ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 Motherboard Tested

On this review, we are taking a good look at the ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4. An ATX AM4 motherboard built around the AMD X370 chipset. This is probably the last Fatal1ty series based motherboard that we’re going to test, since ASRock is bound to drop their partnership with Fatal1ty soon.

The ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 has a lot going on it. That includes a 12 phase power delivery, the Realtek ALC1220 codec with TI’s NE5532 amplifier and so much more on an ATX form factor.  Learn more from the official product page and get it at Amazon.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4
CPU Support AMD AM4 socket for AMD Ryzen processors and 7th Gen A-series / Athlon Processors
Chipset AMD X370 Chipset
Form Factor ATX
Power Phase 8+4
Memory
Frequency 2933MHz (Max)
Slots 4x DIMM (Non-ECC)
Capacity 64GB
Channel Dual
Connectivity
Slots 1x PCI Express X16 Gen 3.0 slot

1x PCI Express X8 Gen 3.0 slot

4x PCI Express X1 Gen 3.0 slot

Onboard Graphics Supports AMD Dual Graphics
Multi-GPU N/A
Storage AMD X370 Chipset

  • 6 X SATA 3.0
    • RAID 0, 1, 10
  • 2 X M.2 slot
    • For 2242/2260/2280 PCI-E SSD
USB Support by X370 Express Chipset

  • 6 X USB3.0 port(s)
  • 2 X USB3.1 port(s)
Audio Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec

  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection
  • Premium Blu-ray Audio support
  • Supports Surge Protection
  • Nichicon Fine Gold Series Audio Caps
  • 120dB SNR DAC with Differential Amplifier
  • TI® NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier for Front Panel Audio Connector (Supports up to 600 Ohm headsets)
  • Pure Power-In
  • Direct Drive Technology
  • PCB Isolate Shielding
  • Impedance Sensing on Line Out port
  • Individual PCB Layers for R/L Audio Channel
  • Gold Audio Jacks
  • Supports Creative Sound Blaster™ Cinema 3
Network GigaLAN Intel® I211AT
Miscellaneous
Fan Connectors 1 X 4-pin CPU_FAN connector with smart fan

1 X 4-pin SYS_FAN connector with smart fan

1 X 4-pin SYS_FAN connector with smart fan

  • ASRock USB 3.1 Gen2
  • ASRock Super Alloy
  • XXL Aluminum Alloy Heatsink
  • Premium 45A Power Choke
  • Nichicon 12K Black Caps (100% Japan made high quality conductive polymer capacitors)
  • I/O Armor
  • Matte Black PCB
  • High Density Glass Fabric PCB
  • 2oz Copper PCB
  • ASRock Steel Slots
  • ASRock Ultra M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3)
  • ASRock Full Spike Protection (for all USB, Audio, LAN Ports)
  • ASRock Live Update & APP Shop

AMD RYZEN PROCESSORS:

On the performance side, the Zen microarchitecture represents a leap in core execution capability versus AMD’s previous desktop designs. Notably, the Zen architecture features a 1.75X larger instruction scheduler window and 1.5X greater issue width and resources; this change allows Zen to schedule and send more work into the execution units. Further, a new micro-op cache allows Zen to bypass L2 and L3 cache when utilizing frequently-accessed micro operations.

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A high-performance engine requires fuel, and the Zen architecture’s throughput characteristics deliver in this regard. Chief amongst the changes are major revisions to cache hierarchy with dedicated 64KB L1 instruction and data caches, 512KB dedicated L2 cache per core, and 8MB of L3 cache shared across four cores.

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Beyond adopting the more power efficient 14nm FinFET process, the Zen architecture specifically utilizes the density-optimized version of the Global Foundries 14nm FinFET process. This permits for smaller die sizes and lower operating voltages across the complete power/performance curve.

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Scalability in the Zen architecture starts with the CPU Complex (CCX), a natively 4C8T module. Each CCX has 64K L1 I-cache, 64K L1 D-cache, 512KB dedicated L2 cache per core, and 8MB L3 cache shared across cores. Each core within the CCX may optionally feature SMT for additional multi-threaded capabilities. More than one CCX can be present in a Zen-based product.

