ASRock Z370 Fatal1ty Gaming K6 Motherboard Review

/ 12 months ago

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A Closer Look

This is a high-end gaming motherboard, and that means it’s going to have to deliver high-end performance. However, the gaming market is very big on aesthetics too, so as much as the hardware on this board is practical, it also look stunning too.

The VRM cooling around the CPU is incredibly robust and features a hefty chunk of metal, as well as a large heat pipe between the two heatsinks. This should help move a lot of heat away from the motherboard, and help you maintain your overclocks under heavy system loads.

to keep things looking neat and tidy, there’s an oversized rear I/O guard. What I like is that it’s overstepping the VRM cooler, merging the two and giving the board a unique look in the process.

There are four DIMM slots on this motherboard, nothing too fancy or armoured, unfortunately, but they’ll get the job done just fine.

Onboard Controls!

One thing I am excited to see is the onboard power and reset buttons. Firstly, this is the only Z370 (out of seven) that I’ve got that even has them! And secondly, they’re easily some of the best looking onboard buttons I’ve ever seen.

Much like the rear I/O guard, the chipset heatsink is also oversized. Sure, that’s partly for the unique aesthetics, but it’s increased surface area is going to help keep all that vital hardware cool too.

There are 8 x SATA 6 Gbps ports on this motherboard, which is a nice upgrade, as most of the Z370 range are set with just six of them. This is good news if you’re running a lot of drives in RAID.

Connectivity just keeps getting better and better too. There’s a pair of USB 3.0 headers here, as well as a Type-C front panel header behind those.

Then you’ve got a plethora of USB 2.0 on top of all that. Another nice treat, this is the first Z370 board we’ve tested so far that also has a BIOS Debug LED, which is a real time saver when you’re overclocking.

Powerful Audio

The Realtek ALC1220 Audio hardware with Purity Sound 4 & Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3 is a welcome addition to this motherboard. Hi-Res audio with low latency that’s sure to be a perfect match for gaming, movies, music and more.

There are three full-size PCIe slots on the board, all fitted with durable armour to help them take the strain of modern graphics cards.

There are two M.2 drives on the motherboard, offering support for the latest high-speed NVMe storage dries, as well as Intel’s super fast Optane drives.

The rear I/O is well equipped. There’s PS2, all kinds of USB ports to suit your needs and HD audio jacks with gold plated connectors. For some gamers though, it’s the inclusion of a VGA port that may be amusing, crack out your old CRT monitor and get some Counter Strike on!

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17 Responses to “ASRock Z370 Fatal1ty Gaming K6 Motherboard Review”
  1. Jake Feimster says:

    Why didn’t you put on a pair of headphones, plug them into the rear panel of the motherboard, and LISTEN to the sound? You would’ve noticed significant electronic interfernce–which, I assume is a major hardware fault. I’m on my second Z370 K6 and they both do it–so I assume they all do it.

    “There’s also the audio performance, and with an ALC1120 codec, as well as Purity Sound, and Sound Blaster Cinema 3, it’s got as good or better sound processing that anything else out there right now. That means you’re unlikely to need additional hardware to get the best sound from your speakers, or your headsets.”

    Guess not, huh? You’re one of the only reviews of this mobo available and I took your word for it.

    • Peter Donnell says:

      Hardware faults happen, but if two motherboards did it, to my mind that would point to an outside source or another component that was faulty. I hope you get the problem solved though, poor sound would drive me mental. However, it seems pretty rude of you to blame the fault on us and our review, based on the fact that ours wasn’t faulty.

      • Jake Feimster says:

        Sorry, I was/am “mental” as you say. As I still haven’t gotten it fixed, but as I wasn’t willing to wait any more time without the system, I am currently “dealing with it”… Certainly not your fault, of course. I was/am just frustrated to buy a board partly for sound quality and receive… this… twice… after waiting for Intel’s slow launch to begin with… Maybe we will RMA again, with ASRock this time…

    • Brian says:

      That buzzing is caused by an improper grounding in the audio section specifically! make sure you have ALL screws tightened fully, especially around the Audio Components!

