The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7 is a high-end 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, eight USB 3.0 ports, three USB 3.1 ports, one of them Type C, and one 10 Gbps Ethernet port. 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 Professional Gaming i7 motherboard in Figure 1. It uses the ATX form factor, measuring 12” x 9.6” (305 x 244 mm).
Figure 1: ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7 motherboard
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7 comes with three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots and two PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots.
The PCI Express x16 slots work on x16/x0/x0, x8/x8/x0, and x8/x4/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 three M.2 slots, supporting both PCI Express 3.0 x4 and SATA-600. You can install a 22110 standard SSD at one of the slots shown in Figure 2, but in this case you cannot use the other one.
Figure 2: slots
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 Professional Gaming i7 supports DDR4 memories up to 4,333 MHz.
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7 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 3: 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.
Three of the ports are shared with the M.2 slots, so if you install a SATA SSD in one of them, the respective port will be disabled.
Figure 4: 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 Professional Gaming i7 offers six USB 2.0 ports, available through three headers located on the motherboard. There are eight USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel and four available through two headers. There are also three USB 3.1 ports, two on the rear panel (one Type A and one Type C,) and one available on a through a header, 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 Professional Gaming i7 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. 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.
Figure 5 shows the audio section of the motherboard, without the plastic cover.
Figure 5: audio section
The portrayed motherboard has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one controlled by an Intel I219V chip, and one controlled by an Intel i211AT chip.
Besides that, one of the highlights of the Z370 Professional Gaming i7 is a 10 Gbps Ethernet port, controlled by an AQUANTIA AQC107 chip. This kid of port is ten times faster than regular Gigabit Ethernet ports.
The motherboard also comes with an Intel 3167NGW IEEE 801.11ac Wi-Fi adapter, also supporting Bluetooth 4.2. This adapter comes in an M.2 module installed in a slot near the rear panel, seen in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Wi-Fi adapter
In Figure 7, you can see the motherboard rear panel with a Clear CMOS button, a shared PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector, two USB 3.0 ports, Wi-Fi antennas connectors, DisplayPort output, HDMI output, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 3.1 ports (one type A and one type C,) 10 Gbps Ethernet port (red,) two USB 3.0 ports (blue,) optical SPDIF output, and the analog audio jacks.
Figure 7: motherboard rear panel
The Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7 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 8, you can see the BIOS chips, the POST error code display, and reset and power buttons.
Figure 8: BIOS chips, display, and buttons
In Figure 9, you can see the accessories that come with the ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7.
Figure 9: accessories
The CPU voltage regulator circuit of the ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7 has 14 phases for the CPU. The voltage regulator uses an Intersil ISL69138 controller chip (digital design). Each phase uses one SM7341EHKP integrated circuit.
Figure 10: voltage regulator circuit
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7 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 Professional Gaming i7 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: eight USB 3.0 ports, four on the motherboard rear panel and four available through two headers, controlled by the chipset
- USB 3.1: three USB 3.1 ports, two on the rear panel (one Type A and one Type C,) and one through a header, controlled by an ASMedia ASM3142 chip
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): none
- Thunderbolt: none
- On-board video: controlled by the CPU; one DisplayPort and one HDMI connectors
- On-board audio: Produced by a Realtek ALC1220 chip (7.1 channels, 120 dB SNR for the outputs, 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, and one 10 Gbps Ethernet port, controlled by an AQUANTIA AQC107 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/x4/x4), two PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots, and three 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: two four-pin connector for the CPU cooler, and three four-pin connector for auxiliary fans
- Extra features: two BIOS chips, RGB LED lights, POST error code display, and Clear CMOS, 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 290.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this article.
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7 is one of the highest-end motherboards for eighth-gen Core i CPUs available.
First, because of its 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 clear CMOS, power, and reset buttons, POST error code display, etc.
- Supports 8th Generation Intel Core Processors (Socket 1151)
- Supports DDR4 4333+(OC)
- 3 PCIe 3.0 x16
It also offers a high-end audio circuit, a slot configuration that supports up to five video cards, three M.2 slots, and an excellent number of SATA and USB ports.
But the greatest highlight of the ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7 is its networking configuration: besides two Gigabit Ethernet ports, it also offers a high quality Wi-Fi interface, and even a 10G Ethernet port, which is a high-speed standard recently introduced in the desktop market.
Being that full of features, the ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7 is an excellent choice for computers based on Intel "Coffee Lake" CPUs, for gaming, working, and even for servers.