ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review

Here is our extension on the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review.

@StevenBassiriTT
Published Wed, Nov 7 2018 10:59 PM CST   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: ASRock

BIOS and Software

BIOS

You can find the first part of the review here

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 01 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 42 IMAGES

ASRock's UEFI for Z390 is very similar to that of their Z370 motherboards. Tjmax offset was added as well as some finer tuning settings to the fan control menu. Overclocking was simple through the UEFI, and it's pretty seamless. Overall, we liked the BIOS and settings were easy to find and well organized.

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 02 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 03 | TweakTown.com
ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 04 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 05 | TweakTown.com
ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 06 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 07 | TweakTown.com
ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 08 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 09 | TweakTown.com
ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 10 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 11 | TweakTown.com
ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 12 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 13 | TweakTown.com
ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 14 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 15 | TweakTown.com
ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 16 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 17 | TweakTown.com

Software

Software includes Phantom Gaming Tuning, Key Master, Polychrome RGB, and XFast LAN.

Test System Setup

Steven's Motherboard Test System Specifications

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 18 | TweakTown.com
ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 19 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 20 | TweakTown.com

The Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac has a few RGBs under the PCI-E area, but you can barely see them with a GPU installed. It's sleek and will fade into the background in a dark case.

Overclocking

Overclocking Results

CPU Overclocking

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 21 | TweakTown.com

The Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac overclocked our CPU to 5.2GHz and went up to XMP with ease. The voltage we set was 1.33v, level 2 LLC was set, and the voltage was pretty constant. We also increase current to 255A, which is the max per Intel specifications. The motherboard is quite easy to overclock, and we do believe extreme overclockers will also be pleased, we saw the board used at the Intel event in NYC by the extreme overclockers.

CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks

CINEBENCH 15

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 22 | TweakTown.com

wPrime

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 23 | TweakTown.com

AIDA64 FLOPS and IOPS

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 24 | TweakTown.com

AIDA64 Memory

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 25 | TweakTown.com

ScienceMark

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 26 | TweakTown.com

HandBrake

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 27 | TweakTown.com

3DMark: Fire Strike

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 28 | TweakTown.com

3DMark: Cloud Gate

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 29 | TweakTown.com

ResidentEvil 6

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 30 | TweakTown.com

We see that with the latest BIOS version we have pretty equalized performance among the three boards we have already tested. We are pleased with the performance of the motherboard, just make sure to update to the latest BIOS version.

System IO Benchmarks

CrystalDiskMark SATA6G:

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 31 | TweakTown.com

CrystalDiskMark M.2:

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 32 | TweakTown.com

ixChariot Network Throughput:

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 33 | TweakTown.com

The storage and networking performance is solid.

Audio RMAA 5.5:

I disable all audio features, set the correct bitrates, and then test the audio with a loopback test.

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 34 | TweakTown.com

Sound Judgment by Ear: Excellent, a very good implementation. 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.

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 35 | TweakTown.com

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 back side 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 to the right of the motherboard from the (Corsair H110i) radiator are left on automatic mode (ramps with internal block temperature). Additionally, a 120mm fan is situated right above the VRM, and it blows down at a medium rate (very quiet). Thermal Images are taken at loop 15 of Intel Burn Test

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 36 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 37 | TweakTown.com

Full frontal.

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 38 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 39 | TweakTown.com

Up-close of the front of the VRM.

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 40 | TweakTown.comASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 41 | TweakTown.com

Up-close of the back of the VRM.

The Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac has even better results than the Taichi, although these aren't overclocked results. We think it has to do with the better power stages that allow heat to more easily flow into the heat sink, so the temperature on the rear of the motherboard is lower. 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

What's Hot

Strong VRM: The VRM on the Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac is using Intersil's latest Smart Power Stages with exposed metal on the top, and it makes a big difference. It makes such a difference that this motherboard's backside VRM temperature is 3C lower than the Z390 Taichi, which not only has a better VRM heat sink but also larger VRM PCB area for heat dissipation on top of more phases. These results are from stock operation, but we didn't expect these results. We are shocked in a good way. However, we did have active cooling in a standardized environment, so do ensure proper VRM cooling in a tight ITX case.

WIFI, Thunderbolt 3, and HDMI 2.0: ASRock added WIFI to this motherboard, and in this case, they didn't use a 1x1 controller limited to 433Mbps and instead used Intel's latest 1.733Gbps controller. While we get the low power variant of Thunderbolt 3, it's still a nice feature to have. We also get HDMI 2.0 on this motherboard, so streaming 4K content is easier through the internal iGPU.

Dual M.2: ASRock made sure that the motherboard carries two x4 PCI-E 3.0 M.2 slots, one is on the rear, and the other is on the front and has a heat sink.

What's Not

USB port colors: All the rear IO USB ports are the same color, so you can't tell which are USB 3.1. Thankfully there is an IO shield with labels.

Final Thoughts

We really like this little monster of a motherboard. It's feature packed, has excellent connectivity, and really is all around good. We had a hard time finding things not to like, there is the low power TB3 controller that operates on half the PCI-E lanes of the full speed one, but how can we complain about a motherboard with so many other features under $200?

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review 42 | TweakTown.com

We did read online that the WIFI isn't Hackintosh compatible since it's the newer Intel WIFI, but that card in itself is an upgrade over most WIFI modules we find these days as it's the latest Intel WIFI card. Audio is top notch, ASRock added in a lot of features, and they didn't skimp on VRM quality. Those five phases for the main CPU handle the 9900K at stock with ease and let us overclock to 5.2GHz and pass our tests. If you are looking for a fully loaded mini-ITX motherboard with a lot of bang for the buck and the ability to properly handle a 9900K, give the Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX/ac a look.

TweakTown award
Performance92%
Quality95%
Features95%
Value90%
Overall93%

The Bottom Line: ASRock's Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac is one of the best mini-ITX motherboards we have seen, we actually believe it's underpriced at just under $200.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Steven went from a fledgling forum reader in 2003 to one of the internet's brightest tech stars by 2010. Armed with an information systems degree, a deep understanding of circuitry, and a passion for tech, Steven (handle Sin0822) enjoys sharing his deep knowledge with others. Steven details products down to the component level to highlight seldom explained, and often misunderstood architectures. Steven is also a highly decorated overclocker with several world records.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles