ASRock Z690 Taichi & Z690 Taichi Razer Edition

Kicking off our Z690 overview in alphabetical order, we'll start with ASRock. ASRock includes its patent-pending ASRock Graphics Card Holder with all of its Z690 models. This is designed to help prevent sagging when used with heavier and long graphics cards.

As it currently stands, the most premium model in ASRock's arsenal for Z690 is from one of its most successful motherboards series, the Taichi. The ASRock Z690 Taichi has a variety of premium features including an advertised 20-phase power delivery with the latest 105 A power stages, as well as a slightly redefined look for 2021. Touching on the design, ASRock includes its mechanical cogwheel effect built into the rear panel cover, which includes RGB LED backlighting, with more RGB built into the cleverly designed cogwheel inspired chipset heatsink.

Looking at the lower portion of the Z690 Taichi, it includes three full-length PCIe slots, including the top two operating at PCIe 5.0 x16 and x8/x8, a third full-length PCIe 4.0 x4 slot, and one PCIe 3.0 x1 slot. Focusing on storage, the ASRock Z690 Taichi includes two PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, with a third M.2 slot that has support for both PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA drives. The board also features seven SATA ports in total, with six of these supporting Intel RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. Located in the top right-hand corner are four memory slots that can support DDR5-6400, with a combined capacity of up to 128 GB.

The ASRock Z690 Taichi Razer Edition shares the same feature set as the regular Z690 Taichi, but with a Razer-inspired twist. This includes a funky Razer Edition logo on the rear panel cover, with Razer Chroma RGB LED lighting which from the image above, pops really nicely. It drops the cogwheel theme of the Taichi and essentially replaces it with Razer branding.

On the rear panel of the ASRock Z690 Taichi is a pair of Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports, with two USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and four USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. Onboard audio is handled by a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec and ESS Sabre 9218 DAC pairing and consists of five 3.5 mm audio jacks and one S/PDIF optical output. Interestingly, ASRock has put the audio connectors in the middle of the rear panel, as opposed to the end. For networking, ASRock is using a Killer E3100G 2.5 GbE controller, with an additional Intel I219-V Gigabit controller, with a Killer AX1675 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi. Finishing off the rear panel is a single HDMI 2.1 video output and a small BIOS Flashback button.

The Intel Z690 Chipset, What's New? ASRock Z690 PG Velocita (DDR5)
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  • meacupla - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link

    I think it's because PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 require better quality traces, and shielding to maintain signal quality.
    AM4 X570 boards had quite a sticker shock when they came out too. The price increase was thanks to PCIe 4.0 requiring higher quality traces. This price increase was also reflected in B550 boards, so you can expect the same.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link

    Better quality PCBs and/or a lot more signal boosters. A few years ago there was speculation that PCIe5 might be too expensive to implement to show up on consumer boards at all. I'll be really interested in seeing if/how much future generations extend it to all the other locations; because CPU-slot 1 slot1-slot 3/4 for bifurcated are the shortest runs.
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link

    I'm guessing that's one of the reasons that Intel only did PCIe 5 for the x16 GPU slot and not the NVMe drive or the chipset.
  • KarlKastor - Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - link

    5 cm to the first slot can't cost much. There are no active components used. In the past almost every Z-board had X8/x8 option. Now most don't have.
  • Silver5urfer - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link

    Looks - DARK #1, XTREME #2, APEX #3 this time ASUS really ruined their design, insane gamerboy trash look too much bling. Their Z590 Apex was superb, shame.

    Features - MSI and ASRock only are giving TB4 ports on the Top end range - Ace / Taichi. Nobody else, for that Gigabyte gives them on Xtreme, same for ASUS on Extreme as well. EVGA as usual, and 10G LAN is still not common.

    Also none of the boards have PLX chips, I mean the Z690 has a lot of bandwidth esp those PCIe5.0 lanes, we could have got 4xPCIe x8 full lanes with more circuitry to enable more. All they give is basic x16 GPU lanes like always and a PCIe NVMe Slot from CPU. Utter shame.

    Plus only MSI and ASRock are giving PCIe4.0x4 lanes on the PCIe slots nobody else is doing which is even more a bummer, I think the reasoning is probably since the board has ton of I/O on NVMe side they do not give it. But boy that DARK has Horrible laning, wtf is that ? Single slot for PCIe5.0 and not even having reinforced slots for the 2nd slot look at GB they give full steel armor and many others do. Too much greed. They also have Post code LED issues since Z490 can you beleive it ? Z490, Z590 and even their rip off X570 has LED failures, just check their forum. ASUS and MSI on the other hand use that garbage ALC4080 series again, it has horrible trash issues, pop ins, nonsensical EMI issues, insane driver problems all over the place. ASRock and GB use ALC1200 which is much better but this time GB is saving money on the Audio I/O by no 7.1 and other options not even on Master. Utter shame from all these companies. ASUS ROG series Z690 has Noctua clearance issues, they never had that but now they have, I bet it's all for that extra crappy bling.

