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Which ASRock Z390 motherboard for overclocking?

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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Which ASRock Z390 motherboard for overclocking?

I'm trying to decide on an ASRock Z390 motherboard for overclocking an i7-9700k and overclocking DRAM. I'm not trying to get into extreme territory with overclocking, hoping to maybe get the CPU to at least 4.8GHz with air cooling (or higher if possible) and DRAM to 3600-4000MHz with solid stability. The overclocking will be for high resolution photo processing and some video processing so not typically long stress runs like you might have with gaming.

On ASRock Z390, I have a hard time telling what the relevant differences between the boards are for overclockers? I can see some port differences which aren't really relevant to me, but I can't tell what else would have anything to do with overclocking.

If, for example, I do a spec comparison between Taichi and Extreme4, here's what I see on each board that is different from the other:

Taichi has:

IR Digital PWM
ASrock Hyper BCLK Engine II
RAM overclocking to 4200+
WiFi-802.11ac module
2 WiFi antenna connectors (I won't be using WiFi)
Rear Panel bios reset button
1 more Gigabit LAN
1 more Ultra M.2
3 more Chassis Water Pump fan connectors (6 vs. 3)
Dr. Debug LED

Extreme4 has:

Digital PWM
RAM overclocking to 4300+ (does the fact that this is a tad higher mean anything?)
One more PCI Express 3.0 x1 Slot
Intel CNVi (integrated WiFi/BT)
COM port header

Are there significant overclocking differences among the ASRock Z390 boards? If so, which ones stand out above the others? For example, does the additional $120 that the Taichi Ultimate costs over the Extreme4 actually buy you anything in overclocking capabilities or does that just go to other features like multiple LAN ports and built-in WiFi?

Last edited by jfriend00; 11-21-2018 at 05:26 PM.
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 05:59 PM
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I think the Taichi would be better for overclocking due to the upgraded power delivery.
They both sport an advertised 12-phase power delivery which is split into a 5+2 configuration with the use of doublers on the CPU Vcore side of things.

Quote taken from anandtech-
"In regards to what's new on the ASRock Z390 Taichi, a solid looking 10-phase power delivery with an IR35201 8-channel PWM controller operating in a 5+2 configuration. The CPU VCore section is made up of ten Texas Instrument 87350D NexFET power blocks which are doubled by IR3598 dual drivers. Each individual phase is complemented with a dedicated 60A choke and the Z390 Taichi uses 12K capacitors throughout. It is worth noting that the ASRock Z390 Taichi, the ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate and the more gaming focused ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 all feature the same power delivery across all three models."

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by bob808 View Post
I think the Taichi would be better for overclocking due to the upgraded power delivery.
They both sport an advertised 12-phase power delivery which is split into a 5+2 configuration with the use of doublers on the CPU Vcore side of things.

Quote taken from anandtech-
"In regards to what's new on the ASRock Z390 Taichi, a solid looking 10-phase power delivery with an IR35201 8-channel PWM controller operating in a 5+2 configuration. The CPU VCore section is made up of ten Texas Instrument 87350D NexFET power blocks which are doubled by IR3598 dual drivers. Each individual phase is complemented with a dedicated 60A choke and the Z390 Taichi uses 12K capacitors throughout. It is worth noting that the ASRock Z390 Taichi, the ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate and the more gaming focused ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 all feature the same power delivery across all three models."
I saw that review at Anandtech, but couldn't translate that to what the Taichi had over the Extreme4? That just says the Taichi, Taichi Ultimate and Phantom Gaming 9 are all great. Doesn't say anything about the Extreme4 unfortunately. Why do you think the Taichi power would be better than the Extreme4?

--------

Semi-rant aimed at motherboard companies...

I'm regularly surprised that these motherboard companies don't make it easy to see the differences between their models. They are likely selling to tech-savvy folks so why not actually explain the real technical differences between their models in a technically accurate (not just marketing-speak) way? If any mobo company actually did that well, I'd probably buy one of their products because I could more easily tell which product actually fits my needs and gives me an appropriate bang-for-the-buck. I'm one of those guys who will pay what it takes to meet my objectives, but I don't really want to pay more than I need to and the motherboard companies are not making that type of analysis simple at all.

I'm looking for something like this (I made up the features as an example):

Here's our base model for overclocking with the 1151 socket. It gives you these features and works great if you stay within those overclocking bounds and it has the ports/features you need.

One step up are these three boards. These both add additional power supply control for better stability when you push the limits of overclocking. These three boards differ in ports and LED lighting options and built-in NVME M.2 slots according to this table.

Another step up are these two boards. These add more layers to the PC board to give better shielding as you push overclocking and are generally better at overclocking RAM and have lots of power headers for coolers of all sorts. These also have additional power supply capabilities. One of these boards is aimed at those who want very fast networking with multiple links (often data-center usage).

This is our top end board. It adds XX, YY, ZZ over the previous two.

Then, put all this in a simple table that shows the delta between models and shows it in a real technical description, not just marketing speak.

Last edited by jfriend00; 11-21-2018 at 07:13 PM.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 08:35 PM
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Well what I take away from the article is this...
The 3 most expensive Asrock z390 boards have an upgraded power delivery (better components, capacitors and mosfets) allowing more stable power delivery which may allow for getting the most out of your overclock.

If your an enthusiast, then the taichi should be right up your alley ($180 at newegg after rebate atm).
If you are just going an average slight overclock, then the extreme4 is currently $169 (after shipping) so only an $11 difference atm.

Theoretically, the should both overclock just fine, but if you want to aqueeze the most out of your cpu (and like wifi and bluetooth) then i would get the Taichi.

