ASRock launched six new motherboards based on the AMD X470 chipset. The boards are split over the company’sTaichi, Master, and Fatal1ty series and cover ATX and ITX form factors.
X470 Taichi Ultimate
The flagship of the announcement is the X470 Taichi Ultimate. This ATX motherboard features ASRock’s 16-phase power regulation circuitry, four DDR4 DIMM slots, dual reinforced PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, and dual PCIe M.2 slots (PCIe 3.0 x4 and PCIe 2.0 x2). On the connectivity front, there are front and rear USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, eight SATA 3.0 ports, and an integrated HDMI 1.4 jack.
Other features include support for ASRock’s newly created Polychrome RGB lighting ecosystem, which is based on four-pin 12V RGB and three-pin digital RGB connectors, premium integrated audio (using the Realtek ALC1220 codec) with dedicated headphone amplification, and a high-current PWM header dedicated for water pumps.
It’s worth taking a second look at the Taichi Ultimate’s networking capabilities. It has both integrated 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 (based on an Intel wireless controller) and a 10Gb/s-capable RJ-45 jack (wired to a Aquantia LAN controller) for 10 gigabit ethernet (10GbE).
Technically known as the 10GBASE-T standard, 10GbE over RJ-45 connectors and Cat 6 cables is just one of a few ways to implement 10GbE. Because the cables and connectors are backwards compatible with the common, household gigabit ethernet infrastructure, 10GBASE-T is the best suited 10GbE option for home networks. Our sister site, AnandTech, has a good explanation on building a home 10GBASE-T network. A few years ago, it seemed that 10GBASE-T was starting to catch on with motherboard OEMs, but a lack of compatible home routers seems to have ended that trend. At the moment, there are still very few consumer routers that support 10GBASE-T, so ASRock is both ahead of the game and targeting a niche.
X470 Taichi, Master, And Fatal1ty Gaming K4
Slotting in below the Taichi Ultimate are the regular Taichi, Master SLI/ac, Master SLI, and Fatal1ty Gaming K4. The four of these boards share nearly identical features and differ mainly only in aesthetics. Between the Taichi and the two Master boards, the differences are in the design of the heatsinks, power circuitry, and the board layout. The Master series boards feature less advanced, 12-phase power regulation. Both the Taichi and the Master SLI/ac feature the same integrated wireless as the Taichi Ultimate, but they forgo 10GbE for conventional gigabit ethernet. The Master SLI loses the integrated wireless features, and is otherwise identical to the Fatal1ty Gaming K4 save for the heatsink designs.
Fatal1ty X470 Gaming-ITX/ac
The only ITX board on offer from ASRock is the Fatal1ty X470 Gaming-ITX/ac. Unfortunately, ASRock didn’t reveal full details for this board and hasn’t put up the product page for it yet. All we can say at the moment is that it has integrated WiFi (from an Intel wireless controller), a conventional ITX board layout with two DIMM slots and one metal-reinforced PCIe slot, and one PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot.
ASRock didn’t announce pricing and availability for its new motherboards, but many of them can already be found on Newegg. The Taichi Ultimate is currently priced at $300, the standard Taichi at $230, the Master SLI/ac at $150, the Fatal1ty Gaming K4 at $170, and the Fatal1ty Gaming-ITX/ac at $180.