Connect with us

Motherboards

ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3 1155 Motherboard

Asrock Fata1ty Gen3ASRock are back at it with a new motherboard, this time based on the Intel Z68 chipset. Being built on Intel’s latest chipset is not the motherboard’s claim to instant fame, but it is labeled as the first motherboard to offer Generation 3 PCIe bandwidth. As of now there aren’t too many video cards that can push the 2nd PCIe bandwidth offering to its edge. So, it is a matter of being prepared when the time comes because it is coming, sooner or later.

Published

on

Asrock Fata1ty Gen3

Asrock Fata1ty Gen3ASRock are back at it with a new motherboard, this time based on the Intel Z68 chipset. Being built on Intel’s latest chipset is not the motherboard’s claim to instant fame, but it is labeled as the first motherboard to offer Generation 3 PCIe bandwidth. As of now there aren’t too many video cards that can push the 2nd PCIe bandwidth offering to its edge. So, it is a matter of being prepared when the time comes because it is coming, sooner or later.

Introduction to the ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3 1155 Motherboard

Unless you have lived under a rock for the last decade you are aware of the name Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, who is arguable one of the greatest gamers ever and if not that, the most well known. Even if you are not a gamer chances are you have seen a few products bearing his Fatal1ty brand name and image. Because of his chosen profession many of these items are geared towards the gamer like headphones, sound cards, cases, power supplies and motherboards.

Since Abit has bitten the dust, the original motherboard manufacturer to use Wendel’s image, ASRock have stepped in and creative some fascinating motherboards bearing the Fatal1ty name. Earlier this year we took a look at the Fatal1ty P67 Professional which offered all the features of the competition’s motherboards and performed with the best of them.

ASRock are back at it with a new motherboard, this time based on the Intel Z68 chipset. Being built on Intel’s latest chipset is not the motherboard’s claim to instant fame, but it is labeled as the first motherboard to offer Generation 3 PCIe bandwidth. As of now there aren’t too many video cards that can push the 2nd PCIe bandwidth offering to its edge. So, it is a matter of being prepared when the time comes because it is coming, sooner or later.

Specifications

CPU– Supports 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 / i5 / i3 in LGA1155 Package
– Advanced V12 + 6 Power Phase Design
– Supports Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology
– Supports Intel® K-Series unlocked CPU
– Supports Hyper-Threading Technology

Chipset

– Intel® Z68

Memory

– Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
– 4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
– Supports DDR3 2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
– Max. capacity of system memory: 32GB*
– Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
*Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® 32-bit OS. For Windows® 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.

BIOS

– 64Mb AMI UEFI Legal BIOS with GUI support
– Supports “Plug and Play”
– ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
– Supports jumperfree
– SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
– CPU Core, IGPU, DRAM, PCH, CPU PLL, VTT, VCCSA Voltage Multi-adjustment
Audio, Video and Networking

Graphics

– Supports Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals : Intel® Quick Sync Video, Intel® InTru™ 3D, Intel® Clear Video HD Technology, Intel® HD Graphics 2000/3000, Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX)
– Pixel Shader 4.1, DirectX 10.1
– Max. shared memory 1759MB
– Multi VGA Output options: one D-Sub port, two HDMI ports and one DVI-D port by the bundled HDMI to DVI adapter
– Supports HDMI 1.4a Technology with max. resolution up to 1920×1200 @ 60Hz
– Supports DVI with max. resolution up to 1920×1200 @ 60Hz
– Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 2048×1536 @ 75Hz
– Supports Auto Lip Sync, Deep Color (12bpc), xvYCC and HBR (High Bit Rate Audio) with HDMI (Compliant HDMI monitor is required)
– Supports HDCP function with DVI and HDMI ports
– Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) / HD-DVD playback with DVI and HDMI ports

Audio

– 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec)
– Premium Blu-ray audio support
– Supports THX TruStudio™

LAN

– PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
– Realtek RTL8111E
– Supports Wake-On-LAN
– Supports LAN Cable Detection
– Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
– Supports Dual LAN with Teaming function
– Supports PXE
Expansion / Connectivity

Slots

– 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (PCIE2/PCIE4: single at x16 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4) or dual at x8/x8 mode)
– 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (PCIE5: x4 mode)
– 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots
– 2 x PCI slots
– Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX™ , 3-Way CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™
– Supports NVIDIA® Quad SLI™ and SLI™

