ASRock X299 Taichi CLX ‘$400 US’ Motherboard Review With Intel Core i9-10980XE CPU – Taichi Rebuilt For 10th Gen X-Series
ASRock X299 Tacihi CLXNovember, 2019
Conclusion - Taichi Better Than Ever!
In my initial review of the Intel Core i9-10980XE, I was fairly disappointed with the Cascade Lake-X lineup which offers little to no gain over the existing 7th Gen and 9th Gen X-series parts while AMD has brought a bigger reason to upgrade from their previous 32 core and 16 core processors to the newest ones. With that said, there are still users who eye Intel's higher HEDT frequencies and over-all overclocking capabilities along with the fine-tuned IMC which would lead some enthusiasts to go the Intel HEDT route.
With the recent release of the 10th Gen parts, ASRock released their X299 Taichi CLX, the third and last revision to their LGA 2066 Taichi series lineup. It comes in at a price point of $399.99 US which has seen a spike since the original X299 Taichi which retailed at $289.99 US or the XE variant which retailed for $309.99 US. But ASRock has taken into account user feedback from their previous-gen Taichi products and applied them to the CLX.
ASRock X299 Taichi CLX Design
The design has seen a major update over the previous two Taichi X299 boards. Since I have had the chance of testing the previous Taichi board too, the CLX comes with more modern aesthetics that were featured on the recent TRX40 and X570 motherboards. The Taichi X299 CLX rocks a fantastic design, if you are an RGB enthusiast, you would be a little let down with the onboard Polychrome Sync RGB features since that mostly covers the PCH heatsink and the underside of the PCB but if you're fine without the extra bling, that's a good thing for you.
If you are more interested in the usefulness of the design, then you should be delighted to know that this board rocks a new aluminum heatsink with a solid heat pipe solution for better cooling than the previous variant. Best of all, the motherboard doesn't break barriers and ships within an ATX form factor allowing for easy compatibility.
ASRock X299 Taichi CLX Features
When it comes to the feature set, ASRock has a lot to offer at a price of $400 US. I must say that the only thing this board lacks over the much expensive X299 Creator model is the 10GbE LAN. Other than that, you get 10 SATA ports which are enough for storage heavy users, tons of USB 3.2 Gen 2 & Gen 1 connectivity, and wireless (Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax (2.4Gbps) + BT 5.0) capabilities. You also get dual LAN ports for GbE networking, one powered by Intel GbE (1Gb) and the other powered by a Realtek 2.5Gb LAN controller.
Since the Cascade Lake-X CPUs are equipped with 48 CPU PCIe Gen 3 lanes, the ASRock X299 Taichi CLX can support up to two x16 and two x8 links simultaneously for use with multiple GPUs or add-in cards. Also, each M.2 port is coupled with a heatsink which is part of the front cover that hides the electrical components next to the PCH. Talking about M.2 slots, these are wired to the second PCIe 3.0 x16 (x8 electrical) slot so if you're using a single M.2 slot, the x16 slot would operate at x4 mode and will be disabled if both M.2 slots are populated. It's not a big deal since you're still left with three full-length PCIe slots. The audio performance from the Realtek ALC1220 is standard and does the job well for an onboard audio controller.
ASRock X299 Taichi CLX Performance
I have to credit to ASRock for producing a very solid, rounded up board that performs well in terms of BIOS optimization and various hardware solutions that produce better results. The higher VRM count does affect the overclocking performance by boosting clock speeds. It's a beast with an over-build 720A VRM.
The design of the motherboard is super impressive, it packs all the bells and whistles of a high-end desktop motherboard. It supports fast memory, fast storage and houses a solid 13 phase VRM that let me overclock the 10980XE to 4.7 GHz across all cores. The VRM temps were under 60C at full load and even with overclocking, seeing them under 65C was impressive considering the previous X299 motherboards shot past 80C when the CPU was overclocked.
The board has a 13 phase VRM design that is supplied power through a dual 8 pin connector. It may seem fine at first but this delivers 300W of power which allows the processors to run without throttling due to power/thermal limitations. ASRock has also made subtle improvements to their BIOS design, now offering more intuitive features such as deeper overclocking options and fan-tuning settings.
ASRock has also stated that they will soon be releasing a BIOS update for their X299 Taichi CLX and X299 Creator motherboards, allowing support of RDIMM with up to 256 GB DDR4 capacities. This will allow up to 2 TB memory support with 7th, 9th and 10th Gen X-series processors which is very impressive for the Intel HEDT platform. In a preview, ASRock's in-house overclocking legend, Nick Shih, showed 1 TB of LRDIMM memory running on an X299 Taichi CLX along with a Core i9-7900X processor with memory running at frequencies of 3471.8 MHz (CL 20-24-24-56). We will keep you updated when the BIOS rolls out.
ASRock X299 Taichi CLX Pricing and Conclusion
The ASRock X299 Taichi CLX is the third and last revision to ASRock's X299 Taichi family and its the best one yet. Offering modern aesthetics, the latest feature set which includes USB 3.2 Gen 2 / Gen 1, 2.5GbE LAN, 10 SATA ports, lots of expansion options and a solid VRM which offers up to 720A to the 10th Gen X-series processors, the X299 Taichi CLX for $400 US is a little on the steep side when it comes to pricing but is one impressive motherboard for the list of feature it packs. If you're eyeing a pure Intel HEDT setup, the X299 Taichi CLX is an option that is well worth the price and designed with Intel's 10th Gen CPUs in mind.
The ASRock X299 Taichi CLX is the third and last revision to ASRock's X299 Taichi family and its the best one yet. Offering modern aesthetics, the latest feature set which includes USB 3.2 Gen 2 / Gen 1, 2.5GbE LAN, 10 SATA ports, lots of expansion options and a solid VRM which offers up to 720A to the 10th Gen X-series processors, the X299 Taichi CLX is a worthy option to consider if you're building an Intel HEDT setup for yourself.
- Modern aesthetics and design on 3rd Taichi X299 revision
- Solid 13 Phase Digi Power PWM Design
- Excellent Overclocking Capabilities
- Proper XXL Aluminum heatsinks placed over PWM system
- Good Cooling Design With heatpipe implementation
- Dual 8 Pin power connectors for the CPU Socket
- Dual LAN ports including 2.5GbE connectivity
- Wireless module for WIFI 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
- Dual x16 PCIe slots when running a 48/44 Lane CPU
- Triple M.2 Slots
- 10 SATA Ports
- Metal Shielded PCIe slots
- Dual USB 3.2 Gen 2 Ports
- Lots of USB 3.2 Gen 1 Ports
- Purity Sound 4 Audio System
- Subtle and not too flashy RGB LEDs
- Very high price ($399.99 US)
- Not the most optimized Software Stack
- M.2 slots share lanes with PCIe slots
- Intel's 10th Gen X-series not that impressive