      The ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 is by FAR – the BEST Motherboard for the money, because in terms of RAW PERFORMANCE, it is tied with the best – and has cooler VRM temps than ANY other brand – due to severely overbuilding their CPU VRMs! With 12 phases for the CPU alone, each phase capable of ~44 to 60 Amps at 100 C (which they will NEVER hit in a well ventilated case) combined with TOP QUALITY 60 Amp Chokes, and top of the line Black 12k Nichicon Capacitors – there is nothing this board lacks when it comes to Overclocking!

      And overall, it really does not lack ANYTHING that ANY other Z370 offers – unless you really want built in 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 3+ M.2 Slots (K6 has 2), a FEW more USB ports – or already built in Wifi. If none of that matters to you, as it does not to myself, then there is literally NO other motherboard that is even CLOSE to as good as this one! If you really want some or all of those other features, then I would buy either the ASRock Taichi, or the top of the line Fatal1ty Professional Gaming i7, which while more expensive, are still not AS expensive as the Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, or other equivalents!
      I have been using ASRock Motherboards in ALL of my builds over the last 7 years, they are not only top notch, and less expensive than the competition – but their service is also top notch! From what I have read, if this audio problem persists, ASRock will RMA you. I know they have for me before when I got a partially broken board for another person’s build – that was likely caused in shipping.

      I for one, have had 2 ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6 motherboards, as I accidentally bricked one by breaking a CPU pin, see story below**… Neither board had this audio issue for me at all, but then I also use a powered screwdriver, and I put a screw into every hole in the Motherboard, the powered screwdriver does shut off after too much torque, but it tightens it farther than I likely would by hand. When removing a screw it is obvious to see the scuff marks where the screw fully contacted the little metal contacts around said screw hole. These are VERY important at times!

      **NEVER use cheap Liquid Electric Tape to re-seal your CPU after delidding, after 24 hours of sitting clamped down in the kit, I picked my CPU up by the IHS, and right as I was hovering over the socket to place it in, the IHS fell off, the CPU then fell at just the wrong angle and badly bent 4 pins which i tried to repair, but one broke as I was slowly coaxing it back into place… There is a REALLY good reason Rockit Cool sells a very good Gel Superglue on their website along with the Rockit 88 – luckily I had some of this exact Loctite Brand Gel Superglue with its really easy applicator, unfortunately I only used that AFTER I tried Liquid Electric Tape on the recommendation of several Forum users, who claim that is what Silicon Lottery uses, as well as a FEW Forum users who said to never ever use superglue – well they were wrong. Because their arguments were incorrect: A) Superglue does NOT eat through PCBs – at least not the type I used, and B) It actually CAN be delidded again should I feel the need, and it is not a major hindrance, as I used just 4 very small dabs of said glue, one in each corner.

      Luckily I do NOT ever need to Delid again! Running 5 GHZ on all cores and Ring Bus, 0 AVX offset, 100% stable, and VERY COOL! Hottest it gets, is with Prime95 AVX Small FFT Torture test, and even then it only hits 81 C! I COULD easily go to 5.3+ GHZ with this chip and this AMAZING Motherboard – but honestly, beyond even just 4.3 GHZ on all cores, the gain is VERY minimal overall in my primary use – gaming. But I AM a heavy Overclocking junky, and there is something REALLY satisfying about seeing CPU-X read 5000 MHz on all cores whenever under a sustained load! And what makes it FAR MORE satisfying still, is the fact that I now have the same temps in AIDA64 as I did while GAMING before the Delid – and that was 4.8 GHZ cores, 4.6 Ring Bus at a good deal lower Vcore! I actually would hit about 75 C in gaming before the delid, now I hit 77 in AIDA64, and gaming BARELY ever hits 60 C!

