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Is the H97 Worth It?

The In­tel H97 is a step down as for some sys­tem builders be­cause it doesn’t of­fi­cially sup­port CPU over­clock­ing and multi- GPU set­ups. In­stead, most add-in card part­ners have by­passed this by in­clud­ing PCIe 2.0 x16 slots to sup­port AMD CrossFireX set­ups. Due to the al­lo­ca­tion of PCIe lanes across these slots— the first PCIe x16 slot is PCIe 3.0 from the CPU, while the ac­com­pa­ny­ing x16 slot is PCIe 2.0 from the chipset— and the un­equal dis­tri­bu­tion of bus lanes among them—16 lanes and 8 lanes re­spec­tively, a multi- GPU setup isn’t ideal. If you aren’t gun­ning for a multi- GPU sys­tem, the ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer is a de­cent en­try- level board. Its Pu­rity Sound 2 tech­nol­ogy has been up­graded with high qual­ity Nichicon fine gold ca­pac­i­tors. A Real­tek ALC1150 au­dio codec, cou­pled with TI NE 5532 am­pli­fiers is sup­pos­edly able to drive head­phones with im­ped­ance rat­ings of up to 600ohms. It lacks the for­ward-look­ing con­nec­tors of M. 2 and SATA Ex­press. But it has a Thun­der­bolt header as a sav­ing grace. Last of all, ASRock’s Non-Z OC fea­ture lets you over­clock the sys­tem.

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