Friday , 31 October 2014
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8 PCIe & SATA M.2 SSDs Test ASRock’s Fatal1ty 990FX Killer AM3+ AMD MotherBoard

Some time ago, Asus released their newest Z87 ROG Maximus VI motherboard and it was the first  to take a crack at M.2 SSDs. Our review of the ADATA AXNS360E M.2 SSD looked at the Maximus VI first hand   As much as we loved such things as SSD Secure Erase and the UEFI on the board, their M.2 design just seemed to be a last minute throw in as it was an add on adapter that shared space with their newest 802.11ac WiFi.  Compound that with frustrations trying to switch M.2 SSDs on the adapter, the fact that it only accommodate M.2 SSDs up to 2260 (6cm), and the fact that performance really wasn’t any different than what we have now as they limited this idea to a single PCIe lane.

THE ASROCK FATAL1TY 990FX KILLER MOTHERBOARD

ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer M.2 Slot

It was only a matter of time before another motherboard manufacturer integrated M.2 SSDs into their motherboard and ASRock did so with their release of the AMD Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard.  No sooner did they send one along for testing that we realized ASRock had put some great ideas into the Fatal1ty 990FX Killer, at least from a storage standpoint.

990FX PCIe

To start, M.2 SSD placement on the board is set between two PCIe slots, it uses 2 PCIe lanes at 10Gbps which eliminates the 6Gbps SATA 3 bottleneck, and even better yet, one could use either PCIe or SATA M.2 SSDs in the same slot.

990FX Speeds

The M.2 SSD shares the PCIe lanes with eSATA creating an either/or relationship; both cannot be used simultaneously.  As well, we are a bit curious why ASRock would have integrated it into their AMD solution rather than say… the Intel Extreme 11/ac that we also have on hand and have already posted a report on in the past week.ASRock Z87 Extreme 11 ac motherboard Dual mSATA

On the Extreme11/ac, ASRock used the space between the PCIe slots to add two 6Gbps mSATA connectors.  Add to this the 6 Intel SATA ports, another 16 which can be used for SAS or SATA with the LSI SAS 3008 host bus adapter, 2 x Thunderbolt 2 connectors and eSATA to boot, and you have one monster of a motherboard.  M.2 on that board would have been a natural.

ASRock Z87 Extreme 11 ac motherboard SAS Ports2

ASROCK FATAL1TY 990FX KILLER MOTHERBOARD FEATURES

Getting back to the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard, it is a given that it has great features as well, being that it has the Fatal1ty name attached.  To start, the 990FX is the worlds first motherboard with a M.2 Gen 2 X2 10Gbps socket.

990FX Specs

It get’s the ‘Killer’ designation from its use of the Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 Series Gigabit LAN that detects and accelerates the users game traffic ahead of others on the network. It also just might attract the audiophile with its Purity Sound that supports 7.1 channel HD audio with the Realtek ALC1150 audio codec.

Killer E2200

The 990FX supports AM3+/AM3 AMD processors, up to four DDR3 2450 (OC) RAM modules, has five SATA 3 connectors, along with 3 x PCIe 2.0 x 16 slots and two PCIe 2.0 X1 slots.  It also has 5 USB 3.0 connectors, 10 USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA SATA 3 port, as well as a Fatal1ty mouse port. Perhaps the most encouraging thing about the Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard, in comparison to the – Extreme11/ac, is its price.  Where the Extreme 11 is probably the most expensive retail motherboard available at over $600, the Fatal1ty 990FX Killer  can be found for just over $200 which is less than a third of the Extreme 11/ac.

ETMC_14_02_17_0095

Whether you are an AMD fan or not, this board is as good as it gets.  Curiosity has us wondering about whether we might see the same … lag … in PCIe as we do when comparing AMD to Intel based storage benchmarks.

Some time ago, Asus released their newest Z87 ROG Maximus VI motherboard and it was the first  to take a crack at M.2 SSDs. Our review of the ADATA AXNS360E M.2 SSD looked at the Maximus VI first hand   As much as we loved such things as SSD Secure Erase and the UEFI on the board, their M.2 design just seemed to be a last minute throw in as it was an add on adapter that shared space with their newest 802.11ac WiFi.  Compound that with frustrations trying to switch M.2 SSDs on the adapter, the fact that it…

Review Overview

Product Build
Product Features
M.2 SSD Adaptability
Price and Availability
Ease of Installation

Works on PCIe or SATA M.2 SSDs!

Summary : The ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer AM3+ AMD motherboard is yet another example of the quality of which make up ASROck products. Not only is it the worlds first native PCIe 2.0 X2 motherboard, but also, SATA M.2 SSDs work as well and the features included for the gamer are amazing!

User Rating: 4.12 ( 3 votes)
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About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • Rod Bland

    awesome review Les – can you confirm that you were able to boot the Samsung XP941 in this motherboard? It looks like that IS what you did, but just wanted to be sure….

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      The XP941 will format and work correctly but will not be recignized and boot within the UEFI. The Plextor M6e PCIe 256GB SSD that we have will. We are wondering if the difficulty with the Samsung is that it is a X4 SSD Downgrading to X2.

      • Arnoldo Giovani

        Maybe with BIOS update in the future it can. :)

      • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

        Accomplished.

