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Our standard benchmarks and power tests are performed using the CPU’s stock frequencies (including any default boost/turbo), with all power-saving features enabled. We set optimized defaults in the BIOS and the memory by enabling the XMP profile. The Windows power scheme is set to Balanced (default), so the PC idles appropriately.
Synthetics provide a great way to determine how a board runs, as identical settings should produce similar performance results. Turbo boost wattage and advanced memory timings are places where motherboard makers can still optimize for stability or performance, though, and those settings can impact some testing.
Across our synthetic tests, the fully unlocked Taichi did well, posting average results. As you’ll see, the Tachi Lite and Taichi Carrara we tested earlier average out to perform similarly, but vary in some tests even though they are both unlocked. The cooler you can keep things, the better this board does out of the box.
Our timed tests showed similar results, with the LAME, Corona, and both Handbrake tests average as well. Nothing to worry about in these tests either.
3D Games and 3DMark
Starting with the launch of AMD’s Ryzen 7000 platform, we’ve updated F1 21 to F1 22 while keeping Far Cry 6. We run the games at 1920x1080 resolution using the Ultra preset. As the resolution goes up, the CPU tends to have less impact. The goal with these settings is to determine if there are differences in performance at the most commonly used (and CPU/system bound) resolution with settings most people use or strive for (Ultra). We expect the difference between boards in these tests to be minor, with most falling within the margin of error differences. We’ve also added a minimum FPS value, which can affect your gameplay and immersion experience.
The games and 3DMark results were great. Our Z790 Taichi Lite was one of the top-scoring boards in the 3DMark tests and did well in Far Cry: 6, while F1 22 was one of the faster results. There isn’t a significant difference across most boards in our gaming tests, but the Taichi Lite works very well for gaming.
When overclocking, we aim to increase the power and add stress to the VRMs. We do so by increasing the clock speed and voltage until we’re at the thermal threshold for the processor during stress testing. However, where these CPUs are allowed to run with ‘boost’ speeds, those speeds are closer to the limit than ever before.
With our Core i9-13900K, the approach was a bit different. We had to lower the voltage from what was recorded during stress tests to overclock our chip. We increased the clock speeds of the “P” and “E” cores by 100 and 200 MHz, respectively, over the turbo boost and limited by our cooling. We ended up with 5.6 GHz P core and 4.5 GHz E core clocks using about 1.34V (from DMM). Temperatures peak at or just under the throttling point with this configuration. And as we’ve noted elsewhere, this is the intended performance for Intel’s flagship CPU.
Overclocking on the Taichi is as easy as most. We settled around 1.33V (less than stock, note) and still had some throttling, but we completed the 30-minute stress test. On the memory side, all three of our kits, including our Teamgroup DDR5-7200 kit (the board's limit), worked without additional tweaks when we enabled XMP. To ensure compatibility, especially at the edge of listed support, it’s best to stick with the QVL list of expressly supported kits.
Power Consumption / VRM Temperatures
We used AIDA64’s System Stability Test with Stress CPU, FPU, Cache and Memory enabled for power testing, using the peak power consumption value. The wattage reading is from the wall via a Kill-A-Watt meter to capture the entire PC (minus the monitor). The only variable that changes is the motherboard; all other parts remain the same. Please note we moved to use only the stock power use/VRM temperature charts, as this section aims to ensure the power delivery can handle the chip even when overclocked. Since we’re using less power to get more clocks, those datasets are more novel than useful. We’re also temperature limited on the processor, so adding more power isn’t possible without increased throttling.
Idle power consumption using the 360/480mm AIO setting in the BIOS yields 65W (an average result), while the load peaked at 395W (slightly on the higher side). Between them both, power use is right around average. Nothing to see here.
VRM temperatures on this board get warm, with the hottest set (on top of the socket) peaking around 64 degrees Celsius. While this is warmer than some others we’ve tested due to the board allowing so much power use by default, it’s still well within the operating parameters of the Intersil SPS MOSFETs. As usual, the power delivery won’t get in the way of overclocking with this platform. CPU temperatures will.
