ASRock specializes in the field of motherboards, and they strive to build with quality through concept and design. I will be looking at one of their Z170 boards which have carried over into their Fatal1ty gaming line. The Gaming K6+ which is aimed towards affordable gaming motherboards is an excellent choice for even enthusiasts. Let’s see if this board packs all the features you come to expect from a high-quality Z170 board and satisfies the Fatal1ty series with its software and parts and stand out among the several competitor Z170 boards on the market.
The product specifications are as follows:
|Gaming Armor||CPU Power
– Hi-Density Power Connector
– 15μ Gold Contact in DIMM Slots
– 15μ Gold Contact in VGA PCIe Slot (PCIE2)
– Killer™ E2400 LAN
– XXL Aluminum Alloy Heatsink
– Heat Pipe Design
– Purity Sound™ 3
|Unique Feature||ASRock USB 3.1
– ASRock Front USB 3.1 Panel (1 x USB 3.1 Type-A Port + 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C Port )
– ASRock Rear USB 3.1 Type-A Port (10 Gb/s)
– ASRock Rear USB 3.1 Type-C Port (10 Gb/s)
ASRock Super Alloy
– XXL Aluminum Alloy Heatsink
– Premium 60A Power Choke
– Combo Caps (Nichicon 12K Platinum Caps)
– Nichicon 12K Platinum Caps (100% Japan made high quality conductive polymer capacitors)
– I/O Armor
– Matte Black PCB
– High Density Glass Fabric PCB
ASRock Ultra M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3)
ASRock Full Spike Protection
ASRock Live Update & APP Shop
|CPU||– Supports 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors (Socket 1151)
– Digi Power design
– 12 Power Phase design
– Supports Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology
– Supports Intel® K-Series unlocked CPUs
– Supports ASRock BCLK Full-range Overclocking
– Supports ASRock Hyper BCLK Engine
|Chipset||– Intel® Z170|
|Memory||– Dual Channel DDR4 Memory Technology
– 4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
– Supports DDR4 3866+(OC)*/3600(OC)/3200(OC)/2933(OC)/2800(OC)/2400(OC)/2133 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
– Supports ECC UDIMM memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)
– Max. capacity of system memory: 64GB**
– Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 2.0
– 15μ Gold Contact in DIMM Slots
*3866+(OC) memory frequency can only be achieved when a single memory module is installed (Single channel memory).
Please refer to Memory Support List on ASRock’s website for more information.**Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® 32-bit OS. For Windows® 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.
|BIOS||– 2 x 128Mb AMI UEFI Legal BIOS with multilingual GUI support (1 x Main BIOS and 1 x Backup BIOS)
– Supports Secure Backup UEFI Technology
– ACPI 5.0 Compliant wake up events
– SMBIOS 2.7 Support
– CPU, GT_CPU, DRAM, VPPM, PCH 1.0V, VCCIO, VCCPLL, VCCSA Voltage Multi-adjustment
|Audio, Video and Networking|
|Graphics||– Supports Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals : Intel® Quick Sync Video with AVC, MVC (S3D) and MPEG-2 Full HW Encode1, Intel® InTru™ 3D, Intel® Clear Video HD Technology, Intel® Insider™, Intel®HD Graphics 510/530
– Pixel Shader 5.0, DirectX 12
– Max. shared memory 1024MB*
– Three graphics output options: DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2
– Supports Triple Monitor
– Supports HDMI with max. resolution up to 4K x 2K (4096×2160) @ 24Hz / (3840×2160) @ 30Hz
– Supports DVI-D with max. resolution up to 1920×1200 @ 60Hz
– Supports DisplayPort 1.2 with max. resolution up to 4K x 2K (4096×2304) @ 60Hz
– Supports Auto Lip Sync, Deep Color (12bpc), xvYCC and HBR (High Bit Rate Audio) with HDMI Port (Compliant HDMI monitor is required)
– Supports Accelerated Media Codecs: HEVC, VP8, VP9
– Supports HDCP with DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2 Ports
– Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) playback with DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2 Ports
*The size of maximum shared memory may vary from different operating systems.
**Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals and the VGA outputs can be supported only with processors which are GPU integrated.
***Due to chipset limitation, the Blu-ray playback of Intel® HD Graphics is only supported under Windows® 8 / 8 64-bit / 7 / 7 64-bit.
****Intel® InTru™ 3D is only supported under Windows® 8 / 8 64-bit / 7 / 7 64-bit.
|Audio||– 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec)
– Premium Blu-ray Audio support
– Supports Surge Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection)
– Supports Purity Sound™ 3
– Nichicon Fine Gold Series Audio Caps
– 115dB SNR DAC with differential amplifier
– TI® NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier (Supports up to 600 ohm headsets)
– Pure Power-In
– Direct Drive Technology
– PCB isolate shielding
– Supports DTS Connect
|LAN||– PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
– Killer™ E2400 Series
– Supports Wake-On-LAN
– Supports Lightning/ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection)
– Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
– Supports PXE
|Expansion / Connectivity|
|Slots||– 3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slots (PCIE2/PCIE4/PCIE6: single at x16 (PCIE2); dual at x8 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4); triple at x8 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4) / x4 (PCIE6))*
– 3 x PCI Express 3.0 x1 Slots (Flexible PCIe)
– Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX™, 3-Way CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™
– Supports NVIDIA® Quad SLI™ and SLI™
– 15μ Gold Contact in VGA PCIe Slot (PCIE2)
*Supports NVMe SSD as boot disks
|Storage||– 6 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s Connectors by Intel® Z170, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel® Rapid Storage Technology 14 and Intel® Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug
– 2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s Connectors by ASMedia ASM1061, support NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug
– 2 x SATA Express 10 Gb/s Connectors*
– 1 x Ultra M.2 Socket, supports type 2230/2242/2260/2280/22110 M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen3 x4 (32 Gb/s)**
*Support to be announced
M2_1, SATA3_0, SATA3_1 and SATA_EXP0 share lanes. If either one of them is in use, the others will be disabled.**Supports ASRock U.2 Kit
Supports NVMe SSD as boot disks
|ASRock USB 3.1/A+C||– 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A Port (10 Gb/s) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
– 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C Port (10 Gb/s) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
|Connector||– 1 x COM Port Header
– 1 x TPM Header
– 1 x Power LED and Speaker Header
– 2 x CPU Fan Connectors (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
– 4 x Chassis Fan Connectors (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)*
– 1 x 24 pin ATX Power Connector
– 1 x 8 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector)
– 1 x Front Panel Audio Connector
– 1 x Thunderbolt™ AIC Connector
– 2 x USB 2.0 Headers (Support 4 USB 2.0 ports) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
– 1 x USB 3.0 Header (Supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
– 1 x Dr. Debug with LED
– 1 x Power Switch with LED
– 1 x Reset Switch with LED
*All CPU/Chassis Fan Connectors can auto detect if 3-pin or 4-pin fan is in use.
The CPU Fan Connector supports the CPU fan of maximum 1A (12W) fan power.
|Rear Panel I/O||– 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
– 1 x DVI-D Port
– 1 x HDMI Port
– 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
– 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
– 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A Port (10 Gb/s) (ASMedia ASM1142) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
– 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C Port (10 Gb/s) (ASMedia ASM1142) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
– 5 x USB 3.0 Ports (Intel® Z170) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
– 1 x Fatal1ty Mouse Port (USB 3.0) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
– 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
– 1 x Clear CMOS Switch
– HD Audio Jacks: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
|Other Features / Miscellaneous|
|Software and BIOS||Software
– ASRock F-Stream
– ASRock Disk Health Report
– ASRock USB Key
– ASRock Key Master
– ASRock APP Charger
– ASRock XFast RAM
– ASRock Fast Boot (Fast Boot, Restart to UEFI)*
– ASRock EZ Mode
– ASRock Full HD UEFI
– ASRock My Favorites in UEFI
– ASRock Instant Flash
– ASRock Internet Flash
– ASRock Crashless BIOS
– ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard)
– ASRock UEFI System Browser
– ASRock UEFI Tech Service
– ASRock Easy RAID Installer
– ASRock Easy Driver Installer
*These utilities can be downloaded from ASRock Live Update & APP Shop.
|Support CD||– Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), Google Chrome Browser and Toolbar, XSplit, Killer Network Manager|
|Hardware Monitor||– CPU/Chassis temperature sensing
– CPU/Chassis Fan Tachometer
– CPU/Chassis Quiet Fan (Auto adjust chassis fan speed by CPU temperature)
– CPU/Chassis Fan multi-speed control
– Voltage monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, CPU Vcore, GT_CPU, DRAM, VPPM, PCH 1.0V, VCCIO, VCCSA
|Form Factor||– ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm|
|OS||– Microsoft® Windows® 10 64-bit / 8.1 64-bit / 7 32-bit / 7 64-bit*
*To install Windows® 7 OS, a modified installation disk with xHCI drivers packed into the ISO file is required. Please see our online tutorial or check our User Manual for more detailed instructions.
For the updated Windows® 10 driver, please visit ASRock’s website for details.
|Certifications||– FCC, CE, WHQL
– ErP/EuP ready (ErP/EuP ready power supply is required)
The packaging is really exciting. The front has the artwork of I’m here to win. It has that really neat new original Gaming logo which is on the heatsink, and the Fatal1ty brand logo proudly displayed. The back goes over all the best features of the board like the Super Alloy material.
The accessories include:
- 1 x ASRock SLI_Bridge_2S Card
- Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
- 4 x SATA Data Cables
- 1 x Screw for M.2 Socket
- 1 x ASRock Front USB 3.1 Panel
- 4 x Screws for Front USB 3.1 Panel
- 1 x SATA Express Cable
- 1 x USB Power Cable
The board is well packaged and comes with everything you will need to get started. The board itself is colored really well and has that red/black cohesive color scheme that goes with most gaming parts from manufacturers.
The Z170 K6+ has improved their aesthetics of their Z170 lineup. The new shield covers up the I/O panel and audio section of the motherboard. The heatsink has their new logo which looks intimidating. The new mysterious matte black and copper color scheme are made to match the prestigious components on ASRock’s high-end 100 Series motherboards.
The best features of the Z170 K6+:
- ASRock Super Alloy
- Gaming Armor – CPU Power / Memory / VGA Card / Cooling / Internet / Audio
- Supports 6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors (Socket 1151)
- Digi Power, 12 Power Phase design
- Supports DDR4 3866+(OC) memory modules
- 3 PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 PCIe 3.0 x1
- NVIDIA® Quad SLI™, AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™
- Graphics Output Options: DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2
- Supports Triple Monitor
- 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec), Supports Purity Sound™ 3 & DTS Connect
- 2 SATA Express, 8 SATA3, 1 Ultra M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3)
- 4 USB 3.1 10Gb/s (2 Type-A + 2 Type-C), 8 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 5 Rear, 1 Fatal1ty Mouse Port)
- Free Bundled ASRock Front USB 3.1 Panel
- Supports Full Spike Protection, ASRock Live Update & APP Shop, F-Stream, Key Master, XSplit
The motherboard has 6 fan headers and can be controlled via PWM on each connector. You can further customize the fan curves in the UEFI. The board was designed with XXL Aluminum Alloy heatsinks. These extra large heatsinks can effectively take away heat from the MOSFET and chipset to make your system more stable. The board is also created using high-density glass fabric for the PCB. This can provide a protective layer that reduces electrical shorts against humidity.
The K6+ also uses supreme platinum capacitors with lifespans of at least 12,000 hours. This is compared to other counterparts on high boards that only have 10,000 hours. ASRock applied Nichicon 12k platinum caps that offer 20% longer lifespans to provide better stability.
