Starting off our large Z490 motherboard overview alphabetically, we take a look at the models from ASRock. As we've seen previously, ASRock is marketing its gaming-focused models with a handful of PG branded models at launch, with the Taichi, and Steel Legend boards making a reappearance. One of the most interesting features of the ATX sized ASRock Z490 models is the inclusion of a PCIe 4.0 clock generator, which is designed to offer longevity to its boards with support for Intel Rocket Lake. This allows the top full-length PCIe slot to run PCIe 4.0 from the CPU, which stretches to the PCIe M.2 slots which are driven from the CPU, and not the chipset.

ASRock Z490 Taichi

The ASRock Taichi series is one of its most prominent brands since it was introduced on the Intel Z270, and AMD X370 chipsets. The ASRock brand has evolved since then with more unique aesthetics and is usually associated with its premium range of models offered. The ASRock Z490 Taichi includes a PCIe 4.0 clock generator which allows support for Intel's Rocket Lake processors when it is released. Also present is three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, eight SATA ports, a Realtek 2.5 G Ethernet controller, and 12-phase power delivery for the CPU. 

For the design, the ASRock Z490 Taichi has a primarily black aesthetic with Taichi clockwork inspired branding over the rear panel cover, heatsinks, and the PCIe area cover. It has multiple areas of integrated RGB LEDs including the rear panel cover, the chipset heatsink, and at the right-hand underside of the board. On the rear of the board is a large black metal backplate, which also has a Taichi clockwork inspired design. The power delivery is controlled by an Intersil ISL69269 PWM controller, with a 12+2+1 power delivery design using ISL 50 A DrMOS power stages. It uses a large pair of heat pipe connected heat sinks, with the rear panel cover area including a single cooling fan integrated into the design, with two small cooling fans on the other power delivery heatsink. 

The core feature set consists of three full-length PCIe 3.0 slots which run at x16, x16/x8, and x16/x8+4, with an additional two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. For storage, there's three PCIe 3.0 x4 slots, with six SATA ports from the chipset, and two additional ports from an ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Each M.2 slot has its own Taichi inspired heatsink, while the bottom of the board includes a basic overclockers toolkit with a power and reset button. As mentioned, it includes a PCIe 4.0 clock generator for support for Intel's unreleased Rocket Lake processors which will also be released on socket LGA1200. This adds PCIe 4.0 support for the M.2 slots, as well as the top full-length PCIe 3.0 x16 slot. 

Included on the rear panel of the ASRock Z490 Taichi is one USB 3.2 G2 20 Gbps Type-C, two USB 3.2 G2 10 Gbps Type-A, and five USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. For networking, ASRock includes an Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 and BT 5.1 wireless interface, with two Ethernet ports, one controlled by a Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5 G, and the other by an Intel I219-V Gigabit controller. For users planning to use integrated graphics, there's a pair of video outputs consisting of an HDMI, and DisplayPort 1.4 output. Finishing off the rear panel is a PS/2 combo port, five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output controlled by a Realtek ALC1220 HD codec, and a BIOS Flashback button.

The ASRock Z490 Taichi is a premium model with a good range of USB 3.2 G2 support on the rear panel, benefits from a 12+2+1 power delivery for enthusiasts, and a solid section of networking options including Wi-Fi 6 and a 2.5 G Ethernet controller. Its Taichi design is well versed and stylish, with some support for PCIe 4.0 when Intel releases its Rocket Lake processors, which is another big plus point. ASRock hasn't yet unveiled a price for the Z490 Taichi, but we will update this as more information starts to filter in.

ASRock Z490 Aqua ASRock Z490 PG Velocita
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  • Andrew LB - Saturday, May 9, 2020 - link

    So these boards bring Wifi6, PCI-Express 4.0, gigabit 2.5, and for people like myself who are upgrading from a Z87 board.... just about everything is a huge leap.... yet you think there is just 'more of the same'? I guess if you're one of those idiots who buys a new CPU every year, then clearly this is not the release for you. Nor would AMD's latest offerings if that same metric is applied.
    So what's your problem with Capitalism? Do incremental design improvements offend you? Or is it profit that does? Hate to break it to you, but its profit motive that fuels innovation. Collectivism is a cancer and by its very nature hinders progress due to it not rewarding exceptionalism. It's why countries like China don't innovate. Otherwise they wouldn't need forced technology transfers from those who manufacture goods in their country.
    Reply
  • Zenzdeluxe - Wednesday, September 2, 2020 - link

    Thanks for that. The hypocrisy of these people. Imagine imbibing in the fruits of the capitalist system which besides continuing innovation, provides more spoils at lower price points for everyone than ever before. The audacity of such entitlement and seemingly collectivist / marxist based criticism is mind boggling. Cognitive dissonance off the scale indeed. Reply
  • ilkhan - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    Details page for GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Pro AX (copy and paste because who can keep them straight otherwise) makes a big deal of no usb-C, but it's there in the picture... Reply
  • ecjp - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    Yeah, I noticed that too. Gigabytes site shows same picture and lists "1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support" in the specs, so I assume its an error in the article. Reply
  • gavbon - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    Thanks for picking that up. I must have been writing about the wrong board. Apologies, it's updated Reply
  • regsEx - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    "Integrated into the Z490 chipset is an Intel Wi-Fi 6 CNVi which allows motherboard vendors to integrate its AX200 wireless solutions directly from the chipset with a CRF module."

    CNVi is an old generation 802.11ac controller. Here it is CNVio2. CRF module is AX201. AX200 is a standalone controller that can work on any system. X570 motherboards with 802.11ax support, for example, packs with AX200 card.
    Reply
  • lunaticbunny - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    There are no boards under $200. Seems like this Z490 chipset got the X570 inflation treatment as well. Reply
  • drexnx - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    just like the X570 boards, they've all got seriously beefed up VRMs

    and maybe the pcie4 tax wasn't just a cash grab? we'll really see when AMD B550 comes out, where those board prices land
    Reply
  • Andrew LB - Saturday, May 9, 2020 - link

    Plenty of boards under $200.
    ASUS Prime Z490M-PLUS
    GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS Elite
    ASUS TUF Gaming Z490-Plus
    ASUS TUF Gaming Z490-Plus wifi
    GIGABYTE Z490 UD
    MSI Z490-A PRO ProSeries

    A bunch of Asrock boards will be under $200 as well. You can see many prices already on Amazon.
    Reply
  • dgingeri - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    It looks like, potentially, at least Gigabyte has decided to include a decent number of USB ports. I can't tell with the Asus board, but all the rest look to have only 6 USB ports, an annoyingly small number. I have been really annoyed with the lack of USB ports on boards for the last 5 years. Heck, with the old 440BX boards, we had 2 ps2, 4 or 6 USB, 1 or 2 serial, and a parallel port. We've lost the other ports, and internal drives in most computers, and not gained USB ports to compensate for it. External hubs aren't going to do it, either, as those stupid things keep dying in a matter of months. Reply

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