Firmware & Overclocking
Entering the Taichi's UEFI defaults in an Easy Mode. From this single page you can enable RAM XMP, RAID, fan profile presets, and boot drive order.
Switching to Advanced Mode reveals ASRock's usual interface with page tabs across the top. The Taichi's black and white gear board graphics are represented here as well. Basic features include a My Favorites page, FAN-Tastic auto fan tuning, Internet UEFI flash, and multiple profile save slots (both on-board and on external USB). The overclocking panel splits the settings into four categories: CPU, RAM, integrated CPU voltage control, and motherboard voltage control.
Despite the large 12-phase voltage regulator, the Taichi is not a great overclocking board. The hard critical temperature point meant that our Frankencooler's pump was forced to 100% duty, slightly above its peak efficiency point. The Taichi also has a hard CPU thermal limit of 95°C which is lower than the max temperature for the CPU. Losing that small thermal space at the top end limits the maximum overclock attainable. The Taichi is stable at 1.361V and 4.25 GHz (42 x 101.2 MHz), but some of the cores throttle down to 3.8 GHz due to the board's thermal limit. Dropping it down to 1.34V and 4.15 GHz (41 x 101.3 MHz) imposes no thermal throttling, provided you can keep ambient around 20°C.
Testing the BCLK limits is much more straightforward because the Taichi includes explicit ratios for 1.0, 1.25, 1.67, and 2.5 straps. Using the 1.0 strap, the board will boot at 102.5 MHz but is only stable at 102 MHz under load. Under the 1.25 strap the Taichi will reach 127.5 MHZ, consistent with a 2% overclock across the straps.
If the Taichi has one disappointing area it's RAM performance. The Taichi defaults to 1.36V RAM voltage, even without XMP settings or any overclocking, and that's on top of the sizeable 25mV cheat measured at the slot. ASRock boards also tend to favor stability over bandwidth and overclocking speed, which itself isn't a problem. However the Taichi is marginally unstable even at the base DDR4-3200 CAS14 XMP of our test bed's RAM kit. After lengthy testing, we found a 168 MHz BCLK using a 4:3 ratio and a 7x multiplier with a slight voltage bump to 1.36V (actual measured voltage) stable at DDR4-3136 using the same XMP timings. Buried in the RAM settings is a toggle for "Max Bandwidth." This seems to help bandwidth at the DDR4-2666 setting, but not much else.
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