    Finally the price, EVGA will rip off, their X570 is too damn expensive at $700+ with tax, that's a LOT and the USB I/O is pathetic on them just 6 ports, also unlike Z590 of their they removed NVMe to just 2 slots, and even the bifurcation on the X570 board will cut the GPU lanes. DARK will be at same APEX cost over $800. MSI ACE and GB Master / Tachyon (last time with Z590 it had poor DIMM tuning no 11900K could get 3866MHz G1, I hope they improved here) might be better options tbh. Also the VRM cooling Z590 had 2 boards with that awfulness, Z590 DARK and OC Formula, idk why they want to ruin the board with such crappy decisions of adding failure prone components for no reason. Lastly I hope EVGA is not going with doublers BS on DARK, even ASUS dropped it from Z590 Apex.

    Now the last aspect, is this platform worth ? Nope. From my analysis the only reason to buy Alder Lake is for those who are stuck on 2600K or even more relaxing 7th gen since it's 4C era and 300 series chipsets gets at-least 9900K option. That too if they are starving for some uplift and I/O. All the folks on X470, X570, B550 or Z390, Z490/Z590 do not need this at all you know already as a fact for this by now.

    You get improved DMI sure, more NVMe sure without cutting GPU lanes, yep fantastic. But you want to play into Intel's 1511 debacle ? NBR forum and other places had people modifying the MLC capacitors on the Socket back to make a damn Z170 run 9700K, that's from 6th to 9th gen btw, yeah that's how Intel is. And you are paying a top premium here. A DDR5 is worthless today, a few SMT workloads only you will see that too production with limited set. So a DDR4 is sane right ? Yep but as I said the socket longevity is unknown, it's up in the air for Intel, LGA1700 has physically 1800pin support, so Raptor Lake might be a direct slot in, but what about after that ? Meteor Lake and Lunar Lake they hint even more crappy E cores but it's a new P core too. So you will not only be relegated to a DDR4 locked system but also a premature expensive DDR5 system.

    If anyone is waiting for the DDR5 era, they should wait more. Once Zen 4 comes with AM5, we will see how DDR5 shapes up. I didn't even mention the cost because it's already known. And buying a DDR4 board pairing it with an i7 12700K is bad. So that's what I feel like. On top E cores do not do anything it's all P cores that are carrying Alder Lake processors.

    Finally the OC, 12900K is too hot, the density is very high heat and it pulls ton of current. The proof is 200W-240 on 10900K will be 75C, this ADL it will be more than 80C, once you get 300W it will shoot to 100C easily, hotter than Rocket Lake. And Intel binning very tight, all core OC 5.2GHz is max, you can go high but 360mm MSI latest AIO is peaking at 90C when you run a high load, yes this is not gaming. But that's the state of 10nmESF which is why Intel put only 8 P cores. 12700K may have a bit more but it's just losing the E cores and lower P bins, so you won't even get more, i5 12600K sure but it's again a mid range CPU, running on an Apex with that on an AIO is even more stupid just because you can clock high that also bin dependent.

    Anyways that's all for now, hope this helps someone.
  • Silver5urfer - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link

    I forgot SATA ports, Intel Z690 has 8xSATA but nobody except EVGA is offering those, WTH ? I thought finally Intel is adding more on top they are adding some RAID features too. AMD RAID as per Level1techs was jank. Now Intel gives more SATA and more NVMe OEMs simply drop SATA. Unfortunate. Plus look how they are gimping the x4 length slot with Gen3 and not Gen4 offerings, HBA SAS Expansion is the option there without cutting GPU lanes, but natively they should have for such a damn I/O beast chipset.
  • KarlKastor - Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - link

    They use the IO-Lanes for PCIe instead SATA.

    Gen3 instead Gen4 I saw just with ASRock. Most Boards have 4 Gen4 M.2 or a Gen4 x4 Slot.
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link


    If you buy into the Intel ecosystem, you already know that you're only going to get 1 or 2 CPU generations out of a motherboard. Even AMD, who have been using AM4 for 5 generations now don't have backward compatibility back to the beginning of the socket. They don't support sticking a 5000 series CPU in an X370 motherboard, for example.
  • Silver5urfer - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link

    Throw everything out and stick with what makes Intel Intel lol. X370 hmm, that was a pile of junk because nobody trusted AMD. And even still that can run R9 3900X, can any Z170 officially run 8700K or 9900K ? Nope so there goes your omg Ryzen 5000 doesn't support so does Intel pathetic.. Same pins on LGA151x still they shafted everyone out proof is the notebooks which modded the socket and BIOS and made them work.

    How long people will excuse BS that Intel pulls off ? Well we have dumb bovine consumers who just jump into shiny new toys like Alder Lake which serves no purpose except to create the hype for Intel.
  • Wrs - Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - link

    I've only ever used the AMD platform 3 times in my life. K7 Thunderbird, K8 Athlon64 x2 on s939, and Ryzen 5000 on AM4. But all three times, I haven't/don't expect to upgrade the CPU on the same motherboard. It's just not worth the hassle for marginal clock gains or to bump one generation, if I even get that. So I don't view what Intel does as evil. They start with a cleaner slate than if they carry the baggage of socket compatibility. Intel and AMD carry enough x86 baggage as it is. I can feel the weight of the aging AM4. Limited socket current. Limited chipset aggregate throughput. A fan just to support PCIe 4 on secondary slots. Stuff that could be easily fixed by adding more socket pins relative to 5 years ago.

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