It has been quite some time since I covered an AMD Ryzen motherboard. With all the furor about AGESA updates and memory issues possibly being resolved, along with perhaps more performance, it seemed prudent to hold off a bit on reviewing AMD board products until the true picture of what the platform has on offer was in plain sight. Well, I can't hold it off any longer.
ASRock has some very compelling board designs right now, most notably their Taichi boards, which present a completely different design focus than most other motherboards on the market today. ASRock's X370 Taichi board was so solid and good even before the launch that I awarded it with a perfect score; the only perfect score I've ever given after doing reviews for many years here on TPU. With all the BIOS updates and such that have happened since the launch, the ASRock X370 Taichi has only gotten better, but that difference is truly marginal. Yet ASRock has many other AMD X370-based motherboards, and the Taichi isn't ASRock's top-dog offering, either - neither is the board we will be looking at today to investigate the platform's progression, the ASRock Fatal1ty X370 GAMING K4.
The ASRock Fatal1ty X370 GAMING K4 is right in the middle of ASRock's AMD X370 product stack and is clearly focused on gaming; I mean, it's in the name, right? Yet with a very modest price of roughly US$150, this isn't a board for a person wanting to clock the crap out of their CPU and RAM. It's not meant to be the best there is; rather, it's an affordable option with the majority of features present, but not all. For example, memory support for this board stops at 2933 MHz, and the QVL says that 3000 MHz modules will be downclocked to 2933 MHz. No 3200 MHz memory support here; at least not when the platform launched. Did the AGESA update change that? Or was ASRock right on the money since day one as they were with the X370 Taichi? Let's find out!
Before we do though, there's something I should mention: this isn't a great motherboard. In fact, part of the reason it was acceptable to me NOT to review it right away (I've had this board since before the platform launched) is because it wasn't up to par for what I expect for AMD's Ryzen. Don't get me wrong; as an entry-level board priced at $150, it offers considerable value, but things like a lack of "official" 3200 MHz memory support are glaring omissions when Ryzen's Infinity Fabric is clocked in conjunction with memory speeds. Without that support, this is clearly not a board intended for enthusiasts who want to overclock every part of their system. That made it the perfect candidate for this testing - could a potentially "inferior" board product (compared to the more expensive X370 Taichi) become a very decent option because of BIOS updates? Or is that all just hype? I have those answers now, and as you read on, so will you.
|CPU Support:||AMD AM4 Socket Ryzen Series (Summit Ridge) Processors|
|Power Design:|| CPU Power: 12 phase |
Memory Power: 2 phase
|Integrated Graphics:||Not applicable|
|Memory:||4x DIMM, Max. 64 GB; supports 2933 MHz+(OC)|
|BIOS:||AMI UEFI BIOS|
|Expansion Slots:|| 2x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (x16 or x8/x8)|
4x PCIe 2.0 x1 slot
1x Ultra M.2 slot (32 Gb/s)
1x M.2 slot (10 Gb/s)
|Storage:||6x SATA 6 Gb/s port (AMD X370)|
|Networking:||1x GigaLAN Intel I211AT|
|Rear Ports:|| 1x PS/2 mouse / keyboard port|
2x Antenna Port
1x HDMI Port
6x USB 3.0 port
1x USB 3.1 Type-A port
1x USB 3.1 Type-C port
2x USB 2.0 ports
1x LAN port
1x Optical Audio port
6x Audio jacks
|Audio:||Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec|
|Fan Headers:||5x 4-pin|
|Form Factor:||ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm|