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ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer mATX Motherboard Review

Firstly, we are pleased to report that our NZXT Avatar S mouse worked to its usual standard in the ASRock X99 UEFI. We’ve found our NZXT Avatar S to be the most troubling mouse with UEFI support, so when it functions correctly in the interface, that is usually a good sign for overall mouse support.

ASRock’s X99 UEFI is consistent across its motherboard line-up. There are subtle differences between the versions, the most notable of which is a different background colour depending on the motherboard’s series. The interface uses a 1920×1080 display resolution.

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The Main page displays information about the system components. There is a My Favorite section that gives users quick access to their most desirable settings.

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The OC Tweaker page controls access to the board’s numerous overclocking-related sub-sections. I like the way that ASRock has split its main overclocking sections into separate folders. This keeps the interface clean and makes the desirable settings easy to find. It also proves that ASRock is listening to feedback and taking steps to improve its UEFI user experience.

Overclocking profiles designed by ASRock’s engineers are pre-tuned in the UEFI.

Up to five customised user profiles can be saved to the board’s internal memory. I feel the five profiles is sufficient for a motherboard that is not intended for competitive overclocking. A USB flash drive can be used to transfer profiles to and from the board.

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The standard set of parameter and ratio settings are provided under the CPU Configuration section. ASRock also adds a CPU TJ Max input which is a unique setting allowing users to change their processor’s thermal throttling temperature. Approach this setting with caution and appreciation for the involved risks.

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There is a strong range of memory overclocking settings provided in their specific sub-section. Users can adjust their DRAM frequency and voltage in addition to viewing their kit’s rated, and applied, timings.

I am a little surprised to see no pre-tuned memory overclocking profiles provided. This is a sign that ASRock is reserving the custom tweaked settings for its overclocking-geared motherboards.

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Settings relating to the Haswell-E processor’s Fully Integrated Voltage Regulator (FIVR) are given their own section. Here users can apply the primary voltage settings that will deliver their quick-and-easy overclocked settings.

Moving over to the Voltage Configuration section is where users can fine-tune the parameters to squeeze even more frequency out of their components.

ASRock typically allows users to opt for automatic, manual, or adaptive voltage configurations.

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The Chipset Configuration section is useful when ensuring that expansion slots are receiving the correct PCIe bandwidth.

Storage interfaces and their installed drives can also be controlled.

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ASRock includes a number of convenient tools in its UEFI. Users can rapidly apply a number of system configurations and drivers can also be downloaded via the interface.

Instant Flash, ASRock’s simple BIOS updating tool, scans through one’s USB flash drive to search for the relevant BIOS file. While this sounds good, with the tool’s ability to scan all the way through your flash drive until it finds the relevant BIOS profile, users with a large amount of data on their drive could find the search time to be in the order of minutes. There’s nothing wrong with a manual folder search.

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System Browser is a convenient tool that displays which components are connected to the motherboard. The tool is particularly useful for troubleshooting purposes; if, for example, a memory stick is faulty, it will not show up in the System Browser window.

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ASRock includes a set of voltage, temperature, and fan speed readings on its HWMonitor page. This is where the Nuvoton SuperIO chipset proves valuable.

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One of the biggest differences between ASRock’s other X99 UEFI versions and the one found on its X99M Fatal1ty Killer motherboard is the omission of FAN-Tastic Tuning. The tool’s visual fan control function will be missed by users who prefer a graphical method of creating their preferable fan speed profile in the UEFI (the OS version remains in place).

Without FAN-Tastic Tuning in the UEFI, users must select from pre-defined profiles, or they can fine-tune their own custom fan speeds by selecting the relevant choices from multiple drop-down lists.

UEFI Summary

In the latest motherboard platform launches, ASRock has worked hard to improve its UEFI. The company has moved to a Full HD – 1920×1080 – resolution, the layout has been re-ordered, the styling has changed, and new-and-improved tools have been designed.

ASRock now has a UEFI that I would deem to be right on the heels of Asus’ solution, making it the second best interface on the market (in my opinion). And there are some clear areas where ASRock’s interface trumps that of Asus’ (System Browser, for example). What is equally positive is that ASRock has clearly listened to user feedback that said the UEFI layout needed improvement.

The interface is well laid-out, easy to use, and full of relevant user-customisable parameters.

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