modes.
The next menu is called H/W Monitor. It shows data from the thermal sensors of the CPU, motherboard as well as the voltage regulators. You will also find the voltage values, which we mentioned before. Looking further down in this menu, we find settings of the fans in the system. They can be configured in several preset modes – silent, standard, performance and maximum speed, and it allows a manual setting as well.
In the Tools submenu, you can easily set the RGB lights connected to the appropriate motherboard connectors. Moreover, here you can “flash” your BIOS. In Security, you can set a password for access to your computer.
The last menu that we will take a look at is called Boot. Here, you can select which device should be engaged first when turning on the machine.
As you have seen for yourselves, the BIOS menu is equipped with a large number of settings which makes ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 flexible enough to please every taste – both enthusiasts and low noise maniacs.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 1800X (8-core/ 16-thread, 3.60 – 4.00 GHz, 20MB cache)|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4|
|RAM||Crucial 16GB (2x 8192 MB) – DDR4, 2133 Mhz|
|GPU||Palit GeForce GTX 1050 Ti KalmX (4GB GDDR5)|
|Case||In Win 509 Black|
|Storage||Samsung PM951 256 GB M.2 SSD|
|Power supply||be quiet! SYSTEM POWER P8 550W|
|Operating system||Windows 10 64-bit|
ASRock provides a software for overclocking enthusiasts called F-Stream Tuning which performs functions similar to the settings in BIOS for free and comes on a disk, but it can also be downloaded from their official website HERE.
The next menu option grants us control over the clock speed of the CPU core as well as the CPU and RAM voltage values.
The screenshot below shows monitoring data provided by the software. With it we can keep track of the temperatures of the CPU, motherboard and voltage regulators. What’s more, we have information about the speed of the fans connected to the system as well as voltage values.
Speaking of fans, the software also supports control over the operating graph of the fans as the load percentage of the fans can be configured according to the CPU temperature or the motherboard temperature. In the last menu we can see the option for automatically launching the program along with the booting of Windows.
The X370 chipset is designed for the latest generation of AMD processors – Ryzen. It works with a DDR4 RAM. In order to check the performance and the efficiency of the motherboard and CPU, we put them to a number of tests. The results that you will see are for the CPU at its base frequency as well as its performance after overclocking. The programs NovaBench, Cinebench 11 and R15, Fritz were used.
In the cross-platform benchmark NovaBench, the CPU is loaded with MD5 hashing as well as computing tests with floating points and integers. The result that AMD Ryzen 7 1800X scored was 1299 points. We have also applied the CPU temperature results, recorded by HW Monitor.
Cinebench 11 and R15
The Cinebench tests formulate a result based on the time for rendering an image. We used the commonly used versions 11 and R15. AMD Ryzen 7 1800X scored the remarkable 17.44 points in Cinebench and 1543 in Cinebench R15.
The last CPU benchmark we used was Fritz. It displays the calculation speed of chess moves. The results are shown in a number of moves as well as in proportion to one of the best CPUs from the end of the last millennium – Intel Pentium III. In this test Ryzen 7 1800X managed to squeeze 20.121 million moves.
We increased the CPU frequency to 4 GHz and repeated the tests above. What made an impression on us, however, was that it took almost no effort to make the processor run smoothly at this frequency, but when we tried to reach 4.05 GHz, the system became unstable. We tested every possible change in voltage and we also changed the fan speed to the maximum without this affecting the configuration stability. Intentionally or not, the frequency of 4 GHz matches the one listed as “Turbo” speed by the manufacturer. We remind you that we used be quiet! PURE ROCK for cooling the CPU.
Cinebench 11 and R15
We made a comparison between the results at a base frequency and in OC in the table below.
|Test||AMD Ryzen 7 1800X@3.6GHz||AMD Ryzen 7 1800X@4.0GHz||Difference|
Despite the seemingly low overclocking we managed to achieve an improvement over the factory clocking of the average 11.4% – a remarkable value for a virtually free of charge upgrade. You can expect more tests and a detailed review of the new AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor in the coming weeks.
To test the configurations’ graphics performance we used the two most popular versions of the graphics-intensive benchmark Unigine Heaven.
We will soon receive a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and right after that we shall update the review information with tests with the new NVIDIA behemoth.
For the cumulative tests of the ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 components we relied on 3DMark. Additionally, the tests we conducted were Fire Strike, Ice Storm and Cloud Gate. 3DMark’s technology is famous for putting a 100% load on the CPU and GPU.
As for data transfer speed, we used the synthetic benchmark CrystalDiskMark and, as the results display, the SSD and motherboard go very well together.
Last but not least, we tested RAM speed using the PassMark benchmark RAM test.
ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 fascinates one in several different ways. The first peculiarity is that the model is among the first featuring the new AM4 socket, supporting the revolutionary AMD Ryzen processors. With an extremely simplified overclocking menu in the motherboard’s BIOS, as well as in the provided software, anyone will be able to draw the maximum out of their configuration. Thanks to the four DDR4 RAM slots you could combine a Ryzen processor with up to 64GB of RAM and make your machine a true beast. Furthermore, we were impressed by another BIOS settings attribute. Fan-tastic, as ASRock call the menu dedicated to cooling, grants control over all fans connected to the system. You have the chance of manipulating the operational graphs of the fans or use some of the four pre-set models.
Additionally, the motherboard also supports NVIDIA and AMD technologies for connecting two GPUs – SLI and Crossfire. We applaud ASRock’s decision to leave enough space between the two PCIe x16 slots which allows an upper GPU to “breathe” which, in its turn, will decrease temperatures and make product life longer. The presence of three M.2 ports, one of which is ultra-fast (4x speed of the PCIe bus vs 2x with standard M.2), allows installation of the latest compact and incredibly fast SSDs.
ASRock have made sure that the customers who purchase Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 will be able to make most of their components long enough, including high-quality capacitors and throttles, and on top of the chipset and MOSFET transistors – massive aluminum coolers. Additional protection is ensured by I/O Armor – a plastic cover guarding the rear motherboard panel, protecting components from the dangerous static electricity.
Based on our tests and the time spent with this motherboard we can strongly recommend ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4. If you are interested, you could check its current price and availability here: http://amzn.to/2nYp67g
- Facilitated overclocking options
- Rich BIOS menu
- Options for installing ultra-fast SSDs
- Great design and “Armor”, protecting the I/O panel
- LED monitor, displaying probable hardware errors
- Supports the CrossFire and SLI technologies
- Tha RAM slots layout may lead to unpleasant consequences when using a massive cooler