Taking a look at the board as a whole we can see the “Fatal1ty Killer” theme of black and red compliments this board nicely. We have a black PCB and red heatsinks with chrome lettering and to offset this, our RAM and PCI/PCI-E slots are also red and black and where needed, include white retention clips which I feel just add a little extra something to the aesthetics of the board.
Here we can notice our heatsinks actually have a bit of sparkle in them, paired with the chrome lettering they are quite pleasing. Trust me when I tell you these photos do not do them justice!
Having a glance at the top half of the Z97 Killer we can of course notice our 8 and 24 pin PSU connectors, our top heatsink which will be covering our mosfets and 5 fan headers (2x CPU 2x Chassis 1X Power). We will also observe our 4 RAM slots; which can handle DDR3 RAM up to 3200+MHz in overclock mode, our CPU socket; supporting a range of CPUs in compatible with a LGA 1150 socket and a Killer E2200 networking port that should reduce our in-game latency by giving gaming traffic prioritization.
Moving on down to the bottom of the Z97 killer we have the PCI lanes in the form of 2x PCI-E x1 slots, 2x PCI slots, 1x PCI-E x16 slot running in x16 mode and 1x PCI-E x16 slot running in x4 mode. We can also notice the CMOS battery, Clear CMOS jumper and a BIOS select jumper that allows us to easily switch between 2 different BIOS, something that will come in handy when overclocking. One thing to mention is that when a graphics card is installed in the top PCI-E x16 lane the Clear CMOS jumper is a bit of a pain to get at, though not impossible.
One other thing to notice here is under the bottom PCI lane to the left of the 2 USB connectors is the front panel connector. Please take notice of this as if you have a case like the Corsair 540 Air you will be unable to actually connect your power/reset buttons to this as the cable is not long enough. While I can not blame this totally on ASRock as Corsair could have done with making the cable a bit longer I can say I have not run into this problem as of yet with any of the other motherboards I have tested, so be aware of this if you have short front panel cables.
Between the 2x PCI-E slots we of course have the M.2 port which will allow for users to install a M.2 SSD offering speeds up to 10 GBs! This is one of the new features of the Z97 chipset.
On the bottom right we have our host of 6 SATA3 6.0 GBs connectors. Note how SATA connectors 4 and 5 also make up our SATA Express slot as well. You can user either normal SATA connections or the SATA Express connection here but the SATA Express connector is shared with the M.2 socket so you can only use one at a time. This means if you want to use a M.2 SSD the SATA 4 and 5 connectors will be rendered worthless due to being a SATA Express connector as well.
On the rear IO we have the normal range of connectors in the form of:
1x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
1x D-Sub Port
1x DVI-D Port
1x HDMI Port
1x Optical SPDIF Out Port
3x USB 2.0 Ports (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
1x Fatal1ty Mouse Port (USB 2.0) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
4x USB 3.0 Ports (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
1x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
HD Audio Jacks: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone