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.