The ASRock model is able to move many AMD B550 motherboards on the market.
With the release of the new AMD 5000 processors, the demand for motherboards should increase. Not everyone can afford expensive models based on the flagship AMD x570 chipset, the alternative is the B550. It offers similar functionality for less money, but the most important thing that draws users ‘ attention to it is the lack of active cooling. No matter how quiet the fan is, over time it gets clogged with dust, starts to hum, or may fail, and the device will work unstable.
Therefore, practical users initially choose their own system boards with passive cooling, so that they are less engaged in subsequent maintenance and do not think about possible problems. As for the features, they are not much worse, and all because the main controllers of modern interfaces are located in the processor. You can install one video adapter with the PCI-e Gen4 bus and one drive of the same standard, which is enough for most.
This has long been understood by all motherboard manufacturers and released many different models on the new chipset. Additional popularity was provided by the fact that AMD decided not to release a new chipset along with the announcement of the latest generation of processors. Manufacturers realized that in this situation, the demand will increase just for the 500-series chipsets, and therefore it makes sense to present the most popular models on it. Perhaps such thoughts visited ASRock engineers, and they decided that the Taichi series will lose a lot if it does not have a popular running modification.
Usually, this series of boards are produced on top-end chipsets, but this time an exception was made to present a premium product on a mid-level chipset. ASRock Taichi motherboards are always the latest developments in the industry, the most modern technologies and interfaces. They are distinguished by a good set, unusual packaging and characteristics. We can say that this is a kind of ASRock quality mark.
Today we are testing the ASRock B550 Taichi motherboard. It will be interesting to see what the manufacturer has done to make the Board one of the best on the market. Did it work out in the end? Do modern Taichi models lose their leadership positions due to the transition to non-flagship chipsets? Let’s try to figure it out.
Packaging and configuration
Packaging is an important component of a premium product. You can not pack an expensive and beautiful motherboard in a regular cardboard box. The packaging must match the device itself, otherwise no one will understand and appreciate that the item is expensive and exclusive. Already at the initial stage, from the outside, the buyer should be killed on the spot by the appearance and fascinating design. ASRock tries to repeat this every time and succeeds.
The design style is not new. It was already found on models such as the ASRock Z490 Taichi or the ASRock X570 Taichi. In the same generation, not only a new style appeared, but also its own logo.
In this case, you can see that the box is large and not very light, so there is a handle for easy transportation. The packaging is made of thick cardboard. On top of it is covered with a film with good quality printing. The background color is mostly black. On the front surface, it is divided into two parts. One of them imitates a steel surface, and the other some kind of mechanism with different gears. The border is simulated RGB illumination.
In the upper-left corner is the company logo. Below the middle, large symbols indicate the model name. To the right is the new Taichi logo. At the very bottom is a group of icons. Two of them are related to AMD (the situation is repeated with the information that 3200g and 3400G processors are not officially supported), there is an ASRock Polychrome Sync icon-support for the same technology and the HDMI logo. The SLI and CrossFire icons are not visible, although there is support. As I mentioned, the front surface is a cover.
Let’s look under it.
Directly below it is a transparent plastic window, through which you can see the motherboard. On the back of the cover is information about new technologies that are used in this motherboard. First, we are told about the rear protective plate and the front armor. Then there is the steel frame of the slots, the wireless module and the ASRock Polychrome Sync backlight.
On top there is an image of the motherboard in front and back, where a special protective plate is visible. Below is an image of the wireless module’s antenna and the supported wireless standards are listed. The manufacturer also says that support for the PCI-e Gen4 standard is provided. At the very bottom there are four more inserts with a description of the technical solutions used.
Now it’s time to turn the box over and look at the back.
In the middle is a large photo of the motherboard. Below is a schematic image of the rear panel connectors with captions and a detailed specification of the device.
Now open the box and look inside. It opens from the side of the handle and inside there are two more black cardboard boxes. The first one is more like a tray without a lid. It contains the motherboard.
Despite the fact that it is already Packed in two boxes, the Board is additionally protected by a frame made of foamed polyethylene, which consists of two parts: the top and bottom.
The upper one is simply removed, but the lower one is attached to the Board with several plastic ties at the corners. The latter is a traditional packaging company ASRock. The second box is closed with two lids because there is a division into two compartments using a divider.
