UEFI & Software
A lot of the functionality of the Fatal1ty board's UEFI is discussed in our previous ASRock X399 Taichi review, so we'll talk about what might be different from the older UEFI compared to more recent and beta versions. One feature I guarantee we didn’t talk about was BIOS Flashback. As testing commenced on this product, we are graced with the opportunity to test this specific feature. Sure enough, updating to a more recent version left our system in the dreaded 0% UEFI update state, which is always a panic-inducing situation. After consulting the documentation (page 30) we were able to resurrect this board with the latest UEFI. Luckily, the documentation is clear, so don’t be intimidated renaming files and formatting USB drives.
As with any Fatal1ty branded product, heavy use of reds and blacks fill the background of the UEFI and the more text-based interface. The Main, OC Tweaker, Advanced, HW Monitor, and other high-level menus operate just as before, and these similarities help us to dive deeper into the UEFI. An important note: This board was initially tested with UEFI version 3.1, which is no longer available on the product page, and newer versions (3.23B) implement performance enhancer features that we will not cover in this article.
The OC Tweaker’s CPU configuration menu has options for changing the BCLK, multiplier, and other frequency settings. Voltages, loadlines, and MOSFET protection options are also open to bypass, especially when attempting extreme overclocking efforts. One key feature for Threadripper 2000-series processors is the availability for Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO). By default, PBO is set to AUTO, which will only engage the standard performance boost features enabled by 2000 series processors. When set to Enable, ASRock implements its preferred settings for PPT (socket wattage), TDC (Vreg current draw), EDC (Vreg current capacity), and PTC (thermal limit). We recommend using Ryzen Master for monitoring system parameters while running PBO to compare runtime system usage against these predetermined values. Lastly, Manual mode enables the user to define the values to use for PBO, but we do not recommend these settings since ASRock's values are reasonable. Also note--and this is important--using PBO voids your warranty.
As with our ASRock X470 and B450 reviews, the Advanced menu now becomes critical for unleashing every ounce of performance for the newer processors. Core Performance Boost, NBIO, and CBS menus have options for various performance and power thresholds for the processor. We will talk more about the NBIO in the overclocking section, but know that adjusting the TDP values for the processor is accessible through this menu.
The Tool menu works similarly to the X399 Taichi's, allowing access to the RGB LED options. And we prefer the Breathing mode as presented through the UEFI. HW Monitor again functions like the other board, but note that the CPU temperature does appear to track with the Tctl option, so use caution when creating custom fan curves based on these values. These two menus highlight the love-hate relationship with ASRock and some reviewers. The interface is functional and provides access to the settings, though it can be quite intimidating and cryptic without the use of graphs and stylized prompts.
So, what makes this product a “gaming” board compared to other ASRock offerings? Bundled software this time around is one of the key differentiating factors and is primarily driven by the F-stream ecosystem. Once the packages are installed, gamers can opt to utilize the software to implement overlays, macros, and unlock more refresh rates for mice through the Fatal1ty mouse port. Though I myself don’t put stock in those features, serious gamers may find reason here to opt for the Fatal1ty board over the Taichi series.
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