ASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review (Page 4)

| May 28, 2020 at 11:24 am CDT
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: ASRockModel: Z490 Taichi

ASRock Z490 Taichi Overview

VIEW GALLERY - 143 IMAGES

The Z490 Taichi comes with eight total PWM and DC capable fan headers. The two at the top right of the CPU socket that is circled in red are CPU focused with the one closest to the VRM cooler being rated at 1A or 12W. The one next to it is the CPU/WP or water pump capable header rated for up to 3A or 36W of power.

All of the other fan headers are circled in blue and are rated for up to 2A or 24W each. All of these fan headers can automatically detect if you are connecting a 3-pin DC or 4-pin PWM capable fan to them and, therefore, can control either accordingly.

Most of the significant components are metal and work as heat sinks, while the I/O cover and the audio covering running down the I/O shield side of the board is plastic.

ASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 09 | TweakTown.com

The rear of the Taichi is mostly covered by the backplate, but ASRock opted for an angular solution which omits to cover a large portion of the lower part of the board. We can see some active cooling pads in place on the rear of the VRM based on the depressions in the metal and the small hint of a thermal pad peeking out from the edge. There is plenty of room for any CPU cooler backplate solution to fit without issue.

ASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 10 | TweakTown.com

The I/O on the Taichi is well-appointed as follows:

  • BIOS Flashback Button
  • Wi-Fi Antennae Connectors
  • DisplayPort and HDMI ports
  • Combo PS/2 port
  • 5x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports
  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C port
  • Analog 7.1ch audio with gold connectors
  • Optical SPDIF port
  • 2.5Gb RJ45 Dragon LAN port
  • 1Gb RJ45 Intel LAN port

The coloring of the USB ports is usually a visual indicator of what generation the ports are. However, in the case of the Taichi, we find that the darker blue ports below the blue LAN port are the Gen units. The other dark blue ports are Gen 1 along with the lighter blue Type-A port, which is also Gen 1. Then we have the Type-C, which is 2x2. The issue goes further as the I/O shield does not help delineate which ports are which as they also do not designate which LAN port is 2.5G, but luckily the blue one is the right one in this case.

This identification oversight is a minor annoyance, but one that may be troublesome if you are trying to match the correct speed peripheral with the higher speed ports, you will likely end up referencing the manual a bit to get your installation sorted.

ASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 11 | TweakTown.com

The slot arrangement is triple x16 mechanical, and two x1 slots. The triple x16 slots can run up to three cards at x8/x8/x4. The bottom x16 length slot is likely fed by the PCH, and therefore is a PCIe SSD is installed here; it will share the DMI link from the PCH to the CPU.

ASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 13 | TweakTown.comASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 14 | TweakTown.com

Popping the lower covers off of the board, and we see that the cover is mostly metal. This shielding cover assists as an additional heat sink surface area for the PCH along with cooling the M.2 devices.

ASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 12 | TweakTown.com

The lower edge of the board carries various connectivity as follows:

  • Front panel audio header
  • Thunderbolt header
  • 12V RGB and 5V ARGB headers
  • 2x Fan/pump 2A fan headers
  • Clear CMOS Jumper
  • TPM module header
  • 2x USB 2.0 headers
  • Hex post code LED display
  • Power Button
  • Reset Button
  • Clear CMOS Button
  • Front panel and speaker header

I do like that ASRock gives you an option for a clear CMOS header, which you can then repurpose a remote switch to activate should the board be used in an OC environment where the onboard button may not be easily accessible.

ASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 15 | TweakTown.com

The 24-pin side of the board hosts various connectivity as follows:

  • 2x Fan/pump 2A fan headers
  • 8x SATA 6Gb ports (6x PCH/2x ASMedia ASM1061)
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 header
  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 headers
  • 24-pin main ATX connector
  • 5V ARGB header

I do like that ASRock varied connectivity such as the 20-pin USB 3.2 Gen 1 header with one being vertical and one being flat against the board. The SATA ports, although not color differentiated, are running from two different controllers. The bottom two ports are the ones that are fed by the ASMedia controller.

ASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 17 | TweakTown.comASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 18 | TweakTown.com

The Taichi comes equipped with dual 8-pin EPS connectors. This should ensure you have plenty of amperage on tap for even the most extreme overclocks of the new 10900K CPU. The VRM has three fans, and here we see two deployed at the top VRM, which is usually the one that received the least amount of airflow. The other fan we will take a look at next as it is in the other portion of the VRM cooling.

ASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 19 | TweakTown.comASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 20 | TweakTown.com

Here we can see the socket area and the VRM cooling surrounding it. ASRock lists that for best compatibility, liquid cooling is advised as some air heat sinks can have interference issues with the VRM solution, and with how big the coolers are, it may be an issue, but I think most won't be a problem. However, with the amount of heat, we found that the 10900K can pump out; it would be advised to run liquid cooling for the best possible performance of the TVB.

Looking at the top of the I/O shield cover, we can also see the slits in the VRm heat sink cover, which is where the 3rd fan can ingest air to assist the VRM at removing heat.

ASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 21 | TweakTown.comASRock Z490 Taichi (Intel Z490) ATX Motherboard Review 22 | TweakTown.com

Here, we removed the backplate and the cooling fixtures from the Taichi. We see the two thermal pads, as mentioned previously, that help sink heat away from the rear of the VRM section to offer a little extra nudge of cooling performance.

Next, we see the VRM and PCH coolers along with the I/O area and audio section covers. We can see the fan connectors from both VRM cooler potions. We can see by the impressions in the thermal pads that the VRM is making excellent contact with the cooling solution.

Now, I think it's about time we move on to the PCB and circuit analysis of the Z490 Taichi.

Last updated: May 28, 2020 at 11:38 am CDT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Shannon started his PC journey around the age of six in 1989. Now till present day, he has established himself in the overclocking world, spending many years pushing the limits of hardware on LN2. Shannon has worked with design and R&D on various components, including PC systems and chassis, to optimize the layout and performance for enthusiasts.

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