ASRock’s team of specialists never ceases to go for bold experiments, regularly equipping products with features that are not found in competitors. Rocket Lake-S processors are still in development, and here they have already provided a specialized M.2 port for the needs of high-speed SSDs with PCI Express 4.0 interface. It won’t work with current Comet Lake-S generation CPUs, but it does have a slot in front of it linked to the Intel Z490 chipset.
The naming of the model is new, so they decided to distinguish the product among others, the abbreviation PG refers us to the Phantom Gaming series of gaming boards. Therefore, among the bonuses there is a Nahimic utility for the sound subsystem. The high status of the product is confirmed by the presence of power and reset buttons on the surface of the device, there is also an indicator of POST codes. We will get acquainted with the details in the course of the review, for a start – a table with the main properties and capabilities of the novelty.
|Model||ASRock Z490 PG Speed|
|Official product page on the Web||asrock.com|
|Processor socket||Socket 1200|
|Processors||Core i9, Core i7, Core i5, Core i3, Pentium Gold, Celeron (Comet Lake-S)|
|Memory||4 DIMM DDR4 SDRAM, 128 GB maximum: 2133-2933, 3200-4666+ (OC)|
|PCI slots||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x4)
3 x PCI Express 3.0 x1
|M.2||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4, SATA 6Gb/s (Key M, 2260/2280)
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4, SATA 6Gb/s (Key M, 2230/2242/2260/2280/22110)
1 x Wi-Fi, CNVi (Key E, 2230)
|Integrated video core (in the processor)||Intel UHD 610/630|
|Video connectors||DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 1.4|
|Number of connected fans||7x 4pin|
|PS/2 ports||1 (keyboard/mouse)|
|The port is USB||2 x 3.2 Gen 2 (2 connectors on the rear panel (1x C), Z490)
4 x 3.2 Gen 1 (no connectors on the rear panel, ASM1074)
5 x 3.2 Gen 1 (4 connectors on the rear panel, Z490)
4 x 2.0 (no connectors on the rear panel, Z490)
|Serial ATA||6 x SATA 6Gb/s (Z490)
2 x SATA 6Gb/s (ASM1061)
|RAID||0, 1, 5, 10 (SATA, Z490)|
|Built-in sound||Codec — Realtek ALC1220 (7.1, HDA)
Op Amp — Texas Instruments NE5532
|Networking||Intel I219V (Gigabit Ethernet)|
Realtek Dragon RTL8125BG (2.5 Gigabit Ethernet)
|LED Addressable Header||2|
|LED RGB Header||2|
|TPM||1x SPI (14 pin)|
|UEFI||UEFI AMI BIOS, 128 Mb Flash ROM|
|Dimensions, mm||305 x 244|
|Additional features||2oz Copper PCB, Polychrome Sync, POST LED, Buttons: Power, Reset, Thunderbolt header, Support: AMD 2-Way CrossFireX, Nahimic Audio|
|retail price||UAH 8461|
Using a pair of M.2 SSDs disables four SATA ports at once (numbered 0, 1, 4, and 5), leaving the same number for use. There is nothing to be done – the resources of the Intel Z490 are not unlimited.
Packaging and equipment
The box is wrapped in a colorful cover made of thick glossy cardboard. It is large, the handle for ease of transportation is very handy here.
The main feature is displayed on the first slide at the back. Also, they honestly admit that there are three fans at once. In general, information content is at a high level.
- multilingual quick installation guide;
- three mounting screws and two racks for M.2 devices;
- UEFI and Phantom Gaming Tuning manual in English;
- a set of stickers with various images of the Phantom Gaming series, including those for cables;
- postcard with the emblem of the series (there is a place for the stamp);
- disk with drivers and proprietary software;
- four SATA 6Gb / s cables, two of which have an L-shaped connector on one of the ends;
- a pair of branded Velcro ties that can be used for cable management in the case.
In a style atypical for recent years, the very first PCI-E slot is designed for a video card. This was probably done for the sake of future compatibility with PCI-E 4.0 for processor lines. There were no problems of compatibility between the bench VC and the two-section supercooler.
Behind you can see two multicontrollers at once and even one of the network controllers. There are no lighting elements.
It is decorated with two luminous areas. Two elements are built into the overhead visor above the I / O ports – the manufacturer’s logo and the backlight of the engraved inscription of the model on the VRM cooler, and the PG series emblem is embedded in the hub heatsink. You can supplement the scheme with the involvement of four sites of two types, a pair of each type.
All three heatsinks at the bottom of the device are independent of each other.
The chipset cooler was equipped with stickers on top, the LED glow will subsequently penetrate through the light one.