SATA3

– 2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by Intel® Z68, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, RAID 5, Intel® Rapid Storage and Intel® Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and “Hot Plug” functions
– 4 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by ASMedia ASM1061, support NCQ, AHCI and “Hot Plug” functions (SATA3_A4 connector is shared with eSATA3 port)

USB 3.0

– 4 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by ASMedia ASM1042, support USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
– 1 x Front USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) by ASMedia ASM1042, supports USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s

Connectors

– 4 x SATA2 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, RAID 5, Intel® Rapid Storage and Intel® Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug functions
– 6 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors
– 1 x ATA133 IDE connector (supports 2 x IDE devices)
– 1 x Floppy connector
– 1 x IR header
– 1 x COM port header
– 1 x HDMI_SPDIF header
– 1 x IEEE 1394 header
– 1 x Power LED header
– CPU/Chassis/Power FAN connector
– 24 pin ATX power connector
– 8 pin 12V power connector
– CD in header
– Front panel audio connector
– 2 x USB 2.0 headers (support 4 USB 2.0 ports)
– 1 x USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports)
– 1 x Dr. Debug with LED

Rear Panel I/O

I/O Panel
– 1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
– 1 x VGA/D-Sub Port
– 2 x HDMI Ports
– 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
– 3 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports
– 1 x Fatal1ty Mouse Port (USB 2.0)
– 1 x eSATA3 Connector
– 4 x Ready-to-Use USB 3.0 Ports
– 2 x RJ-45 LAN Ports with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
– 1 x IEEE 1394 Port
– 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED
– HD Audio Jack: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
Other Features / Miscellaneous

Unique Feature

– F-Stream
– ASRock Instant Boot
– ASRock Instant Flash
– ASRock APP Charger
– ASRock SmartView
– ASRock XFast USB
– Lucid Virtu
– ASRock On/Off Play Technology
– Hybrid Booster:
– CPU Frequency Stepless Control
– ASRock U-COP
– Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)
– Combo Cooler Option (C.C.O.)
– Good Night LED

Smart Switch

– 1 x Power Switch with LED
– 1 x Reset Switch with LED
– 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED

Support CD

– Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5 Trial, ASRock Software Suite (CyberLink DVD Suite – OEM and Trial)

Accessories

– 1 x ASRock SLI_Bridge_2S Card
– Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
– Floppy/ATA 133 Cables
– 6 x SATA Data Cables (optional)
– 2 x SATA 1 to 1 Power Cables (optional)
– 1 x 3.5mm Audio Cable (optional)
– 1 x Front USB 3.0 Panel
– 4 x HDD Screws
– 6 x Chassis Screws
– 1 x Rear USB 3.0 Bracket
– 1 x HDMI to DVI Adapter

Hardware Monitor

– CPU Temperature Sensing
– Chassis Temperature Sensing
– CPU/Chassis/Power Fan Tachometer
– CPU/Chassis Quiet Fan (Allow Chassis Fan Speed Auto-Adjust by CPU Temperature)
– CPU/Chassis Fan Multi-Speed Control
– Voltage Monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, CPU Vcore

Form Factor

– ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm
– All Solid Capacitor design (100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors)

OS

– Microsoft® Windows® 7 / 7 64-bit / Vista™ / Vista™ 64-bit / XP / XP 64-bit compliant

Certifications

– FCC, CE, WHQL
– ErP/EuP Ready (ErP/EuP ready power supply is required)
RELATED:  Jetway XBlue H55 1156 Motherboard

Features

  • Premium Gold Caps (2.5 x longer life time), 100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors
  • Digi PWM Design, Advanced V12 + 6 Power Phase Design
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 2133(OC)
  • Integrated PLX PEX8608 chip onboard to offer sufficient PCI-E lanes
  • 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots
  • Supports ATI™ Quad CrossFireX™, 3-Way CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™
  • Supports NVIDIA® Quad SLI™ and SLI™
  • Dual PCIe GLAN with Teaming function
  • Dr. Debug, Smart Switch Design: Power/Reset/Clear CMOS Switch with LED
  • Supports Fatal1ty XFast USB Technology, Graphical UEFI, Lucid Virtu, Intel® Smart Response Technology
  • Supports Fatal1ty F-Stream, On/Off Play Technology, APP Charger, SmartView
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), THX TruStudio™
  • Free Bundle : 1 x 3.5mm Audio Cable, 1 x Front USB 3.0 Panel, CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5 Trial

Closer look

The Z68 Professional is a quite a pleasure to look at. The backbone of the motherboard is an all black PCB with several touches of red and black plastic and aluminum pieces with these pieces with slots, connectors and heat sinks. ASRock was careful not to overdo it with the display of colors. It definitely looks up to the gaming part as it joins the ranks of offerings from Gigabyte and ASUS.

