The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
ITX's popularity has grown immensely over the last few years, thanks to an entire industry of vendors pushing fantastic designs in chassis, cooling, and power. On the other hand, ASRock has been a top-tier motherboard vendor for decades and has now launched their latest ITX gaming platform for Z590 in the PG ITX/TB4.
The Phantom Gaming ITX delivers a solid 10-phase power design on Intel's LGA1200 platform and Z590 chipset. It is compatible with 10th and 11th Gen CPUs and offers a two-slot memory platform with a max capacity of 64GB at speeds up to 4266MHz.
Internal connectivity includes three SATA 6Gb/s ports alongside one Ultra M.2 (Gen3) and one Hyper M.2(Gen4). Networking consists of the full complement from Killer with the AX1675x WiFi6e module and E3100G 2.5Gbe controller.
Rear I/O has a solid complement of USB 3.2 ports next to the Thunderbolt 4 port that is also fully compliant with USB 4.0 at 40Gbps. We also have dual display outputs with HDMI and DP alongside RJ45 2.5Gbe and WiFi6e antennas. Audio is handled by the extremely popular Realtek ALC1220 with a complete set of 3.5mm input/outputs at the bottom.
The ASRock Z590 PG ITX/TB4 carries an MSRP of $289.99 with a three-year warranty.
Packaging, Accessories, and Overview
Packaging and Accessories
Packaging follows the Phantom Gaming colorway, PG logo centered, CPU and chipset support noted at the bottom.
Complete specifications on the back of the box while significant features are listed to the right.
Included with, we have reading materials, driver disc, and Wi-Fi antennas along with the bottom SATA cables and m.2 screws.
ASRock Z590 PG ITX/TB4 Overview
The PG ITX is a good-looking board, primarily black in appearance with subtle notes of red. This will push you towards a black and red-themed build for those going that route. Otherwise, the single PCIe x16 slot is shielded and reinforced, and the 10 phases VRM is cooled and covered by integrated heat sinks.
The back of the board is reinforced with a steel plate, eliminating flex in the PCB. You will find the second m.2 slot here as well.
Rear I/O includes display output up top followed by a serious set of USB 3.2 ports. Thunderbolt 4 sits just above the CMOS clear button with Wi-Fi and audio at the very bottom.
We have the audio caps across the bottom of the board, followed by the single x16 slot and audio.USB headers above.
Sliding around the edge, we have front panel headers for both USB 3.2 gen1 and 2, two SATA 6GB/s ports, and front panel chassis connections. The 24 Pin power fills the rest of the board as we move to the next edge.
Across the top, we have three fan headers next to RGB. Eight-pin power finishes things up.
UEFI, Software and Test System
The PG ITX/TB4 includes EZ Mode, which offers access to hardware monitoring, XMP profile for memory along with storage configuration, Fan settings, and boot priority.
You can dive in a bit deeper by hitting F6, which brings us to the main menu; this will show hardware information, including CPU and memory. OC Tweaker will be your next menu; this offers full overclocking controls for your CPU and memory, including profiles.
The advanced menu will enable you to configure CPU, Chipset, and Storage. In contrast, the tool menu offers controls for onboard RGB, secure erase for your SSDs, and utilities for flashing motherboard BIOS and MEI.
Last, we have a hardware monitor that does include fan-tastic tuning allowing for manual fan curves to be set for each installed fan.
Software for the motherboard includes Phantom Gaming Tuning with three available presets for performance.
Further controls are available for tweaking the motherboard clocks and ratios in Windows.
Fan Tuning is available as well to compensate for any increased temperatures while tuning.
Motherboard Testing Supporters
Sabrent supports our storage testing with the Rocket 4 Plus.
Thermaltake has come onboard with their Toughram XG for all Z590 reviews.
