ASRock X399 Taichi AMD TR4 Motherboard Review

Quickly to the right hardware equipment …

Layout, Design and Features
ASRock X399 Taichi Equipment and other features
ASRock X399 Taichi Expansion cards
ASRock X399 Taichi Memory
ASRock X399 Taichi Hard disk drive connectors
ASRock X399 Taichi USB and Firewire
ASRock X399 Taichi Network
ASRock X399 Taichi Sound
ASRock X399 Taichi ATX back panel connectors
ASRock X399 Taichi PC System

Layout, Design and Features …

As already explained in the unboxing video on our OCinside YouTube Channel, this X399 board is build for AMD Threadripper processors.

Here is the ASRock X399 Taichi unboxing video (English subtitles):

Here you can see the chic motherboard box of the new ASRock X399 Taichi Socket TR4 motherboard, where the pictured gears have already found many fans.
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The mainboard box is hinged, so that you can take a look at the mainboard behind the front cover.
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The inlay shows some features like 4x SLI, 11 Phase Power, Purity Sound 4, RGB LED, BIOS Flashback, PCIe Steel Slots, Hyper BCLK Engine II, U.2 Connector, Triple Ultra M.2, Dual LAN, WiFi and much more.
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There are two more boxes in the box.
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The lower box contains the supplied accessories.
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As most high-quality ASRock motherboards, the X399 Taichi is bordered in foam for safe transport.
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The ASRock X399 Taichi High Density fiber glass Sapphire Black PCB makes a great impression. The motherboard features very durable Nichicon 12K Black Caps, Premium 60A Power Chokes, 11 Power Phase Design, Digi Power and 7.1 HD Purity Sound 4 over ALC1220 with Nichicon Fine Gold Audio capacitors, 120dB SNR DAC and TI NE5532 headset amplifier.
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The ASRock X399 Taichi has the Dr. Debug 7-segment LED postcode display, two high quality buttons for power and reset and offers three! fast Ultra M.2 slots for PCIe Gen3 x4 modules with up to 32 Gb/sec. connectivity, which can now even be operated in RAID.
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The picture shows the new PCIe Steel slot and below is an Ultra M.2 socket, which can be equipped with 2242/2260/2280 M.2 modules (one slot also supports the 3cm short 2230 modules).
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We tested the X399 Taichi with a Crucial MX300 M.2 SSD.
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Conventional RGB stripes can be connected to the white 4-pin 12V RGB headers, for example to illuminate the housing. In addition, the X399 Taichi has a second 12V RGB LED connector.
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ASRock has integrated the RGB LEDs on this motherboard underneath the chipset cooler and on the PCIe slots, which can be controlled as desired.
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The RGB headers and the integrated RGB LEDs are controlled by the supplied ASRock RGB LED software. With this AMD motherboard you can’t make all settings graphically via the UEFI (like with the ASRock Z270 motherboards), but RGB basic functions have also been integrated in the UEFI. In the ASRock RGB LED software, for example, you can select the colors in an RGB color selector.
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You can also set whether the RGB headers should be controlled separately or together with the RGB lighting under the chipset cooler and PCIe slots.
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And you can adjust in the ASRock RGB LED menu, if the LEDs should light continuously, breathe, random or even light up to the music. The user has numerous ways how and how fast light up the LED stripes or the chipset cooler LEDs and can of course also completely disable it. Certainly as already mentioned in the previous X370 reviews, it’s no “must have” feature, but definitely “nice to have”!
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Here you can see one of the two internal USB3.0 ports, next to the 24-Pin ATX power connector, an additional 8 Pin 12 Volt power connector, some of the high quality Nichicon 12K Black Caps capacitors, as well as the MOS_PROCHOT CPU Xtreme OC Switch.
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The following picture shows a side view of the motherboard with the protective I/O panel cover (I/O Armor) and the large aluminum alloy XXL heatsink that has been carefully attached on the MOSFETs.
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Equipment and other features …

The X399 Taichi motherboard from ASRock came with a manual, software setup manual, DVD, four SATA data cables (angled and straight), one ASRock 3-Way SLI Bridge card, one ASRock 4-Way SLI-S111 Bridge card, one ASRock SLI_HB_Bridge_3S card, three screws for the M.2 socket, two ASRock WiFi 2.4/5 Additional USB slot covers or an ASRock USB 3.0 front panel are available as an option.

The ASRock X399 Taichi has a lot of features like the ASRock A-Tuning Tool, ASRock Instant Flash, ASRock Internet Flash, ASRock Easy RAID Installer, 11 Power Phase Design, Digi Power, ASRock RGB LED, ASRock FAN-Tastic Tuning and the ASRock BIOS Flashback Switch from the Unboxing Video, which we will show you on the following page.
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Expansion cards …

The motherboard offers four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots for AMD CrossFireX or nVidia SLI, of which either one or two graphics cards with x16 bandwidth can be connected, or even two graphics cards with x16 bandwidth and up to two additional graphics cards with x8 bandwidth. In addition to the four PCI Express 3.0 slots, there is also a PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot.

Memory …

The ASRock X399 Taichi can be equipped with up to eight DDR4 modules and is expandable depending upon operating system used (see list) up to maximally 128 GB memory.

Here you can see a picture of the eight DDR4 memory slots with Quad Channel support:
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The AMD TR4 motherboard supports DDR4 memory modules and can be optimized in the BIOS for DDR4-2667 Quad Channel modules with an AMD Ryzen Threadripper processor. The UEFI offers the selection from DDR4-1866 up to DDR4-3600. Higher clock-rates are currently only possible with BCLK overclocking.

