ASRock: Killer SLI/ac, Fatal1ty Gaming K6, Taichi and Professional Gaming i9
We tested four X299-motherboards manufactured by ASRock. The X299 Killer SLI/ac and Fatal1ty X299 Gaming K6 are two relatively affordable models, that cost 214 pounds / 240 euros and 240 pounds / 270 euros respectively. The X299 Taichi is for the middle segment with 285 pounds / 320 euros and the Fatal1ty X299 Professional Gaming i9 is a high-end board – the name already indicates what CPUs are supposed to be paired with this board.
The basis is solid with all ASRock boards: ALC1220-audio is standard, as are Intel-networking and a total of three M.2-slots, even with the Killer SLI. The Killer SLI and Gaming K6 are clearly based on the same PCB, with some differences in the used components. For example, the Gaming K6 replaces the WiFi-adapter with a second wired network connector, offers an extra USB 3.0-header and allows you to read the BIOS post-codes using the useful display.
The next model is the X299 Taichi, a motherboard that is full of grey and has a wheel work as overarching theme. What stands out is the very extensive power supply, which consists of 13 phases of which 12 are directly for the CPU. This suggests that it is an overclocking motherboard, but for that we are missing features such as on-board buttons and voltage measuring points. The price is not in line with that either: on average the X299 Taichi costs 285 pounds / 320 euros. Worth mentioning is that there is a second version of this motherboard (X299 Taichi XE) with better VRM-cooling and a second 8-pins power connector, which makes the board even more suited for overclocking and the recently released 16/18-core CPUs.
What remains is a very complete all-round motherboard. In this segment the standard is 10 SATA-connectors, three times M.2 and two USB 3.1-connectors, but ASRock also integrated a second network connector and WiFi. For the latter it is unfortunately not that great, the used Intel WiFi-chip operates at a low maximum speed of 433 Mb/s, which means that the added value of this feature is limited. Another drawback is the absent internal header for USB 3.1, which is only found on the more expensive ASRock models – in our opinion a missed opportunity. We have nothing to complain about in terms of the audio quality and the rest of the test results are solid, although the Taichi is not exactly the most efficient board in the test.
For nearly 89 pounds / 100 euros more you can call yourself an owner of the ASRock Fatal1ty X299 Professional Gaming i9. This board does have a USB 3.1-header and the second LAN-connector is based on an Aquantia-chip, which allows for network speeds of up to 10 Gb/s. Compared with the Taichi the on-board power / rest buttons are also new. However, for a board in this price range we cannot justify the extremely slow 433Mb/s-WiFi.