ASRock's Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac - A New Direction

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
Original poster
SFF Workshop
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Jun 19, 2015
3,265
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For some time, ASRock has been using the Fatal1ty branding on their high end products - a tie back to the days of old, where Quake was king, and bright, flashy branding was cool. However, Fatal1ty has given way to ASRock's "Phantom Gaming" brand, with a much more subtle aesthetic. All black? Yes please! Beefy heatsinks? Yessir!

First sighted on ASRock's limited availability (unfortunately) GPU line, the Phantom Gaming brand has come to motherboards - slowly taking over the performance space within ASRock's lineup. This particular model uses the Intel Z390 chipset - what Z370 should have been, but I digress.

Let's dive in!
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
Original poster
SFF Workshop
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Jun 19, 2015
3,265
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sff.network
A heads up to the community: This marks my last review for SFFn. I'll continue posting news as it comes along, (including CES next week), as well as continue my community leadership here, but I'm moving on to a new project in the coming weeks/months. @3lfk1ng Will be taking over the lead in reviews, however, articles may not be as frequent as they have been.
 

NeoConker

Chassis Packer
May 21, 2017
20
5
Nice last review! Keep us posted about the new project.

Mine is on the way and I have a question, what RAM have you used?

I saw some people complaining about the ram slots proximity, especially with the G.Skill Trident Z. Did you noticed something?
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
Original poster
SFF Workshop
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Jun 19, 2015
3,265
5,499
sff.network
I had no problem with RAM. at the moment the board is running G-Skill Flare-X memory with no issues :)
 

Biowarejak

Maker of Awesome | User 1615
Silver Supporter
Mar 6, 2017
1,726
2,201
Good read! Kinda like the look of that VRM heatsink :)
 

Lone

Master of Cramming
Lone Industries
Feb 25, 2015
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John, thank you for all your excellent reviews!

I like the new direction ASRock is taking here and I may have to give ASRock a try for my next build. I would personally much rather have "ASRock" branding on the heatsink instead of "Phantom Gaming", or nothing at all.
 
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Arboreal

Master of Cramming
Silver Supporter
Oct 11, 2015
385
432
John, thank you for all your excellent reviews!

I like the new direction ASRock is taking here and I may have to give ASRock a try for my next build. I would personally much rather have "ASRock" branding on the heatsink instead of "Phantom Gaming", or nothing at all.
Big thanks to you John, for all you've done at SFFn and for SSF - good luck with the next adventure.

I too am looking forward to trying some ASrock kit sometime, I really would like a dual M.2 ITX board like the Asus Strix family.
Ok, so Phantom Gaming may not be the greatest branding, but is does get us away from the too red Fatal1ty used until recently.
Go go ASrock!
 
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Questors

Trash Compacter
Oct 28, 2018
37
13
Like the overall looks of the board.

What I don't like:
  1. built in M.2 heatsink and the limitations it presents
  2. SATA ports jammed in behind the RAM slots...ugh.
These are both potential deal breakers, depending on who the system is built for and what their intended usage will be.
 
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|||

King of Cable Management
Moderator
Sep 26, 2015
767
749
I saw some people complaining about the ram slots proximity, especially with the G.Skill Trident Z. Did you noticed something?
I have put on EK Monarch RAM heat sinks on my memory and they fit just fine (although the EK logos need to be facing out, which isn't a big deal).

Like the overall looks of the board.

What I don't like:
  1. built in M.2 heatsink and the limitations it presents
  2. SATA ports jammed in behind the RAM slots...ugh.
These are both potential deal breakers, depending on who the system is built for and what their intended usage will be.
TBH, I prefer this orientation with the SATA connectors, as opposed to jamming the front panel connectors in a weird location, like what Asus did. I would rather they come up with a different solution for the BIOS header pins and ideally would have used that space for a USB-C front panel header with a last available USB 3.1 Gen 2 HSIO from the chipset.
 
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Tephnos

Average Stuffer
Jul 5, 2017
68
150
Got a question - is this board compatible with the Noctua C14? The Asus Z370 barely fit - the heatpipes made contact with the VRM heatsink and I had to use electrical tape to prevent it from scuffing.

