The ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Performance motherboard is currently retailing for $99.99 at Newegg and $109.99 at Amazon. In the UK the motherboard can be found on Amazon for £88.99, at Kikatek for £80, at Ballicom International for £77.50 and at LambdaTek for £74.33. I therefore expect the MSRP is $99.99 and £74.99 respectively. The ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Performance motherboard comes with a 3 year manufacturer warranty.
The ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Performance motherboard has proved itself an impressive motherboard for its price point. Sure this motherboard has to make some compromises to be so affordable, which we’ll cover in a minute, but on the whole the performance offered is broadly identical to Z97 equivalents. Furthermore, overclocking allows this platform to stay on level pegging with gaming Z97 motherboards despite it being £50-70 cheaper than these rival boards! If you’re not into all the extra storage options of Z97, such as M.2 and SATA Express, then H97 is a great platform. You get PCIe 3.0, USB 3.0 and SATA III still which are the main ones most people will actually use. Additionally ASRock have equipped the best audio codec, Realtek ALC1150 and Intel Gigabit ethernet (which I think is better than Killer ethernet in terms of compatibility, features and CPU usage) so you get a fairly premium motherboard for a not-so-premium price. This motherboard also gets a nice UEFI BIOS that is standard across the ASRock 9 series range and it gets a variety of useful third part software like XSplit (game/program streaming), XFast LAN (CFOS packet prioritisation) and Orbweb.ME (cloud creation and management).
The motherboard does have some drawbacks though. The first of these are chipset related: H97 limits memory speeds to 1600MHz so memory performance suffers and H97 has less PCIe lanes than Z97 so multi-GPU options are limited, so is the ability to run M.2 and SATA Express because H97 does not support these storage standards. ASRock have also not done themselves many favours with the overall design. The placement of the SATA headers and the random supplementary molex baffled me slightly. As I discussed further on page 2 there are ample things I think ASRock could improve with regards to this motherboard. It is possible to overlook these things because of the price and the fact I do not see other vendors doing any better at the same price point, however, I do think ASRock could make a better motherboard without increasing production costs of the motherboard. In the grand scheme of things though I think ASRock deserve kudos yet again for bringing a gaming motherboard to the masses by using the cost savings of a cheaper chipset to their advantage.
- Competitive pricing
- Intel Gigabit
- High quality audio (despite poorly separated PCB)
- Good overclocking
- 3 year warranty
- 8 phase VRM
- Well laid out and visually pleasing UEFI BIOS
- Memory and PCI Express limitations (A result of the H97 chipset)
- Some questionable layout decisions (SATA placement, supplementary molex, etc)
- BIOS adds extra voltage when overclocking
- Sparse bundle
“Like with the ASRock H87 and B85 Fatal1ty motherboards from the last generation this ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Performance motherboard offers excellent value for money. ASRock’s decision to offer a gaming motherboard on a lower end chipset makes sense and has been executed well. There are areas for improvement but at this price segment you cannot complain too much.“
Thank you to ASRock for providing this review sample.