Test Setup

For testing, we used the latest Intel Core i9-9900K which was sent to us by Intel. The Intel 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh family comes with a higher core count on the mainstream platform but prices are close to the predecessors in the same segment. The Core i9 SKU wasn't available last time but the Core i7 price matches around the same as what you paid for the Core i7-8700K. The CPU was tested on the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 7 motherboard.

Intel Z390 Chipset Motherboards Test Platform

ProcessorIntel Core i9-9900K
MotherboardASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9
ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO (Wi-Fi)
ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E Gaming
ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate
Z390 AORUS Master
Power SupplyCorsair AX1200i PSU
Solid State DriveSamsung SSD 960 EVO M.2 (512 GB)
MemoryG.SKILL Trident Z RGB Series 32 GB (4 x 8GB) CL16 3600 MHz
Video CardsMSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X
Cooling SolutionsCorsair H115i GTX
OSWindows 10 64-bit
Related StoryJason R. Wilson
ASRock Intros Its First Phantom Gaming Monitor With Integrated Wi-Fi Antenna, AMD Freesync & 165Hz Refresh Rate

Our test rig includes the Samsung 960 EVO 500 GB SSD that boots up our main OS while a 2 TB Seagate HDD is used for demonstration purposes for the Intel Optane memory. In addition to these, we are running an MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X graphics card, a Corsair AX 1200i power supply and 32 GB of G.Skill provided Trident Z RGB series memory which runs with a clock speed of DDR4-3600 MHz. For cooling, we used the  Corsair H115i PRO cooler. At stock (out of the box) settings, all motherboards maintained a 100.00 MHz BCLK ratio out of the box.

We won't be focusing on Intel's Core i7-8086K architecture in this review since it is entirely the same chip as Skylake along with minor improvements. The Skylake / Kaby Lake architecture analysis can be seen in detail here. For overclocking, I made the following tweaks to the CPUs:

  • Intel Core i9-9900KK @ 5.3 GHz With 1.365V (100 x 53) on ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 7
9.5
Wccftech Rating

The ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 7 is placed in a very crowded Z390 market place which has loads of options to select from but as far as this motherboard's unique points are concerned, the great design aesthetics, the 2.5Gb LAN port and the great overclocking capabilities at under $200 US make it a great option for Z390 based PC builders.

Pros
  • Revised Phantom Gaming Design
  • Full Support For 8 Core Intel CPUs
  • Excellent Design and Build Quality
  • Excellent VRM Cooling With XXL Design
  • Excellent Overclocking Performance
  • High-Quality Components With 10 Phase IRDigital PWM
  • Phantom Gaming 2.5G LAN
  • Dual M.2 slots (full coverage heatsinks)
  • Dual USB 3.1 (Type-A + Type-C) Ports
  • Lots of USB 3.1 Gen 1 Ports
  • Polychrome RGB LEDs System Looks Stunning
  • Creative Sound Blaster 5 Audio (ALC1220 Codec)
  • PCIe Steel Slots
Cons
  • No Wireless Connectivity Options Included (Requires Add-in-card)
  • Hard to access M.2 SSD and M.2 WiFi ports
  • Software and bundled applications aren't much of use

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