ASRock Grows Z390 Lineup With Budget-Conscious Phantom Gaming 4S

In a launch surrounded by little fanfare, ASRock has added another model to its Phantom Gaming series in the Z390 Phantom Gaming 4S. The motherboard will fill the budget end of ASRock’s Z390 lineup and offers six SATA ports, a 1 GbE NIC and a single M.2 slot.

The Phantom Gaming 4S is a derivative of the Phantom Gaming 4 with a similar design aesthetic to boot. It uses a “sapphire” black PCB, along with stenciled on lines traveling diagonally through the whole board (same design on the Phantom Gaming 4, except the lines pass through in the opposite direction). The chipset and VRM heatsinks are also designed a bit differently.

The board does not have integrated RGB LEDs, so any lighting will have to come from the three total RGB headers, one of the addressable RGB type, onboard. RGB control is done through the Polychrome RGB software.

(Image credit: ASRock)

The Phantom Gaming 4S uses an 8-phase VRM setup (compared to 10 in the Phantom Gaming 4), which should still be able to handle the flagship Intel i9-9900K CPU. as well as some overclocking. Feeding power to the VRM is a single 8-pin 12V EPS connector; whereas, the Phantom Gaming 4 has an additional 4-pin 12V EPS. Memory support is listed up to DDR4 4300MHz+ and uses the 4-Layer Memory POOL (Planes on Outer Layers) technology. This feature allows boards with fewer layers (in this case, four) to utilize stripline routing, as opposed to micro-strip routing for better electrical properties and performance. 

While its two full-length PCIe 3.0 slots doesn't support Nvidia SLI for dual graphics card usage, it does support two-way AMD Crossfire as the slots run at x16 and x4 (SLI requires x8). In addition to the full-length slots are three x1 slots filling out the PCIe area.

On the storage front, the Phantom Gaming 4S has six SATA ports, which support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. There is a single M.2 22110 slot that supports both NVMe and SATA based M.2 modules. Most ATX motherboards have two, but some sacrifices need to be made on an entry-level board. There is an additional M.2 Key-E 2230 slot for adding a Wi-Fi module, which would use the Z390 chipset’s integrated CNVi capabilities. ASRock chose the Intel I219-V GbE as the single NIC for the board. 

On the audio side, the 4S sports a Realtek ALC1200 HD audio codec and uses ELNA audio capacitors with low leakage said to improve audio quality by reducing noise levels. Out back is a three-plug 3.5mm audio stack for connectivity. 

(Image credit: ASRock)

The rear IO includes four USB 3.2 Gen1 (5 Gbps) ports in blue and two USB 2.0 ports with additional headers onboard. There is a single HDMI v1.4 port to output onboard video, plus two legacy PS/2 ports for the mouse and keyboard (what … no combo jack?!).

While pricing or availability was not listed, we expect the Phantom Gaming 4S to land around the $110 mark, given its features and comparing it to the $140 (on sale for $120) Phantom Gaming 4. If it does land at $110, that would make it AsRock's least expensive ATX Z390 motherboard.

Overall, the Phantom Gaming 4S looks to be a good option for an ATX-size, entry-level Z390 motherboard. There may be some bells and whistles missing, but all the basics are there. 

Joe Shields
Motherboard Reviewer

Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.