ASRock Fatal1ty Gaming-ITX/ac

Mini-ITX Motherboard Packed With Features and Performance

ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 PC Motherboard

The Bottom Line

Feb 22 2016 - If you are looking to put together a compact high performance gaming PC, the ASRock Fatal1ty Gaming-ITX/ac offers an excellent platform with high performance and plenty of features without an inflated price tag. The system offers a plethora of features including M.2, USB 3.1 and 802.11ac in the small mini-ITX platform. Performance and overclocking are great but the system does suffer a bit when it comes to memory support and wireless performance.


  • Excellent Performance
  • Support for 4x PCI-Express with NVMe M.2 Solid State Drives
  • Well Priced


  • Memory Performance Below Many Competing Boards
  • Mediocre Wireless Performance
  • Only Three Analog Audio Ports


  • Intel LGA 1151 Socket
  • Intel Z170 Chipset
  • Supports Two DDR4 Memory Modules up to 4000MHz Speeds
  • Six SATA 3.0, One SATA Express and Ultra M.2 with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and NVMe
  • One USB 3.1 Type C (10Gbps), One USB 3.1 Type A (10Gbps), Six USB 3.0 (rear), Two USB 3.0 (header), DispayPort, HDMI
  • Realtek ALC1150 Audio, Three Analog Audio Out (rear), Front Panel Audio header, SPDIF
  • One PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Graphics Slot
  • 802.11ac WiFi (2x2)
  • Two SATA cables, WiFi Antennae
  • Mini-ITX Form Factor

Review - ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac

Feb 22 2016 - There has been a renewed interest in making compact gaming systems that offer a large amount of performance but being the size of the gaming console. Generally, this requieres the use of a smaller mini-ITX motherboard that has a good deal of limitations compared to the larger boards but companies like ASRock are packing more and more features in. The Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac has many of the latest technologies that will make many interested in a small computer take notice.

Just because it is small, the performance is quite good when matched up with Intel's latest processors. It is able to post some impressive performance when it comes to applications and benchmarks. In addition to this, the overclocking support for the processor does extremely well. The software (which you must download from ASRock) makes overclocking extremely easy for those that don't want to get too involved in voltages and multiplier adjustments to get the highest speed possible but those options are there as well. Cooling could be an issue though if you are using a large tower cooler that does not have space for the memory slots or any case restrictions.

One of the biggest problems with the system is memory support. Of course the mini-ITX form factor restricts it to just two memory modules which does limit it compare to larger boards but it is more than this. It is using the latest DDR4 Memory which offers a few advantages over DDR3 such as faster clock speed. The problem is the memory tends to run at slower speeds than many other premium boards using DDR4. This seems to be because of from some additional latency that the board introduces. In addition to this, it does not seem as stable when overclocking the memory.

Storage support is also quite good thanks to an M.2 SSD slot with support for both PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and NVMe. This provides it with extremely fast storage performance when matched up with the appropriate drive. One downside is that the slot is on the bottom of the motherboard. This makes it difficult to replace the card if you want to upgrade and can also have issues with cooling of the SSD in some cases. It also has a SATA Express interface but this is disabled when the M.2 slot is in use. Effectively, if you use the M.2, you end up with four SATA 3.0 ports.

Anyone using it for gaming of course will not be using the integrated graphics on the Intel processors and instead using a dedicated graphics card. The small mini-ITX for factor may not give it much space for PCI-Express slots but there is space for a single slot for a graphics card. This may restrict the overall performance compared to larger boards with multiple slots that allow for multiple graphics cards but this is an option that very few users actually take. Besides, even a modestly priced graphics card will let it play games at a full 1080p with high detail levels.

Connectors for the motherboard are both good and bad. It features the latest USB 3.1 interface with both the older Type A and newer Type C connectors. Both of these port run at teh full 10Gbps speed as well which is good. The problem is with the audio connector. There are only three analog connectors that allow for 5.1 audio support. 7.1 Audio requires the use of the digital connector. This also poses a a problem if you do not use the front panel audio as you cannot hook up a microphone through analog connectors without reducing the number of audio channels further.

Finally, the board also provides support for 802.11ac wireless via an onboard chipset and external antennae. This is nice for those that don't have the ability to run an Ethernet port. Wireless support is not the fastest out there as it tops out at roughly 867Mbps theoretically with real world topping closer to 600Mbps or less.

List pricing for the ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac $229 but it can be found for as little as $150. The street pricing makes it one of the more affordable performance and gaming oriented Z170 mini-ITX boards on the market. Options like the ASUS ROG Maximus, eVGA Z170 Stinger and MSI Gaming Z170O Gaming Pro AC all match it in terms of features and maybe even come with a few more but can range from $30 to $100 more in cost. This makes it very attractive for those that might want lots of features without having to spend too much.