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.


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


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 expensiveblank retail motherboard available at over $600, the Fatal1ty 990FX Killer  can be foundblank for just over $200 which is less than a third of the Extreme 11/ac.


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.


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    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….

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    or german review ?

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

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

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    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?

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      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.

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

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

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      This is dependent on the processor, as an 8 core FX CPU (eg. FX 8350) will support 38pcie lanes, but others will not.

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        Not true. Unlike Intel based systems, in which the number of available PCIe lanes are dependant on the CPU, in AMD based machines the number of available PCIe lanes are based entirely on the onboard controller (ie: the number of PCIe lanes are determined by the motherboard, NOT the cpu for AMD based machines). So really it doesn’t matter how many cores you have.

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      If it is running 3x @ x8/x8/x4, then it is doubtful it can do 2x @ x16/x16.
      It even shows that the “quad SLI” is only 2x @ 8x/8x (obviously using two dual GPU cards).

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        from what i have read, it supports PCIE2.0 @ X16X16X4 with use of the Molex plug on the bottom of the motherboard for power stabilization to be used with 2 or more gpu’s

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    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?

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      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

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

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    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?

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      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.

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

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    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?

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    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:


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

    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!

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      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! https://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!”

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        yep i also have 2 ddr 3 2133 mhz ram modules that will happily run at ddr 3 2400 mhz on my 8320 e msi 970 gaming setup while the amd fx officially supports ddr3 1866 just like all the intels except for the new one it can take up to even ddr3 3000mhz so long as the board can handle it and your willing to overclock the nb to utilize the bandwidth

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

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    Samsung XP941 PCIe X4 M.2 SSD for work in boot mode you must go [f11] with an usb/boot/win and select UEFI (usb storage) installing win7/8

    I’ve used
    for make my usb win setup, now xp941 work correctly booting.

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    Francis Nacional

    How about running these m.2’s on pcie adapter cards? I have seen a few of these on ebay relatively cheap and they claim to be bootable with an m-key m.2. I would like to know if it is worth the money for those of us who don’t have the latest Intel boards and this AsRock…

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    Will the new Samsung XP951 M.2 SSD run on the motherboard?

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      We cannot answer that as we havent the board for testing any longer. If it is the AHCI version, however, there shouldn’t be any problem whatsoever. NVMe may be a different animal on older boards.

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        Thanks, I’m going to pick it up and buyers protection so if it doesn’t work I can return it no questions asked.

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    From what I’ve seen, m.2 drives can get extremely hot….what temps were achieved during these tests?

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    Suporta M.2 COM 7.000MBP/S e 7.500MBP/S ??

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