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ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4 Motherboard Review

The ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4 is a competitive B350 option at around £100. There are several features offered by ASRock that are uncommon for a motherboard in this market segment, such as dual M.2 connectors and a secondary PCIe 3.0 x4 expansion slot.

Performance for the AB350 Gaming K4 is perfectly respectable at stock speeds. XMP worked very well even with our 3200MHz G.SKILL Flare X memory kit. However, overclocked performance was restricted by the poor voltage accuracy of ASRock’s power delivery solution coupled with the limited control options in the UEFI. Bugs with common software such as CPU-Z made voltage monitoring in the OS difficult. However, HWINFO64 reported significant inaccuracy in the voltage delivered by ASRock’s motherboard when we overclocked.

Features are a strength for ASRock’s budget gaming offering. Two additional SATA 6Gbps ports are provided in addition to USB 3.0 Type-C at 5.0Gbps speeds. The inclusion of a secondary M.2 slot intended for SATA SSDs is superb and it worked with our PCIe NVMe SSD, albeit at heavily reduced transfer rates.

ASRock’s switch of the PCIe 3.0 x4 link to the secondary full-length PCIe expansion slot is very smart. The design point opens the possibility for two-card CrossFire with far less performance restriction than competing motherboards and their PCIe 2.0 x4 secondary links. More sensibly, this link gives a user additional flexibility on where to install their high-speed PCIe NVMe SSD.

ASRock’s OS-based RGB LED control software is basic but works. Simply working with actual RGB support makes the solution better than MSI’s alternative on the B350 Tomahawk. However, the control options and lighting modes are clearly basic. The inclusion of two onboard 4-pin headers is certainly a positive move by ASRock, however.

Surround sound users are likely to be less than impressed by the rear IO audio connectivity on ASRock’s motherboard. A number of minor oversights such as this stack up against the Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4. Small finishing touches such as clearer segregation of the SATA ports, additional fan headers, and improved UEFI options would enhance the package. These points are, however, forgivable on a budget product that has a sufficiently strong feature portfolio to offset those minor negatives.

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The ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4 is available at Overclockers UK for £101.45. A two-year manufacturer warranty is provided.

ASRock’s Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4 faces tough competition from the MSI B350 Tomahawk which has a number of key benefits over it as well as a number of weaknesses by comparison. If you can live with the slightly restrictive overclocking performance, additional SATA ports and an extra M.2 slot are points that may be enough to sway a purchasing decision in favour of the ASRock offering.

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Pros:

  • Two M.2 ports is great for this market segment.
  • Worked well with 3200MHz G.SKILL Flare X memory using XMP.
  • Two 4-pin RGB headers is good, despite the lack of individual control.
  • Very smart routing of the PCIe 3.0 x4 lane and M.2 connection.
  • Usable with CrossFire that is less performance-limiting than on competing motherboards.
  • USB Type-C connector, albeit at 5Gbps 3.0 transfer speeds.

Cons:

  • Overclocking performance restricted by poor voltage accuracy and limiting UEFI options.
  • 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 may be missed by some buyers.
  • More fan headers and clearer segregation of the ASMedia SATA ports would be welcomed.

KitGuru says: A solid AM4 option at around £100. Performance is good and several features that are unique at this price point enhance the appeal of the ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4.

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Rating: 8.0.

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