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 08:49 PM
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Taichi, Taichi Ultimate , and Phantom Gaming 9 share a power delivery layout. The differences is featureset such as LAN and WIFI speed (Taichi non-Ultimate has 433Mbps wifi) as well as lack of power button on the Taichi non-ultimate.


The Phantom Gaming 6 and Extrem4 also share a power delivery but the Phantom Gaming 6 has a heatpipe at the VRM heatsink and also a debug LED. Because the Extreme4 lacks a debug LED and status LEDs for CPU/VGA/RAM it is hard to recommend buying it since every other manufacturer stepped up their power delivery this time around.


The main difference between the two midrange boards and the Taichi is the use of TI NexFET powerblocks on the Taichi boards instead of Sinopower or Fairchild powerblocks which have lower efficiency (figure ~87-88% at typical i9 loads vs the Taichi's ~90%). Additionally there are no PWM doublers on the Phantom Gaming 6 / Extreme 4 duo, with a cheaper PWM up9521 also used instead of the tried and true IR35201 on the Taichi.


The lowest I would go in the Asrock lineup this time around is the Phantom Gaming 6, but there's only be one true test of it at Tech Yes City.

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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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That was the implication from the article, but it didn't offer any specific data on the extreme4. I finally decided to go wading through the really long VRM thread and managed to find this diagram which was an early attempt (based on hardware specs only) to rank each manufacturer's boards according to power capabilities. That does put the Extreme4 on a lower rung than the Taichi.

Then, there's this specific post in that thread which talks more about the Z390 Extreme4 being a downgrade in PWM capability and not a good deal vs. the Taichi (particularly since there's such a small price delta right now between them). So, that at least gives me something more concrete to justify going for the Taichi.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by AlphaC View Post
Taichi, Taichi Ultimate , and Phantom Gaming 9 share a power delivery layout. The differences is featureset such as LAN and WIFI speed (Taichi non-Ultimate has 433Mbps wifi) as well as lack of power button on the Taichi non-ultimate.


The Phantom Gaming 6 and Extrem4 also share a power delivery but the Phantom Gaming 6 has a heatpipe at the VRM heatsink and also a debug LED. Because the Extreme4 lacks a debug LED and status LEDs for CPU/VGA/RAM it is hard to recommend buying it since every other manufacturer stepped up their power delivery this time around.


The main difference between the two midrange boards and the Taichi is the use of TI NexFET powerblocks on the Taichi boards instead of Sinopower or Fairchild powerblocks which have lower efficiency (figure ~87-88% at typical i9 loads vs the Taichi's ~90%). Additionally there are no PWM doublers on the Phantom Gaming 6 / Extreme 4 duo, with a cheaper PWM up9521 also used instead of the tried and true IR35201 on the Taichi.


The lowest I would go in the Asrock lineup this time around is the Phantom Gaming 6, but there's only be one true test of it at Tech Yes City.
Thanks, that really helps understand things. I think I'll go for the Taichi.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 10:54 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by AlphaC View Post
Taichi, Taichi Ultimate , and Phantom Gaming 9 share a power delivery layout. The differences is featureset such as LAN and WIFI speed (Taichi non-Ultimate has 433Mbps wifi) as well as lack of power button on the Taichi non-ultimate.


The Phantom Gaming 6 and Extrem4 also share a power delivery but the Phantom Gaming 6 has a heatpipe at the VRM heatsink and also a debug LED. Because the Extreme4 lacks a debug LED and status LEDs for CPU/VGA/RAM it is hard to recommend buying it since every other manufacturer stepped up their power delivery this time around.


The main difference between the two midrange boards and the Taichi is the use of TI NexFET powerblocks on the Taichi boards instead of Sinopower or Fairchild powerblocks which have lower efficiency (figure ~87-88% at typical i9 loads vs the Taichi's ~90%). Additionally there are no PWM doublers on the Phantom Gaming 6 / Extreme 4 duo, with a cheaper PWM up9521 also used instead of the tried and true IR35201 on the Taichi.


The lowest I would go in the Asrock lineup this time around is the Phantom Gaming 6, but there's only be one true test of it at Tech Yes City.
Hello I would like to ask a question that best choice would be ASRock Taichi z390 latest or Gigabyte z390 Aorus Master
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 08:48 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Nephalem89 View Post
Hello I would like to ask a question that best choice would be ASRock Taichi z390 latest or Gigabyte z390 Aorus Master
Aorus Pro is decent as well as Aorus Ultra and Designare. The Aorus Master has more heatsinking which allows for lower temperature but it also has a BIOS toggle.


The Taichi non-Ultimate has a disadvantage in that this time around the dual BIOS implementation doesn't have a toggle so it is on par with a Aorus Pro or Ultra in terms of features ; the WIFI is 433Mbps so be aware of that drawback as well. The z370 version had a BIOS switch (although not as well designed a switch as that on the Master) although the power delivery has been revamped for Z390.



You can't go wrong with the Aorus ATX sized boards above the Elite. The Elite is borderline top of mid-range because it loses the heatpipe and also drops some features such as USB 3.1 gen 2 type C at rear IO and uses Taiwan capacitors rather than Japanese ones. This makes it more in line with the STRIX boards from ASUS than the ROG Maximus XI Hero/Code boards. Either way, the other Aorus ATX boards are good value for money.


If you were looking at an Asrock board you probably weren't looking into the ASUS AUTO AI overclocking and silicon quality prediction on their boards above the Z390-A. That is the one feature ASUS has on Z390 that is worthy of note.

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 06:25 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by AlphaC View Post
If you were looking at an Asrock board you probably weren't looking into the ASUS AUTO AI overclocking and silicon quality prediction on their boards above the Z390-A. That is the one feature ASUS has on Z390 that is worthy of note.
This has been disabled on latest bios, at least on the Gene. Not sure if will come back or intel forbid it.

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