ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 6

The ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 6 sits below the Phantom Gaming 9 and Taichi boards in the product stack and offers similar features and design aspects, but at a lower price point. The Phantom Gaming 6 remains ATX and has the same RGB capabilities as the Phantom Gaming 9 and users would be hard pressed to tell which is which if they didn't already know; the chipset heatsinks are a slightly different shape, the power and reset buttons are this time located at the top and the Gaming 6 has an extra PCIe 3.0 x1 slot. Speaking more of PCIe, the Gaming 6 has three full-length PCIe 3.0 slots all coated in ASRock Steel Slot reinforcement and the slots operate at x16, x8 and x4 respectively.

In regards to storage, the Z390 Phantom Gaming 6 has a total of eight SATA ports and has two M.2 slots which both allow for PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA based drives to be installed. The board also has four RAM slots with support for up to DDR4-4266 and the capacity for up to a maximum capacity of up to 64 GB Unlike the Phantom Gaming 9 which has eight fan headers, the Phantom Gaming 6 has a reduced number with a total of five 4-pin headers available. Along the bottom of the board is an LED debug and ASRock advertises the board as having a 12-phase power delivery with an 8-pin and 4-pin 12 V ATX CPU set of power inputs which is mirrored from the Gaming 9; the board looks to be the same PCB, but with different componentry.

For the Z390 Phantom Gaming 6, ASRock has dropped one of the three LAN ports (Phantom Gaming 9) and equipped this board with two which consist of an Intel I211AT Gigabit and better grade Realtek RTL8125AG 2.5G LAN. The Phantom Gaming 6 also drops Wi-Fi support and some of the rear panel USB 3.1 Gen2 ports with a total of two composed of a Type-A and Type-C port; rounding off the USB is three USB 3.0 Type-A ports. A Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec is included which offers five 3.5mm audio jacks and a single S/PDIF optical output and a trio of video outputs comprised of an HDMI, D-sub and DisplayPort.

The ASRock Z390 Phantom 6 has a recommended retail price of $200 which sets this as one of the most feature-rich in its price point, especially with dual LAN including a 2.5G port. The board does lack Wi-Fi connectivity but for users looking to drop some features and ultimately the price, but keeping much of the same componentry and quality features as the $270 Z390 Phantom Gaming 9, the $70 price reduction seems fair.

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 4
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  • Valantar - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    That would be pretty shocking, yeah, but the sheer size of that lump of metal still has me a bit worried. Guess that's what you get when you try to squeeze power delivery for a CPU that (likely) pulls >300W when overclocked into an ITX board (and refuse to use riser boards like before, for some reason). Reply
  • FXi - Monday, October 08, 2018 - link

    The power feed also changed with z390 I believe at least in the Asus models it did. The power feed of the 370 was "enough" to drive the newer 9700/9900 but there is a difference there that may impact enthusiasts. I don't think it enough to warrant an upgrade but something to consider.
    Also people should remember that while it is still a bit of a ways off, wifi is going to change to Wifi6 or 802.11ax starting now and probably seeing much of the changeover during 2019/2020 depending on adoption choices. And there is also pci-e 4.0 to consider next year probably that should be thought about before people do "marginal" upgrades from 370 era chipsets.
    Reply
  • FXi - Monday, October 08, 2018 - link

    Silly thing posted in edit window. Sorry power delivery and other points covered by you. Would have edited if I could have found that option Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, October 08, 2018 - link

    Other things to look forward to in the next few generations are: Less-hacky USB3.1 implementations (eg this articles speculation that a 10g port will need to eat 2 HSIO lanes instead of 1, and still needing an extra chip to support USB-C). Spectre/Meltdown fixes in hardware. A reduced DMI bottleneck between the CPU and chipset (either just from upgrading the link to PCIe4/5, moving some of the peripheral IO onto the CPU, or both. Reply
  • Valantar - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    Considering that the maximum theoretical bandwidth of PCIe 3.0 x1 is 984.6MB/s, you _need_ two PCIe lanes (and thus two HSIO lanes) for a USB 3.1G2 (1.25GB/s) controller unless you want to significantly bottleneck it. That's not "hacky", that's reality, even if this leaves a lot of bandwidth "on the table" if this only powers a single port (which it rarely does, though, and given that a full load on two ports at one time is unlikely, running two 1.25GB/s ports off two .99GB/s lanes is a good solution).

    Moving DMI to PCIe 4.0 will be good, though, particularly for multiple NVMe SSDs and >GbE networking.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    Splitting the traffic over 2 HSIO lanes is a hack because it'd require something to split/combine the traffic between the chipset and usbport. That in turn has me wondering if the speculation about the implementation being done that way is correct, or if the Z390 has 6 HSIO lanes that can run 10Gbps instead of the 8 that the rest top out at for PCIe3 Reply
  • repoman27 - Thursday, October 18, 2018 - link

    The implementation is absolutely not done that way. HSIO lanes are simply differential signaling pairs connected to a PCIe switch or various controllers via a mux. The PCH has a 6-port USB 3.1 Gen 2 xHCI, which can only feed 6 HSIO muxes. The back end of that xHCI is connected to an on-die PCIe switch which in turn is connected to the DMI interface. That DMI 3.0 x4 interface is already massively oversubscribed, but it is at least equivalent to a PCIe 3.0 x4 link, which is the most bandwidth that can be allotted to a single PCH connected device. Reply
  • Srikzquest - Monday, October 08, 2018 - link

    HDMI 2.0 is available in Asus and Gigabyte's ITX boards as well. Reply
  • gavbon - Tuesday, October 09, 2018 - link

    Thank you Srikzquest; updated the tables, obviously missed this yesterday :) - Thanks again Reply
  • HickorySwitch - Monday, October 08, 2018 - link

    Correction:
    https://www.asus.com/us/Commercial-Servers-Worksta...
    It says under "Specifications" that the board sports HDMI 2.0[b?]
    Reply

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