ASRock Fatal1ty X299 Professional Gaming i9 LGA 2066 Intel X299 Motherboard Review

A Closer Look

ASRock’s gorgeous motherboard does come secured to a foam tray by way of four zip ties. We’ll have to extricate it from its protective tray before we can get a good look, but at least you know it will arrive safe and sound. Head on, we see the standard ATX Layout, 8x dim slots surround the large LGA2066 socket. Below these are 4x Reinforced PCIe x16 slots with three Ultra M.2 Slots woven in the blank spaces between. The audio solution and rear I/O are fully covered with a good looking shroud. The Chipset hides under a heatsink behind the PCIe slots, and we appear to have a pretty large amount of plugs and connectors around half of the edge of the board.

A few less zip ties later, we can get a good look at the back of the board. The thick socket reinforcement plate is just under quite a few components of the massive 13 phase VRM that made it to the rear of the board. I guess it is pretty hard to cram 1300W worth of capability onto only the front of the board. The rest of the board is also very busy with quite a few IC’s scattered everywhere to support the large list of connectivity and features found here.

The rear I/O is comprised of a PS/2 dual personality port, supporting a keyboard, mouse or even both via splitter cable (not included). Above this are two USB 2.0 ports, the top most being the Fatal1ty Mouse port that can have its poling rate controlled from software. Dual WiFi antenna ports sit next to the BIOS Flashback button and the smaller button for clearing the CMOS. There are three RJ45 network ports, Two black ones connected to Intel Gigabit solutions, and the red one connected to the Aquantia 10Gigabit controller. Four USB 3.0 ports and two USB 3.1 ports including a type-C sit under these. Finally is the 8 channel Audio connection panel and Optical audio output port.

Intel’s LGA 2066 takes up quite a bit of room. Flanked with 8 Dimm slots, there is very little room left on the top half of the board.

With the protective cap removed, we get a good look at the massive array of gold pins.

Just under the CPU socket, near the top M.2 slot an innocuous little white connector. This is for Intel’s VROC, or Virtual RAID on Chip hardware key. When the proper hardware key is connected, NVMe SSD’s in the top M.2 slot and on adapter cards can be combined into more RAID types such as RAID 1, 5 and 10. Without it, you are limited to RAID-0.

With the rear I/O cover removed, we can get a look at the rear I/O ports and WiFi module. Between the rear ram slots and the first Ethernet port is Intel’s i211AT gigabit Ethernet chipset.

The Creative Cinema III Audio solution hides under the lower cover. Just under the gold Audio capacitors is the Texas Instruments NE5532 amplifier for the front panel headphone jack. Realtek’s ALC1220 codec is the brains of the operation. To the left just in line with the top PCIe slot is Intel’s i219v Gigabit Ethernet controller.

Under the small black heatsink between the rear ram slots and top PCIe slot hides Aquantia’s AQC107 Ethernet controller. Capable of 10Gbps Ethernet, it also supports 100Mbps, 1, 2.5 and 5gbps Ethernet as well. If it has an RJ45 based networking port on it, this controller can probably talk to it.

Intel’s X299 chipset is housed under the angular heat sink on the lower right corner of the board. With a 6W TDP, it doesn’t need much cooling power.

One final shot after we put all the covers back on.

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