• SPECIFICATIONS
  • Socket: LGA 1151
  • Chipset: Intel Z390
  • RAM Slots: 4 (Dual-channel)
  • Memory: 4200+/4133/4000/3866/3800/3733/3600/3200/2933/2800/2666/2400/2133 MHz DDR4
  • I/O Ports: 1x PS/2, 2x Gigabit LAN, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 2x Wireless Antenna, 1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C, 3x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A, 2x USB 2.0, 5x Audio port, 1x Optical (SPDIF), 3x PCIe 3.0 x16, 8x SATA 6Gb/s, 3x M.2
  • Pros:
  • Stable overclocks
  • Plenty of features
  • Cons:
  • None

Overclocking Adept

Late 2018 hasn’t been great for Intel. The Z390 has been less than impressive, but luckily the motherboards themselves remain really good products. From ASRock, we got one of the brand’s top models when it comes to motherboards.

The Z390 Taichi is a stylish motherboard, with its silver-black colour scheme and angled lines that will appeal to gamers. It’s a full ATX board packed with a lot of features that are immediately apparent. You have gold connector pins, high-quality nichicon caps, shielding for the audio chip, and more.

High-speed NVMe SSD support, reinforced PCIe slot, and a special BCLK chip - this board is packed with features

High-speed NVMe SSD support, reinforced PCIe slot, and a special BCLK chip – this board is packed with features

Starting from the top, you’ll find the four DIMM slots on the right. There is an extra 4-pin connector for CPU to go with the standard 8-pin near the top left, providing smoother and increased power delivered to the CPU for enhanced overclocking capability. It also has a 12 power phase design, which gives more stability when overclocking. And if that’s not enough, the Hyper BCLK Engine II below the CPU socket gives you a wider range of base clock frequencies to choose from, allowing you to further fine-tune the system.

There are other components as well, including three NVMe M.2 slots (the third one has a heatsink), three PCIe x16 slots reinforced by metal, a shielded audio chipset that has an amplifier chip, and a few headers for RGB LED strips. Additionally, there’s a header for chassis with front USB Type-C port, handy for VR headsets.

This motherboard is suitable for larger PC chassis, due to having as many as six 4-pin connectors for chassis fans. It also has two connectors for CPU, with one that can be used for a water pump too. Another useful connector is the 5-pin one that can be used for a Thunderbolt 3 add-on card.

Gold caps for the audio may not really offer tangible improvements, but they'll definitely last long

Gold caps for the audio may not really offer tangible improvements, but they’ll definitely last long

The back I/O is quite luxurious too, sporting dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, a 2T2R wireless antenna that supports dual-band 802.11ac, and a USB Type-C, along with the other more standard I/O.
Overclocking with this motherboard is quite simple and often you can just leave the voltage setting at auto. But since we wanted to try fine-tuning it, we played around with 1.30 to 1.35 volts and found this range to be what you want to use. We only managed 4.8-GHz on our Core i7-8700K with a stock fan, so more efficient cooling like an AIO LCS is required for getting higher clockspeeds.

CHIP CONCLUDE: This motherboard is packed with features and is great for overclocking.

(to be published in issue January 2019)

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