Z390 Asrock Taichi Melbourne

Asrock Z390 Taichi Review

With the increased popularity of PC gaming, it is no surprise that there are so many different motherboards on the market.​​The Asrock Z390 Taichi is a motherboard for users who are looking to build a powerful PC. It features an Intel Core i7 8700K hexacore processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card. This motherboard also has two M2 slots that can be used to add additional storage space for your computer. 

The Asrock Z390 Taichi is a single-socket LGA1151 motherboard with Intel's 9th generation core processors. It features 12 SATA3 ports and 4 DIMM slots for the latest DDR4 memory modules and dual M.2 slots and 3 PCIe x16 expansion slots. The board also has an integrated I/O shield, LED debug display, and heatsink cover, which both adds aesthetic appeal to the board but also help to cool the VRMs on the board. 

Asrock's Z390 Taichi is a great motherboard and lives up to the company's reputation of producing high-quality PC components. It features top tier audio, six SATA ports, and 10 USB 3.1 ports for connecting peripherals such as hard drives or printers. With its thermal armour design, Taichi also has excellent cooling capabilities to accommodate liquid cooling systems such as water coolers and air coolers. So if you're looking for an affordable gaming mainboard with all the bells and whistles, this ASRock z390 taichi review,  is it! 

Meet the ASRock Z390 Taichi

With its cogs-and-gears theme and layered heatsinks, the Taichi line has, for several generations, presented a fresh, edgy design to high-end boards from this aggressive maker, and the Z390 Taichi exudes class and attitude.

ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate In this review, we peek at one of the most luxurious Z390 motherboards from ASRock, meet the Z390 Taichi Ultimate. Ready for 8th or 9th Gen processors, this board is about performance, aesthetics, and many features. The board looks great, with a PCH cover. And black and grey style with some gear imagery really looks nice. The dual pin connector should indicate a strong VRM, and this motherboard as such has 12 power phases. Ethernet is king at the Ultimate; included is good WIFI and 2x Gigabit LAN but also wait for it , a 10 Gbps LAN jack powered by Aquantia.

With the new Coffee Lake-S refresh, you can expect three processors to predominantly become popular in demand for the PC gamer, as every one of the processors will offer fantastic gaming performance if your graphics card is fast enough. Intel is able to boost the Turbo frequencies towards that 5 GHz domain. And that is a big advantage that Intel has over AMD, which is wedges shut at that 4.2 GHz range with Ryzen 2000 (which is overall good, but the high per clock core is where it matters in CPU bound gaming; e.g. with super high-end graphics cards like the RTX 2080 Ti). Intel is releasing these three 9000 series processors initially:

That does not mean you'll only see three processors in the Core 9000 range; word out on the street is that a proc like 9100, 9400 and 9500 Core series processor will be released as well. However, this specific launch invokes three processors. We'll use the eight-core / sixteen threads Core i9 9900K through our benchmark paces for this review. With this motherboard, you'll be able to tweak this proc towards at least 5.0 GHz on all eight cores.

Features and Layout

Buyers who need a ten gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) connection have a few choices, but most of those involve buying a card and finding a place to stick it. The Z390 Taichi Ultimate integrates a reputable Aquantia controller and costs a little less than the combination of a Z390 Taichi plus a separate Aquantia card. Buyers don't lose the original Taichi's dual-gigabit networking by opting for this board, and ASRock even upgrades its Wi-Fi controller to 1.73Gbps.

The Z390 Taichi Ultimate might not be the perfect motherboard, but it's probably the perfect purchase for people who like the Z390 Taichi and want a 10GbE controller for super-fast next wired networking.

Taichi Asrock Z390 Melbourne

So who needs a quad-networking motherboard? ASRock's Z390 Taichi Ultimate adds 10GbE to the dual Gigabit Ethernet available on the cheaper Z390 Taichi and upgrades its Wi-Fi module to a faster 1.73Gbps. Even if we just assume you'll use the Wi-Fi module as an access point, that's still three RJ-45 jacks to fill with something. And assuming you have a 10GbE connection to the internet, you'll still have two Gigabit interfaces into which you can plug two other PCs?

At least then the other two PC's won't have to compete with each other over a single Gigabit connection as they would have through a switch. However, regardless of what you choose to do with all those jacks, if you opt for this board, you'll spend about $279, which pits the Taichi Ultimate directly against Gigabyte's Z390 Aorus Master.

If you looked at the above image and thought that networking upgrades were the only changes over the Z390 Taichi, you obviously missed the chrome-coloured Power and Reset buttons that the Z390 Taichi Ultimate has in place of the circular blank spots of the non-Ultimate version.

The Aquantia AQC107's 10GbE port is colour coded red for easier identification, with the others fed by Intel PHY and PCIe x1 controllers. The upgraded Wi-Fi module doesn't look any different from the bracket side and uses the same PCIe/USB interface as the Z390 Taichi's module. Unfortunately, the Key-E slots of both boards lack the Z390's CNVi capability that was supposed to allow for cheaper 1.73Gbps solutions.

Dual M.2

The lower two M.2 slots support drives, and the other M.2 wares range in size from Type-2230 (30mm long) to Type-22110 (110mm).

The Third M.2, Heatsinked

The lowest down of the three M.2 slots features a slick metal heatsink that will cover whatever size of the module you choose.

LGA Socket Clearance: Thumbs-Up

The LGA 1151 socket has plenty of room around it, as it's surrounded only by squat capacitors.

