Despite a Texas summer filled with camps, family breaks, and nonstop heat at work, my home lab follows the PC Master Race mantra of keeping framerates high and temperatures low. And it welcomes back ASRock, with its X370 Killer SLI/ac motherboard, as I finally begin working through the initial launch backlog. This one has us wondering whether the company's AM4 Killer lineup blends the style of Taichi and performance of the Fatal1ty, or if it's just white noise in this ever-growing market.
The X370 platform shouldn't be a surprise anymore, and it's showing its growing maturity with various assortments of shapes, sizes, and bundles on the shelves. Among the boxes of red and black, RGB, and preposterous bold text, the ASRock X370 Killer SLI/ac is a nice change of pace. The “K” on the front of the packaging slices through the black void with clean lines, sharp edges, and red accents gleaming along the blade’s edges. Flipping to the back, the black and white scheme is clean, and the extra colors do not overpower the simple elegance. Contents of the package are on par with some of our other value boards, providing a backplate, two SATA cables, two antennae, some M.2 retention screws, installation media, and the obligatory SLI HB Bridge from its namesake. Below the cardboard tray rests our specimen.
At first glance, we thought this motherboard would be just a rehash of some of ASRock’s award-winning X370 Gaming K4 Gaming K4. The X370 Killer SLI/ac just reminds us of how much the red, black, and Fatal1tyness of that board warmed our circuits. Similar Vreg heatsinks, 8+4 phase design, slot placement, and even M.2 locations make maneuvering around this board a walk down memory lane.
The back panel connectors enable APU access to one HDMi v1.4 port. All Zen processors can use the two USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type A and Type C), 6 USB 3.1 Gen1, gigabit Ethernet, five analog audio, one digital audio, and two PS/2 ports. Unlike the Gaming K4, this product has the WiFi antennae and ports installed and wired to the included M.2 card.
Along the bottom edge are our usual front panel audio, USB 2.0, fans, clear CMOS, and other various headers. Water pump headers are rated for 1.5A or 18W, which should provide adequate power to modest cooling solutions. Looking at the top edge of the planar, we have two additional four-pin fan headers, single-switched DIMM connectors, and just enough space around the 8-pin 12V connector for my stubby fingers.
Though similar in layout to the Gaming K4, the Killer SLI/ac shares black and white styling with its cousin, the Taichi. RGB headers are located in the bottom right quadrant, and AMD LED fan headers reside along the right edge with the ATX connector and USB 3.0 header.
Standard promontory storage connectivity is included, with access to six SATA 6Gb/s ports. ASRock includes an Ultra M.2 connector for NVMe connectivity when using Ryzen chips, and the bottom M.2 port is wired out for two lanes of PCIe Gen2 at 10 Gb/s. Remember that extra M.2 slot on the Gaming K4? The Killer SLI populates it with an Intel Wireless-AC 3168 802.11ac WiFi variant, complete with clashing green PCB, and wires delicately routed to the back antenna ports. Comparable WiFi modules can range from $13 on eBay to $35 on Amazon, not including cables or antenna.
Overall, there is not much to complain about regarding board placement and aesthetics. Sure, the WiFi module is green, and the lone aura of the chipset LEDs might not make the most vibrant off-the-shelf solution. But this white and black palette lends itself to a wide gamut of color combinations and contrast to make any windowed build light up the room.
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