Price / Where to Buy:
US – Approx. US$95 – ASRock FATAL1TY B150 Gaming K4
PH – Php4290
We’re back with another motherboard review from ASRock and after seeing their latest lower-mainstream offering, while the Z170 offering features a more packed chipset, many folks happy with a more essentials-oriented offering that allows them to still enjoy the performance Skylake chips but just settle for a stock experience.
- ASRock Super Alloy
- Gaming Armor – Memory / VGA Card / Cooling / Internet / Audio
- Supports 6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors (Socket 1151)
- Digi Power, 10 Power Phase design
- Supports Dual Channel DDR4 2133
- 2 PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 PCIe 3.0 x1
- AMD Quad CrossFireX™
- Graphics Output Options: DVI-D, HDMI
- 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec), Supports Purity Sound™ 3 & DTS Connect
- Killer™ E2400 Gigabit LAN
- 6 SATA3
- 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear)
- Supports Full Spike Protection, ASRock Live Update & APP Shop, Key Master, XSplit
Intel Skylake CPU
Intel has opted to stagger the launch of the Skylake CPUs with the flagship Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K unlocked processors debuting at launch together with the Z170 chipset. Further SKUs were released after launch for the lower end of the product stack.
Intel Skylake CPUs presents a new microarchitecture using the 14nm process seen in Broadwell processors. Intel Skylake CPUs will feature improved efficiency numbers and IPC performance together with a new IGP. As with all launch CPUs, these top-end unlocked processors are aimed at enthusiasts and support multiplier overclocking.
Also in the platform is support for DDR4. The new processors fully supports dual-channel DDR4 memory with the new DDR4 modules supporting higher default memory of 2133MHz at only 1.2v. Some motherboard makers may also opt to use DDR3 still as the processor still retain support for that.
The Intel B150 Chipset
Accompanying the Intel Skylake 6th-gen processors is the new 100-series chipset, codenamed Sunrise Point. As the primary consumer chipset for the 6th-generation Intel Core processors, the 100-series chipset is available in various chipset series from the mainstream H110, H170 and Z170 and the business-class B150, Q150 and Q170. Intel has decided to stagger the release of their Skylake processors which made the release of the other chipset only happen recently. While it’d take an entire post to describe the finer details on the difference of each chipset, to sum it up really quick the chipsets differ in features: with the Z170 offering the most in terms of expansion and support as well as PCI-e lanes with lower model chipsets reducing on what’s offering the business-class ones expanding to include Small Business Basics and Small Business Advantage.
For the most part of what we’re reviewing we’ll take a look at the Z170 chipset, the top-end chipset for desktop and offers the most features and support for multiplier overclocking. In this review though we have the B150 chipset. This particular chipset is intended for small business as stated above but its feature set is plenty enough for a budget mid-range system.
One of the primary changes from 9-series to 10-series is support for a newsocket, the LGA 1151. LGA 1151 supports Intel Skylake CPUs and is not compatible with LGA 1150 processors and vice versa. Mounting holes for the 115x range have remained the same though so your old LGA 1156/1155/1150 will still be compatible with the new LGA 1151 motherboards.
Support for DDR4 memory is also one of the changes that comes with the new chipset. Connectivity between CPU and chipset also utilizes DMI 3.0 allowing a full 20 PCI-e 3.0 lanes which is up to the motherboard maker on how they utilize it.
Closer Look – ASRock FATAL1TY B150 Gaming K4
ASRock packages the Fatal1ty B150 GAMING K4 in a black box with their gaming logo. This is in contrast with the typical red/black box with Jonathan Wendel’s face in the front. The model name is highlighted on the lower right of the box and if you’re not familiar, its kinda hard to spot so I’m not sure this is the right decision to go for a box design. Inside we have a conservative bundle of SATA cables, I/O shield, installation disc and documentations.
As with many gaming motherboard, the ASRock Fatal1ty B150 Gaming K4 has a black and red theme with ASRock utilizing a mica red tone on its heatsinks and a real black PCB with angular shrouds on the rear I/O area. The board is a full-height ATX size but the width is partial only. This is exactly the same board in terms of look as the ASROCK Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4 except for a few minor differences like the lack of a M.2 slot and the more conservative rear I/O which lacks the USB Type C connector.
