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

PCMARK VANTAGE TOTAL SCORE RESULTS

Vantage Total Score

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.

ADATA AXNS360E 128GB SATA M.2 SSD in ASRock FX990 Killer Mobo

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;.

Killer Logo

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.

ASRock

FINAL THOUGHTS

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!

Check Out M.2 SSD Availability at Amazon.

TheSSDReview Innovation Award image

Review Overview

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

Works on PCIe or SATA M.2 SSDs!

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: 3.58 ( 9 votes)

36 comments

  1. 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….

  2. or german review ?

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

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

  5. 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?

    • 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.

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

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

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

      • 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.

    • 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).

      • 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

  7. 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?

    • 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

  8. 1 x Ultra M.2 Socket (M2_1), supports M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen3 x4 (32 Gb/s)

  9. 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?

    • 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.

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

  10. 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?

  11. 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:

    https://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!

    https://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!

    • 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!”

      • 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

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

  13. 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
    https://www.microsoft.com/it-it/download/windows-usb-dvd-download-tool
    for make my usb win setup, now xp941 work correctly booting.

  14. 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…

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

    • 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.

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

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

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