It's been more than a year after the introduction of the Ryzen Threadripper processor and there are still compatible motherboards in around a dozen. ASRock is the company that offers the largest number of AMD X399 motherboards and only three.
This is the ASRock X399 Taichi that we will see today. The ATX version of Taichi is the most affordable AMD X399 motherboard available at the time of this review, selling for $ 320 ($ 280 after rebate). Although the retail price of the ASRock X399 Taichi is almost $ 100 lower than the second cheapest X399 motherboard we reviewed on this date, the motherboard specifications remain impressive. We have looked more closely at the motherboard and identified how ASRock managed to achieve this low price and what the Taichi X399 lost compared to the competition.
ASRock X399 Taichi Overview
Unlike most motherboards, ASRock does not focus on marketing Taichi X399 to a specific group of users. The company's marketing efforts are general, hinting that their intention is to promote the Taichi X399 as a general-purpose design that will meet the widest user base.
A quick look at motherboard features and specifications shows that the Taichi X399 is almost no different from its more expensive counterparts. It still has four full-size PCIe slots that support up to quad SLI / Crossfire, eight SATA connectors, three M.2 connectors, and even U.2 ports. We also found that it uses the same subsystem chipset, such as Realtek ALC 1220 codec for sound and Intel I211-AT NIC for multiple LANs. Even electrical circuits are basically the same as those used in more expensive models, with the design of the power delivery eight plus three phases for the CPU and the SoC.
ASRock obviously did not succeed in reducing the retail price of the motherboard by magic, or they sold it at a loss. A closer look at the motherboard reveals that it does not have the latest features that we have seen in more advanced models. There is a dual Gigabit LAN but there is no 10G NIC. There are 802.11ac Wi-Fi but there is no WiGig 802.11ad. There are general headers for 12V RGB LED strips but not for digital LED products. By avoiding the application of top-of-the-line features, ASRock engineers managed to significantly reduce the production cost of the Taichi X399 without removing one of the core features and / or reducing the quality or capacity of the motherboard.
ASRock X399 Taichi is not the fastest AMD X399 motherboard that we have tested on this date. As we will see in the following pages of this review, the main reason behind that is that the automatic overclocking feature of the motherboard is not as aggressive as they are on other motherboards. ASRock X399 Taichi still increases processor frequency by default but is more conservative in doing so, making it a little slower than other products outside the box. ASRock engineers may want to support stability for performance in this particular implementation. Nevertheless, it is still as capable as a more expensive partner when manual overclocking takes place.