Thanks to XMP support (Extreme Memory Profiles), XMP memory modules are set correctly with one mouse click in the UEFI and of course there are far more memory adjustments and more OC-options, but more on that later. Before buying the RAM, you should check the officially supported RAM modules at the ASRock memory support page, which is also very important for AMD Ryzen Threadripper systems.

Hard disk drive connectors …

The ASRock X399 Taichi offers a total of eight angled SATA3 ports and a U.2 port for NVM Express modules up to Gen3 x4, which is 32 Gb/sec.
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The SATA 3 ports are supporting RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, NCQ, AHCI and the Hot Plug function in AHCI mode (AHCI stands for Advanced Host Controller Interface and can/should be selected in the UEFI, especially when using SSDs). Thanks to the UEFI BIOS also drives with more than 2 TB for the installation of Windows 10, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 x64 can be installed. Installing the drivers was absolutely no problem with Windows 10 and the Windows 10 installation was done very quickly. But even for Windows 7 AMD offers an All-In-one driver package that is installed easily and quickly.

The RAID drivers can be installed via the Easy RAID Installer point in the UEFI, are supplied on DVD for 32-bit / 64-bit Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 and are currently available for download on the ASRock support page, whereby the Windows 10 installation is currently preferred.

USB and FireWire …

The ASRock X399 Taichi has eight USB 3.0 Type-C ports (USB 3.1 Gen1) at the ATX panel. The picture shows the USB 3.1 Type-A in the middle and an USB 3.1 Type-C at the bottom (can be inserted in both directions).
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Internally there are two more USB 2.0 connectors for up to four optional USB 2.0 ports, as well as two USB 3.0 connectors for up to four optional USB 3.0 ports. The 20-pin connector can be connected either to an optional USB3.0 front panel or to an enclosure with USB3.0 support.

Network …

The ASRock X399 Taichi motherboard is equipped with two Intel I211AT, offering the 10/100/1000 network connectors on the ATX panel. The LAN connections are WoL capable, offers LAN cable detection, supports the 802.3az energy efficient Ethernet standard, PXE and more. Additionally the ASRock X399 Taichi has onboard WLAN 2,4/5 GHz IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with up to 433 Mbps transfer rate as well as Bluetooth 4.2/3.0 + High Speed Class II.
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Sound …

The ASRock X399 Taichi motherboard is equipped with the ALC1220 audio codec with content protection, 120dB SNR DAC, TI NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier and Purity Sound 4, which supports 7.1 surround sound at the internal front panel audio connector and has analog output over 5x 3.5mm connectors on the ATX panel. Additionally, there is an optical SPDIF digital output and premium Blu-Ray audio support. So most users do not need to buy an additional sound card with digital outputs.
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ATX back panel connectors …

From left to right you can see the ASRock BIOS Flashback CMOS button, 1x PS/2 connector for PS/2 keyboard or PS/2 mouse and 2x USB 3.0, WiFi antenna connectors, 2x USB 3.0, optical SPDIF output, 5x 3.5mm jacks for sound, 2x USB 3.0, RJ45 Gigabit LAN and 2x USB 3.0, RJ45 Gigabit LAN and 1x USB 3.1 Type-A port and 1x USB 3.1 Type-C port.
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Test System …

Now we come to the AMD TR4 CPU socket, which is installed as shown in the following Video:

Here you can see a small sequence of the correct AMD TR4 socket CPU placement. The screws on the socket are labeled. The screws should be in the order shown on the socket: To open 3 -> 2 -> 1 and to close 1 -> 2 -> 3, although it is possible that you may have to press the screws on a new TR4 socket quite firmly at the beginning in order to tighten them.
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The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X CPU is really huge, as you can see on the following picture in comparison to the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X CPU.
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Here you can see the new AMD Ryzen threadripper 1950X CPU (YD195XA8UGAAE) in the ASRock X399 Taichi motherboard.
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In order to offer the new AMD Ryzen Threadripper a high memory throughput, we have used four Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 2666 16 GB BLS16G4D26BFSB modules.
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AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors support Quad Channel Mode. For example, four of the eight possible memory modules on the AMD X399 motherboard can be installed to quad channel support.
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Here you can see the correct configuration of the memory modules from above.
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For the threadripper mainboard test we ordered the Arctic Freezer 33 TR from ARCTIC as AMD Ryzen Threadripper cooler.
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The Arctic Freezer 33 TR CPU Cooler is quickly assembled. The blue brackets of the TR4 socket were only a little bit in the way of mounting on the TR4 socket. But with a little patience, the cooler could still be mounted perfectly.
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In the following picture you can see the AMD TR4 test system along with Arctic Freezer 33 TR cooler, MSI Radeon R9 280 graphics card and Icy Dock MB171SP-B Turbo Swap for fast replacement of SSD and HDD.
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As you can see on the thermal image of the PC system, the AMD X399 chipset remains pleasantly cool at just over 30°C.
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This is how the huge 16-cores with SMT (32 threads) of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X CPU in the Windows 7 task manager look like at Prime95 full load.
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And this is what the 16-cores with SMT (32 threads) of the AMD Ryzen 1950X threadripper CPU look like in the Windows 10 task manager.
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ASRock X399 Taichi BIOS and Overclocking …