It's hard to tell if that's going to be an issue with this one too or not. These newer boards are becoming a pain for top down cooling.
 
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NastyNick

Chassis Packer
Dec 20, 2018
19
14
Can I ask a stupid question: what was John referring to when he mentioned intel’s product stack is a nightmare? I’m new to PCs and don’t know what specifically is wrong with intels software currently. I bought this board and a 9700k for an sff build. I more I read about that chip the more I wonder if I made a mistake lol.
 
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confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
Original poster
SFF Workshop
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Jun 19, 2015
3,265
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sff.network
@NastyNick The software is fine, it's just that currently Intel has umpteen chipsets, and several hundred (slight exaggeration) CPU SKUs.


Minutiae:
Coffee lake chipsets:
  1. H310
  2. B360
  3. H370
  4. Q360
  5. B365
  6. Q370
  7. Z310
  8. Z390
  9. C232
  10. C236
  11. C242
  12. C246
Coffee lake CPU SKUs:
  1. i7-9900K
  2. i7-9900KF
  3. i7-9700K
  4. i7-9700KF
  5. i7-8086K
  6. i7-8700K
  7. i7-8700
  8. i7-8700T
  9. i5-9600K
  10. i5-9600KF
  11. i5-9400
  12. i5-9400F
  13. i5-8600K
  14. i5-8600
  15. i5-8600T
  16. i5-8500
  17. i5-8500T
  18. i5-8400
  19. i5-8400T
  20. i3-9350KF
  21. i3-8350K
  22. i3-8300
  23. i3-8100
  24. i3-8100T
  25. Pentium Gold G5600
  26. Pentium Gold G5500
  27. Pentium Gold G5500T
  28. Pentium Gold G5400
  29. Pentium Gold G5400T
  30. Celeron G4920
  31. Celeron G4900
  32. Celeron G4900T
  33. Xeon 2186G
  34. Xeon 2176G
  35. Xeon 2146G
  36. Xeon 2136
  37. Xeon 2126G
  38. Xeon 2174G
  39. Xeon 2144G
  40. Xeon 2134
  41. Xeon 2124G
  42. Xeon 2124
  43. Xeon 2104G

Compared to AMD's current gen:
Chipsets:
  1. X470
  2. B450
CPUs:
  1. Athlon 200GE
  2. Athlon Pro 200GE
  3. Athlon 220GE
  4. Athlon 240GE
  5. Ryzen 3 2200GE
  6. Ryzen 3 Pro 2200GE
  7. Ryzen 3 2200G
  8. Ryzen 3 Pro 2200G
  9. Ryzen 5 2400GE
  10. Ryzen 5 Pro 2200GE
  11. Ryzen 5 2400G
  12. Ryzen 5 Pro 2400G
  13. Ryzen 3 2300X
  14. Ryzen 5 2500X
  15. Ryzen 5 2600E
  16. Ryzen 5 Pro 2600
  17. Ryzen 5 2600
  18. Ryzen 5 2600X
  19. Ryzen 7 2700E
  20. Ryzen 7 Pro 2700
  21. Ryzen 7 2700
  22. Ryzen 7 Pro 2700X
  23. Ryzen 7 2700X

(Excluding the HEDT and server platforms.. then the lists just get stupid long)
 
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Nanook

King of Cable Management
May 23, 2016
716
710
Can I ask a stupid question: what was John referring to when he mentioned intel’s product stack is a nightmare? I’m new to PCs and don’t know what specifically is wrong with intels software currently. I bought this board and a 9700k for an sff build. I more I read about that chip the more I wonder if I made a mistake lol.
Intel is perfectly fine, and their CPUs are great. Their main advantage is that many programs are better optimized for Intel due to their past market dominance. They just have a terrible track record of “forcing” users to upgrade chipsets (motherboard) along with every (other) generation of CPU upgrades.
 
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MPP

Efficiency Noob
Sep 11, 2017
5
2
Hi
I would like to buy this mainboard, I have doubts about the temperatures.
What temperature has PCH under load and idle?