AMD X370 CHIPSET:

AMD’s AM4 Platform currently consists of 5 chipsets. That’s the X370, A/B350, A320, X300 and the A300 chipset in chronological order.

X370 B350 A320 X300 A300
USB 2.0 6 6 6  N/A N/A
USB 3.1 G1 6 2 2  N/A N/A
USB 3.1 G2 2 2 1  N/A N/A
SATA 4 2 2 N/A N/A
SATA Express
(2x SATA III or 2x PCIe 3.0)
2 2 2 N/A N/A
PCI-e 2.x 8 6 4  N/A N/A
SATA RAID 0, 1, 10 0, 1, 10 0, 1, 10 0, 1 0, 1
Multi-GPU Yes No No Yes No
Overclocking Yes Yes No Yes No

The X370 chipset is AMD’s top of the line offering for the AM4 platform. It fully supports overclocking, multi-GPU and a range of storage interfaces compared to other AM4 chipsets.

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:

The ASRock X370 Fatal1ty Gaming K4’s box art and packaging is not much different compared to their other designs. That said, you’ll be greeted by a well packed motherboard with loads of information about the product itself from the get go.

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The board comes with four SATA cables, a labelled IO shield, M.2 screws and an SLI bridge.

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Paper works are lavish and there’s a case badge to pride yourself as an owner of ASRock’s high performance boards.

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DESIGN, LAYOUT AND CONNECTIVITY:

The ASRock X370 Fatal1ty Gaming K4 features a blend of matte black and red accents typically found on their Fatal1ty line up of motherboards. Aesthetic wise, ASRock’s Fatal1ty motherboards now looks a bit dated compared to their other motherboards. Still, others do prefer this kind of styling.

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Layout wise, we are looking at a good one. Fan headers are well placed just between the slots and the horizontal VRM array, while USB headers are lined up on their respective positions.

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The back of the board shows us the PCI-E slot’s electrical properties. From top to bottom, we have a x1, x16, x1, x8, x1 and another x1 slot. That’s a total of 6 slots for your expansion cards.

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The audio components are separated from the rest, so we’re expecting good levels here as far as noise is concerned. As for the usual headers, we have plenty at the bottom together with the 3rd and 4th fan headers.

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Storage options this side of the board are provided by 6 native SATA ports and dual USB 3.0 headers. One of the M.2 slots is located on this area though you’d want to use the M.2 near the AM4 socket since it is faster.

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Back panel options are excellent. USB 3.0 are plenty and we’ve got PS/2 ports for legacy devices as well. The audio jacks are plated too but we’re more interested at what the Texas Instrument’s amplifier has to offer. Yes, this is also a motherboard with an Intel NIC inside.

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INTERFACE:

The ASRock X370 Fatal1ty Gaming K4 shares the same UEFI layout with the rest of the company’s latest releases. We have 8 menus here, with the OC Tweaker being the most important one for overclocking and fine tuning.

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the Advanced menu is where you could find the chipset’s options. Notably, the north bridge, south bridge and the storage configurations.

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The LED effects of the motherboard are actually configured within the UEFI. Driver and flash updates are available as well via the Instant Flash and Driver installer tools.

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SOFTWARE:

ASRock had the board bundled with tons of applications that should help you optimize your system’s performance. That includes the following software tools:

  • AppCharger
  • SATA Floppy Image
  • Fatal1ty Mouse Port
  • F-Stream Tuning utility
  • APP Shop
  • Restart to UEFI
  • ASRock RGB LED
  • Sound Blaster Cinema 3
  • Windows 7 USB Patcher

TEST SETUP AND METHODOLOGY:

The system performance shall be evaluated by various benchmarking tools and applications. We are testing this system with the high-performance settings enabled at the OS, with the default UEFI configuration. Background processes such as anti-viruses and third-party applications are disabled as well. Outlined below are the applications and benchmark tools for reference:

ASRock-X370-Gaming-K4

TEST SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS
PROCESSOR AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
MOTHERBOARD ASROck X370 Fatal1ty Gaming K4
CPU COOLER Cryorig C1 Top Flow
MEMORY KIT Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR4 @ 2666MHz 2x4GB
GRAPHICS CARD ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX OC 6GB
INTERNAL STORAGE  Crucial BX200 480GB
POWER SUPPLY CORSAIR RM850X 850W
DISPLAY 27″ DELL U2715H
OPERATING SYSTEM Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

This review has been made possible with Banggood‘s photography equipment. Learn more from this link.

