One of the problems of Intel’s high end desktop platforms is size: the sockets are large, and all the DRAM slots take up a fair amount of space.  Couple this with the PCIe lane potential of the CPU, then restricting the motherboard size smaller than ATX limits the number of features and multi-PCIe capabilities afforded by the platform.  Nonetheless we saw a couple of motherboards for X79 move down to the micro-ATX size, as well as a few system designer builds that offered other sizes.  In that vein, ASRock is moving from its X79 Extreme4-M (our review) and sent us pictures of the upcoming X99M Killer.

One thing that a micro-ATX layout does is free up some of the PCIe lanes for extra controllers.  The X99M Killer will have ASRock’s Ultra M.2, giving PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth for devices up to 22110.  Being part of ASRock’s Killer range we get an E2200 series network interface, which also incorporates an EM shield similar to the Purity Sound 2 upgraded audio.  The Killer NIC is paired with an Intel NIC as well, with the Fatal1ty Mouse Port also appearing.

Due to the size, if any other mATX motherboards are released I would assume that like the X99M Killer there will only be four DDR4 memory slots, and here ASRock have used thinner slots in order to fit the power delivery and other features on board. I count five fan headers on the board, along with ASRock’s HDD Saver connector and ten SATA 6 Gbps ports.  I can just about make out that some of these are labelled SATA3_0_1 and some are labelled 5_SATA3_0_1, perhaps indicating the presence of a controller or a hub.  There is also a USB 3.0 header on board with power/reset buttons, a two digit debug, two BIOS chips, two USB 2.0 headers, a COM header and additional power to the PCIe slots via s 4-pin molex. We also have an eSATA on the rear panel, with a ClearCMOS button.

We can make out the final PCIe slot as having only four lanes of pins, suggesting an x16/x16/x4 layout.  Whether these four lanes are from the CPU or the chipset is unclear, especially with the presence of the PCIe 3.0 M.2 x4 slot in the middle.

The box lists XSplit, indicating a bundling deal with the software, as well as ECC and RDIMM support. I believe the X99M Killer will be due out at launch, or relatively soon after, although ASRock has not released the pricing details yet.

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  • hfp - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    ECC is not Xeon-only. Goto ARK and open the Embedded category rather than Desktop and grab an i7 (with ECC) for the usual pricepoint. It's just that ECC does not matter for Desktop. Reply
  • madmilk - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    The E5-1650v2 has ECC and is 100MHz faster than the i7-4930K, but it has the same MSRP and is still unlocked. The E5-1660v2 and 1620v2 are similar compared to the 4960X and 4820K. In reality the Xeons are about $100 more expensive because most vendors don't offer them, but if ECC is required the premium is not that large. Reply
  • Kevin Cobley - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    What is the point of the "Killer LAN" when INTEL are suppling the X99 with the worlds best LAN solution.
    The "Sound Purity" is the Realtek 886 rebadged.

    Use you head ASROCK and junk the junk and sell the board a little cheaper nobody wants that crap, would have done better with Sound Core, I guess cheapskates are cheapskates.
    Reply
  • bebimbap - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I assumed it was because the 1 intel nic is the one integrated into the chipset, while the extra one is not. so the "optional" one they probably have some kind of "deal" with Atheros instead of intel. And if they didn't use the "killer" nic they couldn't use the theme of "fata1ity" with "killer"

    one of the reasons I stick with Asus or Gigabyte
    Reply
  • Laststop311 - Sunday, August 17, 2014 - link

    Yea I only use asus their bios is the best. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Unless you've heard otherwise, Purity Sound is usually an upgraded ALC1150 package with an EMI shield, PCB separation and filter caps (at a minimum), much like the other upgraded ALC1150 packages on other vendors. The idea behind this is to remove a noisy audio signal away from the digital trace interference as well as adjusting the single response to a much truer sound rather than straight out of the codec.

    With the Killer LAN, the package from Qualcomm Atheros also includes network management software, which some motherboard manufacturers believe adds value to their product. The Intel one, despite whatever performance differences, relies on third-party implementations for network prioritization.
    Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    I don't care how much they try to improve Realtek onboard sound. it's not going to beat a ~$50 USB DAC. That's just laws of physics, period. They should just include the latter when they are already charging these boards sky high instead of putting lipsticks on pigs. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    So what exactly is a Fatality mouse port? Reply
  • Penti - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    Just drop the killer NIC and add a second Intel NIC and this would be a good workstation slash gaming board. I don't trust the Killer low-latency driver. Too bad you can't do NIC teaming on 8.X though. If you want better network performance you basically have to drop in a card for 10GbE or fibre-channel depending on what your doing. Reply
  • Laststop311 - Sunday, August 17, 2014 - link

    You would think after being at a 1gbit standard for so long 10 gbit would be the default network port intel automatically included. Reply

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