After acquainting you with Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4, today we will present to your attention another motherboard from ASRock’s Fatal1ty series. This time it is designed for Intel CPUs, while its chipset is the new flagman in the segment – Z270. The model is called ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6. This is the second Fatal1ty motherboard which we are reviewing this year and the first one is designed for the new AMD’s Ryzen CPUs.
The motherboard has an LGA 1151 socket which supports Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs. A good first impression is made by the availability of Ultra M.2 slots, which provide even higher data transfer and recording speed than the otherwise fast M.2 slots. The presence of three PCIe x16 slots and the support of SLI and CrossFire makes Z270 Gaming K6 an attractive offer for gamers. Additionally, the CPU we chose to partner with Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 is Core i7-7700K, unlocked for overclocking, with a base clock speed of 4.20 GHz and Turbo Boost speed of 4.50 GHz.
In the next few lines, we will introduce you to the packaging content, construction as well as the build quality of the motherboard. What’s more, we will show you results from conducted tests of the various configuration components and we will also focus on the overclocking capabilities of the motherboard.
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ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 – Specs sheet
|CPU support||All 6th and 7th Gen Intel Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron® (Socket 1151) CPUs|
|Storage||4 x DDR4 3866+(OC)*/3733(OC)/3600(OC)/3200(OC)/2933(OC)/2800(OC)/2400**/2133 non-ECC, un-buffered memory max 64 GB|
|Slots||3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slots (PCIE2/PCIE4/PCIE6: single at x16 (PCIE2); dual at x8 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4); triple at x8 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4) / x4 (PCIE6))
3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slot
1 x M.2 Socket (Key E), supports type 2230 WiFi/BT module
|Disk space||8 x SATA 6 Gb/s port
2 x Ultra M.2 Socket
|USB ports||1 x USB 3.1 Type-A
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
3 x USB 3.0 Ports
6 x USB 2.0 and 2 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/Keyboard Port
1 x D-Sub Port
1 x DVI-D 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)
3 x USB 3.0 Ports (Supports ESD Protection)* 1 x Fatal1ty Mouse Port (USB 3.0) is included
2 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 device comes in a nice red and black box. Visually, it is almost indistinguishable from the package of ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4, whose review you can read HERE. The front part of the glossy cardboard box is simple and the huge Fatal1ty logo is accompanied by a description of the major product technologies.
Opening the black box that is inside the outer box, we find the standard user manual as well as the rear panel lid that is in the same color as the packaging. Also, there are four SATA cables and screws to secure M.2 devices, which you could connect at a certain point.
Design and construction
Moving on to the most interesting part of the case content – namely ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6. Surely, the motherboard has been following the recent tendency of motherboards having an interesting appearance. We would say that the device construction suggests a premium feel, enhanced by the heat pipes located on the MOSFET transistors and the north bridge, as well as the aluminum panels to which the copper pipes are connected. The s1151 socket is located in the center and it carries our Core i7-7700K, while traditionally placed next to it are the four DDR4 RAM slots.
In the first set of photos, you can see ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 in all its glory. The first element we will focus on is the s1151 socket which will fit our Intel Core i7-7700K conveniently. 45-amp high-quality throttles are located around it as well as two types of capacitors from the Nichicon’s 12K Black series, which will lead to better overclocking results, according to the company. The chipset and MOSFET transistors are in close proximity to them and they have two aluminum blocks joined via a heat pipe for better cooling.
Let’s move on to the four DDR4 RAM slots. The connectors in them have 15μ gold finish, providing better contact and protection against corrosion. The maximum amount of RAM is 64 GB, while the highest clock speed is 3866 MHz with overclocking. Additionally, the motherboard supports Intel’s XMP technology. However, it is the support of yet another Intel technology that makes the motherboard stand out. Its name is Optane and you can find more information about it HERE. The rear panel is located on the other side of the CPU socket, and on top of it – the so-called “shield” that protects the components from the harmful static electricity effects. An RGB lighting is also built into it and it can be controlled by the software found on the disk the motherboard comes with or directly by the BIOS settings.
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 has a total of six PCIe slots. Three of them are PCIe x16 and they support the NVIDIA and AMD technologies SLI and CrossFire for connecting multiple GPUs. They make possible the connection of three AMD GPUs but the fans of “the green company” will be able to take advantage of only two of the GPUs in SLI mode because with triple connection the third PCIe x16 works in x4 mode, which is not supported by NVIDIA. What gets our attention is the fact that all three slots have a solid steel construction and the top of them (on the right in the picture) has the same 15μ gold finish, which is also found on the RAM slots, as we mentioned above. The chip of the sound card is located next to them and the decorative panel, which is also equipped with RGB lighting, is on top of it.
