On July 7th AMD dropped the 3rd generation of Ryzen CPUs into the processor race and with new processors comes new motherboards. The new x570 boards go hand in hand with the new Ryzens and bring the brand new, speed PCIe 4.0 to the table as well. In this review I get my hands on my first new board - the ASRock x570 Taichi and have spent the last few days getting to know the board. As the most premium x570 from ASRock it comes with a multitude of features so it’s time to dive in.
- MSRP: $299 (Newegg)
- Socket: AM4
- Chipset: AMD X570
- Voltage Regulators: 14 Phases
- USB Ports: 8 Total (1 Type-C and 1 Type-A @ 10Gbps)
- Network/WiFi: Gigabit Ethernet, 2 Wifi Antenna, 1 on-case WiFi antenna
- Audio: 5 Analog Jacks, 1 Digital
- PS/2 Port: Yes
- PCIe: Three (x16/x0/x4, x8/x8/x4) [Note: Third port falls off if using third NVMe M.2]
- PCIe x1: 2 v4.0
- Crossfire or SLI: Both
- M.2 Slots: 2 PCIe 4.0 x4 or SATA, 1 PCIe 4.0 x4 (uses third PCIe slot lanes)
- SATA Ports: 8 @ 6GB/s
- USB Headers: 1 v3 Gen 2, 1 V3 Gen 1, 2 V2 [Also one for exclusive use of AMD fan LED]
- Thunderbolt: Supports Add-In-Card
- RGB Support: ARGB and RGB LEDs
- On-Board Buttons: Power & Rest on motherboard, BIOS Flash and CMOS Clear on rear I/O
- WiFi / Bluetooth Controller: 802.11ax / Bluetooth 5.0
- Audio Codec: ALC1220
- Warranty: 3 Years
Design and Features
Motherboards. There are hundreds on the market for just about every manufacturer you can think of; premium motherboards, budget motherboards and sometimes plain bad motherboards. ASRock is a pretty popular and known name in the motherboard world and are one of the goto brands for people who don’t want a lot of color splash but want quality features. The new X570 Taichi makes a bit of a deviation from tradition in that regard with an updated design and on-board RGB that’s subtle and classy.
To be quite honest I was initially blown away by the design when I first opened the box. I love the gear designs on the large motherboard cover as well as the gold covered metal gear that sits over the chipset. This entire cover is removable with the included hex screwdriver and in addition to being aesthetically appealing it acts as a giant heat spreader for up to three NVMe M.2 ports and the chipset itself. While you definitely don’t have to have this cover on for the motherboard to function properly you will probably want to leave it in place as the underlying chipset heatsink and fan leaves a lot to be desired.
Each of the three PCIe slots are metal reinforced and support PCIe 4.0 - the newest rendition debuting with Ryzen 3000 and X570. It warrants noting that if you utilize the third M.2 spot (between the 2nd and 3rd PCIe slots) you will lose access to the third reinforced slot as they utilize the same lanes. This likely isn’t an issue for the majority of users but it is unfortunate as this is also the slot that support the lengthy 22110 design.
The CPU power delivery is updated from the previous generation with 14 chokes feeding 50A MOSFETs using phase doublers compared to the X470’s 16 30A phases. The end result is smoother power delivery to the CPU which theoretically means high and more stable overclocks. ASRock also claims lower temperatures as a result of this new design though by how much I unfortunately do not know. If you do happen to mess up your BIOS settings while attempting to overclock you now have a CLR_CMOS button located on the rear I/O, right next to a BIOS flashback button for easy updating.
The x570 rear I/O is densely populated with eight USB ports (including a Type-C), a single Ethernet port, two WiFi antennas, 5 audio jacks, a digital out, legacy PS/2 port and HDMI. While having eight rear USB slots is absolutely amazing it’s worth noting that only two of them operate at 10Gbps - a Type-A and Type-C located directly next to each other. ASRock delivers the latest WiFI support (WiFi 6) with an upgraded Intel AX200 with 802.11ax support.
All the headers I utilized were, for the most part, positioned really well on the motherboard. The HD Audio, front I/O USB Headers and power/reset headers are still located in the standard position at the bottom of the board, allowing for discreet cable management - especially if you have a case with a PSU shroud. It was disappointed to see that there is only one USB 3 header as I’m coming from a board that had two and a case that requires two to have all four USB 3.0 front-port functional. However, my BIGGEST complaint is the complete obscuring of the USB 3.2 port on the motherboard. Unless you’re using a short, or lower end GPU that don’t require the same length, you likely won’t be able to use this port that traditionally feeds into the USB Type-C located on the front I/O. The only solution if you want to use both is to move your GPU down one slot, limiting it to x8 which is something I’m personally unwilling to do, despite the debate that it doesn’t affect performance. I feel this is a major error on ASRock’s part especially for a $300 top of the line board.
Everything is topped off by a black, anodized aluminum plate on the back of the motherboard - a personal first for me. The plate adds a lot of stability to the board when you’re handling it, in addition to really topping off the premium feel of the board. On closer examination it appears it’s mostly for aesthetics out of the case as it doesn’t attach in a way that would help dissipate heat and you can’t see it once the board is mounted in your case. Lastly, ASRock is fairly generous with it’s included items giving you a handful of SATA cables, a small hex screwdriver, rigid SLI bridge and a WiFi antenna meant for mounting on your case or desk to improve connectivity for those that don’t utilize their Ethernet port.
