ASRock’s Phantom Gaming series carries one of their most tricked out models of motherboards among their whole line-up, which has grown a lot for the past two years, they really have am and for this particular series, ASRock went with bigger the number, better the model naming scheme. Here I have the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 7 model, which is leaning more towards the top end of the offer and, as the name suggests as it’s based on the Intel’s Z390 chipset.
I’m not sure where to start, maybe with how it looks since that’s the first thing that pops out when you do motherboard reviews? I personally really love the new direction ASRock went within this generation design-wise, it’s more subtle and neutral, it will go great with basically any build, while it still has some of that kick and flair to it thanks to these cool design details and red accents, unique for their phantom Gaming series, like ones on top of the I/O shield cover and around the chipsets heats-ink.
Since we’re already here, the passive cooling for the chipset sort of extends, more on the design side rather than on the functional side I would say, onto the M.2 slots which this particular model has two, one for up to 80 and the other one for up to 110 mm modules. The bottom one is easily removable, while for the top one you’ll basically have to pull the whole chipsets heatsink down, which is a bit of a hassle. Below those plates, you’ll find a thermal pad that will transfer the heat of the module to the metal portion of the heatsink. There’s also a third M.2 slot, but it’s a Key E one, for a WiFi/Bluetooth module.
ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 7 is almost fully tricked out
Around those M.2 slots we have a pretty decent array of PCI-express 3.0 x16 slots, three in total reinforced x16 slots in their full length, but of course, with a different lane speed electrical configuration depending on the connected hardware, supporting both SLI and CrossFireX multiGPU setups. Besides those ASRock also managed to sneak in three PCI-express 3.0 x1 slots for those expansion devices.
Continuing on with what you can put on the Z390 Phantom Gaming 7 theme, for the SATA3 ports you’ll get a total of 8 of those, 6 natively from the chipset and two from the added ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Since I’m already moving around this right edge of the motherboard, right next to the 24-pin ATX power connector here you can also see that we have two USB 3.0 headers, unfortunately, neither of them is the position under a right angle for easier cable management. Tucked in between them and the SATA ports we have a USB 3.2 Gen1 front panel header for Type-C ports on the chassis. At the right top corner there’s a power on and reset switch, which is pretty similar to each other, so I found myself guessing which one is which when I needed to power up the PC, still, they’re a very practical addon, especially for us reviewers. On the bottom edge, you’ll find your usual array of USB 2 headers, audio headers, two regular 12V RGB and one 5V addressable RGB LED headers, Debug LED screen, Thunderbolt header and the rest of your more common connectors. On the left side of that, you’ll find parked Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, paired with Nichicon caps and NE5532 amp, and isolated with shielding from the rest of the motherboards PCB to minimize the interference.
Lastly, besides your regular EPS power connectors in the left top corner, which in this case is coming in 8 + 4 configuration, those second four aren’t mandatory in order for the motherboard to work at all, but rather you can just use it in case when you have a really power-hungry CPU, a high-end SKU, plus if you want to do some overclocking of, for cooling off that CPU and keeping a steady airflow inside of the chassis, we have a total of five fan headers, one is a 1A PWM for the CPU fan cooler, while the other four are 2A.
Z390 Phantom Gaming 7 gets a decent power design
Moving back to the top half of the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 7, the left side is dominated by a pretty beefy cooling solution, behind which you will find a 10 phase power design. The CPU gets eight phases which are created by four ISL6617 doublers, controller by digital PWM controller from Intersil, the ISL69138 in a 4+2 phase configuration. Memory VRM gets two phases, controlled by an integrated PWM driver chip, APW8720, and uses MOSFETs from ON Semiconductor. Each phase for the VCore gets Vishay DrMOs Sic634 power stage, while the other two for the iGPU have a SiC632A power stage, and each of those is capable of 50A of continuous current output.
On the left side of the heatsink, we have that added shroud that carries ASRock’s lit up RGB LED logo and which continues onto the I/O shield which is together with it fixed in place and thus pre-installed, and that’s slowly becoming a normal sight nowadays, especially with higher-end models. Here you’ll come across onto a decent array of ports, most noticeable ones being the Realtek’s 2.5 Gigabit LAN port, next to the Intel’s Gigabit LAN port, 2xUSB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, one of it being a Type C, four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, HDMI, DisplayPorts video outs and gilded audio jacks. Lastly, on the right of all of that, next to the CPU socket, we have four DIMM slots supporting up to 128 GB of DDR4 RAM and with speeds up to 4300 MHz when overclocked.
Speaking of that, after updating the UEFI BIOS to the latest version, I still actually had a problem running an XMP profile on my HyperX Predator DDR4 RAM, so I had to fiddle around with memory settings in order to get it working at it’s declared 3000 MHz, although I didn’t have the same problem with my MSI Z370 PC Pro model which I usually use for my test rig. Not that big of a deal, but it got me on my feet right from the get-go. On the other hand, I managed to get 5,1 GHz without a problem with my sample of Intel’s Core i5 8600K, targeting it at around 1,31V of core voltage. The VRM temperature was pretty tamed in this case, nothing that could be addressed in particular, but that’s no wonder since it’s not a power-hungry CPU in question.
Can the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 7 price be justified?
Since I’m already here, talking about the UEFI BIOS, everything is pretty much laid out as before when it comes to ASRock’s motherboards and compared to their former models. You’ll get your very snappy and very detailed control over its functions, I personally tend to use the advanced mode layout, and here you’ll find your most common options for CPU and memory overclocking, and a bit more than that for those power users, and of course your regular settings like fan control and boot drive options. Thankfully, ASRock also supports direct BIOS customization of the RGB LED lighting on the motherboard, which we have a few around the heat-sinks, or the RGB LED headers, so you don’t have to install any of their software utility if you don’t want to, which is a big plus in my book.
All in all, this model has all the bells and whistles you’ll ever need, which sort of comes naturally with the Z390 chipset, while it still doesn’t go overboard with features, just the right amount of it for users who want and need a little bit of above-average experience. The price also follows reflects that it’s right where it should be everything considered, around 200$ at the time of doing this video.
That’s it for this time, I hope this ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 7 review makes your purchasing a bit easier, if you have any question feel free to hit me in the comments section of my YouTube video listed above, you can contact me via my social media channels!