In this review, we’ll be taking a quick look at the ASRock Z390 Taichi motherboard featuring the latest Intel Z390 chipset, supporting both the 8th gen and latest 9th gen Intel Core processors (Coffee Lake-S) on the LGA1151 platform. This motherboard comes absolutely packed with features including … a 12 Power Phase design, Dual Intel® Gigabit LAN, Intel® 802.11ac WiFi + BT 4.2, Hyper BCLK Engine II, 8 SATA3, 3 Ultra M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3), 5 USB 3.1 Gen2 (1 Front Type-C, 1 Rear Type-C, 3 Rear Type-A), 8 USB 3.1 Gen1 (4 Front, 4 Rear) and 3 PCIe 3.0 x16, 2 PCIe 3.0 x1 slots.
What’s more, it also supports memory up to DDR4 4200+(OC), multi-GPU configuration including NVIDIA® Quad SLI™, AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™, Purity Sound™ 4 & DTS Connect, 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec), ASRock Polychrome SYNC, HDMI and DisplayPort.
Last year when Intel launched the 8th gen (Coffee Lake) processor, it caused a little bit of confusion and controversy among users, with regards to the Z370 chipset and other 300-series motherboard. Although the overall performance and overclocking ability was generally very good, many users were annoyed with the fact that it wasn’t compatible with the older 6th or 7th gen Core processors. It means you want to upgrade to the 8th gen Core processor, you also have to get a new 300-series motherboard… something I’m all too familiar with.
Luckily, this time round with the recent launch of the 9th gen Core processor (Coffee Lake-S), Intel made the right choice in keeping compatibility with existing 300-series chipset (including the older Z370). All motherboard manufacturers had to do, is to release BIOS updates for their existing 300-series of motherboards, which will allow support for both 8th and 9th gen Core processors.
ASRock Inc. is established in 2002, specialized in the field of motherboards. ASRock strives to build up its own brand. With the 3C design concept, “Creativity, Consideration, Cost-effectiveness”, the company explores the limit of motherboards manufacturing while paying attention on the eco issue at the same time, developing products with the consideration of eco-friendly concept.
ASRock has been growing fast and become world third largest motherboard brand with headquarter in Taipei, Taiwan and branches in Europe and the USA. The young and vibrant company targets from mainstream to enthusiast MB segments for different kinds of users, owning reputation around the world market with its reliability and proficiency.
From what I can gather, the Z390 chipset offers only a slight refresh over its predecessor, the Z370. In fact, some people are calling it a re-packaged/re-brand of the original Z370. Whatever the case maybe, we know that it does support higher speed memory, better overclocking ability and more stability.
At the time of testing, we only managed to pair the ASRock Z390 Taichi with our Intel Core i7-8700K (8th gen) processor. We’re try give you guys another update when we get our hands on the Core i9-9900K (9th gen) processor.
It will be interesting to see how well the ASRock Z390 Taichi will perform against other 300-series motherboards on the market. I’m not expecting anything to jump out screaming in terms of performance, but rather I would be interested in the overall overclocking ability of this motherboard. I should easily reach 5GHz with no issues on our Core i7-8700K.
OK, let’s not waste anytime and take a look at the specifications and comparison of the Intel Z390 chipset on our next page.
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