It is also made of thick cardboard. It’s black on top and white on the inside. The compartments are divided in such a way that the entire information component is located on the left, and all accessories are located on the right.
In the left compartment we find the following set:
- Quick Installation Guide (user’s guide);
- Software Setup Guide (SOFTWARE installation guide);
- A large black envelope.
- Set of stickers;
- ASRock Taichi Card;
- DVD with drivers and software;
- Two Velcro fasteners for cable ties.
I liked the stickers and Velcro for cables the most. As for the disk, it is essentially no longer needed. Personally, I don’t have a single drive left, and I don’t know if someone puts it in a modern computer? The fee is not the most budget-friendly, it’s time to switch to flash drives.
These accessories are included.
- Four SATA 6 Gbps cables;
- Two sets of mounts for m drives.2;
- Screwdriver with Torx slot;
- Antenna for the wireless module.
The set is not too rich. Yes, there is everything you need. By the way, a screwdriver with such a face is needed in order to Unscrew the corresponding screws in front and get access to the m slots.2. You can install the screws with plain or cross slot? Yes, but apparently it would not be so effective.
Board design and features
Externally, the Board looks very cool. Again, the theme of gears is played out. Designers try to improve the appearance of the device with each generation. This is a particularly good solution when real metal gears are combined with those painted on the Board or decorative elements. Another successful find is an imitation of a gold pinion and a decorative frame with a bronze-steel texture.
The printed circuit Board itself is black matte, the inscriptions on it are gray. Everything is very calm, strict and nothing stands out. The form factor and dimensions of the device are classic. This is an ordinary ATX format with dimensions of 305 x 244 mm.
The motherboard is quite heavy because it has several radiators. They complement each other perfectly. The whole style looks like a complete composition, and the lighting only complements it. Only the parts where the manufacturer wanted to highlight elements on the device are highlighted.
And the Board looks great on the reverse side. Here is a metal plate that serves not only for protection, but also for heat removal.
In order to understand this, it is enough to dismantle it. You will immediately see thermal rubbers in places where transistor assemblies are located in the front, and drivers or phase doublers are located in the back.
On the reverse side, there are also elements and there are a lot of them. The PCB itself is thick and does not bend. This is largely due to the fact that each layer of copper weighs 2 ounces, as described by the manufacturer. There are six metallization layers in total.
Power is supplied to the motherboard via the main and two additional ATX connectors according to the scheme 24+8+8.
Additional power connectors are not very conveniently located. It may be difficult to connect them in the assembled system. There is no indication of their connection yet, which is also not very convenient.
There are four black slots for DDR4 memory modules. On the one hand, retainers are used, and on the other, latches are used. To activate the two-channel mode, you need to install two bars in the slots through one. Next to it there is an inscription that indicates the order of installation.
It is recommended to fill in starting from the left edge of the Board. The manufacturer claims support for operating modes from DDR4 2133 to 5400 MHz in overclocking with a standard voltage of 1.2 V, which can be increased. The maximum allowed size is 128 GB (four modules of 32 GB each). These modules have been around for a long time, but they are expensive and not very fast.
In the processor power subsystem, we see 16 phases, or rather channels. They are located at the top and left of the socket.
Doublers are soldered on the reverse side, there are six of them in total. These are Intersil ISL6617A chips.
Each channel has one super ferrite coil. Solid-state capsule and tantalum capacitors. Vishay 50 AVR Power SiC654 transistor assemblies are used. Good builds that can provide up to 100 a at their peak. There is a built-in temperature monitoring.
Power is provided by the familiar Renesas RAA229004 8-phase PWM controller. It is installed on a large number of different boards based on the AMD B550 chipset.
Transistor assemblies and inductors are cooled by a powerful cooling system. It consists of two radiators connected by a copper Nickel-plated heat pipe. Both radiators are made of aluminum alloy and painted in gray.
Mounting is carried out from the back with four screws through a protective plate. A thermal rubber band is used as a thermal interface. Radiators dissipate heat not only from the transistor Assembly, but also from the inductors.
On top of the side radiator is a plastic casing with an RGB lighting module and a decorative plate on top.
The cover covers the rear panel connectors and hangs over the radiator. It is attached with two screws on the back side. The RGB backlight module is connected to a special connector on the Board. It turns out that this casing slightly hangs over the radiator and through the hole in it you can see the same inscription B550 Taichi, which is highlighted.