In a market where the cost of motherboards has steeply increased over the last few years, it’s nice to see at least one partner offer something a bit less expensive than the flagship, but that’s still speced to gills. Priced at $379.99, the ASRock Z790 Taichi Lite gets you everything the more expensive Taichi offers, including the incredibly robust power delivery, dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, loads of storage options including a PCIe 5.0 M.2 socket and eight SATA ports, premium audio solution, and more. What is missing is the high-end appearance. The 3D cogs and fine finishes on the heatsinks and shrouds give way to simpler heatsinks, a more exposed PCB, and stenciled designs, but it’s still recognizable as a Taichi.
As far as the competition in the sub-$400 space, there’s plenty out there. But put simply, none of the other boards available around that price come close hardware-wise. MSI has the MPG Z790 Edge Wi-Fi ($369.99) and Asus the ROG Strix Z790-A ($379.99). Gigabyte’s lineup bookends our Taichi Lite with the venerable Aorus Master ($489.99) and the Z790 Aero G ($279.99). The only board here that competes with the Taichi Lite hardware-wise is the Aorus Master, and it costs much more. The rest fall short in several ways, including power delivery specs and audio solutions. (The Aorus Master and Asus include a DAC, but only the Taichi Lite has the flagship codec). It boils down to whether you need what the Taichi Lite offers and whether the appearance fits your build theme and budget.
Ultimately, we like what ASRock is doing here. The Z790 Taichi was arguably one of the most well-equipped motherboards, even at $489. Now over $100 less expensive, it’s the most well-equipped board for the price. The biggest drawback of the board is the appearance, and even then, it’s not bad; it just doesn’t have the premium vibe the original Taichi does. If you want some of the best hardware the Z790 platform offers at a more reasonable price and your build doesn’t require flagship-class looks, the Taichi Lite has taken the weight off in all the right places.
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Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.
I'am happy with the H670 pg riptide 100us =)Reply
It is bordering on ridiculous to call $400 mid rangeReply
Thats EXACTLY what I was thinking. But remember, THG gets a % of the sale when you buy from their link. You are encouraged to do so.LolaGT said:It is bordering on ridiculous to call $400 mid range
LolaGT said:It is bordering on ridiculous to call $400 mid range
Prices have been out of control these past few years, but inflation is a thing and it sucks.
THG doesn't set the prices for motherboards. In case you haven't been paying attention, motherboard prices have skyrocketed over the past 5 years more than any other component. Sadly, $380 is legitimately in the midrange of the market now where halo boards easily clear $1000, and the highend is over $500.HideOut said:Thats EXACTLY what I was thinking. But remember, THG gets a % of the sale when you buy from their link. You are encouraged to do so.
$379.99 is a mid-range price? Excuse me?! WHAT?!Reply
$200 is a mid-range price. $380 is absolutely friggin high end. I personally think spending that much on a motherboard is absolutely ridiculous.
There are plenty of good, solid 90 series motherboards for around $150-180.spongiemaster said:THG doesn't set the prices for motherboards. In case you haven't been paying attention, motherboard prices have skyrocketed over the past 5 years more than any other component. Sadly, $380 is legitimately in the midrange of the market now where halo boards easily clear $1000, and the highend is over $500.
The prices for a motherboard is insane nondays. Got this h670 for 100us... pci 5 on graphics, 3 nvme pci 4.0, four slots ddr4 5000mhz+ capable boost 180w on cpu. Support thunderbolt via add-on card.Reply
Only drawback Can't overclock
Not sure if I agree with the Lost premium look in the conclusion, the motherboard looks great, it's just unfortunate that good motherboards these days are expensive and it was the smart move by Asrock to come up with the Lite version of the Z790 Taichi, if I had to buy one It would most likely be this one.Reply
ASRock did nice on this. Dumped the junk and kept the substance.Reply
Still more substance than I want to spend on.
Put the Steel Legend on a diet.