ASRock has always been ahead of the game when it comes to innovation and their progress with M.2 storage has been second to none. The Fatal1ty Professional Gaming i9 has three Ultra PCIe 3.0 M.2 slots which can be set into a RAID configuration for amazing speeds, this to be the subject of an upcoming report.
Even with the increased flexibility in PCIe and I/O lanes, Intel still runs into that roadblock when deciding what goes where and this is consistent with most motherboards as it seems. In this case, we would like to see all three M.2 SSDs routed independently directly to the CPU for best performance, or even through the chipset as a secondary to see what we might get but that’s not the case.
This diagram demonstrates that M2_1 and M2_2 run through the chipset while M2_3 is shared with PCIe3 to the CPU which originally meant that we could not RAID 3 M.2 SSDs at all. We have since received a new test bios that may change that and will be the subject of a further report.
The board isn’t without a ton of other feature upgrades to include 4 PCIe 3.o x16 slots, support for up to DDR 4400+(OC) memory and 7.1 channel HD Audio with Soundblaster. The X299 chipset has lost integrated video, a trade off on this board being Intel 802.11ac WiFi. There are also 10 SATA3 connectors on the board, with 3 USB 3.1 Gen2 10Gb/s and 8 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, one of the Gen 2 being a Type-C on the rear header, as shown here:
Also included are Dual Intel LAN and Aquantia 10 Gigabit LAN, a BIOS Flashback button, as well as a clear CMOS button on this header. The ASRock ASRock X299 professional Gaming i9 has great LED lighting with included software and can be found on Amazon.
We had absolutely no problem whatsoever reaching the 5Ghz threshold with the Intel i7-7700K CPU but we could never do that with the i9-7900X, mind you the Kaby Lake rendition had only 4 cores compared to the 10 of the Skylake-X.
Understanding that the Skylake-X is intended for a completely different audience, we were still just a bit shocked that it more than doubled the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility benchmark result of its Kaby Lake older brother:
That is amazing…. The Intel i9-7900X runs for $999.99 at Amazon.