Manufacturers started making special gaming motherboards with Intel Ivy Bridge platform and with the launch of Haswell, this trend fully blasted up. All the major manufacturers now have dedicated product lines targeted towards gamers. Practicality or advantages of these so-called motherboards are a different debate but the major advantage of these motherboards that I can see is that manufacturers are bringing some essential high-end but essential features down to the low price points. These features were previously limited to expensive motherboards only. Two of the major features which made their way to lower price points due to these gaming series motherboards are better on-board sound and fast connectivity options.
ASRock recently released such a motherboard, Fatal1ty B85 Killer, which comes with very decent on-board sound and Ethernet capabilities to budget-level price point. As the name suggests it belongs to the Fatal1ty series of gaming motherboards which tells right away that it comes with some exclusive Fatal1ty features like a special mouse port and F-Stream software suite. However, the Fatal1ty B85 Killer is a little bit special. ‘Killer’ in the name points to the Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 NIC present in this motherboard. The Killer NIC is specifically developed for online gaming as it improves networking performance; especially in UDP driven applications such as online games and media streaming. ASRock claims that it gives as much as 5 times the speed of traditional networking solutions.
Apart from the upgraded NIC, the Fatal1ty B85 Killer comes with ASRock’s proprietary Purity Sound solution which combines several hardware and software components to boost the audio processing capabilities of the motherboard. Furthermore, it comes with hi-density power connectors and gold components in PCIe slots.
ASRock also bundles 3 months premium membership of XSplit worth $25 with this motherboard. XSplit is a multimedia broadcasting and recording application which can be used to record or live stream your gameplay videos.
Let’s have a quick look at the specifications of the ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer before we jump into the fully detailed review:
|CPU Support||4th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processor family for the LGA 1150 Socket|
|Power Design||CPU Power: 6 Phases
Memory Power: 2 Phases
|Memory||4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 1600/1333 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory|
|BIOS||AMI UEFI BIOS with 64 Mb Flash ROM|
|Expansion Slots||1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16)1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4)
3 x PCI
2 x PCIe x1
|Storage||4 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s|
|Connectivity||1x Qualcomm Etheros Killer E2200 NIC|
|I/O||1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
1 x D-Sub Port
1 x DVI-D Port
1 x HDMI Port
1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
3 x USB 2.0 Ports
1 x Fatal1ty Mouse Port (USB 2.0)
2 x USB 3.0 Ports
1 x RJ-45 LAN Port
7.1 Channel HD Audio
|Audio||Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec|
|Form Factor||ATX Form Factor (305 mm x 244 mm)|