PCMARK VANTAGE TOTAL SCORE RESULTS
Once again, we expected to see higher total scores, if only from the PCIe M.2 SSDs. Granted, PCMark Vantage is an ideal testing medium for brand new SSDs, none of which these are, and we would expect the Total Score to be somewhat lower.
REPORT SUMMARY AND FINAL THOUGHTS
If we are wondering how ASRock might fit as a new mobo industry leader, there is no need to look further than the ASRock Intel Extreme11/ac and Fatal1ty 990FX Killer AM3+ AMD motherboards. Both boards bring attention to the importance of SSD storage and the vital importance it plays in every aspect of the PC industry. Where the Extreme 11/ac floods us with 22 SAS/SAS ports, 2 Thunderbolt 2 connectors, 2 x mSATA as well as eSATA 3, the Fatal1ty 990FX is the worlds first PCIe 2.0 X2 M.2 system capable of 10Gbps. Its M.2 connector accepts either native PCIe or SATA 3 M.2 SSDs, creating a much wider fan base and this board does a great job of looking to the future;.
Having said that, M.2 SSDs are still as rare as any UFO sighting but things are changing every day. It wasn’t so long ago that manufacturers were holding back on mSATA SSD production as they didn’t feel the need was sufficient for sales. At that time, many failed to appreciate that that there were literally millions of mSATA based Lenovo’s on the market. Here we seem to be once again, only now with the M.2 SSD dilemma. Things seem to be trickling right about now but get ready because this will be the year of the M.2 SSD. A quick check of Amazon shows MyDigitalSSD, Crucial and Intel as having retail samples available.
Something for ASRock to consider might be how nice this would have been on an Intel motherboard, and as a PCIe 2.0 using 4 lanes vice 2. These are the only two cogs in the wheel that we see as this board is definitely a premium build, full of unexpected features and at a very reasonable price. It is the first to allow us to break that SATA bottleneck and use a M.2 PCIe x2 SSD as a more powerful boot drive, and we did just that. Unfortunately we weren’t so lucky with our favorite Samsung XP941 PCIe X4 M.2 SSD, as it wouldn’t quite cooperate as a boot drive, although it tested great.
ASRock is being awarded our Innovation Award for the inclusion of the native PCIe M.2 on the Fatal1ty 990FX Killer!