Below are the radiators for M. 2 drives, which form a single system. At first, it seems that it is monolithic. However, upon detailed study and dismantling, it becomes clear that it consists of several separate elements.
In order to remove this “armor”, we need a screwdriver from the kit. I personally did not unpack it, but used the appropriate bat. First I removed the lower and upper plate.
They are made of aluminum alloy and painted black. Each is attached using two screws directly in front through small holes in them to the bushings on the Board.
As a thermal interface, gray thermal rubbers are used, which are sealed with protective films. On top are prints and decorative plates. There is a sticker on the top radiator that tells us that the Hyper M. 2 slot is supported by the next generation of processors. Apparently here we are talking about PCI-e Gen4.
In the middle is another radiator for the M. 2 and part of the upper part of the chipset radiator.
This part is also made of aluminum alloy and painted black. On top there are decorative elements with an integrated RGB backlight module, which is connected to a special connector on the Board. Among the decorations there is a Golden gear and prints on the case.
In addition, there is a small manufacturer’s logo and the inscription “Philosophy of infinite potential”, which translates as”philosophy of infinite potential”. The radiator shape is unusual because the plate has cutouts for wrapping PCI-e slots. As for the mounting, it is similar-these are screws for the Torx tip. The thermal interface for the drive is the same-a gray thermal rubber with a protective film.
Under this middle plate is the chipset radiator, which is in contact with it through special grooves and thermal rubber.
The chipset heatsink is small, but it is connected to the upper part, which can help with the heat sink. To remove this radiator, you need to Unscrew the two screws on the back side.
I want to note that all other elements, except for the three upper radiators for M. 2 drives, are attached with screws for a Phillips screwdriver. Accordingly, one complete set you can not do.
The radiator is made of aluminum alloy and painted black. In fact, it is an ordinary bar. As a thermal interface, a thermal rubber band with a thickness of about 2 mm is used.
Under the radiator is an AMD B550 chipset. You may have already seen it in other reviews.
The chipset itself can provide support for six SATA3 ports. Here, eight pieces are displayed sideways, which means you can search for an additional controller nearby. There are two of them at once.
These are the familiar asmedia asm1061 chips. Above there are two USB 3.2 Gen1 pads and one USB 3.2 Gen2 pad. The latter is provided by the chipset, and the first two by a separate controller.
In its role is another familiar chip – ASMedia ASM1074. In the lower right corner there is a connector for connecting buttons and indicators of the case. Above is the Clr CMOS reset button.
Next to it, we can see the Power and Reset buttons, as well as the post indicator for loading and initialization codes. By default, the algorithm is configured so that when enabled, the buttons are highlighted for a while, and then go out along with the POST code indicator.
Next on the bottom edge are two USB 2.0 pads for connecting four devices, a connector for a speakerphone, and two more 4-pin connectors for fans or pumps.
Next, we see two connectors for connecting RGB tapes, one normal, and the other address. The connector for the special Thunderbolt adapter is not soldered. At the very end there is a connector for connecting the front audio panel.
The left side of the Board is occupied by the audio codec. It is separated from the main part of the Board by a strip without metallization layers. Previously, motherboard manufacturers liked to highlight it from the back, but now this is not the case.
ASRock engineers did a little nahimic With the sound. Although, in addition to the Realtek ALC 1220 audio codec and Nichicon electrolytic capacitors, there is nothing else here.
To get to it, you need to remove another decorative plastic cover that covers the left edge of the Board. It is attached with two screws on the back side.
On this Board, we see five expansion slots. Three PCI-e x16 and two PCI-e x1. This is already a classic set on most boards. By the way, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen regular PCI on boards of this level, and there’s no COM port here yet.
All PCI-e x16 slots are framed by a metal frame, but the top two get their PCI-e Gen4 lines directly from the processor and divide them in half. There is no official support for SLI because it is not provided by the chipset. The lower PCI-e x16 is hardware-limited to x4. It and the remaining PCI-e x1 slots get their lines from the chipset. Accordingly, they are the third generation. There are also two m-type slots on the Board.2. The top is provided with processor and supports PCI-e Gen4, and Gen3 lower.
The I/o and system monitoring controller is located between the second and third PCI-e x16 slots. This is the Nuvoton NCT6683D chip. It is not the only one and on the reverse side there is another nuvoton NCT6796D chip.