The new I/O armor protects all of the crucial parts of your motherboard so they won’t easily be damaged by static electricity.
The rear panel includes:
- 6x USB 3.0 ports
- 1x USB 3.1 Type-A
- 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
- Killer NIC E2400
- 7.1 audio outputs with TOSLINK
- Clear CMOS button
This board has some fantastic features, but having that clear cmos button right on the back I/O panel is genius. Thank you ASRock for such a great yet simple design feature. There is also a free front panel USB 3.1 included with the K6+ which has additional USB 3.1 ports if desired. This can be done through your SATA Express connector to achieve speeds of up to 10 Gbps.
The NIC provided is a Killer E2400 and provides lower latency in games with automatic traffic prioritization.
The 7.1 CH HD audio mentioned above uses the Realtek ALC1150 audio codec. Pure Power-In and other technologies to deliver the crispest sound effects.
The ALC1150 supports:
- Supports Purity Sound™ 3
- Nichicon Fine Gold Series Audio Caps
- 115dB SNR DAC with Differential Amplifier
- TI® NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier (Supports up to 600 Ohm headsets)
- Pure Power-In
- Direct Drive Technology
- PCB Isolate Shielding
- DTS connect
There is a specific port on the I/O panel below the PS/2 port. This port is the Fatal1ty Mouse Port. The port was designed with the ASRock F-Stream software to provide gamers with a polling rate at 500Hz. F-Stream will also allow players to adjust the rate from 125Hz to 1000 Hz. This creates faster response times for your mouse.
ASRock also includes the worlds fastest m.2 socket. It’s 6x faster than standard m.2 slots. The PCIe Gen3 x4 interface pushes data transfer rates up to 32Gb/s. It also supports SATA 3 6Gb/s m.2 modules, and is compatible with ASRocks u.2 kit for installing u.2 SSDs.
The PCIe, and memory layout is simple. There are three red PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, and the three black slots are all 1x. The 1x slots and last 16x slot are all routed to the PCH. The first and second 16x slots are 16x or 8x/8x if both slots are occupied. The memory slots allow for easy installation of DDR4 memory having only the top clips open up for snapping in your modules. The bottom clips stay in place for easy placement. The top of the k6+ next to the memory slots also has placement of two customized buttons for power and reset. I love when motherboards include these, it makes it easier for testing purposes.
The Z170 PCH provides six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and two of them are through an ASMedia controller. THe K6+ also has two SATA Express ports which do share from four of the SATA ports with the PCH. One of the Express ports shares bandwidth with the m.2 slot, so if either is being used one gets disabled. To the right there is also a USB 3.0 header port for front panel USB 3.0 conenctors.
Circuit / Phase Inspection
The K6+ uses a total of 13 phases for power delivery, even though ASRock advertises 12. There are four major rails to the CPU for the Z170. This chipset uses VCC (Vcore), VCCGT (GPU core), VCCSA (System Agent), VCCIO (CPU IO). The board uses a single phase that power the VCCSA, and the eight other phases for the VCC. Those 4 inductors at the top are for the graphics voltage phase. ASRock uses a 4+2 phase PWM which is doubled to 8+4. The inductors used are rated for 60A and the capacitors are 12k gold certified.
The memory VRM uses a single phase, and another single phase is used to power the DDR VPP or PCH.
The K6+ also has dual bios chips if something goes wrong with the first, this has always been handy in case an overclock goes wrong, or a bios becomes corrupt.
The motherboard power connectors were extremely sturdy and soldered well to the board. ASRock labels these connectors as high density.
This board also allow additional overclocking in the way of the Hyper BCLK Engine. This custom clock generator allow a wider range of frequencies that help you have more control over your overclocks and fine tune them.
