ASRock 

No stranger to the fray, ASRock is ready with the launch of two boards, the X399 Professional Gaming and X399 Taichi. Both boards share features but have enough differences to separate them in the product stack. The Pro Gaming adds 10 Gigabit Ethernet to its two Gigabit NICs and supports Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3, while the Taichi aims to be a more mid-range board, by sticking with dual Gigabit NICs and uses Purity Sound 4. The styling is a little different too.

ASRock X399 Professional Gaming 

The high-end board from ASRock will be the Professional Gaming. It also carries the Fatal1ty name, due to ASRock’s never-ending association with a pro-gamer from the turn of the century.

 

On the aesthetic side, the X399 Professional Gaming has a black PCB accented with gray heatsinks and grey stenciling where the M.2 slots are located. The memory slots are black, along with the rear IO cover that extends down the board. There are two heatsinks to cool the VRMs, connected by a heatpipe, and one reaches near to the rear IO. The chipset heatsink is not connected as part of the VRM cooling, but consumes a fairly large portion of the board and looks a bit like a play button. As with the fascination with RGB, the Professional Gaming has a few under the chipset heatsink. Users can add more RGB LEDs via two headers, and control them all through ASRock's RGB LED application.

The Professional Gaming has support for both NVIDIA 4-Way SLI and AMD 4-Way Crossfire with full-length PCIe slots. These have additional reinforcement to prevent sag or bending due to heavy PCIe cards during transit – the reinforcement is what ASRock calls its ‘Steel Armor’. The PCIe slots give an x16/x8/x16/x8 configuration from top to bottom, using 48 of the 60 PCIe lanes from the processor. The rest of the lanes are allocated to storage: there are a total of three M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slots, one of which is shared/switched with a U.2 connector. For other storage, there are eight SATA ports from the chipset that natively support RAID 0/1/10.

 

For added features, the X399 Professional Gaming jumps past the ever-present Gigabit Ethernet and uses an Aquantia AQC107 10 Gigabit LAN controller to appeal to users that want to invest in 10GbE. This is paired with two Intel I211AT network controllers, and all three can do regular gigabit Ethernet duties. If three Ethernet ports were not enough, also included is an integrated Intel AC8265 2x2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi module, to handle wireless duties.

ASRock provided chipset diagram for the Pro Gaming to show how it breaks down all the bandwidth:

For power delivery, ASRock uses a digital 11 phase International Rectifier solution, along with IR DrMOS for monitoring VRM current and temperature. Distributing power to the VRMs are two EPS 12V connectors, an 8-pin and a 4-pin, although the system will work with only the 8-pin installed. Typically we see EPS connectors oriented close to each other at the top of the motherboard, but here the connectors are located on opposite sides of the socket. As shown above, the 8-pin is in the upper right-hand corner above the DIMM slots, while the supplemental 4-pin is in the more familiar location at the top left-hand corner. ASRock asserts this creates a wider trace for the CPU VRM, bringing better power delivery efficiency and lowering temperatures. 

For USB connectivity, the Professional Gaming has three USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) Type-A ports on the rear, one USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) Type-C port on the rear, two USB 3.1 (5 Gbps) headers for front panel ports, and two USB 2.0 headers for front panel ports.

