ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4 Review: Thunderbolt, but Limited Expandability

Two M.2 sockets, Thunderbolt 4, and Killer-based networking in a Mini-ITX form factor for $349.99.

ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4
(Image: © ASRock, Shutterstock)

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ASRock’s BIOS on the Phantom Gaming boards maintain the same format as the last generation as well. It has a black background with white writing and red for highlights. An EZ Mode displays high-level information, including CPU clock speeds and temperatures, fan speeds, storage information, and more. Advanced Mode has several headers across the top that drop down additional options. The BIOS is easy to maneuver in and laid out logically. You’ll need to do a bit of digging for some options for overclocking, but overall, it’s a user-friendly BIOS with more options than most will ever use.


Unlike some other board partners, ASRock doesn’t combine most of its included utilities under a larger application. Instead, they are all standalone programs, but they do cover a wide gamut of functionality. From overclocking and monitoring (A-Tune) to audio (Nahimic), networking (Killer Dashboard) and RGB lighting (Polychrome), all of the applications worked without issue.

Test System / Comparison Products

As of October 2021, we’ve updated our test system to Windows 11 64-bit OS with all updates applied. We kept the same Asus TUF RTX 3070 video card from our previous testing platforms but updated the driver to version 496.13. Additionally, our game selection was updated, as noted in the table below. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted. The hardware we used is as follows:

Test System Components

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CPUIntel Core i9-12900K
MemoryKingston Fury DDR5 5200 CL40 (9KF552C40BBK2-32)
Row 2 - Cell 0 GSkill Trident Z DDR5 5600 CL36 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK)
Row 3 - Cell 0 ADATA XPG DDR5 6000 CL40 (AX5U6000C4016G-FCLARBK)
GPUAsus TUF RTX 3070
CoolingMSI MEG Coreliquid S360
PSUEVGA Supernova 850W P6
SoftwareWindows 11 64-bit (21H2, Build 22000.282)
Graphics DriverNVIDIA Driver 496.13
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)

Benchmark Settings

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Synthetic Benchmarks and SettingsRow 0 - Cell 1
ProcyonVersion 2.0.249 64
Row 2 - Cell 0 Office Suite, Video Editing (Premiere Pro), Photo Editing (Photoshop, Lightroom Classic)
3DMarkVersion 2.20.7290 64
Row 4 - Cell 0 Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R23Version RBBENCHMARK330542
Row 6 - Cell 0 Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
BlenderVersion 2.93.1
Row 8 - Cell 0 Full benchmark (all six sub-tests)
Application Tests and SettingsRow 9 - Cell 1
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Row 11 - Cell 0 Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Row 13 - Cell 0 Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX)
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Row 15 - Cell 0 Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 21.03-beta
Row 17 - Cell 0 Integrated benchmark (Command Line)
Game Tests and SettingsRow 18 - Cell 1
Far Cry 6Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, HD Textures ON
F1 2021Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, HBAO+, RT Med, TAA + 16xAF, Bahrain, FPS Counter ON

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Joe Shields
Motherboard Reviewer

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

  • tennis2

    Can I suggest placing the "best" metric at the top of the charts. Whether that's "lower is better" or "higher is better".
  • Co BIY
    ITX could have an appeal to me ... if it didn't always cost more.

    Even priced the same as mATX would make sense but priced higher it looses appeal for me.

    Complaining about fewer SATA ports on an ITX board seems silly.

    If one needed (max) for transfer of data only.
  • tennis2
    @ AsRock, please give us mITX boards with 4 SODIMM slots. If you use a fixed peg in the middle, 2 SODIMMs will fit in the same slot length as a desktop stick
  • ocer9999
    Asrock does solid ITX motherboards, this Z690 Phantom is a good example. The pricing is on the high side, but all Z690 are. I see B660 selling for close to 200$ which is pretty crazy, so this price for a good ITX Z690 is not out of this world.