Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Today we take a look at ASRock's top of the line X470 motherboard, the Taichi Ultimate. The motherboard features a robust VRM coupled with high-end features such as a 10Gbit NIC.
The motherboard also offers up very neutral aesthetics, which is great since most people want that. The Taichi brand has a very well known reputation in the enthusiast community, and there is also a normal X470 Taichi, so let's see what the X470 Taichi Ultimate has to offer.
The X470 Taichi Ultimate features dual M.2 slots, 10Gbit LAN, WIFI, Intel LAN, USB 3.1, and SATA6Gb/s.
The X470 Taichi Ultimate costs $279.99
Packaging and X470 Taichi Ultimate Overview
Packaging and Overview
That box shot came out pretty nicely; it captures the brushed steel look embedded within the box art. Packaging is top notch; the motherboard is well protected inside a foam motherboard tray.
The accessory package includes four SATA6Gb/s, SLI HB Bridge, WIFI antenna, IO shield, case badge, postcard, driver DVD, and manual.
ASRock put in five fan headers and has renamed four out of the five headers as /WP headers, which means they also double as water pump headers. The headers with /WP offer up to 2A of current, while the one header circled in blue is rated for 1A. All the headers circled in red can operate as PWM or DC mode headers, but the header in blue is PWM by default as it's meant for a CPU fan. The motherboard offers a sleeker aesthetic appeal, with a more unique PCH heat sink and shields over the audio and IO panel. The rear of the motherboard isn't bare of ICs but has a few.
The rear IO panel features clear CMOS button, WIFI antenna outputs, PS/2 keyboard/mouse, six USB 3.0 ports (ports 5 and 6 offer Ultra USB Power), USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, 1Gbit LAN (red), HDMI, 10Gbit LAN (black port), and 7.1 gold-plated audio outputs with S/PDIF out.
The PCI-E layout is simple; the top two x16 slots operate at x16/x0 or x8/x8 PCI-E 3.0 from the CPU. The PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots are linked to the PCH through a hub (which also provides for the WIFI/SATA). The last x16 slot is electrically x4 PCI-E 2.0 and shares all its bandwidth with the second M.2 slot. The top M.2 slot offers an x4 PCI-E 3.0 link and provides a heat sink.
The bottom M.2 slot shares x4 PCI-E 2.0 with the last PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot. There are two extra SATA6Gb/s ports from an ASMedia chip, with the other six coming from the chipset. There is also a USB 3.0 internal header at a right angle near the SATA ports.
Right below the 24-pin power connector is a USB 3.0 internal header and a USB 3.1 type-C header. Right below the CPU socket is an AMD fan RGB LED header and a USB 2.0 single internal header, both used for connecting AMD RGB coolers to the motherboard.
At the bottom right corner of the motherboard is the power button, reset button, POST code display, clear CMOS button, and front panel headers. At the top right of the motherboard, we find the 8-pin CPU power header and a 4-pin power header for extra power.
There are two USB 2.0 internal headers at the bottom of the motherboard as well as more front panel headers. There is also an RGB LED header and an addressable RGB LED header. Heatsinks are located on the VRM, PCH, M.2 slot, and 10G NIC.
ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate Circuit Analysis
The X470 Taichi Ultimate shows us the goods with the heat sinks removed!
We see the VRM here is in a 12+4 phase mode and uses the IR35201 in 6+2 phase mode. The digital PWM from International Rectifier is used to its maximum, and each power stage consists of a 60A inductor as well as a Texas Instruments CSD87350 NexFET rated for 25A each. These NexFETs are some of the finest dual N-channel MOSFETs, and while we typically see dual N-channels from Fairchild, Sinopower, or even ON Semi it's nice to see the Texas Instruments variant here.
Those 6+2 phases from the PWM controller are doubled to 12+4 by eight IR3598 phase doubler plus integrated driver chips meant for this very purpose. The memory PWM is the UPI uP1674P, and the dual phases utilize the Texas Instruments 25A NexFETs.
ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate Circuit Analysis Continued
X470 Taichi Ultimate Circuit Analysis Continued
The audio section uses the Realtek ALC1220, and amplifier on the back of the motherboard, and five Gold series electrolytic audio capacitors, as well as a physical PCB, divide to improve audio quality.
Aquantia's AQC107 is the 10Gbit NIC that also works as a 5/2.5/1/0.1 Gbit NIC. The Intel i211AT is used as the 1Gbit Intel NIC on the rear IO. The rear IO's USB 3.1 needs to be re-driven, and the Pericom PI3EQX is the re-driver that does this.
The Wireless AC is provided by the Intel Wireless AC 3168NGW 1x1 433Mbps card. The internal USB 3.1 header comes from an ASMedia ASM3142 controller and uses an ASMedia ASM1543 type-C controller.
Another ASMedia ASM1543 type-C switch can be found on the back of the PCB near the rear IO area. The audio section uses a NE5532 audio amplifier for the front panel output.
We find a 256Mbit BIOS ROM on the motherboard, which is double what is required. It's probably there for extra features for the BIOS or support of future hardware. There is an ISC 9CRS4883BKLF clock generator to try and help with the base clock overclocking on the motherboard.
An ASMedia ASM1061 is used to add two SATA6Gb/s ports. A NuvoTon NCT6779D SuperIO is present on the motherboard for system management.
An ASMedia ASM1184e PCI-E hub takes in one PCI-E 2.0 lane and outputs four more to the two x1 slots, the WIFI controller, and the ASMedia SATA6Gb/s controller. The nuvoTon N76E885AT20 is an MCU used for RGB LED control.
