The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 is a "high-mainstream" socket LGA1151 motherboard based on the Intel Z370 chipset, supporting the eighth generation Core i processors, also known as Coffee Lake. It brings LED illumination, three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, eight SATA-600 ports, nine USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 3.1 ports. Let’s take a good look at it!
The Intel Z370 chipset is the high-end model for eighth-gen Intel Core i CPUs. Although this generation uses the same socket (LGA1151) of the older ones, the new motherboards are not compatible with sixth- (Skylake) and seventh-gen (Kaby Lake) CPUs. Also, Coffee Lake processors are not compatible with motherboards based on 100 and 200 chipset series.
Except for the support for the new generation CPUs, the Z370 is identical to its predecessor, the Z270, offering 24 PCI Express 3.0 lanes controlled by the chipset, six SATA-600 ports, support to Optane, Smart Response (installing an SSD as a cache for the main hard drive), Smart Connect (allowing the computer to receive emails and refresh webpages while in sleep mode), and Rapid Start (faster boot times) technologies.
You can see the ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 motherboard in Figure 1. It uses the ATX form factor, measuring 12” x 9.6” (305 x 244 mm).
Figure 1: ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 motherboard
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 comes with three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots and three PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots.
The PCI Express x16 slots work on x16/x0/x0, x8/x8/x0, and x8/x8/x4 configurations. Besides that, the PCI Express x1 slots are Flex (have an open end,) which means you can also install video cards on them.
The motherboard supports CrossFire with up to three and SLI with two video cards.
The PCI Express x16 slots are covered by stainless steel shields, that work as a shield against interference, and also improving mechanical strength of each slot.
There are also two M.2 slots, one up to 2280 and one up to 22110, supporting both PCI Express 3.0 x4 and SATA-600.
Figure 2: slots
There is also an M.2 slot for Wi-Fi cards, located near the rear panel.
Figure 3: M.2 slot for Wi-Fi cards
Intel socket LGA1151 CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor, not the chipset, that defines what memory technologies you can have and the maximum amount of memory that is possible. The motherboard, however, may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.
Eighth-gen Intel CPUs are compatible with DDR4 (up to 2,400 or 2,666 MHz, depending on the model) memory. According to ASRock, the Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 supports DDR4 memories up to 4,333 MHz.
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 has four memory sockets. You can install up to 64 GiB with this motherboard if you use four 16 GiB modules.
In order to enable the dual-channel mode, you must install two or four memory modules. When installing two memory modules, use the first and third memory slots to enable dual-channel mode.
Figure 4: memory sockets; install two or four modules for the best performance
The Intel Z370 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip has six SATA-600 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5).
The motherboard comes with these six ports, plus two ports controlled by an ASMedia ASM1061 chip. All of them are installed on the motherboard edge and rotated 90°, so the installation of video cards will not block them.
Four of the ports are shared with the M.2 slots, so if you install a SATA SSD in one of them, the respective ports will be disabled.
Figure 5: the eight SATA-600 ports
The Intel Z370 chipset supports 14 USB 2.0 ports and ten USB 3.0 ports. The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 offers six USB 2.0 ports, available through three headers located on the motherboard. There are seven USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel and five available through three headers (two type A and one type C.) There are also two USB 3.1 ports on the rear panel (one Type A and one Type C,) controlled by an ASMedia ASM3142 chip.
One of the read USB 3.0 ports is a "Fatal1ty Mouse Port", that supports polling rates up to 1,000 MHz, if you have a mouse that allows this adjustment.
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 does not support FireWire or Thunderbolt ports.
This motherboard comes with a high-end audio circuit. It uses a Realtek ALC1220 codec, which offers 7.1 audio with a 120 dBA signal-to-noise ratio at the analog outputs and 108 dBA SNR for the analog inputs. Unfortunately, no more specs of this codec are available.
All the audio section is physically separated from the other circuitry by a line that reduces the interference and helps the audio section to achieve its nominal signal-to-noise ratios. The capacitors on this circuit are audio models from the Japanese manufacturer Nichicon, and it brings a TI NE5532 headphone amplifer.
