Jumping right into things, the ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer motherboard is a solid offering if you are looking for a cheaper motherboard that is compatible with Haswell / LGA 1150 socket. While it may not offer all of the features of its Z97 brethren it is safe to say you get what you pay for and in this case you shall not be disappointed.
Taking a look at aesthetics, the ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer is quite pleasing if red is your thing. The black PCB with red heatsinks and a mixture of red and black RAM and PCI lanes including white retention clips is very easy on the eyes and should leave you plenty of options when choosing case,GPU and any other components you may want to colour coordinate. The Red on the heatsinks also has a nice shine to it when the light hits it, giving it that little added bit of flair which is always nice. All-in-all I don’t feel ASRock have skimped on the design and even though this is an H series board, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference from the Z series except for the corresponding mosfet heatsinks.
The one major let down in the design area is the same we saw the the Z97 variant of the Fatal1ty Killer series, the position of the Front IO connectors. For some reason ASRock have decided they wanted to move them over to the left quite a bite and in doing so, have put them just out of reach of my front panel cables. While the front IO connectors on my case (Corsair Carbide Air 540) could definitely do with being longer I have yet to run into this problem with any other boards except for these Fatal1ty 97 Killer boards. As said in the Z97 review had I bought this board for a new build I would have had to immediately return it as unfortunately for ASRock I would prefer to keep my case.
Performance….. Well, what can we say? The performance was on par with where I felt it should be. Looking at the benchmarks you will notice some mixed results, this is in part to the H97 not supporting overclocking and as such RAM can only be run at a max of 1600MHz. This gives all of our Z97 test subjects quite the advantage but when factoring in the price you really cannot be dissatisfied. Aside from the RAM issues, which isn’t really an issue just more of an “it is what it is” warning, the performance is what you would expect, if not better for a board of this price.
Taking a look at the price which is just shy of £88 you really cannot complain. The ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer offers most of the features of its Z97 variant except for the ability to overclock and is £30 cheaper. If you have no intention of overclocking and are looking for something that will give you room in the near future to upgrade to a Broadwell CPU once released then this board may very well foot the bill for you. At the end of the day you get what you pay for and with the ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer you are paying for a board that will run your Haswell CPU and it does just that. If they could get the price to around £80 or so this would be an absolutely amazing offering for an entry-level Intel 9 Series board.
Overall the ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer offers you a glimpse into the world that is Haswell. Supporting both the original and now the refresh variants of the Haswell Family this board will also leave you the option to upgrade to Broadwell in the near future. Aside from the front IO connectors being moved the only other issue is the loss in performance due to not being able to properly overclock. With the RAM only running at 1600Mhz you do lose quite a bit of performance if you are used to running your ram at 2400MHz or more but in saying so, if you only have 1600Mhz RAM and are in the market for a new board then you may want to look this way.
If you are looking for a board with some of the latest features in the way of Killer E2200 networking, Purity Sound 2 and that has a M.2 Socket and are not bothered with overclocking, then you may want to keep the ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer in mind.
I would like to thank ASRock for sending this board in for review and look forward to seeing more from them in the near future.
The ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer offers most of the features of the newer Intel 9-Series chipset without the hefty price tag. The cheaper price does however come at the expense of overclocking and RAM speeds and while justified, is something you may want to be wary of when considering this board.
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