The motherboard has a small screen that displays an error number when there is a problem with the system. It also has connectors for an RGB strip. In the second photo, the cooler on the south bridge of the chipset equipped with RGB diodes is in focus. On either side are located the Ultra M.2 slots and they build on the otherwise fast M.2 slots providing even higher speeds of reading and writing. The eight SATA ports can be seen in the lower part of the picture.
In the bottom part of the ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6, there is a key with the help of which you can turn on or off the XMP technology, which allows RAM overclocking so that you can make the most of your CPU. An intriguing addition is the integration of hardware buttons for turning on and restarting the computer on the motherboard itself. They are extremely useful in testing as well as if the configuration is used without a computer case.
The motherboard definitely looks solidly made, while the matte motherboard finish contributes to an extra premium feel of the device.
Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 has a well equipped rear panel. Its left side holds two jacks to which you can connect antennas for wireless Internet. Two USB 3.0 ports and one PS/2 port suitable both for a mouse and keyboard are located next to them. The next part of the panel is dedicated to the graphic ports of the motherboard. There are one VGA port, one DVI port as well as an HDMI output. The total number of six USB ports is complemented by two USB 3.0 and two USB 3.1 one of which Type A and one Type C. Two RJ-45 LAN ports are located above them and the rest of the panel is complemented by five audio jack and one digital S/PDIF port.
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 is equipped with an extremely thorough BIOS menu. When you first open the settings you will find a simplified menu that shows you basic information about your configuration as well as the temperature of the CPU and the chipset. The main changes that you can make from here are to turn on the Turbo mode of the CPU or to choose between several system fans profiles. By pressing the F6 key you will unleash the full magic of the Z270 Gaming K6 BIOS menu.
The first menu that you have access to is OC Tweaker and as its name suggests, here you can “play” with the settings for overclocking the CPU, RAM as well as voltage levels that are supplied to them. Moreover, you have the chance to create several different system overclocking profiles.
Here each of the three different areas has a dedicated submenu. CPU configuration is the place where you can overclock the CPU by changing the multiplicator or the BCKL frequency as well as to choose whether the changes you will make are to be conducted on all cores or a selected number of them. Not only can you configure your CPU settings but you can also have a full control over the RAM. In DRAM Configuration you can change the frequency of the memory chip as well as to tighten the timings. The voltage values applying to the CPU and RAM are in the last menu.
The next field is called Advanced. Additional settings are gathered in it and the more intriguing of them concern the CPU, chipset, and storage device. Those of them relating to the CPU allow you to switch on/off the Hyper Threading technology which splits one physical core into two logical. What’s more, in this menu you can enable the use of only part of the CPU cores. There are also available settings for optimization and reduction of energy consumption. Additionally, the menu that configures the chipset grants control over the speed of the various PCIe ports as well as the use of the integrated devices such as a GPU, sound and Internet controllers, etc. In the submenu concerning storage devices, you can control the SATA settings as well as check whether the system recognizes an installed SSD or hard drive.
The motherboard BIOS features a real-time monitoring. It shows temperatures and different voltage values in the system allowing excellent diagnostics. Detailed settings of the fans connected to the motherboard are also hidden in this menu.
Moving on, the Tools Menu has some intriguing features. The first one is the so-called AURA RGB LED. It allows you to choose between 16 million colors that can be reproduced by the RGB LEDs mounted on the motherboard. You can also set a different color for the chipset cooler, plastic lid of the rear panel and the inscription on the built-in sound card. Another interesting feature is System Browser which shows you information about the components connected to the motherboard.
The rest of the menus are Security where you can set a password for accessing your computer, and Boot which allows you to set priority when booting from different storage devices.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-7700K (4-core/ 8-threaded, 4.20 – 4.50 GHz, 8MB cache)|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6|
|Operating memory||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
Western Digital Blue WD10JPCX 1 TB
|Power supply||be quiet! SYSTEM POWER P8 550W|
|Operating system||Windows 10 64-bit|
Besides the endless possibilities for djustments in the BIOS menu, ASRock also offer a software which further facilitates overclocking maniacs. It is called F-Stream Tuning Utility and grants control over the the bus frequency, CPU multiplicator as well as the CPU and memory voltage. You can find these settings in the first menu called OC Tweaker. System Info comes next and it shows the temperatures of the CPU and motherboard as well as the voltage levels of different system components. Here you can see the maximum stable frequency which we managed to “pull out” of Core i7-7700K using a be quiet! PURE ROCK cooler. Speaking of coolers, the third program menu grants control over the curve of all fans connected to the motherboard.
And so, the CPU performance test was the first one we conducted. The CPU that we used in combination with ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 was Intel Core i7-7700K. Our tests were carried out with the help of well-known benchmark programs – NovaBench, Fritz and Cinebench 11 and R15. We will show you the results of the CPU at its base frequency and at maximum overclocking which we managed to reach cooling it with be quiet! PURE ROCK.
