K4 is designed to work with Intel’s 6th Generation of processors – Skylake. We therefore have a new socket; LGA1151 but we also have cooling mounting holes for LGA115X so if you have a cooler that has been used on another socket such as LGA1150/55 then it will work fine here too. Around this socket there are dual CPU fan headers on either side of the memory slots for cooling solutions which have twin cooling fans.
ASRock are using a 10-phase digital power design for K4 with Nichicon 12K Platinum CAPs. Other motherboard generally have 10K CAPs – so in essence this means extended durability. Sitting over the MOSFETs are two large, independent heatsinks which are not joined.
Directly next to the socket there are a total of four memory slots which require DDR4 memory. These slots are ready for dual-channel DDR4 and Intel XMP – supporting up to DDR4 3866+(OC) and 64GB.
Next to the 24-pin ATX power connector there is a single USB 3.0 header and two SATA 3 (6GB/s) ports.
Looking at the bottom edge of the motherboard we have two SATA Express connection ports which also double-up to offer four SATA 3 (6GB/s) ports, meaning there are a total of six SATA ports on K4. Unfortunately these ports are top-facing rather than angled – meaning cable management could be difficult to arrange.
Above this is a large rectangular heatsink covering the Intel Z170 chip.
Moving over to the PCI Express slots there are:
- Three PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots
- Two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots
The uppermost x16 operates at 16x while the lower slot operates at 4x. Adding in more than one graphics card will mean that overall bandwidth will drop to the lowest speed. So, if you’re planning to use just a single graphics card its best to use the top slot.
ASRock has added in a Molex connection at the top to add in some additional auxiliary power. In between the X16 slots there is an M.2 ultra-slot (capable of up to 32GB/s). Drives which are type 2230/2242/2260/2280/22110 are all compatible.
K4 comes with Purity Sound 3 which comprises of a number of audio-based features including:
- Nichicon Gold CAPs
- 115dB SNR DAC w/ Differential Amplifier
- TI NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier
- Pure Power-In
- Direct Drive Technology
- PCB Isolate Shielding
All of the audio components are covered by a stylish fascia which sits over the rear IO ports too.
Finally, we arrive at the Rear IO section of K4. This area has an assortment of ports to make use of which include:
- 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
- 1 x DVI-D Port
- 1 x HDMI Port
- 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
- 1 x USB 2.0 Port (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
- 1 x Fatal1ty Mouse Port (USB 2.0) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
- 5 x USB 3.0 Type-A Ports (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
- 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C Port (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
- 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port