BIOS and Overclocking
I found the BIOS easy to navigate and intuitive to use. This is something you would think is a no-brainer for manufacturers to get right but as the BIOS is usually designed by an engineer it’s not also made with user-friendly use in mind. The addition of a description box for nearly all the adjustable settings is a great added feature for those that may not be overly familiar with what they’re doing.
Overclocking was smooth and easy with an entire section dedicated to overclocking the CPU and RAM. The improved MOSFET layout seems to help, allowing me to achieve a stable 4.2Ghz overclock at about 1.41v. I’m confident I could push it higher as I still have some temperature overhead from my AIO but even with lower temperatures it’s not really healthy to push too much voltage through your CPU and I’d like to keep it alive for further use. The truth is that most X570 motherboards will probably be able to achieve similar overlocks if you’re using the same chip as it’s dependent on silicon lottery, though due to fluctuations in power delivery depending on the quality of your delivery design they won’t also be fully stable on load - something the ASRock Taichi has no problem with.
The latest generation of boards also fixes a huge problem that’s been plaguing Ryzen users since the beginning: RAM. RAM compatibility was generally considered atrocious in the first gen, with big strides being made during the 2nd gen though it still wasn’t on par with Intel. I don’t want to count my chickens too soon but I’m tentatively thinking that the discrepancy is over. I don’t have multiple sticks of DDR4 to test but scouring boards and reddit reveals wild success from people on their RAM working out of the box at advertised speeds and great success in overclocking the ram with XMP profiles alone. Indeed, I was able to load a 3600Mhz XMP profile for my 3200Mhz DDR4 without making a single adjustment to voltage or timings. With the same RAM on my previous X470 chipset the most I could get without manual adjustment was 3333Mhz, both with a 2700x and 3700x processor.
ASRock gives users an RGB section in the BIOS, as well, that comes with a number of preset options from static and breathing, to scan and rainbow. These presets control both the on-board RGB and any lighting strips connected to the headers. I especially liked the scan preset as it made my computer look like a Cylon (yay nerds!). My favorite BIOS feature, however, was the automatic fan tuning. One of the things that sucks the most, to me, when changing motherboards is redoing all my fan curves and ASRock took the work out of that process. The auto-tuner detects your fans maximum speeds and automatically makes fan curves for up to five connected fans and I found them good enough that I didn’t tweak them at all. I never heard my case fans operating and I have no heat issues in my case so I feel confident in concluding that ASRock did a great job with their algorithm.
Test System: Motherboard: Variable, CPU: AMD Ryzen 3700x, Cooler: Cooler Master ML240p, RAM: 32GB HyperX Predator DDR4-3200 RGB, GPU: MSI RTX 2080 Duke 8GB, Boot Drive: Kingston KC2000 1TB NVMe, Power Supply: ThermalTake 800W Gold PSU
I only have a few benchmarks for you guys today as I don’t have a stack of motherboards for comparison sake at the moment. Currently I’m simply comparing the ASRock x570 to a x470 board for various settings that I tried. I made the decision to not include a graph for gaming benchmarks as it would prove utterly useless to behold. There was virtually no difference in gaming performance between the two boards while utilizing the 3700X with all FPS between them measuring in at less than 1fps. Being within the margin of error I feel safe in my conclusion that with at least Elder Scrolls Online, World of Warcraft, Fallout 76, GTA V and Shadow of the Tomb Raider the CPU was never utilized enough to illustrate the differences in motherboard capabilities. In addition, with the exception of the max overclock achieved chart, the CPU is left at stock settings to illustrate the difference in the board’s ability to deliver power for the CPUs self-boosting.
The first chart is a visual representation of the maximum stable overclock I was able to achieve at 1.4 volts. There are a number of potential reasons that we are seeing that the two boards aren’t capable of achieving the same frequency with the same voltage. I’m inclined to attribute the better performance of the ASRock X570 to superior power delivery, especially during load when you see the most power draw fluctuations. The X470 simple couldn’t stay stable at 4.2 GHz with 1.4v and would crash as soon as any type of load was placed on the processor.
A lot of people don’t even bother with manual overclocking as the third iteration of AMD’s Ryzen processors are quite capable of self boosting to an acceptable level all on their own. During a Prime 95 stress test with small FFTs we again see a sizeable difference between the X470 and X570. Again I feel this is likely due to the better phased power delivery of ASRock’s Taichi and indeed it during monitoring I noted that the ASRock seemed capable of delivery more power to the 3700x than the x470. While this meant higher temperatures on the CPU it also means squeezing out extra performance which can be illustrated in our next chart, a 7-zip benchmark, where the ASRock Taichi achieved notably higher scores in both compression and decompression.
For the price the ASRock x570 Taichi is a quality piece of motherboard engineering. Delivery a plethora of premium features to the user, chiefly among them a more stable overclocking experience. The third metal reinforced PCIe, stylized shroud, and extra NVMe slot do a lot to justify the $299 price tag but the board is not without its flaws such as USB 3.2 port placement that with any QC testing would immediately be recognized as mal-placement once a GPU is in place. For the enthusiast the ASRock Taichi is a decent choice for their new third gen Ryzen’s, but with the increased price across the board on X570 boards if you aren’t going to be utilizing the new PCIe 4.0 or pushing competitive overclocks you’ll probably be okay sticking with the previous generation.
- Improved CPU power delivery
- Feels and acts like a premium priced motherboard
- BIOS is easy and intuitive to navigate
- USB 3.2 motherboard port unusable with GPU in first spot
- PCH Fan is a little noisy at 6000RPM
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.