In the introduction, I already talked about the prepared, but so far inactive M2_1, opposite it is M2_2, which works with Comet Lake-S processors, since it communicates with the hub. In any case, the maximum length of the device mounted here will be eight centimeters.
There is a special M.2 with a CNVi interface for a likely wireless network adapter, and two holes for antenna outputs are provided on the rear panel.
From below, it will be possible to use a device of literally any length available on the market in M.2 format, this includes type 22110.
Eight longitudinal ports are located next to SATA, their distinct marking is carried out at the edge of the product.
For case outputs or other internal equipment, five USB pads can be used, one of them is with SATA sockets and therefore also transverse. Type C output is supported by Gen 1 generation socket.
The top PCI-E x16 slot works with the CPU, while the others work with the chipset. In all PCI-E x1, you can install any device in length, due to the open type of sockets.
That’s right, you can’t share CPU lines between any slots. There are no signal repeaters or switches.
A couple of things can be seen near the SATA outputs, we already mentioned this in the introduction. Here you can also see a couple of chips from ASMedia. The backlight is “implemented” by a socket on the surface of the board, the LEDs, it turns out, are built into the Z490 cooler itself.
The audio subsystem is assembled from the older Realtek codec, one operational amplifier and a set of special capacitors. I will highlight the absence of third-party nodes nearby, which should have a beneficial effect on the working properties of the sound path.
Both available buttons can glow red, but initially this is not there, you can change the state of affairs yourself, through UEFI. Also, the mode of operation of the POST code indicator, which has the same glow shade, is also configured there. He will be able, if desired, to display the current CPU temperature, after the system boots.
As we already know, there are three fans in the structure of the voltage stabilizer cooler, the whole complex takes up a lot of space, and at the bottom, unusually close to the socket, there is a slot for a video card. But the engineers foresaw everything, there were absolutely no problems with our two-section supercooler.
Dismantling the plastic canopy will deprive the owner of aesthetic harmony, exposing the lining, whose role is difficult to equate to a dust filter, rather it is a protective grille.
The fan is recessed into the radiator, the air will move through fairly wide channels.
Two more pieces are smaller attached to the top. Excessive heat from the first falls here on the upper part, apparently, it is impossible to talk about uniform heating of the sectors on the board, but the tests will clarify everything.
Selected products from a well-known manufacturer – Everflow. A couple of smaller ones at the factory are united by a convenient and short common cable, the tachometer is wound up from only one unit, which is logical if they are connected in parallel to one socket on the board.
PWM controller – ISL69269 from Renesas Electronics. Due to the unavailability of official documentation, one has to guess about its capabilities. A number of sources tend to support real twelve (!) phases. Given the presence of 68 outputs, this does not look like something unrealistic. And it’s all about changing Intel’s policy to power current (Comet Lake-S) and future (Rocket Lake-S) processors. Already here, the SA voltage is tied to this, the main PWM controller, joining the CPU and iGPU, in other words, the total number of parameters controlled by it has reached three. It is also planned to move to the mandatory two IO voltage channels, but the traditional single phase is still implemented here. The manufacturer did not stint and marked all the elements according to their purpose, therefore, rumors are excluded. We have: one SA channel, ten for CPU voltage and two for iGPU operation. The last pair is accompanied by an ISL6617A phase doubler (PWM Doubler) soldered at the back. Thus, it is quite reasonable to assume the presence of true twelve phases, which leads us to the maximum realization of the possibilities of the PWM controller. Eleven SiC632A are the basis for SA and CPU voltages, two SiC654s are soldered for iGPU needs; These are Vishay Intertechnology products. A separate, modest in size, single-phase PWM controller APW8828 from Anpec Electronics Corporation will be responsible for the operation of the IO voltage. The corresponding assembly is SM7341EHKP manufactured by Sinopower. Solid-state capacitors with an increased service life of up to 12 thousand hours at extreme temperatures, there are also a considerable number of tantalum capacitors placed on both sides of the device. In a word, they worked hard on the design of VRM, we have never seen anything like it before.
The heat pipe connects the main heatsink in the form of a cast ingot with an additional one assembled with small plates. Here the tube goes up without warming up the area at the base. We see four different types of gaskets, everywhere their area is enough to provide direct functions. Fastening everywhere screw.
In the current era of widespread support of boards with complete antennas and pre-installed wireless network adapters, even on mid-price models, here, on the contrary, they decided to deviate from such a scheme and leave the user the right to equip the system with a module of the desired generation, if such a need arises. A pair of wired connections, implemented by controllers from Intel and Realtek, looks like a pretty good final offer. Perhaps there are not enough USB ports, but all are high-speed, there is nothing more to complain about.