Let’s take a look at the ASRock X370 Taichi, a high-end motherboard with the new AM4 socket, based on the AMD X370 chipset, supporting Ryzen CPUs. Check it out!
The AMD X370 chipset is the high-end model for the AM4 socket, used by the new Ryzen CPUs and the future seventh-gen APUs. The X370 differs from the mid-range chipset for this platform, the B350, by the number of PCI Express 2.0 lanes (eight, against six on the B350), USB 3.0 ports (two on the B350 and six on the X370), and SATA-600 ports (eight on the X370 and six on the B350).
Another difference is that the X370 supports splitting the 16 PCI Express 3.0 lanes on two slots (x8/x8 configuration), which the B350 doesn’t.
Both the chipsets support two USB 3.1 ports, and RAID 0, 1, and 10.
You can see the ASRock X370 Taichi motherboard in Figure 1. It uses the ATX form factor, measuring 12” x 9.6” (305 x 244 mm).
Figure 1: ASRock X370 Taichi motherboard
It is important to keep in mind that, at AM4 platform, only the PCI Express lanes controlled by the CPU (24 on total, 16 for the video card(s), four for an M.2 slot and four for the communication with the chipset) are PCI Express 3.0; the PCI Express lanes controlled by the chipset are use the 2.0 standard.
The ASRock X370 Taichi comes with two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (working at x4 speed maximum) and two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots.
The PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots share the same 16 lanes, so they can work at x16/x0 (if the second one is unused) or x8/x8 configurations.
There are also two M.2 slots, the first one supporting both PCI Express 3.0 x4 and SATA-600 SSDs, and the second one supporting only PCI Express 2.0 x4 devices.
The PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot shares its lanes with the second M.2 slot. So, if it is in use, the second M.2 slot will be disabled.
The motherboard supports CrossFire and SLI with up to two video cards.
The first two PCI Express x16 slots are covered by stainless steel shields, that work as a shield against interference, and also improving mechanical strength of each slot.
Figure 2: slots
[nextpage title=”Memory Support”]
AMD CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor, not the chipset, that defines what memory technologies you can have and the maximum amount of memory that is possible. The motherboard, however, may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.
AM4 CPUs are compatible with DDR4 (up to 2,667 MHz, depending on the modules configuration) memory. According to ASRock, the X370 Taichi supports DDR4 memories up to 3,200 MHz.
The ASRock X370 Taichi has four memory sockets. You can install up to 64 GiB with this motherboard if you use four 16 GiB modules.
In order to enable the dual-channel mode, you must install two or four memory modules. When installing two memory modules, use the first and third memory slots to enable dual-channel mode.
Figure 3: memory sockets; install two or four modules for the best performance
[nextpage title=”On Board Peripherals”]
The AMD X370 chipset is a single-chip solution. This chip offers eight SATA-600 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, and 10). The motherboard comes with those eight ports, more two ports controlled by an ASMedia ASM1061 chip.
Figure 4: the ten SATA-600 ports
The AMD X370 chipset supports six USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 (also called USB 3.1 Gen1) ports, and two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports. There are also four USB 3.0 ports controlled by the CPU.
The ASRock X370 Taichi offers four USB 2.0 ports, available through two headers located on the motherboard. There are ten USB 3.0 ports, six on the rear panel and four available through two headers. There are also two USB 3.1 ports, one Type A and one Type C.
The ASRock X370 Taichi does not support FireWire or Thunderbolt ports.
This motherboard comes with a high-end audio circuit. It uses a shielded Realtek ALC1220 codec, which offers 7.1 audio with a 120 dBA signal-to-noise ratio at the analog outputs. Unfortunately, no more specs of this codec are available. All the audio section is physically separated from the other circuitry by a line that reduces the interference and helps the audio section to achieve its nominal signal-to-noise ratios. All the capacitors on this circuit are audio models from Japanese manufacturer Nichicon. The analog audio outputs are independent and use gold-plated connectors. The motherboard also comes with an on-board optical SPDIF output.
The audio section of the X370 Taichi also uses a TI NE5532 amplifer for headphones. Figure 5 shows the audio section of the motherboard, without its plastic cover.
