ASRock Z690 Taichi Motherboard - Close-Up

The ASRock Z690 Taichi is themed in all-black and features a few silver and golden accents. This is a flagship product that retails at over $570 US. The motherboard comes in the standard ATX form factor and is jam-packed with features.

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Taking a look at the front of the motherboard, we see a design that would look great with almost any PC build. The dark black looks with golden accents look great. In fact, this is the second Z690 board that has followed a black and gold design with the first one being the MSI MEG Z690 ACE & that's a beauty in its own regards. The back of the motherboard comes with a reinforced backplate that offers both durability and cooling.

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The board uses the LGA 1700 socket to support Intel Core processors. The socket is compatible only with Intel's 12th Generation core family. The socket has a protective cover on top of it that points out the exclusivity with Alder Lake 12th Gen CPUs & refrains users from running an older 11th and 10th generation CPUs as they won't fit in the socket at all and forcing them in the socket is only going to cause permanent damage to your motherboard.

Next to the socket are four DDR5 DIMM slots that can support up to 128 GB dual-channel memory. These slots are rated to support XMP profiles up to 6400 MHz (OC Plus). Each slot is labeled, making it easier to install DIMMs in the proper orientation. DDR5 memory comes with a different latch position so forcing a DDR4 module into a DDR5 slot will cause permanent damage. Each slot is also combined with a reinforced design to make sure signal integrity remains good while keeping the slots durable for long-term usage.

The ASRock Z690 Taichi packs a 19+1 phase power delivery configuration that makes use of the 105A Smark Power Stages. The motherboard also makes use of an 8 layer PCB with a 2oz copper design.

As you can see, the VRMs are getting ample cooling from two aluminum-based heatsinks, one of which features an extended fin design. The VRM heatsinks feature an embedded heatsink to make sure heat is dissipated effectively.

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The CPU is supplied power through an 8+8 pin power connector configuration. This will feed the CPU with up to 300 Watts of power. The Intel 12th Gen Unlocked CPUs are very power-hungry with the maximum turbo power rated at 241W for the Core i9-12900K and more if you are planning to overclock these chips.

Getting a closer look at the VRM heatsinks reveals an active cooling solution underneath the heatsink shroud next to the IO cover. Each heatsink has 7w/Mk thermal pads located underneath for efficient transfer of heat.

You can see the 30mm heatsink fan underneath the shroud more clearly below. There's also a bundled 30mm fan that can be equipped on the topmost heatsink for additional VRM cooling performance. The fan can be disabled in the BIOS but it's up to the user to choose between better VRM cooling with higher noise output or lower cooling performance with silent operation. There's a small cutout in the side heatsink that delivers air to the VRMs.

The Taichi logos are laser-etched on both heatsinks and provide a nice aesthetic for the motherboard.

Expansion slots include three PCI Express x16 (1 Gen 5 x16 / 1 Gen 5 x8/ 1 Gen 4 x4), and 3 M.2 slots. Two M.2 slots are rated to support NVMe PCIe gen4 x4 (1 Gen 3 x2).

  • - 1 x Hyper M.2 Socket (M2_1, Key M), supports type 2280 PCIe Gen4x4 (64 Gb/s) mode*
  • - 1 x Hyper M.2 Socket (M2_2, Key M), supports type 2242/2260/2280 PCIe Gen4x4 (64 Gb/s) mode*
  • - 1 x M.2 Socket (M2_3, Key M), supports type 2230/2242/2260/2280 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s & PCIe Gen3x2 (16 Gb/s) modes*
  • *Supports Intel Optane™ Technology (M2_2 and M2_3 only)

ASRock is using a metallic cover on the sides of the PCIe Gen 5.0 expansion slots as a part of its Surface-Mount Tech which provides protection to some extent. It adds more retention and shearing resistance by reinforcing the slots with metal plates. Aside from adding more protection, they are also said to offer ideal signal flow.

The triple M.2 slots are cooled off by the thermal pad and aluminum baseplate cooling. This is part of ASRock's M.2 heatsink cooling technology and ensures stable operation for M.2 storage devices. The thermal adhesive has a plastic cover over them which needs to be removed before using them with the storage devices.

The Z690 PCH is housed beneath a large heatsink with the Taichi logo on top of it. The design on the heatsink cover is just for aesthetic since it has several RGB LEDs running on ASRock's Poly-Chrome Sync RGB technology.

The PCH heatsink comes with a gear design and also includes a small copper heat pipe that runs through it. The design once again rocks on this area of the motherboard.

There are also RGB accent LEDs on the side of the motherboard which will provide an even brighter light show for those who love the feature. You have the option to disable all RGB LEDs on the board too.

Storage options include six SATA III ports rated to operate at 6 GB/s. These can support six different storage devices at once. There are also dual USB 3.2 (2x Gen 2 / 2x Gen 1) front panel connectors. Many fan headers and jumpers can be found beneath the storage ports. ASRock also equips the motherboard with an additional SATA III connector while 1 of the USB 3.2 front panel headers is also isolated from the rest of the connectors. ASRock says that these independent ports offer protection against vulnerability attacks such as Ransomware and Malware.

ASRock is using its Audio system for audio which is a combination of hardware, software audio solutions. 7.1 CH HD audio with the latest Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, ESS SABRE9218 DAC & Wima capacitors.

The full list of connectors on the motherboard is listed as follows.

  • - 1 x SPI TPM Header
  • - 1 x Power LED and Speaker Header
  • - 1 x RGB LED Header
  • - 3 x Addressable LED Headers
  • - 1 x CPU Fan Connector (4-pin)
  • - 2 x CPU/Water Pump Fan Connectors (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
  • - 4 x Chassis/Water Pump Fan Connectors (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
  • - 1 x VRM/Water Pump Fan Connector (4-pin)
  • - 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)
  • - 2 x USB 2.0 Headers (Support 3 USB 2.0 ports) (Supports ESD Protection)
  • - 1 x Independent USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A Connector
  • - 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Headers (Support 4 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports) (ASMedia ASM1074 hub) (Supports ESD Protection)
  • - 1 x Front Panel Type C USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Header (20 Gb/s) (Supports ESD Protection)
  • - 1 x Clear CMOS Button
  • - 1 x Dr. Debug with LED
  • - 1 x Power Button with LED
  • - 1 x Reset Button with LED
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ASRock is using Intel's Wi-Fi 6E to power wireless connectivity such as 802.11ax WiFi (2.4G WiFi) and Bluetooth 5.2. In terms of Ethernet, there is a single Gigabit Ethernet LAN port which includes an I225V 2.5G Networking chip.

The I/O plate comes with an I/O cover with ASRock's iconic gear design that rotates in real-time embedded within it. Following is the full list of I/O ports on the ASRock Z690 Taichi motherboard:

  • - 2 x Antenna Ports
  • - 1 x HDMI Port
  • - 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
  • - 2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A Ports (10 Gb/s) (ReDriver) (Supports ESD Protection)
  • - 2 x USB 4.0 Thunderbolt 4 Type-C Ports (40 Gb/s for USB 4.0 protocol; 40Gb/s for Thunderbolt protocol) (Supports ESD Protection)
  • - 4 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A 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 / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone (Gold Audio Jacks with LED)
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