Processor: Intel Core i7 6700K
Motherboard: ASRock FATAL1TY B150 Gaming K4
Memory: Kingston HyperX SAVAGE DDR4-3000
Storage: Kingston HyperX FURY 240GB
PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower 1000w
Cooling: Custom loop (XSPC Raystorm block, EK DCP 4.0, BlackIce Stealth GT 360 rad)
Monitor: LG 42UB820T UltraHD TV
VGA: GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti GAMING G1
For a full-hardware workout, visit http://www.futuremark.com for our benchmarks of choice.
Performance Testing – Synthetic
Cinebench R15, Cinebench R11.5
wPrime, SuperPI 32M
3DMark 06, 3DMark Vantage
Performance Testing – Real World
Video Conversion, Audio Encoding
Compression, Image Resizing
Performance Testing – 3D Benchmarks
3DMark 11, 3DMark Fire Strike
Power & Temperatures
We check to see how motherboard makers tune their default BIOS settings and see how it impacts temperatures and power consumption. The system is left to idle for 30 minutes before readings are taken and load data is taken 30 minutes while AIDA64 stress test is running. Power readings are taken for the entire system from the socket. Power draw for the entire system is captured for this test via an outlet wattmeter and temperatures are recorded via Intel Extreme Tuning app.
Similar to the Z170 Gaming K4, temps are on the better side of the chart with the board dropping a considerate amount of voltage during idle mode and using particularly lower than average 1.28v voltage during load. On a watt consumption perspective, due to the lower idle voltage this board hovers a considerably lower level than most of the other boards we’ve tested. On load, it averages the same as the other raw boards we have on the bench.
Let’s break it down for the ASRock Fatal1ty B150 Gaming K4:
Performance. The ASRock Fatal1ty B150 Gaming K4 performs decently in our test but does slide in some. That said, its still within acceptable levels just like the Z170 GAMING K4. There’s really no concern in regards to performance but the choice to once again restrict OC options does choke this board a bit even if it means going against Intel’s choices which ASRock went against a couple of times with SkyOC.
Build Quality. I saved some of my commentaries about ASRock’s build quality until this section and ASRock has indeed managed to maintain a level of quality they have achieved over the years but on this particular board, there’s been some cost considerations and that being sad, this board does feel a bit short in terms of extras. While looks may be subjective, ASRock’s decision to go with a flat PCH shroud and rather plain I/O shroud just gives the board a flat feel. Build-wise, the layout is clean and decent with the PCB lighter than we normally would like on this price segment.
Functionality. This board offers a good step-up from the lower-specced H110 motherboards and should present gamers with a decent upgrade from those from those platforms or earlier models. What it doesn’t offer are far more expansive connectivity options which makes it a side-grade if you’re already on an H110 with more USB3 than this board. Other than that, as a B150 chipset, you do get access to Intel Small Business Advantage which isn’t explicitly marketed with this board as it is a gaming product.
Bundle. The board is a basic mobo bundle with no extras for accessories. Its unsure if this board is bundled with the existing Assassin’s Creed bundle as the official page links the K4 Hyper variant rather than this particular SKU. Also included is a 3-month subscription of Xsplit.
Value. Prices for this motherboard now hovers at around $99 making it a great deal for anyone in this price point. Its lack of SLI support that limit its scalability to Crossfire only but as its market placement suggests, it mostly targets single GPU users.
The ASROCK Fatal1ty B150 Gaming K4 is one of the cheapest B150 based motherboards around and competes with MSI’s similarly themed “gaming” models that don’t fall under its mainstream Gaming brand. That said, there’s really nothing much separating the two brands in terms of feature and it all boils down to aesthetics and price wherein the ASROCK Fatal1ty B150 Gaming K4 does stand an advantage being a full-ATX board and have more expansion slots. If that means anything to you, this motherboard certainly edges the competition in that department.
All in all, its a game of price and with a $99 street price (Php4290) this is easily a good choice for anyone that doesn’t want to settle for a basic H110 motherboard or want the advantage of a B150 chipset motherboard despite the Gaming designation. The ASROCK Fatal1ty B150 Gaming K4 is a decent performing motherboard that brings basic essentials for an affordable price.
Price / Where to Buy:
US – Approx. US$95 – ASRock FATAL1TY B150 Gaming K4
PH – Php4290
ASRock backs the Fatal1ty GAMING K4 with a 3-year warranty. We give it our B2G Value Award!