ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 Review: The 2.5GbE Value Play

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How We Test

We're comparing the Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 to its most direct-priced competitor, Gigabyte's Z390 Designare, along with the 10GbE-equipped Z390 Taichi Ultimate and two other boards from Gigabyte and MSI.

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SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated gigabit networking
Graphics DriverGeForce 399.24

The same platform that cooled the 10 cores of our Core i9-7900X worked equally well with the eight cores of the Core i9-9900K, as we’ll show in the overclocking evaluation on the next page.

Comparison Products

Benchmark Settings

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Synthetic Benchmarks & Settings
PCMark 8Version 2.7.613Home, Creative, Work, Storage, Applications (Adobe & Microsoft)
3DMark 13Version 4.47.597.0Skydiver, Firestrike, Firestrike Extreme Default Presets
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2016.03.22.21CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth
DiskSPD4K Random Read, 4K Random Write128K Sequential Read, 128K Sequential Write
Cinebench R15Build RC83328DEMOOpenGL Benchmark
CompuBenchVersion 1.5.8Face Detection, Optical Flow, Ocean Surface, Ray Tracing
Application Tests & Settings
LAME MP3Version 3.98.3Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.9Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x265 mp4
BlenderVersion 2.68aBMW 27 CPU Render Benchmark, BMW 27 GPU Render Benchmark
7-ZipVersion 16.02THG-Workload (7.6GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=9"
Adobe After Effects CCRelease 2015.3.0, Version routine
Adobe Photoshop CCRelease 2015.5.0, 20160603.r.88 x64PCMark-driven routine (light and heavy)
Adobe InDesign CCRelease 2015.4, Build x64PCMark-driven routine
Adobe IllustratorRelease 2015.3.0, Version 20.0.0 (64-bit)PCMark-driven routine
Game Tests & Settings
Ashes of the SingularityVersion 1.31.21360High Preset - 1920 x 1080, Mid Shadow Quality, 1x MSAACrazy Preset - 1920 x 1080, High Shadow Quality, 2x MSAA
F1 20152015 Season, Abu Dhabi track, RainMedium Preset, no AFUltra High Preset, 16x AF
Metro: Last Light ReduxVersion 3.00 x64High Quality, 1920 x 1080, High Tesselation, 16x AFVery High Quality, 1920 x 1080, Very High Tesselation, 16x AF
The Talos PrincipleVersion 267252Medium Preset, High Quality, High Tesselation, 4x AFUltra Preset, Very High Quality, Very High Tesselation, 16x AF

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Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • Dark Lord of Tech
    Excellent thanks for the review!
  • derekullo
    Do you need to buy a special 2.5 gigabit router/switch for this to work?

    Even something as crazy looking as the ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 makes no mention of it supporting 2.5 gigabit wired.
  • Crashman
    21642712 said:
    Do you need to buy a special 2.5 gigabit router/switch for this to work?

    Even something as crazy looking as the ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 makes no mention of it supporting 2.5 gigabit wired.
    5GbE switches should all be wired for it, but I don't know which 10GbE switches will support it.

  • hassanergene
    You need a switch that supports it yes, 2.5G and 5G are part of the N-Base-T standard. Some 10G switches will also support these speeds, now or in the near future.
  • whazzup
    Was there a section on the performance of the 2.5GbE that I missed? Or is the network speed not tested in this article?
  • hassanergene
    I did not see benchmarks on ethernet either; however, by the nature of how copper ethernet works a PHY is a PHY, it will always transmit at line rate (e.g. 2.5Gbps always). The only way to tune it is to change packet size, e.g. enable jumbo frames you will get more data through since there is less preamble/packet info transmitted, more raw data. These PHY's need to interoperate so they follow a strict standard and data rate with one acting as a master and the other as a slave to stay in sync. So there isn't too much point in benchmarking network cards. The thing about these cards though is since their data rates are higher there is less latency on the MAC layer since they have to operate faster in order to support the faster line rates. In a way it is overclocking the PHY to MAC layer with faster ethernet standards.
  • USAFRet
    OCtransplant said:
    Can someone please tell me if the Gigabyte AORUS NVMe SSD is compatible with this motherboard? It looks like the bottom-right M.2 slot has a built-in heatsink, but I wouldn't mind removing it if I need to. Or could I use a different slot for my primary M.2 SSD? Below is a link to the Newegg page of the SSD to which I am referring. Any help is appreciated!
    Please start a new thread for your question.

    This one is a year old, and has nothing to do with drives and motherboards.