What else is left uncovered? For example, network controllers. Yes, there are two of them: regular and wireless. The Ethernet controller is Intel I 225-V, which supports standard 2.5 G. Wireless module presents the Intel Wi-Fi 6 201AX.
RGB LEDs also look very interesting on the reverse side. It feels like everyone has their own controller.
The following interfaces and buttons are located on the back panel.
- Two USB 2.0 connectors;
- Four USB 3.2 Gen1 connectors;
- One USB 3.2 Gen2 connector;
- One USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C connector;
- One HDMI connector;
- One DisplayPort connector;
- One 2.5 G RJ-45 network connector;
- Five mini jack audio jacks;
- One optical output;
- BIOS FlashBack button;
- CLR CMOS button;
- Two antenna outputs.
|Model||ASRock B550 Tai chi|
|Supported processors||AMD Radeon 3000 series desktop processors without integrated graphics (Zen2 only). AMD Ryzen 3000-series APUS are not supported|
|Bus processor-chipset||PCI-e x4 Gen3|
|System logic||AMD B550|
|RAM||4 x 288-pin DDR4 DIMM slots, Quad channel mode, up to 128 GB with a frequency of 2133 – 5400 (overclock) MHz|
|Expansion slot||2 – PSI-e x16 Gen 4 (х16+х0 or х8+х8);|
1 – PSI-e x16 Gen3 (х4);
2 – PCIe x 1 Gen 3
|Support for Multi-GPU|
|SATA / RAID support||4 x SATA 6.0 Gbps ports-AMD B550; RAID 0, 1, 5, 0+1, JBOD;|
4 x SATA 6.0 GB/s ports – 2x ASMedia ASM1061; RAID 0, 1;
2 x M. 2 ports – 1x PCI-e x4 Gen4 + 1x PCI-e x4 Gen3 or SATA3 (there are restrictions on using SATA ports and PCI-e lines)
|Support for M. 2 SATA/PCI-e||Yes/Yes|
|Network||1 x Intel I225V|
|Audio||Realtek ALC1220-8-channel HD audio codec|
|USB 2.0||2 + 4 x USB 2.0 (AMD B550)|
|USB 3.2 Gen1||4 + 4 x USB 3.2 Gen1 (ASM1074)|
|USB 3.2 Gen2||2 + 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 (AMD B550)|
|System monitoring||Nuvoton NCT6683D|
|Motherboard power supply||ATX 24-pin, 8-pin ATX 12V, 8-pin ATX 12V|
|Rear panel connectors and buttons||2 x USB 2.0;|
4 x USB 3.2 Gen1;
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2;
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C;
1 x RJ45;
5 x 3.5 мм Jack;
1 x Optical Audio Out;
1 х Display Port;
1 x HDMI 1.4b;
2 x Ant. Out;
1 x ClrCMOS;
1 x BIOS Flashback
|Dimensions, mm||305 x 244|
The ASRock B550 Taichi motherboard uses a simplified UEFI BIOS shell. It is graphical, but there is no EZ Mode. Only the General menu at the top with eight sections. The external background is stylized to match the Taichi line-and this is all that distinguishes the menu from other models visually. It is clear that there is a symbolism. There is a Taichi inscription on the top, and a logo in the lower left corner.
The Board was tested with an old version of the BIOS, so I immediately updated it to the latest available one. However, it was not so simple and smooth. After using the AMD Risen 7 3800X processor, I installed AMD Rizen 5 3400G and the BIOS rolled back to version 1.00. I didn’t understand what happened and updated the BIOS again with this processor, but after a reboot I found that the version is 1.10 instead of 1.52.
However, everything works fine and the Board even allows you to overclock the processor well, which does not even officially support it. And even the memory is well overclocked on Zen+, although it should be better to chase on Zen2. BIOS firmware is implemented using the built-in utility and is very easy.
There is also an excellent mechanism for finding the right firmware. I had about five different BIOS on my flash drive for different ASRock boards, and yet it finds exactly what you need out of all of them. When overclocking, the Board also behaves predictably and clearly.