The socket of the motherboard is highly entertaining as a lot went into putting together a good motherboard. It begins with the gold plated 100% Japanese manufactured capacitors. ASRock tells us that the gold plating process helps to maintain a longer life span. Underneath the heat spreader is a 12+6 power phase configuration to deliver stable and reliable power to the CPU and other components.

Lining the outer edge of the motherboard are four DIMM slots. The slots are color coded to represent dual channel operation, recommending the user also load the black slots first. The Fatal1ty does support DDR3 up to 2133MHz in an overclocked environment, up to 1600MHz otherwise. Intel’s XMP is also supported.

RELATED:  Logitech G19s Gaming Keyboard Review

If you are a fan of massive amounts of hard drives and optical drives you will be happy to know this board does support a total of ten drives. The four black ports are SATA II and controlled by the P67 PCH. All six of the red ports are SATA III, however, only “SATA3_0” and “SATA3_1” are controlled by the PCH. The remaining four, denoted by their “A#” silkscreening, are controlled via an onboard controller, the ASMedia ASM1061. [Editor’s Note: As an aside, the ASM106, for all intents and purposes, seems to only be capable of simultaneously supporting 2 channels. Generally it is in conjunction with eSATA where if used it will disable an internal port, and is the case in regards to port A4. Also worthy of mention is that only the PCH-driven ports have RAID capability. If I dig up any useful info in regards to how 2=4, I’ll be sure to include it.]

Just below of the SATA ports is a debugging LED display to help diagnose any problems should they arise. Also featured are the onboard power and reset buttons, with the obligatory Clr_CMOS jumper.

The board has a nice arrangement of expansion slots as both Quad SLI and Quad CrossFire are supported (which remember, is 2-way Dual GPU cards, not four physical cards). The following is the bandwidth support by each slot: the first and second full length slots are PCIe 3.0 and operate at x16/x8 singly or x8/x8 when used in parallel for SLI or CrossFireX. The last full length slot is only x4 but does support a third Radeon HD card for 3-Way CrossFireX. The board does continue to support legacy cards needing the PCI slot by providing two of them, as well as support for two PCIe x1 cards. The seemingly “extra” PCIe lanes are controlled by the onboard PLX PEX8608 PCIe switch, where by disabling unused lanes (or devices in the case of PCI bridge for example) and redirecting to slots that require the bandwidth.

For a little lesson on the PCIe 3.0 protocol we take a journey over to the ASRock PCIe 3.0 micro-site for the motherboards supporting it. The added support is courtesy of a NXP L04083B switch, which the microsite makes it a point to indicate is in fact a 3.0 part denoted by the 3 in the model number, as apposed to a 2 in 2.0 parts. The controller offers interconnect transfer rates of 8GT/s, compared to that of the PCIe 2.0 which is half of that at 5GT/s. Total bandwidth for the x16 link is a staggering 32GB/s versus 16GB/s of 2.0. So as soon as Ivy Bridge hits the streets the Fatal1ty Z68 will have 100% PCIe 3.0 compatibility!

The Fatal1ty uses a nice array of heat sinks to cool off various components of the motherboard like the VRM and PCH. Each of the heat sinks are milled from a solid piece of aluminum and is connected via a single heat pipe. The heat sinks are pretty low profile as well, providing a wide field of mountable CPU coolers, especially with ASRock’s support for those designed for previous sockets.

Rear panel connections are as follows:

  • PS/2 (mouse/KB)
  • 8x USB ports (4x USB 2.0 & 4x USB3.0(ASMedia ASM1042)
  • 1x eSATA (ASMedia ASM1061)
  • 2x Gb LAN ports (Realtek RTL8111E)
  • 7.1 channel audio (Realtek ALC892)
  • 1x Digital Optical audio
  • 3x Video outputs (1 VGA & 2x HDMI)
  • 1x FireWire
  • Clear CMOS
(Notice that ASRock opted for an unconventional video connection approach by abandoning the DVI for an additional HDMI port.)

