AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 32 Core, $1999 US CPU Review With ASRock TRX40 Taichi Motherboard
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X CPU / ASRock TRX40 Taichi Motherboard2019
ASRock TRX40 Taichi Motherboard - Close Up
The ASRock TRX40 Taichi is a stunning motherboard and what makes it even more impressive is that it carries a flagship design in an ATX form factor unlike the rest of flagship TRX40 boards that will be going E-ATX route.
Right from the beginning, we can see that the Taichi is styled in black and silver colors. The Taichi gear theme can be seen on both front and back sides. The Taichi theme looks absolutely brilliant and eye-catching on the motherboard as well as the overall design layout which has been upped from the past Taichi variants.
The back of the motherboard carries a nice backplate which has RGB LEDs embedded on the side. They are compliant with ASRock's Polychrome Sync 2.0 technology. The heatsink is held firmly by 4 screws.
The board packs a better overall design scheme that allows for faster connectivity, memory support and storage options compared to the X399 motherboards. I have previously tested ASRock's X399 Taichi and X399M Taichi motherboards so I can see some big changes & very interesting design choices with the new TRX40 Taichi motherboard.
The board uses the sTRX4 socket to support 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs. The socket has a plastic cover that slides in and out with ease. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors also slide in the socket with ease after removal of the protective cover. All TRX40 motherboards are shipped with this cover since we are talking about 4094 pins and one damaged pin can cause permanent damage to the board.
Right next to the socket are eight DDR4 DIMM slots which can support up to 256 GB (dual channel) memory. These slots are rated to support DDR4 DIMMs with frequencies all the way up to 4666 MHz (OC+) which is a huge increase from the X399 Taichi which only supported up to 3600 MHz (OC+) DIMMs.
The motherboard packs 16 ISL (Intersil Digital) 99390 phases with 90A Dr.MOS MOSFETs for Vcore which powers the socket. The board also uses a 2x copper PCB & uses higher quality components which emphasize quality over quantity, offering higher stability. There are also four phases for the memory and 2 phases for the TRX40 chipset.
The motherboard makes use of three sets of heatsinks, two featured across the CPU, memory and VRM area and one featured on the TRX40 PCH. The ones on the CPU VRMs are interconnected by a single heat pipe that runs through the large aluminum alloy finned heatsinks. Both heatsinks are colored silver and have the Taichi theme spread across them. The top-most heatsink has two fans featured vertically which blow air towards the heatsink rather than outside it, keeping it cool with air inside the chassis.
ASRock states that their EBR fan technology makes use of a better ball-bearing design which makes sure you get a longer lifetime and better airflow out of these fans. They are rated for up to 50K life-time hours.
The top I/O cover has an ASRock Taichi logo which is a nice touch to the AMD setup. The shield covers the entire I/O panel and looks great on this motherboard.
There’s no cooling mechanism involved with the cover as it’s just for visuals and mostly hollow from the inside, but it does add to the overall looks of the product and that’s its main purpose here. It also hides the cables running from the WiFi 6 M.2 card which makes its addition good.
The CPU is supplied with power through two 8 pin connectors. This will feed the CPU with up to 300W of power. AMD currently ships Ryzen Threadripper CPUs with TDPs of 280W.
Expansion slots include three PCI Express 4.0 x16 (x16/x16/x16 electrical), a single PCI Express 4.0 x1 and dual M.2 slots. The board can support 3-way multi-GPU (CrossFireX / SLI). The M.2 slots are rated to support NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 SSD.
The M.2 slots are hidden beneath the expansion slot cover. There are two covers, the top one requires you taking off three screws which exposes the PCH heatsink while the lower heatsink requires only two screws to be taken off. The WiFI 6 card is featured in the M.2 key slot. There's thermal adhesive tape beneath the alloy covers so that SSDs underneath them would run cool.
Removing the covers also let us see the PCIe Gen 4 slots clearly which come with the latest Steel slot design. These not only make the slots more durable and solid but also increase signal stability since ASRock has featured more anchor points underneath the slots. One more thing, the single PCIe 4.0 x1 slot doesn't feature any of the said features.
There are two Hyper M.2 slots on the motherboard that operate through PCI Express 4.0 x4 link at speeds of 64 GB/s. Both slots are ideally placed. One of them is located beneath the first PCIe 4.0 x16 slot while the other is situated beneath the second PCI-e 4.0 x16 slot. The first M.2 slot can support up to 80mm SSDs while the second one can support 110mm SSDs.
The TRX40 PCH is housed beneath a large heatsink with the ASRock logo & gear theme etched on it for aesthetics. The PCH also utilizes Polychrome Sync which is fully user-customizable. There's also an active fan solution that runs all the time to keep the PCH cool.
Going more in-depth, the PCH comes with its own aluminum heatsink which extends to a second heatsink under the expansion area covers. Both heatsinks are connected by a solid metal Heatpipe which runs through them.
Storage options include eight SATA III ports rated to operate at 6 Gb/s. There are 6 SATA III ports next to the PCH heatsink while the remaining two are featured at the bottom of the board near the front panel connectors. These can support a total of 6 different storage devices at the same time.
ASRock is using a combination of Realtek ALC4050H and ALC1220 codecs on this motherboard to drive the audio. These are part of the Purity Sound 4 system which comes with Nichicon caps, PCB isolation, NE5532 headset amplifier (supports up to 600 Ohm headsets), and a 7.1 channel audio jack on the rear.
The motherboard has two onboard USB 3.2 Gen 1 headers and a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 header which can be used to connect the front panel. There are an ample amount of fans connectors including those for water pumps on liquid AIO coolers. A list of connectors available internally on the motherboard include:
- - 1 x Power LED and Speaker Header
- - 2 x RGB LED Headers
- - 2 x Addressable LED Headers
- - 1 x CPU Fan Connector (4-pin)
- - 1 x CPU/Water Pump Fan Connector (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
- - 3 x Chassis/Water Pump Fan Connectors (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
- - 1 x 24 pin ATX Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector)
- - 2 x 8 pin 12V Power Connectors (Hi-Density Power Connector)
- - 1 x Front Panel Audio Connector (15μ Gold Audio Connector)
- - 1 x USB 2.0 Header (Supports 2 USB 2.0 ports) (Supports ESD Protection)
- - 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Headers (Support 4 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports) (Supports ESD Protection)
- - 1 x Front Panel Type C USB 3.2 Gen2 Header (Supports ESD Protection)
- - 1 x Dr. Debug with LED
- - 1 x Power Button with LED
- - 1 x Reset Button with LED
- - 1 x Clear CMOS Button
The motherboard features a pre-mounted I/O bracket which is the industry standard nowadays. It features a nice matte black color scheme along with a Taichi logo theme. I/O on the board include:
- - 2 x Antenna Ports (on I/O Panel Shield)
- - 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
- - 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
- - 2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A Ports (10 Gb/s) (Supports ESD Protection)
- - 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type C Port (20 Gb/s) (Supports ESD Protection)
- - 4 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Ports (Supports ESD Protection)
- - 2 x RJ-45 LAN Ports with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
- - 1 x BIOS Flashback Button
- - HD Audio Jacks: Rear Speaker / Central / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone (Gold Audio Jacks)