ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4 Motherboard Review

Page 4 : Fatal1ty Mouse Port, I/O Armor, Other Accessories, Our Verdict

Fatal1ty Mouse Port

This is the ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4‘s “killer feature” – the Fatal1ty mouse port. This red-coloured mouse port is supposed to impart Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel‘s skills to the user when a mouse is plugged in. How is that supposed to happen?

With the ASRock F-Stream software installed, the Fatal1ty mouse port is set to use Fatal1ty’s personal preferred mouse polling rate of 500 Hz. The ASRock F-Stream software also allows you to change the mouse polling rate from 125 Hz to 1000 Hz. Of course, the higher polling rates may not be supported by some mice.

Frankly speaking, this is really just marketing fluff. Any gamer who takes gaming even half-seriously would be using a half-decent gaming mouse. And most (if not all) half-decent gaming mice allow you to change the mouse polling rates, amongst other things. There is no need to even use a special mouse port to achieve this.

If you have a good gaming mouse, it will even allow you to change the polling rate or sensor resolution on-the-fly… and yes, it would work with any USB port. So why bother with the Fatal1ty mouse port?


I/O Ports & Armor

The ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4 has a ton of I/O ports at the rear, including a legacy PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports (the top port being the Fatal1ty mouse port), a Type C USB 3.0 port (note that this is not the faster USB 3.1 port) as well as 5 standard USB 3.0 ports. In addition to the 5 audio and line-in port, it also sports a single Gigabit LAN port. For display purposes, it offers a DVI-D port and a HDMI port.

The ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4 also features what ASRock calls their I/O Armor. It is ostensibly a protective cover that protects the rear I/O ports from static damage. Frankly speaking, this is only useful if you are using the motherboard outside of a chassis. When installed in a chassis, that job is fulfilled by the I/O shield (also included) that is installed into the chassis.

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Other Accessories

Here is a closer look at the other accessories included in the ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4 package – the manual and driver CD. A case sticker can be found inside the driver CD sleeve.

It also comes with four SATA 3 cables and a small plastic bag with a single small screw – this is used to lock the Ultra M.2 SSD in place.


Our Verdict

The ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4 motherboard has all of the hallmarks of a decent gaming motherboard. It boasts a 10-phase power design with a digital PWM and Nichicon 12K Platinum capacitors. The entire power supply is further cooled by large aluminium-alloy heatsinks. A lot of effort has gone into ensuring an efficient power conversion, stable power supply and longer lifespan.

There are decent expansion options with 2 full-sized PCI Express x16 slots and 3 small PCIe x1 slots. The PCIe x1 slots are even the “flexible” type that will accept any PCI Express card. Audiophiles will appreciate the better audio quality courtesy of its Purity Sound 3 module. Their Ultra M.2 socket is also a nice touch although it has minimal effect on your M.2 SSD’s performance unless it supports PCIe x4.

The ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4 comes with plenty of USB ports and headers, and even a Type C port. However, we should point out that it does not support the latest USB 3.1 standard. Even the Type C port is a USB 3.0 port. It allows you to attach USB 3.1 devices but it will only transfer data at USB 3.0 speeds, which is roughly half that of USB 3.1. If you must have USB 3.1 support, you need to consider the higher-end ASRock Z170 Extreme4 motherboard.

But the greatest disappointment is the Fatal1ty Mouse Port feature. It is really nothing more than marketing fluff, since it is just a USB 2.0 port. Its ability to adjust the mouse polling rate is through the bundled F-Stream software. This is a standard feature in all gaming mouse software that does not require any special USB port.

If you are looking for a decent gaming motherboard based on the Intel Z170 chipset, the ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4 is worthy of consideration. It has plenty of genuine hardware features that will ensure long lifespan and high reliability. Just don’t expect the Fatal1ty brand or the Fatal1ty Mouse Port to impart any gaming benefit. That’s pure marketing. Focus on the real features and you won’t be disappointed.

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