ASRock X299 Taichi W

GREAT PER­FOR­MANCE AT A FAN­TAS­TIC PRICE

PC & Tech Authority - - REVIEWS -

e love the lack of bling on this board – it’s a very sub­tle black de­sign, with no RGB lights au­to­mat­i­cally en­gaged when you turn it on. Even bet­ter, it de­liv­ered some amaz­ing test re­sults con­sid­er­ing the price, ex­ceed­ing that of other, more ex­pen­sive boards. It’s some­thing ASRock does time and time again, and once more they’ve de­liv­ered a board that may be ba­sic, but does the job for a great price.

Like most X299 boards, ASRock has over-specced the power so­lu­tion, de­liv­er­ing a 13-phase Digi Power so­lu­tion, which will al­low it to both run the up­com­ing higher-end Core-X chips, as well as de­liver bet­ter over­clock­ing po­ten­tial. On the sub­ject of over­clock­ing, we tried the A-Tun­ing app that is meant to over­clock the board au­to­mat­i­cally, and could only squeeze 4.267GHz out of the chip. Even then, af­ter a short while un­der a stress test it re­verted to 4GHz, like many of the boards. Man­ual over­clock­ing is def­i­nitely go­ing to be the way to make the most of the Core-X se­ries in the near fu­ture.

There are four PCIe x16 lanes, along with a sin­gle PCIe x 1 phys­i­cal lane. Like Asus, they’ve stuck with the de­fault eight SATA 3 6Gbit/sec ports from In­tel, but have added an­other two thanks to an ASMe­dia con­troller. There are also three M.2 slots, one up from the MSI, and they all sit be­tween the PCIe x16 lanes, which isn’t the great­est spot to keep these high per­for­mance drives cool. There’s also no heatsink for these drives in­cluded, so a spot of DIY cool­ing might be in or­der.

Twin In­tel Eth­er­net con­nec­tors are dou­ble that of the Asus board, while there’s also in­te­grated sup­port for dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi. ASRock claims it can hit me­mory speeds of up to DDR4-4400, but we weren’t able to test this. Un­like the other boards, there are just the usual power con­nec­tors, in the form of a 24pin and 8-pin. We’re not sure if this will in­ter­fere with run­ning the huge 16 core CPUs on the way, but it’s doubt­ful.

Sadly there’s no Thun­der­bolt in­cluded, apart from a header for an op­tional ad­din. There are plenty of USB ports though, with twin USB 2.0, one USB 3.1 Type-A, one USB 3.1 Type C, and four USB 3.0 ports.

If you do want to take the disco route, there’s a header for an RGB light strip. We re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated the clear CMOS and power but­tons on the rear, which make test­bench­ing a breeze. Au­dio is de­liv­ered via the in­dus­try norm, the Real­tek ALC1220, and once again we see a com­pany mak­ing nearly iden­ti­cal claims to how it’s im­proved au­dio per­for­mance such as EMF shield­ing and the like. ASRock calls its ver­sion of this ‘Pu­rity Sound’, but to be frank, they’re all nearly iden­ti­cal in the real world, un­til you step up to the very high end motherboards which use much more ex­pen­sive au­dio so­lu­tions. An­other fea­ture now found on other boards is USB BIOS flash­back; if you cor­rupt your BIOS, sim­ply up­load a new ver­sion to a USB stick, boot up your ma­chine and it’ll be re­paired in no time. If there’s one area we feel could be im­proved, it’s the on­board heatsinks. To be frank, they’re rather min­i­mal, and with the Core-X se­ries suck­ing a load of power through the sys­tem, we think ASRock should prob­a­bly have beefed up the cool­ing a tad. Hav­ing said that, we didn’t en­counter any sta­bil­ity is­sues in around six hours of test­ing. Ahhh yes, the test­ing. This board turned in some rather strange re­sults in­deed. It bot­tomed out on the me­mory band­width bench­mark and Cinebench tests, yet smashed the Rise of the Tomb Raider and PCMark 8 Home ac­cel­er­ated bench­mark. So in syn­thetic tests it’s not ex­actly great, but real world per­for­mance ap­pears to be top notch. For just $40 more than the Asus board, you get a lot of ex­tra fea­tures here, such as the twin LAN and ex­tra M.2 slot. As such, this is our pick for best value X299 board for the mo­ment.

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