TweakTown Intel Motherboard Test System
- CPU: Intel Core i7 11700K
- GPU: ASUS TUF RTX 3080 10GB
- RAM: Thermaltake Toughram XG 2x8G DDR4 4000 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 1TB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000X (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
Cinebench, Realbench and AIDA64
Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to showcase their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests, a single-core workload that will utilize one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test that uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU.
Starting with R23, we see the PG ITX on par in both single and multi-threaded. Single produced 1569 while nT showed 14890
Realbench uses both video and photo workloads to benchmark your CPU. We use all three workloads in this scenario.
Realbench offers 23.1 seconds in Image Editing, 25.3 seconds in H.264 Encoding, and 34.6 seconds in multi-tasking.
AIDA64 showed solid memory read performance at 57; however, this board still shows that weird dip in write and copy performance that every other ASRock board has.
Memory Latency came in at 58.9 seconds.
Sticking with AIDA64, we have 163141 for AES.
SHA3 showed 5319 from the PG ITX.
PCMark10 and PugetSystems Benchmarks
PCMark is a benchmark from UL and tests various workload types to represent typical workloads for a PC. Everything from video conferencing, image import, and editing, along with 3D rendering, are tested.
Moving into PCMark testing, the standard workload showed a score of 7961.
Application testing showed an overall score of 12302.
PugetBench comes from the fantastic people at Puget Systems who have done countless hours and years benchmarking hardware. For our testing, we will utilize their Davinci Resolve, Photoshop, and Lightroom benchmarks, you can look into them more here.
Puget for Photoshop ended with a score of 930.
Davinci Resolve gave us a score of 1117.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
In our gaming testing, we fired up MSFS for a quick run-through. In this scenario, the PG ITX grabbed 63 FPS.
System I/O Benchmarks
Storage with CrystalDiskMark
Storage tests are all handled by our Sabrent Rocket Plus NVMe 4.0 SSD. Secondary storage tests are conducted with our WD_Black P50 SSD.
Storage testing showed 7017.9 MB/s reads, and 5344 MB/s write.
4K Q1 offered 73 MB/s read and 279 MB/s write.
Our external storage testing sees 472 MB/s from the Gen 1 front-panel header, 1064 MB/s from Gen 2, and 2001 MB/s from Gen 2x2.
Audio - Dynamic Range
Testing audio, we set up RMAA with a 3.5mm cable from the line-in to speaker out (green to blue) and set both to 24Bit 192KHz. In this test, RMAA showed 98.6 dBA from the PG ITX.
Networking has us testing both 2.5Gbe and Wi-Fi 6e from Killer. In this scenario, we see 2401Mbps from the wired connection and 1298.6Mbps from Wi-Fi.
Power, Thermals and Final Thoughts
Wrapping up testing, we saw a system power draw of 138 watts idle, 481 watts full load with R23.
Temperatures during testing reached a peak of 65c while idle was at 23c.
The PG ITX/TB4 is our first look at an SFF Z590 motherboard, and ASRock has done a rather nice job in the design and build of this platform. First, it's one of the only ITX boards to offer Thunderbolt 4, and it may be the only board, at least on the surface, to be advertising 40Gb/s compatibility with the USB 4.0 specification too.
In addition, this board offers a solid enough power design to offer modest overclocking for 11th Gen Intel CPUs though I wouldn't expect any WR from it. Additionally, we have support for multiple NVMe, one being Gen4, a secondary on the rear of the board for Gen3 while keeping a full-size PCIe x16 slot, again at Gen 4.
Connectivity has been boosted with a full complement of USB 3.2 connections alongside Intels Killer Networking brand that supplies a fantastic set of NICs that include the E3100G and AX1675x; this offers potential gamers Killer Control Center which in turn presents more control of your network with Doubleshot Pro, Xtend and QoS technologies.
What We Like
Connectivity Connectivity includes nearly every available standard.
Price MSRP at $289 makes this one of the lowest cost Z590 ITX platforms.
What Could Be Better
ASRock's Z590 PG ITX/TB4 is easily one of the best available SFF platforms for users wanting to build on LGA1200.