BIOS and Software
The UEFI for the ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate is similar to that of ASRock's other motherboard in both the color scheme and menu layout. One thing that seems to be new is the ability to choose between standard AMD overclocking menu and ASRock's OC setting menu. We used ASRock's to overclock and had no trouble, and it was similar to what we might consider AMD's mode. We like the integrated fan control as well in the form of GUI and manual input. The UEFI also can control some basic RGB LED settings.
ASRock offers a lot of software including APP Shop, Restart to UEFI, Polychrome RGB, and A-Tuning.
Test System Setup
Steven's Motherboard Test System Specifications
- MotHeroboard: ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
- Cooler: CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML240R RGB - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: G.Skill Sniper (2x8GB) 3400MHz
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - Boot Drive: Kingston Predator 240GB
- Storage - SATA6G Drive: Micron Generic 240GB / Read our review
- Storage - USB Drive: Corsair Voyager GS 64GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 900D - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000x - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 - Buy from Amazon
- Monitor: ASUS PA328 ProArt 32" 4K - Buy from Amazon
- Keyboard: Corsair K70 LUX - Buy from Amazon
- Mouse: Corsair M65 PRO RGB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Headset: Corsair VOID RGB Wireless - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Network: ASRock XG-U2008 10Gbit Switch
- BIOS: L0.27
There are RGB LEDs built into the IO panel, audio area, and under the PCH. The CoolerMaster new RGB cooler goes with the motherboard well, and with the new addressable RGB header, the motherboard can easily control the cooler's RGBs.
I used ASRock's default overclocking mode, set all cores to 42x and increased VCore to 1.35v. Setting XMP was super easy, and we hit our overclock with ease. We didn't need to change many settings or even set LLC, the motherboard's auto rules are quite good, and the VRM readily facilitated our OC.
CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks
3DMark: Fire Strike
3DMark: Cloud Gate
The X470 Taichi Ultimate's performance is quite good, and with newer BIOS versions performance should be a bit better. Most of the performance markers we see with these motherboards come from AMD's changes to their AGESA code.
System IO Benchmarks
ixChariot Network Throughput:
The X470 Taichi Ultimate's storage is excellent, and it's network performance, especially wired is excellent too. Wireless AC is medium.
Audio RMAA 5.5:
I disable all audio features, set the correct bitrates, and then test the audio with a loopback test.
Sound Judgment by Ear: Excellent, excellent audio. There are five ratings for audio: 1. Problems, 2. Okay, 3. Acceptable, 4. Very good, 5. Excellent
Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption
System power is measured at the wall with an AC power meter.
Note on Thermal Images: In the temperature section, we use our Seek Thermal imaging camera to capture the surface temperatures of major components on the board. I look at the VRM and then all other things that light up the screen. If there is something to worry about, then I will state it. Otherwise, I will just show the hotter running parts of the board for fun. Unless some component is over 80-90C, then there isn't anything to worry about.
All systems will act differently, so I will look for commonalities, such as how far from the VRM the heat spreads through the PCB and the difference in temperature between the front side and backside of the PCB. Keep in mind, the majority of the heat from the VRM goes into the PCB as it is a giant soldered on copper heat sink. A larger difference in temperature between the back and front of the PCB points towards a more effective heat sink.
Thermal Testing at Stock Speeds:
The image on the left is always at idle, and the image on the right is at load. During ALL TESTS, fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (Corsair H110i) radiator are turned on to high (12v).
Up-close of the front of the VRM.
Up-close of the back of the VRM.
The X470 Taichi Ultimate has an excellent VRM, and maximum temperatures were really good. We see a 7C increase on the top and the bottom, which means the heat sinks are working well. You should keep in mind the VRM is effected by some extra heat from the 10G NIC. Anything under 60C is great, 60-80C is acceptable, and anything above 80C is a bit worrisome (if at stock).
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
10G NIC: The 10Gbit NIC is what makes this motherboard stand out from the rest of ASRock's line up, and a built-in 10G NIC is rare among X470 motherboards in general. However, we think it makes sense for a platform that will be used for content production since moving a lot of data over a modern 1Gbit network can be painful.
OC Features: We get a very large VRM built with quality components, and it does very well under the thermal camera. ASRock also included a bunch of overclocking settings including a POST code display and buttons for clear CMOS.
Ready for the future: We find dual M.2 slots, and the top one has a heat sink and is rated for x4 PCI-E 3.0. We also find rear and internal USB 3.1 (10Gb/s) ports, so your future devices will be supported. The motherboard also features a 256Mbit BIOS ROM so that the BIOS can be improved/expanded in the future.
WIFI: The WIFI card is rated 1x1 for 433Mbps, but most other X470 motherboards offer 867Mbps or even higher.
The ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate is a supercharged Taichi motherboard, and we believe it's a type of replacement for the Fatal1ty gaming series. In the past, ASRock has had both a Taichi and a Fatal1ty Gaming, but we believe because of the vast popularity of the Taichi, ASRock has put all their resources towards the Taichi brand.
The Taichi brand has had a solid record for providing enthusiasts and gamers exactly what they want at a reasonable price, and in this case, they offer slightly more. If you want a solid X470 motherboard with a 10G NIC, give the X470 Taichi Ultimate a look.
The Bottom Line: ASRock's X470 Taichi Ultimate brings together everything you need in a high-end motherboard for AMD's latest processors with a 10Gbit NIC.
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