ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4 Motherboard Review

As you know, I love anything Mini-ITX and when ASRock announced the Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4 motherboard, I was super excited. Just imagine a tiny motherboard measuring just 17.0 cm x 17.0 cm featuring Intel’s enthusiast Z690 chipset, and it’s suitable for all the latest 12th Gen Core (Alder Lake) processors from Intel. So without further ado … let’s take a look at the ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4 Motherboard. 

The motherboard supports DDR5 ram with speeds of up to DDR5-6400 OC, and features 1 x PCIE 5.0 (x16) slot and 2 x Hyper M.2 slot for PCIE 4.0 Gen4 SSD. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the most advanced and feature-packed Mini-ITX motherboard available on the market.

One thing you’ll notice right away with this motherboard, is that it features just one PCIE 5.0 x16 steel slot (backward compatible with PCIE 4.0) for graphics card. For storage, there’s a total of 3 x SATA3 ports, 2 x Hyper M.2 (PCIe Gen4 x4) slots for SSDs. 

And as usual, motherboard comes with all of ASRock’s unique features which includes,  the new 11 Power Phase SPS, Dr.MOS Power Design, Super Alloy, 7.1 HD audio, Polychrome RGB, and 11 layer PCB design.

You also get the Thunderbolt™ 4 Type-C connector, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Front Type-C, 4 x Rear USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, and 3 x USB 3.2 Gen1 (1 Rear, 2 Front). And finally, for connectivity, you get the Killer E3100 2.5GB LAN as well as the Killer AX1675 802.11ax supporting WiFi 6e + Bluetooth. The rear I/O panel includes a HDMI port, DisplayPort, BIOS flashback, Clear CMOS button, and connectors for your WiFi antenna, as well as an array of audio connectors. 

 

As you can see, this motherboard only support DDR5 ram. And I can confirm, DDR5 is not backward compatible with DDR4, so that means you can not use your existing DDR4 ram. If you want to go the DDR5 route, you’ll have to get yourself a new Z690 motherboard that supports DDR5 ram, along with some expensive DDR5 ram. There are many questions when it comes to DDR5 ram. Is it worth it? What’s are the real benefits? And will it perform better than exisiting DDR4 ram? Well, to answer those questions … read on. 

 

 

One interesting thing about this motherboard, along with future DDR5 motherboards, is that it will allow your DDR5 ram to run at Quad Channel mode. Well, the explanation is this … DDR5 gives you two 32-bit wide (40-bit wide, with ECC) channels per stick, which means that you get a quad-channel configuration when running two DIMMs.

We’ll be pairing the ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB with an Intel Core i9-12900KF, which comes with 8 P-core (performance cores) and 8 E-core (efficiency cores) giving you a total of 16 cores, but you only get 24 threads and not 32 threads. This is explained in more detail here. The test rig will also have 32GB ADATA XPG Lancer RGB DDR5-6000 ram, an ASRock Radeon RX 6500 XT, as well as Adata’s Legend 840 1TB PCIE Gen4 SSD. 

 

 

I would like to thank ASRock for providing the review sample. This is a snippet from what ASRock has to say about themselves on their website:

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.

Unfortunately, I was not able to test the motherboard using a GeForce RXT 30-series due to chip shortage/scalpers/overpricing, so the bottleneck would come from the graphics card itself. Yes, I’m stuck with a Radeon RX 6500 XT … But having said that, I’m still expecting some decent performance from the whole setup, especially when it’s paired with 32GB of DDR5-6000 ram and 1TB PCIE Gen4x4 SSD.

OK, let’s start by taking a look at the specifications and features in our next page. 

At the time of review, we couldn’t find a MSRP for the ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4, but you can buy something similar – the Asus ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming for around USD $439. If you want to buy the full size ATX motherboard …the ASRock Z690 Taichi can be purchased for around USD $677 from Amazon – https://amzn.to/3rSRd65

 

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About Winston 7056 Articles
Winston has over 20 years of experience in the I.T. Industry. He launched Funky Kit with the aim to capture a wider audience worldwide. His knowledge in PC hardware is very distinguished, not only publishing enjoyable reviews but also writing great articles.