Figure 5: audio section
The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by an Intel i211AT chip.
In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel with a Clear CMOS button, two USB 3.0 ports, a shared PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector, two connectors for Wi-Fi antennas, two USB 3.1 ports (one Type A and one Type C,) four USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, optical SPDIF output, and the analog audio jacks.
Notice that this motherboard has no video outputs, so if you use one of the future AM4 processors with integrated video, you will not be able to use this feature.
Figure 6: motherboard rear panel
The ASRock X370 Taichi has RGB LEDs around the chipset heatsink. There are connectors for RGB ribbons and coolers.
The motherboard has a two-digit display that informs the POST error code.
The X370 Taichi comes with a Wi-Fi adapter, model Intel 3168NGW (IEEE 801.11ac), installed in an M.2 slot located at the rear panel. In Figure 7, you see this card, removed from the slot, without its metallic cover.
Figure 7: M.2 slot and Wi-Fi card
In Figure 8, you can see the accessories that come with the ASRock X370 Taichi.
Figure 8: accessories
[nextpage title=”Voltage Regulator”]
The ASRock X370 Taichi uses a high-end CPU voltage regulator circuit, with 16 phases for the CPU. The voltage regulator uses an IR35201 controller chip (digital design). Each phase uses one CSD87350Q5D IC. This circuit is shown in Figure 9.
Figure 9: voltage regulator circuit
The ASRock X370 Taichi uses “12K Black” Japanese solid capacitors. All coils on this motherboard are ferrite ones with 60A specification.
If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the ASRock X370 Taichi include:
- Socket: AM4
- Chipset: AMD X370
- Super I/O: Nuvoton NCT6779D
- Parallel ATA: none
- Serial ATA: ten SATA-600 ports, eight controlled by the chipset (RAID 0, 1, and 10), and two controlled by an ASMedia ASM1061 chip
- External SATA: none
- USB 2.0: four USB 2.0 ports, available through two headers on the motherboard
- USB 3.0 (USB 3.1 Gen1): ten USB 3.0 ports, six on the motherboard rear panel and four available through two headers
- USB 3.1 (USB 3.1 Gen2): two USB 3.1 ports, one Type A and one Type C, controlled by the chipset
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): none
- Thunderbolt: none
- On-board video: no
- On-board audio: Produced by a Realtek ALC1220 codec (7.1 channels, 120 dB SNR for the outputs, no mode info available)
- On-board LAN: one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by an Intel i211AT chip, one Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11ac Intel AC 3168NGW adapter
- Buzzer: no
- Infrared interface: no
- Power supply required: EPS12V
- Slots: two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (working at x16/0 or x8/x8), one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (working at x4), two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, one M.2 slot compatible with PCI Express 3.0 x4 and SATA-600 SSDs, and one M.2 slot compatible with PCI Express 2.0 x4
- Memory: four DDR4-DIMM sockets (up to DDR4-3200, 64 GiB maximum)
- Fan connectors: two four-pin connector for the CPU cooler, and three four-pin connector for auxiliary fans
- Extra features: RGB LED lights, POST error display
- Number of CDs/DVDs provided: one
- Programs included: motherboard utilities and drivers
- More Information: http://www.asrock.com
- Average Price in the U.S.*: USD 200.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this article.
[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]The ASRock X370 Taichi is a very complete motherboard for Ryzen CPUs. It brings all the features offered by the high-end chipset for the AM3 platform (the X370), like the ten USB 3.0 ports, two USB 3.1 ports, eight SATA-600 ports (plus two extra ports), and the compatibility with SLI and CrossFire with two video cards.
The limitations we found on this motherboard, like the fact all the extra slots are PCI Express 2.0 and not 3.0, are characteristics of the platform: you will not find AM4 motherboards with more than two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots.
The audio section of the motherboard is a high-end one and it will satisfy even the more demanding users, with its high-definition codec, gold plated analog connectors, and headphone amplifer.
Another strong point of the X370 Taichi is its high-end voltage regulator, with high quality components.
With a beautiful design, the ASRock X370 Taichi is a great motherboard if you are building a high-end computer using a Ryzen CPU.