Here are key points about the ASRock X99 Taichi.
Excellent 2-way Spacing: The PCI-E spacing when using two GPUs is excellent. The first and second PCI-E x16 slots provide enough breathing room for even two triple slotted GPUs.
Dual Intel NICs: I didn't expect a motherboard at this price point to carry dual Intel NICs, but I was pleasantly surprised to find them. Since they are both Intel NICs, you can also team them to form a 2Gbit NIC.
Sleek Color Scheme: I am a big fan of basic colors, and I do admire motherboards that exclusively use white and black. The white silkscreen on the PCB matches the shield and PCH perfectly. ASRock also went through the trouble of relocating PCI-E quick switches to the rear of the PCB so that the large white gear wouldn't have black ICs staggered throughout.
POST Code: I have always said if there is one OC feature that provides the most benefit and is not easily added, it's the POST code display. You can add in power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons after the fact, but a POST code display is much harder to add. While ASRock removed almost all OC features, they included a POST code display.
Dual M.2 Slots: While many vendors were focusing on U.2 for their X99 refresh motherboards, ASRock decided to focus on M.2. There are two 32Gb/s M.2 slots to fill with those crazy fast NVMe drives. Just make sure to use a 40-lane CPU if you want to use both at x4 because a 28-lane CPU limits you to SATA M.2 drives for one of the two slots and x4 PCI-E on the other.
3-Way Spacing: While it's possible to fit in a third card into the last slot for 3-way SLI or CrossFireX, you will more than likely lose access to the bottom row of headers.
1x1 Wireless AC?: Last I heard there weren't any power limitations on desktop motherboards to warrant using a 1x1 wireless-AC card. While it's still faster than wireless-N, 433Mbps is half the typical 867 Mbps we usually see on X99 motherboards with wireless AC.
ASRock is using their Taichi to bring the pain to the competition. Their X99 Taichi is priced very competitively at $219, redefining the basic feature set of motherboards in that price bracket. It is considered the low-end price bracket for X99 motherboards, but the X99 Taichi is not a low-end motherboard. Its component quality is high, and it has dual Intel NICs, dual M.2, high-end aesthetics, and a healthy amount of USB 3.0 and USB 3.1.
The only things I found lacking compared to much more expensive motherboards were its 3-way SLI/CrossFireX capabilities, Wireless AC, and absence of LEDs. I assume many people would be willing to overlook those weaknesses for a cheaper motherboard, and the X99 Taichi will be waiting for them. In essence, ASRock has used Tai Chi with the Taichi, by strategically picking trivial weaknesses and investing more resources into strengths.
At the end of the tunnel, the X99 Taichi redefines the sub $220 X99 motherboard market, bringing high-end X99 features into an affordable price range. If you are looking for a feature-rich motherboard with a lot of bang for your buck, you should definitely give the X99 Taichi a look.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Performance (including Overclocking)||89%|
|Quality including Design and Build||90%|
|Bundle and Packaging||87%|
|Value for Money||95%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||91%|
The Bottom Line: ASRock's X99 Taichi combines a very powerful feature set, solid quality components, and unique aesthetics into a single package at a very reasonable price.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and X99 Taichi Overview]
- Page 3 [ASRock X99 Taichi Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [ASRock X99 Taichi Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- Page 7 [Overclocking]
- Page 8 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption]
- Page 11 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]
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