NovaBench is a cumulative, cross-platform benchmark that tests CPU, RAM and graphics performance. The tests performed on the CPU consist of computing integers and floating-point numbers. What’s more, it is also charged with MD5 hashing. Core i7-7700K scored 1053 points.
Cinebench 11 and Cinebench R15
Cinebench is a software that loads all CPU cores with image rendering. We used the two most popular versions of the benchmark in our tests – Cinebench 11 and Cinebench R15. Here i7-7700K scored 10.86 and 971 points respectively.
Fritz is a benchmark built on the basis of the logical game chess. As a result, we receive the number of moves, as well as the result compared to this of a Pentium III CPU with a clock speed of 1 GHz. In our case, the Kaby Lake CPU scored 17.731 million moves per second and the result is 37 times better than this of the Pentium III. In comparison, one of the most powerful computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
In order to increase the CPU frequency, we used the included ASRock software called F-Stream Tuning and as for the CPU cooling – it was handed to our reliable be quiet! PURE ROCK.
Cinebench 11 and Cinebench R15
You can check out the overclocking effect in the table below. We have to note, however, that the results at 4.2 GHz are in Auto mode and with enabled option for the CPU Turbo mode, i.e. as it will be when you turn the system on for the first time. The highest stable frequency we managed to reach was 4.9 GHz and water-cooling fans will be pleased because the CPU will cross the 5 GHz limit with water-cooling solutions.
|Test||Intel Core i7-7700K@4.2GHz||Intel Core i7-7700K@4.9GHz||Difference|
We tested the performance of the GPU and PCIe bus using the software of a company called Unigine. We launched two versions of the first widespread benchmark that uses the Tesselation technology, which has been available since DirectX 11. It uses a many times larger number of geometrical calculations to render a prettier and more realistic graphics than the old DirectX 10. Without going into too much detail, the Palit GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU that we used scored 2479 points in Unigine Heaven 3.0 and 1889 points in Heaven 4.0.
Besides the CPU and GPU performance, we also checked the performance of the other more important components installed onto the motherboard. The first cumulative test was conducted with one of the most widespread and effective benchmarks using 100% of the configuration capabilities – 3DMark. The names of the particular tests are Fire Strike, Ice Storm, Cloud Gate.
A Samsung PM951 256 GB was connected to an Ultra M.2 slot. Its write and read speeds, as well as random data-searching operations, were tested by the specialized software for testing storage devices – CrystalDiskMark. We can notice that the motherboard manages to make the most of the SSD capabilities.
As for the RAM performance, it was tested with the help of a specialized RAM test from the PassMark benchmark.
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 is an extremely capable motherboard, which won our hearts not only with its vast selection of settings but also with its high build quality. The premium components used in it make us believe that it can endure intense gaming for many years, while the XMP technology, as well as the fully equipped chipset with countless capabilities, will win the maniacs as well as the beginners in the study of squeezing the most out of the components called overclocking. What’s more, the motherboard is totally suitable for the installation of water cooling thanks to the connector adapted for a water pump.
Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 is also a hit for those that have two or more GPUs. The three PCIe slots are located at a sufficient distance from one another which solves one of the problems with such type of connection, namely the lack of enough “breathing” space for the top GPU. This will lead to lower temperatures and in some cases – higher performance. Here, however, came the only disappointment (if we can call it so) – the lack of support for a triple SLI mode due to the speed of the third PCIe slot. We were pleasantly surprised by the presence of two Ulta M.2 slots which allow the connection of the fastest M.2 devices on the market, while the support of the Optane technology provides a look into the future.
The gaming motherboards always provide some kind of lighting to tempt the eye in the moments when you are waiting for a respawn or for the huge GTA V map to load for example. ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 doesn’t make an exception. It has three separate luminous RGB panels which with the help of a software or the BIOS can be programmed to glow in one of 16 million colors. Also, each panel can be illuminated in a different color, while the presence of an RGB connector in the motherboard allows the connection of additional LED elements.
Whether you are a fan of overclocking or the good old gaming experience, ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 is definitely right for you just as our tests proved. More information about prices and availability of the motherboard can be found HERE.
- Facilitated overclocking options
- Extremely thorough BIOS menu
- The availability of two Ultra M.2 ports providing the connection of the fastest SSD devices
- Support of Intel’s XMP and Optane technologies
- Power and reset buttons located on the motherboard itself
- LED monitor that indicates possible hardware errors
- Support of the CrossFire and SLI technologies
- The location of the RAM slots can cause unpleasant consequences when a massive cooler is used
- Lack of support for three GPUs in SLI mode