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In a Nutshell
The ASRock Z490 Taichi is a great upper-tier motherboard that features plenty of ports, premium design, good overclocking potential, and support for PCIe 4.0 bus interface. In short, if you are looking for a motherboard that is easy to install and offers plenty of features, then ASRock Z490 Taichi should be at the top of your list.
The ASRock Z490 Taichi is a top-tier ATX motherboard primarily designed for enthusiasts who want to build a high-performance PC and overclock their 10th Gen and 11th Gen Intel CPUs. Like many other products from ASRock’s Taichi series, the Z490 Taichi features high-quality voltage regulator modules (VRMs), well-balanced set, and attractive looks that won’t break your build budget. Overall, it is one of the best built Z490 motherboards out there, and will satisfy both mainstream gamers and hardcore users alike.
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming Specs
|Processor Support||10th and 11th Gen Intel Core Processors|
|Memory Support||4 x DDR4, 4666+ MHz (OC), up to 128GB|
Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 2.0
|PCIe Connectors||3 × PCIe 3.0 x16 (CPU)|
2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 (Chipset)
|SATA / M.2||6 × SATA 3, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 (chipset)|
2 x SATA 3 (ASMedia controller)
3 x M.2 to 22110/2280 NVMe x4
|Networking||1 × 2.5 Gb/s Dragon LAN Chip|
1 x 1.0 Gb/s Intel LAN Chip
1 x Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax + Bluetooth 5.1
|Audio||7.1-Channel Realtek ALC 1220 HD Audio|
|Rear Connectors||2 × LAN (RJ45)|
1 × HDMI
1 × DisplayPort
5 x USB 3.2 Gen1
2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
1 x BIOS Flashback Button
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
2 x Antenna Ports
6 x audio jacks
Performance and capabilities
The ASRock Z490 is equipped with a 15-phase power supply circuitry that also features reliable components and provides consistent power to the CPU. It also offers great overclocking potential and gaming performance by keeping temperatures low. The Z490 Taichi comes with an integrated power supply system called Dr.MOS, which is optimized for synchronous voltage supply for demanding applications. Compared to conventional discrete transistors, Dr.MOS is designed to deliver high current through each phase, improving thermals and delivering the highest performance. Compared to conventional chokes, ASRock’s advanced chokes generate saturation current up to 3 times faster, thus improving motherboard Vcore performance.
Despite the fact that 10th Gen Intel CPUs don’t support PCIe 4.0 bus interface, this motherboard is equipped with advanced components to work with the latest PCI Express 4.0 hardware. The board has an additional external base frequency generator for PCI Express 4.0 interface, and features reinforced steel PCI Express 4.0 connectors for connecting hardware, as well as Hyper M.2 Key M connectors for PCI Express 4.0 hardware that support NVMe x4 speed.
Speaking of audio, the Z490 Taichi is equipped with Realtek’s ALC1220 7.1-Channel HD on-board audio, which is able to deliver pristine audio clarity, whether you are using headphones or external speakers connected via built-in audio jacks, USB or HDMI interface. The WIMA audio capacitors also help optimizing and delivering best audio quality that is able to satisfy even the pickiest audiophiles.
The on-board smart 2.5Gb/s LAN platform delivers the maximum networking performance you need for home networking, content creation, online gaming and high-quality streaming. Network performance is up to 2.5x faster than Gigabit Ethernet, guaranteeing fast, no-compromise connections for gaming, file transfer and backup. The Z490 Taichi is also equipped with next generation Intel Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax adapter, which is able to deliver data transfer speeds of up to 2.4Gbps and can also natively operate with both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz simultaneously. Significant improvement in bi-directional MU-MIMO support is another attractive feature as well.
The Z490 Taichi also comes with the latest USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C interface that offers fast data transfer speeds of up to 20Gbps, which is twice the speed of the previous version. The USB Type-C connector design also allows you to connect your external devices to the rear panel port in any orientation. The front USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C is able to deliver speeds of up to 10Gbps and also features reversible USB design on the front of the case.
Design and features
The Z490 Taichi’s back panel includes one button for BIOS firmware update, one combo PS/2 port, one DisplayPort 1.4 one HDMI video output connector, 7 USB 3.2 ports, one USB 3.2 Type-C port, 2 RJ-45 LAN ports, five audio subsystem ports with one S/PDIF optical output and 2 SMA connectors for external Wi-Fi antennas. It is also worth to point out that the rear panel is equipped with new technology to protect critical motherboard components from static electricity.
Speaking of other features, the XXL aluminum MOSFET heatsink with active fan efficiently dissipates heat and improves overall performance. This component is made for extreme gamers and techies looking to build a reliable platform for overclocking Intel’ latest 10th Gen processors. The motherboard’s chipset is also equipped with an aluminum heatsink that efficiently transfers heat away from its components. Beneath the chipset you’ll also find three M.2 Key M slots for connecting high-speed gaming SSDs.
Another very useful feature of Z490 Taichi is its back plate that strengthens the motherboard and prevents possible deformation from installing heavy coolers or graphics cards. Also, the printed circuit board of Z490 Taichi features special heat dissipation points. This feature gives the board a special ability to reduce its operating temperature by 4.1 degrees, while internal copper layers provide stability for signal paths and power profiles. They also provide cooler and more energy efficient environment for extreme CPU overclocking, as well as for the latest high-end DDR4 memory modules. The new PCB design also reduces gaps between layers and protects the motherboard from electrical short circuits caused by moisture. Only carefully selected copper samples are used for the PCB layers, which is why this technology ensures lower temperatures and improved energy efficiency during overclocking.
The Taichi Z490 also comes with gold-plated audio plugs that are able to ensure stable sound transmission. From other extra features, it is worth to mention the on-board power connector for liquid cooling systems. It delivers a current of 1.5 amperes and is suitable for all popular AIO models. The voltage at the connector can be increased to obtain even more efficient cooling. Since certain components on the motherboard are especially sensitive to voltage surges, and excessive current spikes that can instantly cause the entire system to crash, the Z490 Taichi also comes with Full Spike Protection technology that reliably protects these motherboard components from sudden power surges.
When speaking of software support, this motherboard comes with a variety of programs that help you adjust motherboard’s RGB lighting and perform simple overclocking operations. ASRock ships this board with its own App Shop application that is designed to download and update your applications and drivers with just a few clicks. Unfortunately, the board doesn’t come with a single program to accommodate all of the various applications, which is why you are forced to download them all separately. The Polychrome Sync app allows you to modify and synchronize motherboard’s RGB scheme with other system devices, while the Nahimic 3 helps you fine-tune audio output. The A-Tune app, on the other hand, helps you modify CPU frequency and voltages.
The Taichi Z490 is also equipped with one of the best user-friendly UEFI environments, which not only looks good, but also functions very well. Within its UEFI, you can modify XMP profiles, adjust fan speed settings, and change various other settings, which are easily accessible and incredibly deep.
The ASRock Z490 Taichi is a high-quality made and feature-rich upper-midrange motherboard, that will satisfy most advanced PC users. Provided that you own a 10th Gen Intel CPU, this motherboard will serve as a good platform for performing various overclocking operations. What we like about this motherboard is that it features 8 SATA3 ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C connector, cool power delivery system, and attractive design. Another great thing about this board is that if comes with three M.2 SSD slots, and it even supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX configurations, as well as NVIDA SLI configurations with Quadro graphics cards. Overall, the Z490 is a great motherboard that has very few flaws.