- Main Features:
- Supports 13th Gen & 12th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors
- 24+1+2 Phase Power Design, SPS for VCore+GT
- 4 x DDR5 DIMMs, supports up to 7000+(OC)
- 2 PCIe 5.0 x16, 1 PCIe 4.0 x16, 1 M.2 Key-E for WiFi
- Graphics Output Options: 2 USB4 Type-C, 1 HDMI
- 1 Blazing M.2 (PCIe Gen5x4), 4 Hyper M.2 (PCIe Gen4x4), 8 SATA3
- 1 USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C (Front), 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A (Rear), 10 USB 3.2 Gen1 (6 Rear, 4 Front), 6 USB 2.0 (2 Rear, 4 Front)
The Comprehensive Review ASRock Z790 Taichi Carrara. Intel has prepared the “Intel Z790 chipset” to coincide with the release of the 13th generation Core processors, called “Raptor Lake” (development code name). This Intel Z790 chipset is an evolution of the previous “Intel Z690 chipset”, and although the basic functionality follows the previous generation, PCI Express (from now on PCIe) 4.0 has features such as increasing the number of lanes to 20.
The ASRock “Z790 Taichi Carrara” motherboard introduced this time is also equipped with the Intel Z790 chipset. In the ASRock range, this high-end model belonging to the “Taichi” series is equipped with many functions and high performance. Let’s take a closer look at what the Z790 Taichi Carrara motherboard looks like.
The marble-inspired exterior is very distinctive
Let’s start with the exterior of the Z790 Taichi Carrara. The Z790 Taichi Carrara uses E-ATX as its form factor. Although it’s entirely black, the heatsink enclosure between the power supply and I/O sections, the heatsink in the M.2 slot, and the heatsink of the chipset are designed in a “marble” image.
It can be concluded that the product name “Carrara” comes from the place name “Carrara”, which is known as a marble production area in Italy. The Z790 Taichi Carrara comes with a 120mm box fan, which also appears to have a marble-like design.
The Z790 Taichi Carrara was developed on a low-loss 8-layer board used in servers, etc., and the power supply unit has a 24+1+2 phase configuration and uses “Dr. MOS” which contains the MOSFET and driver IC in one package. This Dr.MOS adopts a Smart Power Stage that supports up to 105A, and according to ASRock, it monitors and optimizes the current and temperature in each phase to provide stable power to the CPU, resulting in more CPU performance and high overclocking capabilities.
In fact, the 13th generation Intel Core processors have a TDP of 125W and a maximum power consumption of 253W for the top-of-the-line model “Core i9-13900K” (hereinafter “i9-13900K”). Therefore, the Z790 Taichi Carrara has a luxurious enough power supply to operate stably even with such a large CPU consumption.
Another highlight is that Nichicon uses high-quality electrolytic capacitors with a product life of 12,000 hours.
Compatible with next-generation PCIe 5.0 and DDR5!
Another key feature of this product is that it supports PCIe 5.0, and the PCIe x16 slot uses a steel slot with a metal cover. It has been changed from the conventional DIP type which solders nails to the surface mount type. According to the company, the changes improve signal flow and stability during high-speed transfers.
Additionally, only one PCIe x16 slot between the CPU and the PCIe x16 slot supports PCIe 5.0, which the company calls “Blazing M.2 Sockets”, and four other PCIe 4.0-compatible slots are available. As many as four M.2 SSDs can be installed simultaneously.
The system memory can contain up to four DDR5 SDRAMs, and the memory slots are steel-protected boost slots. These reinforced slots are surface mounted, and according to ASRock, they provide physical strength and stable memory operation.
Also, there is a risk of damage to the memory module when the memory module is removed without the power being turned off, but I like the fact that this Z790 Taichi Carrara avoids that risk by implementing a trouble-free circuit.
Moving on to the interface, you can’t miss the fact that the Z790 Taichi Carrara has a total of 23 USB systems, 12 on the back and 11 as header pins. Two of them have two Type-C units on the back, which are both USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4, and can transfer data at 40Gbps and charge 60W.
In addition, the two USB 3.2 Gen2 units on the back are called “Ultra USB Power”, and the required +5V is converted and generated from +12V so that the current supply from the USB is stable.
Plus, don’t miss the two “Lightning Gaming Ports” on the back. Between multiple USB ports, both will be handled with the highest priority, and by connecting a keyboard or mouse to those ports, for example, latency can be reduced and fast responses can be expected.
Additionally, pin headers for USB 3.2 Gen2x2 are available on board, and when connected to a port on the case, can supply up to 60W of power with USB PD 3.0 support.
Switching to networking, the Z790 Taichi Carrara has a dual LAN configuration of 2.5GbE LAN with Killer E3100 controller and 1000BASE-T LAN with Intel I219-V controller. In addition, it is equipped with a Wi-Fi 6 compatible wireless LAN using the “Killer AX1675x controller”, so a total of 3 LAN systems can be used.
What’s unique is that by using the attached application “Killer Intelligence Center”, you can allocate the path used for each application by wired and wireless, and use a function called “Killer DoubleShot Pro” which combines the two to accelerate speed. Bluetooth is also available, so you can easily connect to the gamepad and play with it.
Additionally, it comes with “Premium Audio” centered on the Realtek “ALC4082” audio codec. By combining it with the attached application “Nahimic”, virtual surround and microphone noise cancellation can be used.
In addition, the M.2 slots on the sides of the outer perimeter are equipped with LEDs, and by using the included application “ASRock Polychrome RGB”, you can adjust the illumination by changing the color and making it colorful or shine in time with the music. The LEDs are installed only in this area, and the luster is suppressed, perhaps because the marble texture is emphasized.