The analog audio outputs are independent and the motherboard also comes with an on-board optical SPDIF output.
The portrayed motherboard has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one controlled by an Intel I219V chip, and one controlled by an Intel i211AT chip.
In Figure 7, you can see the motherboard rear panel with space for installing Wi-Fi antennas, a shared PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector, two USB 3.0 ports, VGA output, DVI-D output, HDMI output, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 3.1 ports (one type A and one type C,) two USB 3.0 ports (blue,) optical SPDIF output, and the analog audio jacks.
Figure 6: motherboard rear panel
The Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 has a two-digit error code display, two BIOS chips, and reset and power buttons. Besides that, it has RGB LEDs around chipset and in the plastic cover. The color of the lights and even a flashing pattern can be set using an application that comes with the product, or in the board setup.
In Figure 7, you can see the reset and power buttons.
Figure 7: reset and power buttons
In Figure 9, you can see the accessories that come with the ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6.
Figure 8: accessories
The CPU voltage regulator circuit of the ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 has 12 phases for the CPU. The voltage regulator uses an Intersil ISL69138 controller chip (digital design). Each phase uses one FDPC5030SG integrated circuit.
Figure 9: voltage regulator circuit
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 uses high-end Japanese solid capacitors from Nichicon ("12K black capacitors") and all coils on this motherboard are ferrite ones with 60A spec.
If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.
The main specifications for the ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 include:
- Socket: LGA1151
- Chipset: Intel Z370
- Super I/O: NUVOTON NCT6791D
- Parallel ATA: none
- Serial ATA: eight SATA-600 ports, six controlled by the chipset (RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5), two controlled by an ASMedia ASM1061 chip
- External SATA: none
- USB 2.0: six USB 2.0 ports, available through three headers on the motherboard
- USB 3.0: nine USB 3.0 ports, four on the motherboard rear panel and five available through three headers, controlled by the chipset and multiplied by an ASMedia ASM1074 chip
- USB 3.1: two USB 3.1 ports on the rear panel (one Type A and one Type C,) controlled by an ASMedia ASM3142 chip
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): none
- Thunderbolt: none
- On-board video: controlled by the CPU; one VGA, one DVI-D, and one HDMI connectors
- On-board audio: Produced by a Realtek ALC1220 chip (7.1 channels, 120 dB SNR for the outputs, 108 dBA SNR for the inputs, no more information available), on-board optical SPDIF output
- On-board LAN: two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one controlled by an Intel I219V chip, and one controlled by an Intel i211AT chip
- Buzzer: no
- Infrared interface: no
- Power supply required: EPS12V
- Slots: three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (working at x16/x0/x0, x8/x8/x0, or x8/x8/x4), three PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots, and two M.2 slots compatible with PCI Express 3.0 x4 and SATA-600 SSDs
- Memory: four DDR4-DIMM sockets (up to DDR3-4333, 64 GiB maximum)
- Fan connectors: one four-pin connector for the CPU cooler, and four four-pin connector for auxiliary fans
- Extra features: two BIOS chips, RGB LED lights, POST error code display, and reset and power buttons
- Number of CDs/DVDs provided: one
- Programs included: motherboard utilities and drivers
- More Information: http://www.asrock.com
- Average Price in the U.S.*: USD 170.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this article.
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 is a very complete motherboard for eighth-gen Core i CPUs.
This motherboard has an excellent quality, denoted on high-end components, like the Nichicon capacitors on the audio section and the voltage regulator, which, by the way, uses a high efficiency design. It also brings lots of features that make it great for overclocking, like power and reset buttons, POST error code display, etc.
It also offers a high-end audio circuit, a slot configuration that supports up to six video cards, two M.2 slots, and an excellent number of SATA and USB ports.
So, the ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 is an excellent choice for the user who is building a computer based on Intel "Coffee Lake" CPUs and is looking for a motherboard full of features and with a great cost/benefit ratio.