  • askeria ASK

    or german review ?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      I am sorry but I don’t quite understand.

  • Carl Forks

    Hope to see PCIe X4 M.2 on the upcoming Intel chipset series 9!

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Hmmm….might make sense when you think of relationships…

  • Rafael Moraos

    Could I put 5 r9 cards ? How much watts is needed ?

  • Rod Bland

    It’s interesting that the Samsung XP941 PCIe x4 SSD worked in this motherboard, despite the M.2 socket only supporting PCIe x2. We’ve had zero success with installing the XP941 in the ASUS Maximus VI Impact mobo, which also has dual support for PCIe x2 M.2 / SATA M.2. I wonder what they’ve done different in the Asrock board that they haven’t in the ASUS board?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      The implementation used in this first ASUS release is poor and will only support a single lane, not a four lane design such as the XP941….and then also, not as a boot device. The 990FX Killer, on the other hand, will support the XP941 and as a bootable drive, whereas initially it would not. We worked with ASRock to achieve such.

  • Tiago

    With two graphic cards, does it run at (x16/x16)?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      WE haven’t the cards to test such sorry but specs point out that it should.

  • Dale

    Hi Les, just did a new build. ASrock990FXKiller, FX8320 3.5Ghz, 16G G.Skill Trident X DDR3-2400 PC3-19200, 2×8 , HD 7850 graphics powered with 600 w Thermallake.
    Dead on post! Unhooked everything but both 12v connectors and jumped the ps posts, worked, started adding one thing at a time allowing time for post then shutting down to add one more thing. I am on it now, but it does not run like it should and not been able to run B2 memory slot. Any ideas?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Jut had that same problem when moving the Intel system over to the new build…Turns out the retaining screw on the bottom of the mobo was off ever so slightly creating indirect pressure from the cooler to the cpu. That was the exact result… Read the new posted article on the new build…P.2

  • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

    1 x Ultra M.2 Socket (M2_1), supports M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen3 x4 (32 Gb/s)

  • rauloid

    cannot find a straight answer to this: PCIe card (with m.2 SSD, like Plextor’s m6e) or straight m.2 SSD (like Crucial’s M500 m.2 SSD)? which one would be faster?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      We have several reports that explain this. The Plextore M6e is a native PCIe M.2 SSD that uses 2 PCIe lanes while the M500 M.2 is a SATA based M.2 PCIE SSD and does not take full advantage of PCIe.

      Right now we have SATA M.2 (550MB/s), PCIe x2 M.2 (800MB/s) and PCIe X4 M.2 (1.2GB/S).

      The Plextor is faser, although in the new ASRock board, the Samsung XP941 is higher yet.

      • rauloid

        Thanks, I guess Plextor it is then.
        I cannot really justify paying 4 times as much for the Samsung XP :)

  • Tony

    How does this mobo compare to Asus M5A99X Evo R2.0? My local pc store is trying sell me it instead of the Asrock for the same price?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Our decision between the two would not change; we find that ASRock is progressing in leaps and bounds and their boards are very competitive.

  • Erwin Thierry Klein Haneveld

    The answer to the memory issues is simple , the AMD FX Cpu does not support any higher speed than 1866Mhz, if you want to go higher then you need to install 1 dimm per channel not 2 that wil not work!

    check the memory builders site for compatibilty. they only tell you can use 16GB as in 2x 8GB but Asrock should tell you to insert the memory in the firts bank of channel 1 and fist bank of channel 2! not both in same channel!,

    see this:

    http://www.gskill.com/en/configurator?manu=52&chip=42&model=1975

    as any AMD FX processor has an memory issue. and that is only supports memory up to 1866Mhz! not higher!

    http://www.amd.com/en-gb/products/processors/desktop/fx#
    see section Features!

    there you will find this info:

    Integrated DRAM Controller with AMD Memory Optimizer Technology

    A high-bandwidth, low-latency integrated memory controller

    Supports up to DDR3-1866

    see that gskill tells you the max of 16GB
    only at 1600mhz you can use 4x8GB of ram!

    • Lord Xantosh

      i do not mean to cause an argument but, i have 2x8GB Team Xtreem (white) rams clocked at 2400 10cas, and i have them stable at close to 2133mhz on my 990FX killer fatal1ty mobo with an fx-6300, mind you im not the smartest overclocker, but it is very stable doing what i want it to do, game, record, video edit and upload to youtube! http://valid.x86.fr/bmkvlq

      i don’t usually run testing software because i am lazy, that lazy infact i don’t even turn my computer off, it has been stable as for 3 weeks nonstop!

      only reason i opted for such high speed ram, 1: read on many forums that fx’s can handle 2133mhz, 2: read up its cheaper buying 2400mhz ram and underclocking it to suit, 3: researched 2 and found this to be true on pricing, heck i live in Australia it was cheaper to get 2400Mhz from Newegg australia (thats actually in America) than it is to get 2133/2400 mhz in Australia!

      i am very happy with it, granted, i don’t even use half my ram but meh, it was cheap and it works, “I’m a happy little Vegemite!”

  • Viola

    Is this model support plextor PX-G128M6e?
    I cannot see from the list.

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Yes.

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