In an effort to further expand its options for the midrange market, ASRock selectively stacked its midrange offering and allocated some boards with select features while some have their own distinct ones. With the B150 Gaming K4 we reviewed previously, we saw a Killer LAN equipped motherboard with the B150 chipset at an affordable price. For this review ASRock sent us their alternative midrange solution focusing more on I/O with the ASRock Fatal1ty H170 Performance. This motherboard drops the KillerLAN solution in favor of an Intel i219v Gigabit NIC and has support for built-in USB Type-C and M.2 storage. At $30 cheaper than the ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4 variant, this board surely has everything for a decent gaming build sans overclocking support. Read on if this is the right board for you!
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.
Closer Look – ASRock B150M Pro4
The ASRock Fatal1ty H170 Performance sports the same Fatal1ty series design for this generation of board from ASRock: read heatsinks, a shroud for the rear I/O with tinted Nichicon capacitors. A 10-phase power design supplements the processor in this motherboard and while it doesn’t support overclocking, XMP support for DDR4 is present.
The board sports a pair of x16 PCIe slots running at x16 and x4 and allows the board to run Crossfire configurations (sorry, no SLI.) An M.2 slot is present for high-speed storage available for it and front-facing SATA ports with a single SATA Express array available.
Rear I/O has a legacy PS/2 port, Fatal1ty mouse port, USB3.0 ports, a USB3.0 Type C port, ethernet port powered by the Intel NIC, HDMI and DVI for video as well 5-channel audio with DTS support.
Processor: Intel Core i7 6700K Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty H170 Performance 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
This board supports memory overclocking with predefined configurations but our memory sticks are either incapable of the speeds recommended by the OC presets or are just flaky outside of their XMP profiles so we ran in stock JEDEC DDR4-2133 settings.
Performance Testing – Synthetic
Performance Testing – 3D Benchmark
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.
We’ll skip the breakdown for this motherboard as I think it deserves a more direct approach in describing our verdict. The ASRock H170 Performance is basically a Z170 GAMING K4 with an Intel LAN and no overclocking. That said, should you but it?
Depends on your situation. First off, performance is definitely out of the question as it doesn’t support overclocking you’ll get pretty much stock experience comparative to non-OCd Z170 boards. Despite the support for memory OC though, its highly selective and is a hit or miss at best. For overall system performance there’s support for M.2 and dual-GPU via Crossfire which adds another dimension of scalability if you don’t plan on a CPU-focused build but a more balanced non-K dual-GPU Radeon powered system with M.2.
We’re typically avoiding comparing KillerLAN vs Intel as we firmly believe its mostly an Internet issue when LAN is concerned so this is highly subjective and is up to you guys to decide. USB Type C is a good bonus but it only runs on USB3.0 speeds. The Fatal1ty mouse port is a nice addition and even if you don’t have a gaming mouse, the increased polling rate may improve experience in some situations.
Overall the ASRock H170 Performance offers a good choice for those looking for a budget motherboard that can scale-up a bit but not break the bank especially if you’re not planning on overclocking and is already invested in a single GPU solution. The possibility of adding in an M.2 storage device is a good addition for added system responsiveness. In closing, the ASRock H170 Performance lives up to its name and delivers true value and performance.