ASRock X370 Taichi AM4 Motherboard Review
So the AMD Ryzen 7 launch was about 3 weeks ago now, and needless to say that it was a little rocky. There were controversies over benchmarking results, controversies over whether Windows properly supported this new microarchitecture, and a whole lot of hyped-up consumers wondering where the hell they could buy an X370 motherboard. Those few that managed to get ahold of a motherboard were rewarded with UEFIs that were incredibly immature and lacking common settings, iffy memory overclocking, and some motherboards just spontaneously dropped dead.
While the stock situation has not changed much, the UEFIs have been updated at a steady pace, and they have improved enough for us to now be willing to start releasing our X370 motherboard reviews. Since this is the first X370 AM4 motherboard that we have reviewed, there is nothing that we can directly compare it to. However, that doesn't stop us from highlighting the great job that ASRock have done with the mighty X370 Taichi.
Going down the specs list, we see that this model has a robust 16-phase CPU power design, a pretty incredible ten SATA 6Gb/s ports, two M.2 slots - though only one is full-speed, two physical PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots with support for 2-way SLI or CrossFireX, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and one mechanical PCI-E x16 slot that actually operates at PCI-E 2.0 x4. With USB functionality built directly into both the CPU and the chipset, that form of connectivity is well-represented on this new platform, and it shows on this motherboard with two full-speed USB 3.1 ports, one Type-A and one Type-C, six USB 3.0 ports, two USB 3.0 headers, and two USB 2.0 headers for a grand total of sixteen possible USB ports.
When it comes to networking, there is one Intel-powered gigabit LAN port and even onboard Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi solution with Bluetooth 4.2. As have come to expect from a motherboard in this price range, it even has a legit onboard audio solution, comprised of a Realtek ALC1220 codec, Texas Instruments op-amp, Nichicon audio-grade capacitors, five analog audio jacks and a digital S/PDIF output. Regrettably, those who plan on using AMD's upcoming Zen-based APUs should look else where, since this model has no video outputs whatsoever. That is a rarity among X370 motherboards, but we can appreciate that ASRock have built this motherboard with a focus on fully-fledged Ryzen processors.
As has become an apparent requirement, this model has RGB LED lighting built-in, but it is confined to four LEDs placed under the chipset cooler. That is relatively little lighting compared to the competition, but ASRock have added an impressive three RGB LED headers, so users can definitely take matters into their own hands and create quite the light show if desired. While were are on the topic of headers, this model has two CPU fan headers and three system fan headers that are fully controllable via both DC and PWM fan control modes from within the UEFI. The secondary CPU fan headers also supports water pumps.
So hardware-wise this motherboard has just about everything that we could want, our job is now to see whether it has all been well implemented, how it handles overclocking, and if it's a good deal at its current retail price of $200 USD / $335 CAD.
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