On Board Peripherals

The Intel Z97 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 ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer/3.1 offers these six ports.

Notice that two bottom-most SATA-600 can be used as two standard SATA ports or as one SATA Express port.

ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer/3.1Figure 4: the six SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset

The Intel Z97 chipset supports 14 USB 2.0 ports and six USB 3.0 ports. The ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer/3.1 offers six USB 2.0 ports, two at the rear panel and four available through two headers located on the motherboard. There are eight USB 3.0 ports (six at the rear panel and two available through a header), six of them controlled by the chipset and two controlled by an ASMedia ASM1042AE chip.

One of the USB 2.0 ports (the top-most one on the stack containing the PS/2 port) is a “Fatal1ty mouse port”, which allows you to manually configure its polling rate between 125 Hz and 1 kHz.

The ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer/3.1 does not support FireWire or Thunderbolt ports.

This motherboard supports 7.1 audio format, i.e., eight channels. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the Realtek ALC1150 codec, which is an excellent audio codec, providing 115 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. These specifications are good even for the user who wants to work professionally by capturing and editing analog audio (e.g., converting LPs to CDs or MP3, converting VHS to DVDs or any other digital format, etc.)

The codec chip is shielded against electromagnetic interference, and the audio interface is equipped with a TI NE5532 amplifier for the frontal headphone output. The analog audio outputs are independent only if you use a 5.1 analog speaker set. If you install a 7.1 analog speaker set, you will need to use the “line in” jack.

The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by an Atheros Killer E2200 chip, a high-performance Gigabit Ethernet controller. Like the codec, this chip is also shielded, as you can see in Figure 5.

ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer/3.1Figure 5: Shielded audio codec and Killer E2200 chip

In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel with a shared PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector, two USB 2.0 ports, DVI-I output, VGA (D-SUB) output, HDMI output, six USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, optical SPDIF output, and the analog audio jacks.

ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer/3.1Figure 6: motherboard rear panel