ASRock Fatal1ty B360 Gam­ing K4

ASRock nails it.

PCPOWERPLAY - - Pcpp Hardware & Tech Special -

Price $ 169 www.asrock.com

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SRock, per­haps un­de­servedly at times, has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing a value ori­ented brand. While there’s noth­ing wrong with that per se, it does a bit of a dis­ser­vice to ASRock, which de­serves credit for some out­stand­ing prod­ucts over the years as well as its will­ing­ness to take a few risks (X299 ITX board any­one?) Motherboards in this range are the bread and but­ter for ASRock though. The Fatal1ty B360 Gam­ing K4 is eas­ily the cheap­est board in the roundup, yet at the same time, its spec­i­fi­ca­tion is as good as any board here. Straight up that makes it a strong con­tender in this mar­ket.

One of the lit­tle things we like about ASRock is the way it packs its motherboards. Most boards come in an anti-static bag in­side the box, but ASRock goes an ex­tra step and packs the moth­er­board into a se­cure foam shell. This is a small thing in the over­all scheme, but it in­spires that lit­tle bit of ex­tra con­fi­dence when your board is with the not so care­ful courier.

Looks wise, the Fatal1ty B360 Gam­ing K4 is a real im­prove­ment over some of the red ac­cented Fatal1ty boards. In the age of RGB, a sub­tle de­sign is all the go, al­low­ing the light­ing to be­come the dom­i­nant vis­ual fea­ture. The K4 fol­lows this ethos, with a nice grey on black colour scheme that in no way looks cheap. There’s a few splashes of RGB light­ing around the chipset heatsink, au­dio sec­tion cov­er­ing and ad­ja­cent to the I/O ports.

A look at the board shows ASRock has not skimped out on the fea­tures in or­der to bring down the price. Per­haps the only high level thing miss­ing is a M.2 heat shield, though at this price, it’s hard to be crit­i­cal of some­thing like that. There’s a pair of M.2 con­nec­tors plus an ad­di­tional M.2 E-key slot for a Wi-Fi card. The power de­liv­ery sec­tion is par­tic­u­larly strong. A 10+2 phase de­sign and beefy heatsinks are more than is nec­es­sary for cur­rent gen­er­a­tion Cof­fee Lake pro­ces­sors which can­not be over­clocked on B360 motherboards. If In­tel re­lease 8 core CPUs with higher power re­quire­ments, it’s def­i­nitely bet­ter to have an ex­ces­sive power de­liv­ery sys­tem.

The rear I/O is equipped with most of what you need. There are two USB 3.1 ports Gen 2 ports, one of which is a Type-C. Ad­di­tion­ally, there are two USB 3.0 Gen 1 ports and a pair of USB 2.0 ports. In terms of video ports, you’ll note a VGA port (why?!) in ad­di­tion to a HDMI and DisplayPort. LAN du­ties are han­dled by the In­tel I219-V con­troller. It’s nice to see ASRock didn’t take any short­cuts with the au­dio sys­tem. There are the stan­dard five au­dio jacks, com­ple­mented by an S/PDIF port. Au­dio is con­trolled by a Real­tek ALC-1220 chip with a Cre­ative SoundBlaster 5.0 Cin­ema soft­ware over­lay. No short­cuts there!

The K4 is equipped with an easy to navigate BIOS with log­i­cal group­ings and many ad­vanced op­tions to sink your teeth into. ASRock de­serves credit for hav­ing one of the eas­ier to navigate BIOS lay­outs on the mar­ket.

The Fatal1ty K4 per­formed pretty well against the rest of the field. It didn’t do any­thing sur­pris­ing, but it didn’t lag be­hind ei­ther. Gam­ing, mem­ory and CPU per­for­mance was all on par. As this is the cheap­est board in the test, it’s

If you are look­ing for a solid board for not too much money, this is the one to get.

nice to be able drop the sav­ings on a bet­ter CPU or GPU as they are the real per­for­mance dif­fer­en­tia­tors.

ASRock’s ven­er­a­ble Fatal1ty brand con­tin­ues to soldier on. Here we have an­other en­try that of­fers ter­rific value, with­out com­pro­mis­ing on no­table fea­tures. It’s got a nice sub­tle de­sign with a splash of RGB, good build qual­ity and a qual­ity fea­ture set that matches or ex­ceeds the more ex­pen­sive boards. If you’re on a bud­get, don’t care about over­clock­ing and are look­ing for a solid board for not too much money, this is the one to get.

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