Bios / Software
The UEFI of the K6+ is one of the easiest interfaces I have used yet. Its easy mode is just that ” EASY”. Its dead simple with everything you would want to know on one screen. There are of course more advanced features to tweak. You can click Advanced mode in the upper right or just hit F6 on your keyboard. The latest bios for the K6+ detected everything, and easily identified my memory using the built-in XMP profiles. This motherboard supports DDR4 overclocks up to 3866+. This will offer the most extreme performance to date.
Under the advanced section you get several more options such as OC tweaker for overclocking and advanced for changing more advanced settings.
OC tweaker is where you can set CPU speed, DRAM settings, or change your voltages. You can save your profiles for easy management as well.
I was able to change my core voltage to 1.23 but my PC became unstable after a while. I was successful at setting my CPU to a 4.5 GHz overclock using 1.24 Vcore.
The advanced tab gives you access to your storage, chipset, and other important IO configurations.
Hardware monitor is probably the best place to go as it gives you a full indication of all your settings and voltages. I set this to my favorite tab right away. You can set stuff you find you use more frequently to a favorites section for quicker access. The H/W monitor section is also where you adjust all your fan speeds and set fan curves.Once your’re set just save your settings and boot into your operating system.
ASRock includes a ton of software that is feature rich. It’s also not overwhelming and easy to use. The Live update utility provides easy updates for drivers, your bios, and even apps. I downloaded a few utilities that I thought were the most popular.
Disk health allows an easy view of your drives attached to your system, this software indicates temperature and health for your drives. It also tells you what port you have what drive attached to which is also super helpful.
I would say your most important piece of software will be the F-Stream utility. This app allows you to control overclocking, system info, fan curves, and easy adjustments right within Windows. You can see above that you can easily adjust you overclock settings on the fly.
Under FAN-Tastic you can control your PWM fans and adjust their speed based on curves or percentages. You can also run a fan test to help fine tune your systems fans automatically.
I will be testing the K6+ using the built-in ASRock software, CPUID, and AIDA64 Extreme for benchmarks. I will also be testing the power consumption of this board for a general idea of what to expect during heavy and idle loads. I will test the Watts used by using a KILL A WATT. Please keep in mind that each system is different and actual loads can vary greatly even with similar hardware.
My test bench is as follows:
- Motherboard- AsRock z170 Gaming k6+
- CPU: Intel Core I7 6700K
- Network Card- netgear AC 1200 USB
- Cooler- CoolerMaster Pro 240
- Memory- Anarchy X 16GB DDR4 2800MHz
- Video Card: Nvidia GTX 1060
- Storage- PNY CS2210 480GB / Samsung 950 pro m.2 512GB
- Power Supply- bequiet! Dark Power Pro 11 1000W
- OS: Windows 10 x64 Pro
- Headphones- Creative H7
The CPU was overclocked to 4.5 GHz for benchmark purposes, and the memory was set to its XMP profile. You have to control the PWM fan speeds and curves using the provided ASRock software. For the 4.5 GHz overclock I used 100% or performance speeds for maximum cooling to keep my overclock stable.
You can see the performance above for the memory bandwidth and CPU cache, this should give you a good indication of the kind of performance to expect from this Z170 board.
The power consumption is rather good, and this is thanks to the hybrid digital PWM controller. The power gets delivered effectively and can achieve a really low power consumption level at idle.
This board has so many great features its hard to fault. I’m not going to make up anything negative or pretend there is something to fault. The Only real issue which isn’t limited to this board is using the m.2 slot and u.2 SATA Express slots, if one is in use the other gets disabled. This is a technology road block, and will improve over time. Also there are minor bugs that will be worked out with bios updates. I would have liked to see RGB lighting or LED lighting on the board, especially lighting up either the armor or the heatsink art.
I absolutely love this motherboard, and got some decent overclocking results. My favorite parts was the easy to use UEFI bios. Everything was easy to configure and had no input lag. The red/black cohesive color scheme will work with most manufactures as this color is so popular right now. I definitely recommend this motherboard for enthusiasts and gamers. The price is definitely worth your investment. You can buy the ASRock Gaming K6+ for $195.00 on the ASRock Newegg store.