Test Hardware:
Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen 3
CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K
Ram: Crucial Tracer 4GB (XMP Profile 1)
Video Card: ASUS Radeon HD 5870
HDD: Hitachi 1TB
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 850 (Sponsored by Thermaltake)
Case: NA
Cooling: Scythe Yasya
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
Thermal compound: Arctic Silver 5

CPU-Z

Results

Futuremark PCMark Vantage
PCMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed for Windows Vista offering one-click simplicity for casual users and detailed, professional grade testing for industry, press and enthusiasts.

SiSoftware Sandra 2011
We are pleased to announce the launch of SiSoftware Sandra 2011, the latest version of our award-winning utility, which includes remote analysis, benchmarking and diagnostic features for PCs, servers, mobile devices and networks.
At SiSoftware we strive to ensure that we give our users the best software experience. We observe the industry, try to predict where trends are going, but more than that: we also come up with new ideas on how to measure performance. SiSoftware works with all major hardware vendors to ensure we can accurately measure, report and present performance in the most accurate and informative way.
A year ago, SiSoftware released Sandra 2010 with full support for Windows 7; in the 18 months since the launch of Windows 7, more than ever before we have seen the line blur between PC and entertainment hubs. Two months ago we released a Blu-Ray benchmark, now we have added a brand-new Media Transcoding benchmark using the new Media Foundation of Windows 7. We have also added yet another benchmark (GP Cryptography) which allows direct comparison of CPU performance (using crypto instruction sets) and GPGPU/GPCPU/GPAPU performance.

AIDA64
AIDA64 Extreme Edition is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. AIDA64 Extreme Edition provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring. It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives. AIDA64 is compatible with all current 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems, including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Super PI Modded 1.5
In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr. Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.

HD Tune Pro
HD Tune is a hard disk utility with many functions. It can be used to measure the drive’s performance, scan for errors, check the health status (S.M.A.R.T.), securely erase all data and much more.

Geekbench2.1.13
Geekbench provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. Designed to make benchmarks easy to run and easy to understand, Geekbench takes the guesswork out of producing robust and reliable benchmark results.

Overclocking

RELATED:  Genius SW-G2.1 1250 4-Piece Gaming Speakers Review

We played around with the voltage settings on the Z68 Fatal1ty to see how well it would scale at 1.4 and 1.45 volts. The difference between the two was pretty good. With 1.4v we only managed to get the system stable at 4.6GHz which you see below. And with the extra .5 volts we go an even better 4.8GHz.

Conclusion

The ASRock Z68 Fatal1ty Gen3 has some pretty neat features like for instance dual HDMI, a boatload of USB ports including four USB 3.0 ports (four out back with an additional two via onboard header) and dual Gigabit LAN; however, what makes the ASRock offering the board that it is would have to be the PCIe 3.0 specification. This new standard will take the user into the next generation of video cards, meaning he or she will not have to replace their motherboards to take their gaming experience to the next level.

Overclocking the motherboard can take place in several different ways depending on your preference. There is the tried and trusted BIOS, with the traditional route where you have to play with each of the settings manually, or there is also an option that all you have to do is select the CPU speed and the system does everything else on its own. The latter method will require some experimenting as well though, as not all Sandy Bridge processors are created the same. Then there is the last option, which is through the newly developed F-Stream, ASRock’s answer to the all-inclusive Windows overclocking suite.

Lastly, the board is very pleasing to the eye. ASRock choose a color combination that sticks to the two-tone Fatal1ty palette, changing it up nicely to differentiate from it’s P67 predecessor. The mixture of black and red makes the motherboard a real looker. Definitely is a long way from the teal and yellow colors ASRock was using in the beginning.

The Z68 Fatal1ty is not a cheap motherboard as a trip to Google Shopping indicates. At about $275, the Fatal1ty Z68 Gen3 falls in the middle of other higher end motherboards, such as the UD7 series from Gigabyte and the Maximus line from ASUS.

We were surprised to see this motherboard keep some of the legacy controllers like the PS/2 port, IDE and yes, even the floppy. The gaming enthusiasts don’t have a need for such outdated gear and we completely agree.

ProClockers was founded way back in 2004, with a goal to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews. Whilst the first products we reviewed are long gone, we're continuing to review the latest and greatest every month.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

    Copyright © 2022 I ProClockers.com I A Wealthy Gorilla Limited Brand I All Rights Reserved