Celebrities and athletes have great sway over how and what we buy. Cars that win NASCAR races peak consumer interest. Gear that we see experts and athletes use on TV generates far more interest than run-of-the-mill hardware.
So for people who want a board optimized for a badass gamer like Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, it makes sense to buy his Fatal1ty P67 Professional motherboard.
The Fatal1ty P67 Professional has support for up to three ATI cards or two Nvidia graphic cards.
Obviously, Fatal1ty didn’t buy a motherboard company. The board is actually made and supported by the Asus spin-off, Asrock. Once known as a budget board company, Asrock these days certainly hasn’t been churning out budget products. Given Fatal1ty’s influence, it’s no surprise that the Professional targets devoted gamers. It supports up to three ATI GPUs in CrossFireX mode and Nvidia in SLI mode—but, alas, there’s no tri-SLI support courtesy of an nForce 200 chip like we saw in the Gigabyte P67A-UD7 board we reviewed last month.
The Professional features a tunable USB 2.0 mouse port.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing features of the board is its Fatal1ty USB 2.0 mouse port that allows you to tune the polling rate from 125Hz to 1,000Hz (Fatal1ty, BTW, prefers a 500Hz poll rate). It’s a cool feature for folks who really need to tune their mouse to match a particular game’s frame rate. For Joe 12-pack playing pickup games of Call of Duty: Black Ops, we wouldn’t expect miracles. More troubling: We tried several top-flight gaming mice, including a SteelSeries iKari, CM Storm twin-laser Sentinel Advance, and a Microsoft SideWinder, and none of the mice—which incidentally feature adjustable DPI rates—would work with the port. The port did, however, work with an older, non-adjustable Razer Pro and a $6 Dell mouse.
In another first, the Fatal1ty P67 Professional features the Etron USB 3.0 host controller chip, instead of the NEC (now Renesas) chip we’ve seen in other boards. Etron promises higher throughput, but does it deliver? Yes and no. Using a very fast OCZ Enyo USB 3.0 drive as our target, the Etron chip was faster than boards that use just the NEC controller. But boards such as Gigabyte’s P67A-UD7, using the NEC+VIA combo, offered slightly better performance. Expect more on this in the future.
The Etron controller is truly faster than a standard NEC’s USB 3.0 host controller.
In pure performance, the Fatal1ty board hangs right there with other P67 offerings from the top-tier board makers. Like those, the Professional boots fine with 3TB partitions, thanks to its UEFI. The UEFI interface is OK—although you’ll have to make your tweaks with a background image of Fatal1ty glaring at you the whole time. It’s on par with MSI’s UEFI interface, but both trail behind Asus’s super-polished UEFI interface.
Overclocking was also fine—when done from the UEFI. We had less luck with the included OC utility, which would occasionally blue-screen from simply dialing up the multiplier for the 2600K part to 4.5GHz. The same overclock from the BIOS gave us no issues.
There’s some nice trim on the board, including a POST indicator and surface- mounted controls.
And while it’s not a problem per se, it’s a bit odd that the board features a parallel ATA port and floppy port in this day and age. We don’t know why Asrock bothered to waste real estate on these legacy ports.
Overall, the Fatal1ty is a solid board that offers a ton of features for the money. As we said, Asrock has traditionally been associated with budget and ultra- budget boards, but this should make other board makers take notice.
HD Tune Pro Sustained Read (MB/s) Marvell 6Gb/s Controller
HD Tune Pro Burst Marvell (MB/s)
HD Tune Pro Sustained Read (MB/s) Intel 6Gb/s Controller
HD Tune Pro Burst Intel (MB/s)
HD Tune USB 3.0 (MB/s)
For our tests, we used a 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K, an EVGA GeForce GTX 285, 4GB of DDR3/1333, a Western Digital Raptor 150, and Windows 7 Professional. SLI compliance was tested with two GeForce GTX 580 cards. For USB 3.0 performance, we used an OCZ Enyo, and for SATA 6Gb/s, we used a Crucial C300 SSD.