        • Brian says:

          That video is absolute BS, I have put a thermo-couple on mine whilst running Prime95 AVX, default Small FFT (Max Heat) And while my CPU draws as much as ~250 watts rated by HWMonitor, my VRM never exceeded ~80 C under the heatsink, above the MOSFET. I did not check Choke temps, as they are largely irrelevant, but I CAN say I have touched the tops of the caps near my CPU and they are barely warm to the touch under artificial power virus loads.

          Of course, I have INSANELY good airflow, 4x 120mm and 4x 140mm case fans, all high performance, high CFM and high pressure (Corsair SP120 PEs, Noctua NF-A15s without low speed adapters, a Cougar Vortex 140mm fan, and 2 Phanteks PF140 SP exhausting. 2 140mm fans, a Noctua and the Cougar are on my Case side, blowing directly in.)

          So there is a reason my temps are very good, but also, that Video, TOTAL BS! Show the Mobo, show the screen, show me everything in one shot and I MIGHT believe he got a defective board!

          This Mobo has 12x 60 Amp Fairchild Semi Dual-N MOSFETs – they have VERY LOW HEAT output, just 1.2 Ohm RDs on – while I am not certain on that reading, the calculations for the actual MOSFET chips, is somewhere around ~20 watts of heat, IF a stage is outputting a FULL 60 Amps!

          This board has a doubling scheme, as there is no such thing as a 12 stage controller, it uses an Intersil chip that is programmable, and have it setup as 6 + 1 phase (or possibly 6+2 as the 2 stages for the iGPU may or may not be doubled I cannot find a direct answer)

          In any case, the heat load from the MOSFETs is LOW to begin with, then add in the fact that NO NORMAL 8700k will EVER draw more than ~150 Amps total without LN2 even then above 130 Amps is rare, divide that across 12 separate MOSFETs, where any ONE stage in use will be switching rapidly between 2 separate VRMs AND Chokes (60 Amp chokes) due to being doubled – which lowers AND spreads the heat load, and finally add in the Heatsink – not the greatest fin surface given, but it has a lot of mass, DECENT surface area, and a 6mm Heatpipe to join both heatsinks.

          The ASRock Fatal1ty Gaming K6 is BUILT for Overclocking, and unless you are sealing the Mobo in an airtight vault of some form, there is NO WAY IN HELL that ANYONE is getting 130+ Degress C! Hell for all I know, that IS actually hooked into the Z370 Gaming K6 but the temp is in FAHRENHEIT – in which case, that is normal. Otherwise it is either a defective board, a defective user, or just plain BS!

  2. Ron Perillo says:

    It happens once in a while, especially with ones from similar batches. It happened with me and MSI’s Z97 Gaming 9. Got two different boards with problematic audio until I got a third one from the US that worked fine.

  3. Alex says:

    Sounds I found MB to buy. Looking forward to replace my old rig with new 8700k cpu for my wedding photography / videography editing.
    Still it is not clear why results have such a big difference if they use same CPU and Z370 chip.

    • Brian says:

      The reason ASUS runs away with the “Out of the Box” settings, is because at least back then – they were pushing their “MCE” or Multi-Core Enhancement feature as ON by DEFAULT! What this does, is turbos all cores to the MAXIMUM SINGLE Core turbo rate – i.e. 4.7 GHZ!

      Essentially Asus tried to screw the consumer over, making the unaware believe that their motherboards are magic, and magically score some 1000 odd CB points higher than ANY OTHER BRAND – in “Out of the Box Settings”!

      It was scummy, but on ASUS’s part. Almost every mid to high end Z370 board has the SAME feature in one way or another, but no one else was pushing theirs as OCed by default during launch without letting anyone KNOW they effectively OCed their chips!

