ASRock X370 Taichi AMD Ryzen Socket AM4 ATX Motherboard Review

Test Results And Final Analysis

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We'll be comparing other X370 boards over time, but since this is the first, we want to see how far AMD has come, so we'll be comparing the Taichi to our original AMD platform.

Test Results: Synthetics and Apps

Surprisingly, the AMD 970 system can keep pace with the X370 in the PCMark Work and Storage benchmarks despite having a relatively antiquated processor and storage solution. However, X370 decides to shift gears and starts to annihilate its older brother in the remaining PCMark workloads by upwards of 33%. The ASRock X370 Taichi and 1700X continue to pour salt into the AMD 970’s wounds by more than doubling the AMD 970 scores in Sandra Arithmetic and tripling Multimedia and some Cryptographic metrics. The FX-8350 is no slouch, running 500MHz faster than the 1700X, but the Zen architecture is just that much more efficient.

An interesting observation with Cinebench: single-threaded performance matches the marketed claim of 40% better instructions per cycle, although having twice as many threads available doesn’t compound that IPS gain across all threads and cores.

Compubench right now is configured to use the GPUs for OpenCL performance, and the AMD 7970 manages to hang on in some workloads but obviously shows its age.

Many testers have claimed that Ryzen is a great workstation processor and this Handbrake result only solidifies that claim by cutting the render time by more than half. Blender shows similar trends with the CPU render taking one third less time to complete. Compression only seals the deal in real world applications.

Test Results: 3DMark and Games

To be honest, these 3DMark results are comical. The AMD 7970 is leagues behind the GTX 970 in age, and only as I start ramping up the resolution and detail does the gap shrink. Standard Firestrike appears to be the AMD 7970s tipping point but the GTX 970 shows around 20 FPS while running Firestrike Extreme.

In Ashes of the Singularity, we see a similar trend, and at high settings the ASRock X370 setup gains 20 FPS. With the move to Crazy settings, the lead shrinks to less than 10 FPS with signs of bottlenecking. Again, F1 2015 shows barely playable framerates with the AMD 970 system, but a smooth experience with the X370 system. As I crawl through the tunnels in Metro Last Light, the ASRock X370 Taichi system operates better at Very High than the AMD 970 system at High detail settings. Still, both GPUs provide playable rates, though the GTX 970 is clearly smoother. The Talos Principle has been fixed in the latest version of the test image and again the X370/GTX 970 combo provides better framerates at higher detail settings than my old test bench.

It is no surprise to anyone reading this article that the ASRock X370 Taichi system equipped with 1700X and GTX 970 is going to decimate a five-year-old computer. Synthetics are showing about a 60% delta between both systems, whereas the games are only separated by 35%.

Overclocking, Thermals, and Power

Given the infancy of Zen in consumer hands, there is a lot of conjecture and confusion among internet message boards across the entire spectrum of expertise. Our usual software tools for monitoring voltages and temperatures are no longer functional, and AMD's Ryzen Master software requires settings that we honestly don't have time to diagnose and properly analyze. Upon Paul Alcorn's (our CPU reviewer) recommendation, AIDA 64 beta provides the data presented in this article.

Our trusty Kill-A-Watt doesn't care if it's connected to a refrigerator or a high-end computer; watts are watts. While running idle, the X370 Taichi coupled with the Ryzen 1700X only draw a respectful 69W. Temperatures are slightly confusing, though expected, at 29°C for the CPU and 48°C for the CPU1 diode.

Loading up Prime95 for maximum CPU power pulls 184W from the wall while the delta between CPU and CPU1 diode increases to 30°C. Having reinstalled our cooler a couple of times, we don't know which value to trust, so we trudge forward.

Loading up FurMark in parallel on our 970 system ends up drawing 404W and the CPU temperature delta still sits at 30°C. Looking back at the AMD 970 system data, we were using a much smaller power supply so we were unable to grab full system stress data. Regardless, this 1700X sample saves nearly 90W when running Prime95 when compared to full load with the FX-8350. Given that the 32nm chip has a TDP of 125W compared to the 1700X’s 95W, the ASRock X370 Taichi platform is far more efficient than its predecessor.

As we tread into lightly understood waters, overclocking the 1700X was both easy and difficult at the same time. Various outlets describe some safe recommendations and claim success in the realm of 3.8-4.0GHz utilizing air cooling. Paul Alcorn could achieve 4.0GHz using watercooling for his sample, so we are optimistic while deploying the Nocuta NH-D15 for the AM4 socket. Given the specific voltage and temperature monitoring of the Zen architecture, 1.35 to 1.4V set point appears to be the safe range for these processors. Since we need this sample to survive for the long haul, we're handicapping ourselves to 1.3875V and a target frequency of 4GHz.