Introducing the easy-to-use “Automatic Driver Installer”
Now, before we test the operation of the Z790 Taichi Carrara, let’s talk about a unique feature called “Automatic Driver Installer”. This is literally a function that installs drivers automatically, but it’s unique in that you don’t have to install any applications or visit any sites.
To use it, simply change the relevant item to “Enabled” in the UEFI BIOS. When you install the OS in that state, the Automatic Driver Installer pop-up will be displayed at the bottom right of the screen, and if you follow the instructions and continue with the wizard, the latest driver versions will be referenced, and they will be installed automatically.
I verified it using a 13th-generation Core i9 + RTX 4090!
Now, I want to try overclocking the CPU with the Z790 Taichi Carrara using the i9-13900K CPU and GeForce RTX 4090 as GPU. The goal is to check whether it can work stably even in overclocked conditions.
CPU overclocking is done from UEFI BIOS, and from the “CPU Turbo Ratio Information” submenu in the “CPU Configuration” of “OC Tweaker”, “CPU P-Core Ratio” is changed to “All Core” and “All Core” is changed to “58”. This means that all Performance cores will be powered by 5.8GHz.
This time, only the CPU operating clock is increased, but the memory clock can be set in “DRAM Frequency” in the “DRAM Configuration” of OC Tweaker. Whether it works or not depends on the module, but the UEFI BIOS provides settings up to DDR5-12800. Of course, if you have an XMP-compatible module, you can also select “XMP 3.0 Profile 1” from “Load XMP Settings”.
The currently configured test environment is shown in the table.
Components Test Environment Specifications CPU Core i9-13900K (24 cores/32 threads, up to 5.8GHz) motherboard ASRock “Z790 Taichi Carrara” (Intel Z790) memory DDR5-5200 16GB×2 video card GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition storage Western Digital WD_BLACK SN850 (M.2, PCIe 4.0, 1TB SSD) Power supply unit Corsair AX1200 (1200W, 80 PLUS PLATINUM) OS Windows 11 Pro
First, let’s look at the performance of the M.2 slot. However, at the time of writing, PCIe 5.0 compatible SSDs are not for sale, so this time I used Western Digital’s “WD_BLACK SN850” with a PCIe 4.0 connection and running CrystalDiskMark (Version 8.0.4).
As a result, sequential access is very high, with maximum reads of just under 7000MB/s and maximum writes of 5200MB/s, and random access of up to 1100MB/s reads and writes of up to 900MB/s, which is a benefit of PCIe 4.0 connections. Note that the temperature of the SSD running CrystalDisk Mark only increased to 77 degrees according to the S.M.A.R.T. reading, so there’s no need to worry about thermal throttling.
Use the latest games and check your overclocking stability!
Now, let’s check with some tests to see if the 5.8GHz i9-13900K drive is stable. First of all, starting with CINEBENCH R23, CPU (Multi Core) scores increased by about 4% compared to rated operation at 5.8GHz. The reason why there is no difference in CPU (Single Core) scores between the two is that if the i9-13900K is loaded with only one core, the Performance core is driven by 5.8GHz.
Next, looking at the “Time Spy” overall score of “3DMark” (Version 2.25.8043), the score increased by about 2% over-rated operation by setting all cores to 5.8GHz operation. As a precaution, I tried to apply the high load of the “Time Spy Extreme Stress Test” with all cores running at 5.8GHz, but I managed to complete the test, so I can say that the stability of the Z790 Taichi Carrara when overclocking is fine.
Now, let’s check if the operation when overclocking is stable even with the popular game “VALORANT”. Here, you can set the maximum image load from the options and play the game at a resolution of 3840×2160 dots (4K resolution). The frame rate during that time is obtained by “Fraps” (Version 3.5.99). As a result, it has been confirmed that the average frame rate and minimum frame rate increase by about 2% across all 5.8GHz core operations. Of course, I don’t see any problem with the operation at all.
Also, play the game Overwatch 2 at a resolution of 3840×2160 dots with graphics quality set to “High” and get frame rates with Fraps as before. Here, operating all cores at 5.8GHz, the average frame rate increased by more than 1% and the minimum frame rate increased by just under 2%. This may be because the minimum frame rate has a stronger effect on CPU performance.
I want to verify even “heavy” titles with large image loads. ONE OF THE TITLES, FINAL FANTASY XV WINDOWS EDITION BENCHMARK, RUNS WITH HIGH QUALITY OF 3840×2160 DOTS.
Looking at the overall score, all 5.8GHz core operations are up more than 2% of rated operations. It’s a heavy title, but it works well even after overclocking and shows sufficient stability.
Finally, let’s take a look at another heavyweight title, Cyberpunk 2077, which uses Ray Trace: Ultra preset and runs benchmark mode at 3840×2160 dots. As a result, although the average frame rate remains the same for both, at the minimum frame rate, all 5.8GHz core operations are 6% behind the rated operations. The overclocking effect is obvious. Of course, the stability during overclocking is also perfect.
The best functional, stable, and best motherboard
As mentioned above, the Z790 Taichi Carrara has complete functionality and is stable enough to overclock the best i9-13900K. The actual selling price is very high at around USD 720, but if you can expect stable operation over a long period of time, it can be said that it is a pretty good model.
Also, many people will buy a 13th Gen Intel Core processor and Z790 Taichi Carrara at the same time, but if you are on a tight budget and considering upgrading the CPU eventually, you can combine your current 12th Gen Intel Core processor with the Z790 Taichi Carrara. The ability to flexibly upgrade according to your budget is one of the highlights of this product.
If you are going to create a new look, you want to choose one with excellent stability and rich functionality. For those needs, the Z790 Taichi Carrara is just one perfect choice.
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