AMD 990FX Mobo Round-Up: Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte

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ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional

Here we have the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional. Those familiar with the Fatal1ty brand (and professional gamer of the same name) will know that it adorns products targeted at hardcore gamers. And believe it or not, the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Pro actually has a gamer-specific feature of Fatal1ty’s design, unlike some older boards that featured the brand only. In the board’s IO backplane is a “Fatal1ty” USB mouse port set for a 500MHz polling rate, which is the same polling rate Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel likes to use when gaming competitively.

ASRock Falat1ty 990FX Professional
Specifications & Features
CPU - Support for Socket AM3+ processors
- Support for Socket AM3 processors: AMD Phenom II X6 / X4 / X3 / X2 (except 920 / 940) / Athlon II X4 / X3 / X2 / Sempron processors
- Supports 8-Core CPU
- Supports UCC feature (Unlock CPU Core)
- Advanced V12 + 2 Power Phase Design
- Supports CPU up to 140W
- Supports AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet Technology
- FSB 2600 MHz (5.2 GT/s)
- Supports Untied Overclocking Technology
- Supports Hyper-Transport 3.0 (HT 3.0) Technology
Chipset - Northbridge: AMD 990FX
- Southbridge: AMD SB950
Memory - Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
- 4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
- Supports DDR3 2100(OC)/1866/1600/1333/1066/800 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- Max. capacity of system memory: 32GB

Audio, Video and Networking
Audio - 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec)
- Premium Blu-ray audio support
- Supports THX TruStudio
LAN - PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
- Broadcom BCM57781
- Supports Wake-On-LAN
- Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
- Supports Dual LAN with Teaming function
- Supports PXE

Expansion / Connectivity
Slots - 3 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (PCIE2/PCIE4: x16 mode ; PCIE5: x4 mode)
- 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots
- 2 x PCI slots
- Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX, 3-Way CrossFireX and CrossFireX
- Supports NVIDIA Quad SLI and SLI
SATA3 - 6 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, JBOD and RAID 5), NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions
USB 3.0 - 2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by Etron EJ168A, support USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
- 2 x Front USB 3.0 headers (support 4 USB 3.0 ports) by Etron EJ168A, support USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s

Other Features / Miscellaneous
Smart Switch - 1 x Power Switch with LED
- 1 x Reset Switch with LED
- 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED
Form Factor - ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm
- All Solid Capacitor design (100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors)

The ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional’s specifications reveal a very feature rich motherboard. Like the other boards shown here that exploit all of the features of the 990FX chipset, the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional does so as well, and compliments the chipset with a four-port Etron USB 3.0 controller that adds front and rear USB ports. The board even includes a slot- or bay-mountable USB 3.0 bracket so users can place the additional ports on the front of rear of their systems. Firewire is available on the board too.


ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional

Additional features of the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional include integrated power and reset switches, a POST code error reporter, all Japanese solid capacitors, a Realtek ALC892 7.1CH HD audio Codec, dual gigabit PCIe LAN controllers (with teaming) and a digital 12+2 VRM design. The cooling hardware on the board is also quite good. There is a tall finned heatsink in the VRM, linked to the 990FX and SB950 via a thick heatpipe. The 990FX and SB950 have their own heatsinks as well. Although the setup does a good job of cooling the chips, the high VRM heatsink may get in the way of some oversized aftermarket coolers that overhang the socket area, so keep that in mind if this board tickles your fancy.

The overall layout and color scheme of the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional is very good. The black, red and white expansion slots and headers are all clearly labeled and the positioning of all of the components is good. There was one oddity with the DIMM retention brackets, however. Like Asus board, only one side of the DIMM slots has a moving retention clip—the other side is a simple, locking notch. But the side without the clip is facing the top of the board. This is usually done the other way around so the movable clips don’t interfere with the back-side of a graphics or other expansion card when open. Luckily there is enough room between the DIMM slots and first PEG slot that this isn’t a cause for concern, but it did catch our eye.

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