The ASRock X370 Taichi is well suited for overclocking, given the 12+4 phase design and ample options provided through the UEFI. Having utilized loadline settings heavily during testing for our C232 article, step one was to increase the clock multiplier and tweak this setting by one adjustment. We hit 3.8GHz right off the bat without even breaking a sweat. Both CPU temperatures were solid and we felt jumping up to 4.0GHz would be straightforward.

Wrong.

Windows will load, but we got no response from the system after the boot animation stopped spinning. The X370 Taichi enables both fixed and offset voltage settings, but we were very cautious of the offset option given the ambiguous definition and units of the adjustments. Upping the voltage to 1.3875 using fixed voltage enabled us to get to the idle Windows screen, but even adjusting the loadline up to level two didn't improve the situation. Dialing back down to 3.9GHz got Prime95 up and running, but within an hour of runtime we were back to the black screen. Rather than damage our processor with more voltage, we will have to settle for 3.8GHz using slightly more aggressive voltages and loadline than stock settings.

As for memory, these boring Crucial DDR4-2400 could bump up to DDR4-2666MHz with a single click press of the “+” key. Timings are available through the AMD CBS menu in the UEFI, and we just dialed the tCL back to stock 2400 settings. We do have newer memory modules en route, so we look forward to putting these green sticks back in the boring workstation build.

Efficiency, Value, and Verdict

With the performance gap of nearly 50% for both platforms and the latest AMD release drawing nearly 30% less power, the efficiency discussion is not even a fair comparison. For those builders hoping to jump from an older AMD system to another, the power savings alone could justify the cost. For gamers though, sometimes efficiency has little sway in the entire equation.

Prices are likely to fluctuate for a while. Comparing several online retailers’ prices for this ASRock X370 Taichi, it can be found on sale for as low as $199.99, and the older 970 chipset boards are starting to drop in price or go out of stock. Despite the lackluster numbers, the performance per dollar calculation goes to the older platform. We still wouldn’t recommend going out and specifically buying the AMD 970 boards because this “value” comes at the cost modern features, electricity, and performance.

The ASRock X370 Taichi is clearly a top tier motherboard, providing stability and performance out of this new ecosystem and AM4 socket. Unfortunately our processor sample did not win the silicon lottery, though manufacturing processes improve daily. There is no doubt that both AMD and third party developers are feverishly tweaking drivers and firmware to ensure that Zen is running as optimally as possible. We look forward to revisiting this motherboard once the dust has settled and we've reviewed others. And we can hardly wait for B350 for single GPU deployments and the quest to win the value title back from the i7-7700k.

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31 comments
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  • elbert
    Fine motherboard with plenty of options for the average market. I've looked over ASRock's am4 lineup and think they skipped doing their customer wants. AMD customer aren't the same as Intel's. ASRock's am4 line is good but lacks a single model with old school PCI. My last two motherboard's were ASRock's a fine and very stable plateform to build off. Just hope the see AMD's customer's still desire atleast one old school slot.
  • tslot05qsljgo9ed
    No motherboard ECC support no buying.

    All Ryzen's have ECC available so to have motherboards purposely remove the ECC feature is disgraceful.

    24/7 systems like NAS and HTPC need ECC.
  • LiviuTM
    Where does it say "no ECC"? Have you checked ASRock's website?
    http://www.asrock.com/MB/AMD/X370%20Taichi/index.us.asp#Specification
  • eldragon0
    45049 said:
    Fine motherboard with plenty of options for the average market. I've looked over ASRock's am4 lineup and think they skipped doing their customer wants. AMD customer aren't the same as Intel's. ASRock's am4 line is good but lacks a single model with old school PCI. My last two motherboard's were ASRock's a fine and very stable plateform to build off. Just hope the see AMD's customer's still desire atleast one old school slot.


    Where in the world are you seeing customers want an oldschool PCI lane? You know you can put a pcie 1x 4x and 8x card in a 16x slot right? If you're talking about legacy PCI please go out and get new hardware. AMD's customers are the exact same as Intel's don't push your niche needs onto a consumer base as a whole.
  • epobirs
    The most interesting that I first notice is that AMD is first to have USB 3.1 Gen 2 as a native chip set feature. Kaby Lake was a disappointment in that regard.
  • elbert
    1438082 said:
    45049 said:
    Fine motherboard with plenty of options for the average market. I've looked over ASRock's am4 lineup and think they skipped doing their customer wants. AMD customer aren't the same as Intel's. ASRock's am4 line is good but lacks a single model with old school PCI. My last two motherboard's were ASRock's a fine and very stable plateform to build off. Just hope the see AMD's customer's still desire atleast one old school slot.
    Where in the world are you seeing customers want an oldschool PCI lane? You know you can put a pcie 1x 4x and 8x card in a 16x slot right? If you're talking about legacy PCI please go out and get new hardware. AMD's customers are the exact same as Intel's don't push your niche needs onto a consumer base as a whole.

