The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
While most new X399 motherboards coming out on the market are targeting the high-end demographic of users who use the WX series of processors, ASRock has decide to offer motherboards that support the 180W X-series processors instead. The addition of new X399 motherboards is always welcomed, so let's see what this motherboard has in store for us today.
The X399 Phantom Gaming 6 Gbit NIC, 2.5G NIC, USB 3.1, USB 3.0, SATA6Gb/s, three M.2 slots, support for up to 3-way SLI/CrossFireX.
The X399 Phantom Gaming 6 costs $249.99.
Packaging and X399 Phantom Gaming 6 Overview
Packaging and Overview
The box and packaging are very similar to other ASRock X399 motherboards.
The accessory package includes four SATA6Gb/s cables, WIFI bracket, an SLI HB bridge, M.2 screws, IO shield, Post Card, manuals, and driver DVD.
There are five fan headers on this motherboard, the one circled in red is a CPU fan header that works in PWM mode and is rated up to 1A. The other four headers circled in blue are 2A hybrid PWM/DC mode headers and can work in their mode. The VRM heat sink extends towards the IO through a heat pipe and covers up the IO's silver metal. The motherboard's aesthetics are a mixture of black and red and gray silk screen. The back of the motherboard is pretty bare, except for some components that have been moved to the back to make the PCB look cleaner.
The rear IO panel we find a PS/2 keyboard/mouse, eight USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, Gbit LAN, 2.5Gbit LAN, and 7.1 gold plated audio with S/PDIF out.
The PCI-E layout is quite simple as all three x16 slots are wired x16. There are a few M.2 slots on the motherboard covered by heat sinks, except this one.
The motherboard also features an M.2 WIFI slot. All the M.2 slots support x4 PCI-E 3.0, but only one supports SATA6Gb/s.
There are eight SATA6Gb/s ports on the motherboard. The motherboard also features a USB 3.0 internal header and a single USB 2.0 header near the middle of the board.
At the top of the motherboard we find the RGB LED header. There are two USB 2.0 internal headers at the bottom near the Clear CMOS button, power button, and reset button. There is another USB 3.0 internal header here too.
We find a right angled HD audio header as well as an addressable RGB LED header and an RGB LED header. There are two 8-pin power connectors on the motherboard.
The heat sinks on this motherboard are decent, everything looks like its making solid contact.
ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 Circuit Analysis
The X399 Phantom Gaming 6 shows us what it's got under the hood when we remove the heat sinks and shields.
We find Intersil's latest digital PWM controller the ISL69147 in 6 phase mode directly to six ISL99227 DrMOS with bare tops for cooling rated up to 60A. It's a decent VRM, but obviously can't handle overclocking AMD's 250W WX models. It should handle 180W models fine.
The SoC VRM consists of an Intersil ISL69144 PWM controller handling two ISL99227 power stages. The memory VRMs are identical and use an Realtek RT8120 PWM with integrated driver that handles a single (two phase) power stages with NIKOS PowerPAKs. Should get the job done.
ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 Circuit Analysis Continued
ASRock is using a Realtek ALC1220 rated for 120dB and contains an integrated headphone amplifier. They added a Texas Instruments NE5532 to amplify the front headphone panel output and Gold series audio capacitors to improve audio.
A single i211AT provides a single Gbit LAN port from Intel. Realtek's RTL8125AG is a 2.5Gbit LAN controller.
Two PI3EQX USB 3.1 re-drivers help to improve USB 3.1 signaling from the chipset's native USB 3.1 controller. An ASMedia ASM1543 is used as the type-C controller for the rear type-C port. The nuvoton NCT6779D is the main superior, while the nuvoton N76E885 is used for the RGB LED functionality on the motherboard.
BIOS and Software
ASRock's UEFI for the X399 Phantom Gaming 6 is very similar to that of their other X399 motherboards. It offers full overclocking settings as well as fan control in the form of a GUI and manual input menus. The layout of the UEFI is also pretty good, with all the main settings we need put right in front of us in the OC menu, such as frequency, voltage, and even PBOC.
ASRock's software suite includes Phantom Gaming Tuning, Phantom Gaming LAN, Polychrome RGB, and KeyMaster.
Test System Setup
Steven's Motherboard Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASRock X399-Phantom Gaming 6
- CPU: AMD Ryzen ThreadRipper 2990WX
- Cooler: ThermalTake Riing Floe AIO - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: TridentZ 8GBx4 RGB 3200MHz
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - Boot Drive: Samsung 950 Pro 256GB
- Storage - SATA6G Drive: Corsair LS 240GB / Read our review
- Storage - USB Drive: Corsair Voyager GS 64GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: ThermalTake Core P5 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000 - 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
- BIOS: P1.30
The red glow under the chipset heat sink is quite nice, and you can see there aren't any other RGBs on the motherboard.
CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks
3DMark: Fire Strike
3DMark: Cloud Gate
The X399 Phantom Gaming 6 officially only supports up to 180W CPUs, but we used the 250W 2990WX because all the other motherboard are using it. We saw only slightly lower performance, which we expected. If you put in a 180W CPU, performance should be more of less identical. We didn't find any major issues.
System IO Benchmarks
ixChariot Network Throughput:
The X399 Phantom Gaming 6's storage and network performance as excellent.
Sound Judgment by Ear: Excellent, the audio implementation is quite good. 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, There is no airflow direct at the VRM
Up-close of the front of the VRM.
Up-close of the back of the VRM.
The X399 Phantom Gaming 6 stock almost-worst-case thermal testing scenario reveals that the heat sink seems to be doing its job correctly. The secondary heat sink also gets warmed up, and I should mention it also cools down three phases for the SoC VRM. Maximum temperature is 43C at load on the front and back, so heat is being moved around and dissipated. Overall, excellent thermal performance.
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
Price: At $250, the Phantom Gaming 6 is the least expensive X399 motherboard, which is its main selling point, and a good selling point. While you are limited, especially in overclocking, to the 180W SKUs, the motherboard is still a great bang for the buck.
2.5G LAN: You wouldn't expect the least expensive X399 motherboard to carry 2.5Gbit LAN, but in this case it does have the Realtek LAN controller and Intel Gbit LAN.
Simple Aesthetics: Some people just want the motherboard to fade into the background of their case, and the Phantom Gaming 6 can do that, but also look good if you need it too. The motherboard also has multiple RGB LED headers to light things up as well as some RGBs under the PCH heat sink.
250W CPU support: There are some reviews of this motherboard that used the 2990WX, and to be honest, it's the wrong CPU for this motherboard. ASRock says this motherboard supports 180W CPUs, and the 2990WX is a 250W CPU, so we highly recommend sticking to the 180W SKUs, especially if you are going to OC.
One of the main selling points of the X399 platform over the X299 platform is affordability, and the X399 Phantom Gaming 6 brings this advantage to the forefront of the platform war. It's super affordable, offers a high amount of features including a 2.5Gbit NIC, offers some decent styling with the heat sink covering the IO area, and offers RGB LED headers and the like.
While we realize the motherboard can run 250W TDP CPUs, officially it's rated for 180W, and we didn't even want to try running it with PBOD enabled. We thought working with the motherboard was quite manageable, and we enjoyed having the basic power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons. We also like that ASRock included a WIFI M.2 slot, so you can add in WIFI later on. If you are looking for a solid affordable X399 motherboard for your 180W CPU, give the ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 a look.
While this motherboard is quite affordable, ASRock loaded it with a 2.5G NIC and all the features the X399 chipset has to offer.