  4. Brian says:

    It would APPEAR that however this testing was done, that not ALL 5 GHZ overclocks were the same. I would like to know the memory and Cache speeds for each, some motherboards lock them by default – others will keep cache at around 3.7 to 4.4 GHZ unless you manually enter the number yourself

    I run my cache at 5 GHZ, and my Memory at 3100 MHZ, my Cinebench is 1660 by 221, my AIDA64 Cache and memory test shows 49.6ns Memory latency, and 9.8ns L3 Cache Latency, with 401 GB/sec read, 290 Write, and 340 copy.

    This Motherboard is BY FAR the BEST for the money! And overall one of the best, period!

  5. Zeanon says:

    For me the interferences were caused by Windows, which used wrong Audio presets (my mic port was also deactivated, why ever?), activating the mic port and switching the standart device fixed it for me(I think that was the fix cause I never changed anything hardwarewise)

    So the Problem might not necessarily be hardware caused, sometimes its just some software issue
    (Im using a Sennheiser Game One, which is pretty sensitive to poor audio quality and i am as well, so in my case the problem is definitly fixed)

    • Starenity says:

      Audio issues might be caused by various things such as:

      1: Poor grounding somewhere in the entire setup (that includes other hardware connected to the computer) can cause audio interference. Good professional audio (such as, amplifier, receiver, active speakers) use well shielded high quality internal components, pwr plugs and audio cables to prevent this issue.

      2: It might be possible that poor quality USB ports along with wiring may cause interference with audio, along with the actual “Mouse” (certain brands/models) that is plugged into the USB port.

      3: Wise to update the BIOS first before installing the O/S, because Windows could install what you don’t need and turn off settings that you do need. If updating the BIOS “After” installing Windows for the first time? Solution: Update latest audio drivers and reboot — and then check all the settings for the audio, find a setup that eliminates the interference.

  6. Horst says:

    Well the review misses the fact that you can only use 6(!) SATA Lanes. The 8 Ports are a waste and illusion. If you use a M.2 SDD 2 SATA Ports are disabled and so on. Check the handbook for that shit.

    • Bohs Hansen says:

      sure you can. Only 6 are controlled by the CPU/chipset combo, the last two are powered by an extra ASMedia ASM1061 controller

  7. Gareth says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but almost all the features touted here; for example the armoured PCIe bars, the black caps, the 12 phase and the good onboard sound are all features of the far cheaper Extreme4. So what exactly does this board have that gives it any kind of value over ASRock’s own mainstream board?

    • Brian says:

      Not TOO much to be quite honest! That is why ASRock is so awesome!

      But to get right down to it, the Fatal1ty Gaming K6 board uses the same VRMs as the MUCH more expensive Fatal1ty Professional Gaming i7 ($250+ USD usually) – and uses the same PCB with only very small variations on component placement. Also – the Fatal1ty has a better VRM Heatsink by a little, with a Heatpipe added in.

      It all comes down to how much it costs you. For me, I got my Fatal1ty Gaming K6 for $170 – which is only $10 more than the Extreme4 which I was strongly considering! But the overall better build quality in terms of components sold me on the Fatal1ty – plus she is sexier (even though I REALLY do not care much, I have no case window as I FAR prefer my 2x 140mm case side intakes!)

      In terms of real world performance? Well you are not likely to really notice any major difference in performance, the Extreme4 is more than capable of holding the same 5 GHZ all core clock I use as my 24/7 driver!

      Just buy whatever you can afford and want the most, you really cannot go wrong with or beat ANY ASRock motherboard for the price class each of them are in!

      • Brian says:

        Unlike MOST other motherboard makers, ASRock does NOT have massive segmentation!

        They have products at different price points, but at about the mid level, like the Gaming K6 or even the Extreme4, ASRock does NOT cheap out! These mid level boards, which are cheap compared to the “Top Tier” boards, especially BS Boards like the MSI Godlike Gaming, which costs $500! Where Asus has a confusing product stack due to bad naming conventions, and well, MASSIVE performance differences and component differences at the different price points.

        Asus has NOTHING CLOSE to the Extreme4 or Gaming K6 at that price point! Their competitively priced boards are nowhere CLOSE to as high quality!

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