    I'm talking about legacy PCI and I'm not pushing a niche. ASUS, MSI, and Gigabyte all three offer a motherboard with 2 PCI slots. I'm thinking tomahawk unless ASRock has one coming.
    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/fPDzK8/asus-prime-b350-plus-atx-am4-motherboard-prime-b350-plus
    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/Y4kwrH/msi-b350-tomahawk-atx-am4-motherboard-b350-tomahawk
    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/HQvZxr/gigabyte-ga-ab350m-d3h-micro-atx-am4-motherboard-ga-ab350m-d3h
  • pjgowtham
    why " could have done without the wifi " in the cons ?
    isnt it a good thing that AsRock added wireless 802.11ac and BT 4.2 on the board for people who are looking to purchase it seperately?
  • the nerd 389
    Regarding temperatures, Ryzen adds 20 C to the CPU diode temperature over what it physically measures on that CPU.

    See:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-ryzen-7-1800x-update,33900.html
  • spdragoo
    2381346 said:
    why " could have done without the wifi " in the cons ? isnt it a good thing that AsRock added wireless 802.11ac and BT 4.2 on the board for people who are looking to purchase it seperately?


    Depends on how many people are using it. I think it's safe to say that the majority of desktop PC users don't have a need for Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth for their desktop PC. Personally, my desktop PC sits in the same room as my cable modem & router, with maybe 3 feet/1 meter separating the router & PC. So if I were to build a new PC, & had the choice between 2 motherboards that -- aside from Wi-Fi & Bluetooth had the same specs -- I would most likely pick the one without Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, as it would most likely a) cost less than the other board, or b) would have some additional feature because there was more room on the motherboard for other silicon (i.e. extra SATA/eSATA/M.2 slots, better onboard sound, etc.).
  • tslot05qsljgo9ed
    Quote: Where does it say "no ECC"? Have you checked ASRock's website?
    http://www.asrock.com/MB/AMD/X370%20Taichi/index.us.asp#Specification

    Nowhere does it say it supports ECC. If it does not state it supports then it does not support ECC.
  • tslot05qsljgo9ed
    Correction this board does in fact support ECC. Great job ASRock as they are the first to actually state support for ECC memory.
  • Dreuseff
    The specifications tab as linked AND the manual BOTH say: "Supports DDR4 3200+(OC)/2933(OC)/2667/2400/2133 ECC and non-ECC, un-buffered memory"
  • drajitsh
    Is there any ryzen motherboard released or planned that SKIPS the chipset completely. With 2 USB 3.1 gen 2 ports and 2 sata +1 m2 the 4 chipset pcie lanes can be used for things. E.G. a 10 GbE card or another FULL speed M2
  • Dreuseff
    "In time, we hope to see additional firmware updates that remove some of the superfluous options and enable some of the simpler solutions that a top tier motherboard would typically deploy."
    No. The kind of people that buy a 16 power phase motherboard are going to be enthusiast overclockers, the kind of people that believe having control over more options are a convenience. This is not a CON. And with all my heart, I really hope ASRock agrees with me and NOT you on this matter.
  • theterk
    @PJGOWTHAM - I had to put SOMETHING down as a con for this board. I believe this product would have done well without the wifi option, but as others have said this might be a selling point people want.
    @DREUSEFF - Having options is good, as long as you know what you're doing. The average user probably would not touch most of the AMD CBS or PBS menu. And, when the vendor clearly states "From a workaround for GCC/C......" it shouldn't be provided in the menu. It should be baked in.
  • Wisecracker
    I'm sure you guys had good reasons, but since most folks are more interested in gaming, why gimp the older mobo with an HD7970 ?? And then brag about how the new AM4 arch thumps it --- with a GTX 970 ??

    It's not even in the same zip code for an Apples-to-Apples comparison. It was poor decision, and kinda calls into question the efficacy of the rest of the article.

    If someone is interested in gaming, the bottom line, here, is that you can save $300+ to put toward your graphics (or other goodies) with an 8+2 970 AM3+ mobo (like the Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3P ?), a Vishera CPU (the FX-6350 ? ) and a CM T4 cooler (works great for me).