CPU AND MEMORY PERFORMANCE:

  • Super PI – 32M Calculations
  • wPrime – 32M and 1024M Calculations
  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition – Memory Benchmark

PRODUCTIVITY PERFORMANCE:

  • GIMP – 7 MB worth of image processing
  • HandBrake – 150 MB MP4 to H.264 video encoding
  • WinRAR – Internal benchmark tool

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • AS SSD – Storage performance
  • RightMark Audio Analyzer – Audio performance
  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition – Power consumption
  • NetIO-GUI – Network Performance

POWER CONSUMPTION:

The AIDA64 System Stability Test uses a 64-bit multi-threaded stress testing module to drive the system to its limits. Power readings are recorded with a watt-meter.

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The asrock X370 Gaming K4 features an excellent power consumption for its size.

CPU AND MEMORY PERFORMANCE:

Super PI is a single-threaded program that calculates pi to a specified number of digits after the decimal point. It is a widely used benchmark within the industry.

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WPrime is a multi-threaded program that calculates a set number of square roots. It verifies the results by squaring them, then compares it with the original numbers.

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The AIDA64 Memory Benchmark measure the data transfer bandwidth and latency of the system memory. We are measuring the latency on this benchmark.

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Good performance output we got from the board here. Nothing out of ordinary.

PRODUCTIVITY PERFORMANCE:

GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a free and open-source image editing tool. A 7 MB worth of images is be processed and converted to gauge the system performance.

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HandBrake is a free video encoding tool that supports a wide variety of media codecs. A 150MB worth MP4 video is converted using the H.264 codec to gauge the system performance.

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WinRAR is a file archive utility that can create, view and unpack numerous archive file formats. The software’s built in benchmark tool is utilized to gauge the system performance.

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The productivity performance results of the motherboard is excellent, with a special note on the WinRAR compression speed performance.

STORAGE PERFORMANCE:

AS SSD is a storage benchmarking software widely used throughout the industry. On this test, we are using its scoring system to evaluate our Crucial BX200 SSD’s performance using the system’s native SATA controller.

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The SATA III performance is good. Nothing is out of place here.

AUDIO PERFORMANCE:

The RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) is a tool designed to test the quality of audio devices. We used a sampling rate of 24-bit at 48000Hz for the loopback test. We are essentially testing the quality of the line-in and line-out of the audio solution.

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The noise level performance is generally very good at -91.2dBA. Frequency response is also flat – just where I wanted it to see out of the box.

NETWORK PERFORMANCE:

The NetIO-GUI is a good application to test any network’s performance. The LAN round trip time is our concern here, checking out latency anomalies if there are any. The client and server are connected on the network via Cat5 cables using a 100Mbps router.

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RTT performance is nothing to worry about with <1ms of latency on any packet sizes tested.

WRAPPING IT UP:

The ASRock X370 Fatal1ty Gaming K4 is an excellent motherboard built around excellent components selection. We have an Intel NIC, a Texas Instruments amped audio solution and a good layout to house your components without hitting a snag.

This motherboard had excellent connectivity options with no extra controllers required, perfectly utilizing what the X370 chipset has to offer. While we never tacked overclocking on this review, we did a small run and had our R5 1600X clocked at 4.0GHz with no sweat. That’s still within the turbo clock speeds of the CPU but it’s a constant 4.0GHz so we’re pretty happy with the results.

The ASRock X370 Fatal1ty Gaming K4 is priced at $150 (7500 Pesos) and for an X370 motherboard with tons of features, that is already considered a bargain. You’d be really hard pressed to find another X370 motherboard with the same features and price. For that, we’re giving this board a deserving gold.

  • GREAT PERFORMANCE
  • AUDIO PERFORMANCE
  • CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS
  • DUAL M.2 SLOTS
  • GOOD BUNDLES
  • OUTDATED STYLING
  • NO PCI-E X4 SLOT

2016-Gold