ASRock lets loose a volley of Z370 motherboards

The launch of Z370 motherboards is one of the trends in hardware this week, and ASRock is jumping in with its gang of ten boards supporting Intel's upcoming eighth-generation Core processors. The group includes a pair of Mini-ITX boards, one microATX model, and seven different full-fat ATX flavors.

Mini-ITX builders on a budget might choose the Z370M-ITX/ac, which has the added bonus of integrated wireless connectivity thanks to an included Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi combo card with Bluetooth 4.2. The speedy Wi-Fi adapter complements a pair of Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers. Buyers can add a PCIe or SATA M.2 SSD in the M.2 2280 slot, and a graphics card in the single PCIe x16 slot. Those looking for a bit more flash in the same compact package might pick the Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming-ITX/ac, which gives up the second Ethernet jack but adds a Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, a steel-jacketed PCIe slot, and a USB 3.1 Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support.

The lone microATX offering is the Z370M Pro4. The existence of only one microATX board in this lineup might indicate distinct trends towards building either increasingly-compact PCs, or full-size showpieces. Buyers sticking to the middle size of ASRock Z370 motherboards will get a pair of full-length PCIe slots and a pair of PCIe x1 slots, four DDR4 memory slots, and a second SATA-only M.2 socket as their rewards. The Z370M Pro4 is finished in a somber gray-and-black color scheme that should work well with other components of any color save perhaps for white.

The choices get more difficult when picking out a full-size ATX board. The entry-level ATX board is the Z370 Pro4, but even this model is loaded with features like tons of USB 3.0 ports, an Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller, and two M.2 slots that support SATA or PCIe drives. The Z370 Extreme 4 adds in USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A and Type-C ports, a Realtek ALC1220 audio codec with DTS Connect multi-channel encoding, SLI support, and an RGB LED header for good measure.

The Z370 Taichi, Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming K6, Fatal1ty Z370 Professional Gaming i7, Z370 Killer SLI, and Z370 Killer SLI/ac all support matched pairs of GeForce graphics cards with support for Nvidia SLI. The entry-level SLI board appears to be the Killer SLI, which somewhat contrarily to its name has Intel wired networking instead of the Rivet Networks chip one might expect. The Killer SLI/ac, as its name suggests, adds in an Intel wireless combo card to the deal. Either board has two M.2 sockets, onboard RGB LED lighting, metal-reinforced PCIe x16 slots, and a USB Type-C port.

The Fatal1ty Gaming K6 does not, in fact, support AMD's original Pentium II-fighting processor, but it does have a pair of USB 3.1 ports, two Intel Gigabit LAN controllers, and a Realtek ALC1220 codec. The fancier Taichi has dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers to go along with the included Intel 802.11ac-and-Bluetooth combo card. The board also has three M.2 slots that support SATA or PCIe storage devices, three USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, and a BCLK generator.

Finally, the Fatal1ty Professional Gaming i7 goes off the deep end with three flexible M.2 slots, three USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, and three LAN controllers, one of which has an Aquantia 10-Gigabit chip behind it.

ASRock didn't provide any pricing or availability information, but we'd expect at least some of these models to be on shelves for the release of Intel's eighth-generation Core chips on October 5.

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