    Gosh ... you could add a Radeon R9 Fury 4GB HBM ($255 before $20 rebate) plus 8GB of DDR3 1866, and laugh and laugh and laugh at the gamers who spent 2X the cash for the same performance.
  • theterk
    117113 said:
    I'm sure you guys had good reasons, but since most folks are more interested in gaming, why gimp the older mobo with an HD7970 ?? And then brag about how the new AM4 arch thumps it --- with a GTX 970 ??
    feel free to ship me a gtx 1080ti and I'll re-run the suite.

    Interesting to note, a lot of the data out on the web is only testing Ryzen's with 1070s, 1080s, and higher end AMD GPUs. Providing this data point is useful for data continuities in my reviews as well as another data point for people to factor into their own purchases.
  • Olle P
    I'm a bit disappointed with this review. It's not very deep in its presentation and analysis of the board, but spend lots of effort comparing two very different, seemingly arbitrarily built, computers. That "test" doesn't show anything with regards to this motherboard.

    45049 said:
    Fine motherboard with plenty of options for the average market. ... Asrock ... lacks a single model with old school PCI.
    While I can't see this particular top end board being aimed at the "average market" I do agree that having a PCI-slot would be nice for those enthusiasts (like me) doing incremental upgrades to their computers.
    There's no reason to replace a fully functioning non-critical part just because it's old.

    587530 said:
    2381346 said:
    why " could have done without the wifi " in the cons?
    I think it's safe to say that the majority of desktop PC users don't have a need for Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth for their desktop PC.
    I beg to differ. In a family house with a couple of desktop computers most of them will use WiFi. I'll happily pay an additional $20 or so to get WiFi with the motherboard.
  • CTPAHHIK
    There is a Newegg review for this board claiming lack of RAM support above 2400Mhz, including modules from official compatibility list. Please test RAM overclocking as soon as possible. 2400Mhz restriction will render this board as junk as well as damage your credibility as reviewer.
  • theterk
    @CTPAHHIK - I successfully ran DDR4-2666 with my DDR4-2400 rated DIMMs. They were a carry over from my previous C236 articles though I do have some DDR4-3200 lined up for the next one. Net - Don't trust Newegg review, trust Terk!
  • Onus
    I would like to have seen the same graphics card used on the new system as the old. As is, you've introduced a major confounding element into many tests.

    In a hunt for "Cons" I'd have included lack of legacy PCI, price, and possibly that you might not be able to re-use an old CPU cooler on the new socket.

    I'm a little unclear on the Crossfire / SLI. The chart says "4x,4x," but then also says the PCIe3.0 slots run at either x16/x0 or x8/x8.
  • FinneousPJ
    Thanks, I've been waiting for this. I hope next is the other board I'm contemplating, the Asus Prime X370 Pro.
  • hurnii
    It's not just a reviewer at NewEgg, it's AMD.

    Ryzen CPU Memory Support MHz
    Dual-Channel/Dual-Rank/Four-DIMM1866
    Dual-Channel/Single-Rank/Four-DIMM2133
    Dual-Channel/Dual-Rank/Two-DIMM2400
    Dual-Channel/Single-Rank/Two-DIMM2667

    Unfortunately, many RAM providers do not publish which Rank their DIMMs are (at a guess, many 8G are single, but believe most (if not all) 16G or larger are double). Have heard of triple, but would guess not supported. CPU-Z's SPD tab will tell the tale.

    Getting a pair of Double Ranked DIMMs to run at 2667 (or faster) would be considered overclocking them. AMD doesn't support, but who knows how fast the motherboards are capable of pushing the CPU?

    All I know is that my pair of 16G DIMMs (32 total) will not post at 2667, even though they're rated for 3200. (using ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Professional Gaming and latest 1.55 beta UEFI (BIOS))
  • mapesdhs
    309219 said:
    Interesting to note, a lot of the data out on the web is only testing Ryzen's with 1070s, 1080s, and higher end AMD GPUs. Providing this data point is useful for data continuities in my reviews as well as another data point for people to factor into their own purchases.


    I plan on testing Ryzen with a bunch of older GPUs. Understandable that the vocal forum posting community and tech sites in general like to obsess over the latest and greatest, but in reality a lot of people upgrade their systems in stages, carrying over parts from one build to the next. What I've found is that often older mbds/CPUs handle newer GPUs a lot better than people typically assume. It's why, last time I checked, I hold all the 3DMark records for P55. :D (triple 980)

    Ian.