An Even Closer Look:
Let’s dive deep in the motherboard for a close look at its anatomy. ASRock Z77 Fatal1ty Professional comes with passive cooling for components present on-board. It has very sleek and sharp looking black heatsinks and red accents. They are probably the best I’ve ever seen. The heatsinks are secured with the help of screws instead of push-pins. Intel Z77 PCH also has a fairly large heatsink with Fatal1ty logo on top. We didn’t face any motherboard heating issues during the testing.
When I was expecting this motherboard to reach me I was pretty sure that ASRock must have put black PCB in their high-end Fatal1ty series but I was disappointed to see the dark brown PCB one again. I know it doesn’t really matter in terms of performance but small details like this can adds a lot of value to the product. It is understandable that ASRock is using dark brown PCB of their non-Fatal1ty boards cause it kind of matches with their brown and golden theme but with black and red theme of Fatal1ty motherboard, black PCB is a must.
ASRock fitted a 16+8 phase power design for the CPU. It gets it power from the 8-pin EPS CPU power connector present on the top of motherboard. We couldn’t find out which voltage regulation controller ASRock is using in this motherboard because it is hidden under the heatsink. ASRock is using Japan-made gold capacitors all over the board. These belong to the Nichicon LF series and are rated for 2000 hours at 105C.
Starting from the left top of the motherboard, we see a little ASMedia ASM1442T high speed TMDS (Transition-minimized differential signalling) level shift IC for the HDMI and DVI posts present at the back of the motherboard.
ASRock chose to use Realtake ALC898 7.1 channel HD Audio codec with Dobly Home Theater support. For gigabit Ethernet ports, this motherboard makes use of Broadcom BCM57781 controller.
Moving down the left side of the motherboard, there is Nuvoton NCT6776D super I/O chip. This provides all the temperature and voltage monitoring along with fan speed controlling; PS/2 port for keyboard is also a blessing of this chip. Moving to the right, there is ASMedia’s ASM1083 PCIe-PCI bridge chip. It converts the PCI Express x1 signal to PCI legacy slot. It’s responsible for two PCI slots we have on the motherboard.
There is a PLX PEX8608 chip present near the PCH heatsink. It’s actually a PCIe splitter/multiplier chip which combines one of the gigabit Ethernet ports, two PCI Express x1 slots along with ASMedia ASM1083 bridge chip and puts them through single PCIe x1 lane.
Since Inel Z77 supports only two SATA III 6 GB/s slots so ASRock put in ASMedia ASM1061 SATA III controller for additional SATA III 6 Gb/s ports.
Two chips are also present on the back side of the motherboard. The VIA VT6330 has two controllers inside; one being the IEEE 1394 controller and second one is the IDE controller. This little chip provides the IEEE 1394 to the back panel I/O and IDE port that is present on-board. Second chip is EtronTech EJ188H. It’s a USB 3.0 controller that we’ve never seen before and it is responsible for four of the six USB 3.0 ports present at the back panel I/O.