Software & Firmware
The Taichi’s UEFI is very stylish, sharing the product’s box art for its background. Luckily, the white text on black background works, but sometimes the longer menus get a little busy towards the bottom left of the screen. The Advanced Mode is our preferred viewing mode and we use OC Tweaker, Advanced, Tool, and the Exit screen the most.
The OC Tweaker panel for this product is consistent with other ASRock offerings intended for Ryzen-based platforms. You can tweak the APU/PCIE reference clocks for additional manual tuning. Manual mode lets us key in our desired frequency speed and target voltage for our processor. SMT mode is configurable, and below that are the XMP profile and memory configuration menus and submenus.
Below the memory options are the voltage and load-line settings. In Voltage OC Mode you can define whether to use fixed or offset voltage. Fixed voltage values can be adjusted in 6.25mV steps up to an alarming 2.5V for Vcore. As for offsets, a modest 0.300V is the maximum you can apply above the default VID for a processor. Load-line calibrations are defined in a numeric fashion, where Level 5 produces the most voltage droop and Level 1 gives advanced users a more constant voltage at the cost of efficiency.
The Advanced menu is fairly similar to AM4 platform options and gives lower level controls of the Ryzen CPU and chipset. A unique feature ASRock provides is an OC Mode (not to be confused with the previous tab) that enables three predefined voltage, frequency, and core configurations for a simpler overclocking experience. Do be cautious, because ASRock lists in all caps an articulate warning that these voltages could potentially damage your processor. We would recommend leaving the voltages alone and bumping the multiplier manually. More on that later.
Buried deep within the Advanced menu is the option to enable Threadripper’s highly differentiating feature, NVMe RAID. Otherwise, standard AMD PBS, CBS, and North/South bridge chip options are available for debug and stability improvements. If the advanced UEFI is just too much to consume, simply change the default Setup Style to Easy Mode. There are still “no help string” options sprinkled throughout the menus.
Within the tool menu, RGB lighting can be controlled through the RGB LED menu, and the standard color cycling modes are synchronized by the motherboard. We were also successful using the tool that let us flash our UEFI upgrade over the internet.
The hardware monitor section opens the controls for configuring the various fan headers to either 3-or-4 pin mode, PWM, and even switching between a standard header and a water pump header. We recommend switching the fan temp sources to something other than Tctrl due to the extremely elevated Tctl on Threadripper (do as we say, not as we do).
Up to this point the UEFI is well executed, but that FAN-Tastic tuning feature still murders our eyes with glaring blue that clashes completely with the Taichi theme.
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Better than average performance
Better than average efficiency
Minimal yet stylish aesthetic
Bare bones packaging
Minor UEFI aesthetic misses
Jeez, what does it take for this to get Editor's Approval? Those seem like pretty meaningless cons