Fatal1ty X399 Professional Gaming
Warranty Period 3 Years
Product Page Link
Price $439.99
Size ATX
CPU Interface TR4
Chipset AMD X399
Memory Slots (DDR4) Eight DDR4 Slots, up to 3600 MT/s
Supporting 128GB
Quad Channel
Network Connectivity 1 x Aquantia AQC107 10 Gigabit LAN
2 x Intel I211AT GbE
Wireless Network 802.11 ab/g/n/ac Dual-Band (2.4/5 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.2
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC1220
PCIe Slots 4 x PCIe 3.0 (x16/x8/x16/x8) from CPU
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 from Chipset
Onboard SATA 8 x SATA 6 Gbps
Supporting RAID 0/1/5/10
Onboard SATA Express None
Onboard M.2 3 x PCIe 3.0 x4 - NVMe or SATA
Onboard U.2 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4 (disables M2_1 when in use)
USB 3.1 1 x Type-A , 1 x Type-C (Rear Panel)
USB 3.0 8 x Rear Panel, 4 x via internal headers
USB 2.0 4 x via internal headers
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX
1 x 8-pin CPU
1 x 4-pin CPU
Fan Headers 1 x CPU 1A/12W Max. (4-pin)
1 x CPU Opt/Water Pump 1.5A/18W Max. (4-pin)
2 x Chassis (4-pin)
1 x Chassis Opt/Water Pump 1.(4-pin)
IO Panel 2 x Antenna Ports
1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A Port (10 Gb/s)
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C Port (10 Gb/s)
8 x USB 3.0 Ports
4 x USB 3.0 Ports
3 x RJ-45 LAN Ports w/ LED
1 x BIOS Flashback Switch
HD Audio Jacks
The X399 Chipset ASRock X399 Taichi
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  • nathanddrews - Friday, September 15, 2017 - link

    The ROG Zenith has all the networking IO I want, but is lacking in SATA ports. Hmm... Reply
  • tarqsharq - Friday, September 15, 2017 - link

    With all those extra PCI-E lanes you can just use add-in boards for anything you need more of. Reply
  • Gothmoth - Friday, September 15, 2017 - link

    yeah lol at another 100 euro... i tried SATA cards from 6 different brands and all SUCKED.
    delock, i-tec, syba, logiclink.

    just read the reviews at retailers.. these cheap cards are buggy as hell.

    i ended up with an adaptec card that works well. but it cost 100+ euro.
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, September 15, 2017 - link

    Yes, that has been my experience as well. Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, September 15, 2017 - link

    Cheap SATA controller cards use exactly the same chips which mobo makers put to increase the number of ports up from what the chipset provides. Complaining the board doesn't come with extra ports via a cheap controller and then complaining cheap controllers are no good? Seriously?

    A proper TR build would be at least 3000$, in that price range, 200$ for a good HBA like the LSI 9300-8i should not be an issue. Surely, AMD offers great value and brought extremely high performance to a new level of affordability, but this is not, I repeat, NOT a product for penny pinchers.
    Reply
  • mWMA - Monday, September 18, 2017 - link

    The correct solution adding more sata is not use SAS2 cards. You can pick up a nice x4 PCIe G3 lsi or IBM SAS2 card for about 100 bucks or less on ebay.. Without any HBA, you can run 8 drives off those 2 sas controller cards since each one will give you x4 lanes.. you can get easily 500+ MB/s out of each controller. Reply
  • mWMA - Monday, September 18, 2017 - link

    Correction.. not to use SATA cards.. use SAS2 or SAS3 cards instead Reply
  • BoemlauweBas - Friday, October 20, 2017 - link

    The problem however, these cards suck a golfball through a garden hose performance wise compared to onboard softraid. And before people go ape-sh!t that softraid is bad-mkay... ever looked under the hood of lets say .... EMC / NetApp or any NAS semi/pro vendor out there ? It's all Softraid. Why ? Because the hardware raid chipsets that can actually cope with 3Gb/8Gb throughput are relative new & start around 3K $. So, a poor mans 8x sata 600 onboard chipset is hard 2 beat. Reply
  • karatekid430 - Thursday, October 26, 2017 - link

    Yeah, you can get U.2 SFF-8643 to 4x SATA branch-out cables. I have a feeling it won't work directly off U.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 (although who knows?), but surely a PCIe SAS controller providing some SFF-8643 connectors will work. That is the way I was thinking. Reply
  • CheapSushi - Sunday, September 17, 2017 - link

    How about going for something more serious then instead of low end: http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/series-ssd71...

    That would give you 16 SATA drives.
    Reply

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