The ASRock B550 Taichi motherboard was tested as part of the following configuration:
- Processor: AMD Ryzan 7 3800X (3900 / 4500 MHz base / turbo);
- Cooler: Noctua NH-D15;
- Thermal interface: Noctua NT-H1;
- Motherboard: ASRock B550 Taichi, BIOS version 1.52;
- Memory: 2×8 GB DDR4-4133, a-Data XPG Spektrix D80 (Samsung B-die);
- Video card: ASUS TUF GAMING RX5700 (1720 / 1750 / 14000 MHz (core/boost/memory));
- M. 2 SSD: Samsung 981 1 TB;
- Power supply: AeroCool Aero Bronze 750 (750 W).
The system is built without any difficulties, so there is nothing to describe here. After everything is ready, you can connect the Board to the power supply and see how the backlight works.
In some places, it turns out to be even very bright, and from the right edge it is muffled and scattered by the white plastic that is located on the back metal plate. In General, I really liked the work of the backlight, and to synchronize the effects, you need to install special software. Now you can go straight to the tests.
First, let’s look at information about the system through various utilities. With this processor, everything is clear. It takes 4.3 GHz on air when passing Prime95.
AIDA64 Cache & Memory:
ASRock B550 Taichi was tested on an open stand at room temperature 22°C in the following modes:
- ASRock B550 Taichi, AND Risen 7 3800X (3900 / 4500 MHz), 2666 MHz memory, 19-19-19-43-2T timings, ASUS TF GAMING RX5700 8Gb;
- ASRock B550 Taichi, AND Risen 7 3800X @ 4300 MHz, memory 3800 MHz, timings 18-18-18-32-1T, ASUS TF GAMING RX5700 8Gb.
The tests were performed under the operating system Windows 10 x64 version 20H2. According to the new regulations, performance tests are not provided for when reviewing motherboards.
Now let’s look at the radiator temperature.
Temperature of the upper transistor radiator
|AMD Ryzen 7 3800X (3900 MHz)||39,2|
|AMD Ryzen 7 3800X @ 4300 MHz||39,7|
Temperature side of the heatsink of transistors
|AMD Ryzen 7 3800X (3900 MHz)||40,7|
|AMD Ryzen 7 3800X @ 4300 MHz||41,3|
The temperature of the chipset
|AMD Ryzen 7 3800X (3900 MHz)||32,1|
|AMD Ryzen 7 3800X @ 4300 MHz||32,3|
The audio codec is represented by the Realtek ALC 1220 chip. The audition was carried out with the help of headphones Sennheiser HD569 and acoustics Creative GigaWorks T20 SeriesII.
The sound quality does not cause any serious complaints. The sound is very clear even at maximum volume levels. I tested the built-in audio using the RMAA program.
ASRock B550 Taichi is the highest-level motherboard based on the AMD B550 chipset. This is by no means an average person, but a real flagship, as evidenced by all the components. The packaging is excellent, the kit is excellent, the appearance is excellent… Then this list can go on for a long time.
However, the product was also outstanding in detail. 16 processor power channels are applied. Yes, there are only eight phases, but they are doubled, and the load on each channel is reduced. Heat from the batteries is removed by two large radiators. PCI-e x16 slots are framed by a steel frame; PCI-e x1 slots lack a single wall so that long cards can be installed. Convenient technical solutions are provided – the POST-code indicator and the Power and Reset buttons. And a unique design, where different gears are used in the design, in place. This is a feature of all Taichi devices.
The functionality of the chipset is expanded and multiplied by a large number of third-party controllers. The quality of manufacturing, components and materials is at a high level and confirms the premium model. The manufacturer has taken care of protection, so we can see a reliable shell on the front and a large plate on the back of the printed circuit Board. At the same time, everything is thought out and perfectly cooled. For example, there are thermal rubbers on the back plate that completely cover the area where the power elements are placed and help to remove heat from the surface of the printed circuit Board.
Among other features, we note the wireless module with support for the latest generation of standards and buttons placed on the back panel to reset the BIOS settings and restore it using the Flashback function. The Board also has excellent illumination. It is unobtrusive and moderately complements the decorative elements of the device. The BIOS settings menu is simple and clear. There are some controversial points that could have been implemented in a different way, but in General everything is fine. And despite the fact that the motherboard is not positioned for overclocking, it performs this function perfectly.
To sum up, the ASRock B550 Taichi is a premium model and one of the coolest motherboards for the AMD Socket AM4 platform. the Functionality is great, but, unfortunately, the price does not lag behind it.