All the I/O

ASRock packed the Z390 Taichi's I/O panel with connectors, including dual Ethernet jacks, backed by gigabit-capable Intel controllers.

Golden Audio

The 7.1-channel audio ports are backed by ASRock's Purity Sound 4 package, which includes (among other features) a Realtek ALC1220 codec.

Cogs' n' Gears

The three steel-wrapped PCI Express x16 slots sit alongside three Ultra M.2 slots and two PCI Express x1 slots, all of which backs up against the large, cog-shaped heatsink for the Z390 chipset.

The ASRock Z390 Taichi Overview

The ASRock Z390 Taichi motherboard is an ATX sized offering that is primarily targeted towards enthusiasts and users looking to push the envelope on the new Intel 9th Gen Core processors, such as the Core i9-9900K and Core i7-9700K. The Z390 boards also support 8th Gen as well.

The Z390 Taichi is quite similar in specification and design compared to ASRock's previous Z370 Taichi, which we reviewed in July with an upgrade. First of all, the chipset heatsink on the newer Z390 Taichi resembles that of the one we saw on the ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate with a design similar to that of a working cogwheel. Even the power delivery heatsinks look noticeably bigger than the previous Z370 variant with ASRock using a similar 5+2 power delivery to the Z370 Taichi, but with different componentry. One of the biggest design upgrades ASRock has improved over the Z370 Taichi is the extended rear panel cover covering the PCB gap between the rear IO and the power delivery heatsink; this looks much better visually.

In regards to what's new on the ASRock Z390 Taichi, solid-looking 10-phase power delivery with an IR35201 8-channel PWM controller operating in a 5+2 configuration. The CPU VCore section comprises ten Texas Instrument 87350D NexFET power blocks that IR3598 dual drivers double. A dedicated 60A choke complements each phase, and the Z390 Taichi uses 12K capacitors throughout. It is worth noting that the ASRock Z390 Taichi, the ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate and the more gaming-focused ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 all feature the same power delivery across all three models.

The open-ended PCIe x1 slots are also retained, allowing longer cards to be inserted. However, with some restrictions: The upper x1 slot is so close to the M.2 slot that the exposed end of longer cards will be shoved up against the tops of the M.2 module's IC's, and the RTC battery partially blocks the lower x1 slot.

The first and third M.2 slots each steal two HSIO pathways from SATA, disabling ports 0/1 and 4/5 if populated. The second M.2 slot has dedicated resources for PCIe, but its legacy SATA interface steals SATA port 3.

The front-panel USB 3.1 Gen2 header still points outward between the centre line of the top x1 and x16 card but is so far forward of the card slots that it's not likely to interfere with an x1 card of any length. And regardless of which SATA ports your M.2 slot have disabled, all eight-point forwards fit underneath the leading edge of long expansion cards.

Frequently Asked Questions About Asrock Z390 Taichi

No one has time for weak Wi-Fi signals and sluggish internet! That's why this motherboard comes with an 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2.4G / 5G Wi-Fi) module, which supports wireless networks and Bluetooth v4.

The Z390 is Intel's latest generation of motherboard's which have been purpose-built to work alongside their 9th gen range of Coffee Lake processors. If you're looking to maximize the performance power of your new 9th processor, then the Z390 is certainly the board to go for.

Intel has added native support for 802.11ac wireless internet for Z390, but many motherboard manufacturers will add their own, better wireless chips, especially on more expensive boards. It's a revision to Intel's high-end consumer chipset, so it's no surprise that this platform is well-served by beefy processors.

We recommend ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) and Gigabyte Z390 AORUS PRO WIFI as the most reasonable and suitable motherboard for your gaming PC installation. Asus motherboard rog Strix z390-i gaming is adequate for heavy and advanced gaming.

For users looking to use the Z390 Taichi to overclock the unlocked core i3, i5, i7 and i9 8th or 9th generation Intel processors, the ASRock is certainly well equipped to do so. With a comprehensive 12-phase power delivery split into a 5+2 configuration with the use of doublers on the CPU Vcore side of things, the overclocking performance was as good as expected. The VDroop control was quite tight with an automatic load-line calibration applied by the BIOS with manually set voltages. Still, the predefined profiles hammered an excessive amount of voltage through our i7-8700K. This equated to a load voltage on the Turbo 5.0 GHz profile of 1.52 V on the VCore, which instantly failed our stress testing before it had the chance to begin. Manually we needed a VCore of just 1.30 V in the BIOS to run stable at 5.0 GHz, which puts the EZ OC mode into the danger zone.

Asrock Z390 Taich Melbourne

The Z390 Taichi Ultimate gets a more modern-appearing Wi-Fi antenna than the pair, including with the Z390 Taichi. It also includes four SATA cables, an I/O shield, a high-bandwidth SLI bridge, a foil case badge, a driver disc, and documentation.

The ASRock Z390 Taichi is one of the more premium enthusiast-grade models on the Z390 chipset and, as such, currently commands a moderate price tag of $240. This puts the Z390 Taichi around $60 cheaper than the higher-end ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate ($300) and $30 cheaper than the gaming-focused Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 ($270). Moreover, with a solid looking 12-phase power delivery, an auspicious MOSFET heatsink and a quality controller set consisting of two Intel Gigabit NICs and a Realtek ALC1220 audio codec makes this model a very attractive investment for users looking to take advantage of the power of both the 8th and 9th generation of Intel processors.

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