ASRock recently sent over their X399 Phantom Gaming 6 motherboard for our Phantom Gaming based build. It’s one of the cheaper X399 motherboards bringing the Phantom Gaming range to HEDT. We are keen to see how it performs so let’s take a closer look at the base of our latest system.
ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 Overview
When putting together a TR4 based system the processor alone can cost more than a traditional gaming build and there has been some criticism of the entry cost to this platform. At £250 ASRock have not skimped on features though, packing in support for up to 16 core processors, 2.5 gigabit Ethernet, an abundance of M.2 slots and three PCIe x16 slots to take advantage of all those available lanes.
This is ASRocks entry level board with a total of four on offer including the X399 Fatal1ty Professional Gaming, X399 Taichi and X399M Taichi. I think “value2 suits the labelling of the X399 Phantom Gaming 6 better than “entry level” though, M.2 Wifi, dual networking ports and eight DIMM slots add additional benefits to this board.
One way ASrock have managed to keep the cost down is by limiting the number of CPUs supported. By only allowing the use of Threadripper CPUs up to 180W reduces the cost but also makes great sense. Given that this is the entry point to Threadripper we cannot see anyone wanting to plant a higher rated TDP CPU into a system at this level (more on that later).
For those still rocking SLI or Crossfire setups, there are three full 16x PCIe lanes to choose from but no additional PCIe x1 slots. With three on-board M.2 slots that support NVME boot and eight SATA ports supporting RAID 0, 1 and 10, there are also plenty of storage options available.
Visual Walk Around
The X399 Phantom Gaming 6 represents one of ASRocks two Threadripper based boards, their Fatal1ty X399 Professional Gaming holds the top end segment while we settle with our value focussed offering today.
The colour scheme of the X399 Phantom Gaming 6 aligns with the rest of the Phantom range. The black and red will fit a variety of builds and includes RGB LEDs to the chipset heatsink. Additionally, there are two headers for RGB and ARGB that can be used with either ASRocks own Polychrome utility or many of the other mainstream applications.
To the top we have our dual 8 pin 12V ATX power connectors and eight DIMM slots flanking the CPU socket in a four and four configuration, supporting quad channel memory up to 128GB of DDR4 3400. Moving around the board we have ample cooling options with a total of 5 fan headers that include a CPU and AIO connections that can be assigned via the BIOS.
Power is supplied via a 6+2 phase delivery limiting the board to 180W TDP processors. However, when we come to testing later we have actually used a 2990WX, AMDs flagship 250W TDP chip. When we spoke with ASRock regarding our concerns, the board can actually run this silicon but we have not overclocked it to ensure we don’t fry the motherboard. So for those out there with a higher end chip, yes, it is possible at least but we would not recommend it. AMD were originally to send over a 1950X for this build and review, none were available and we couldnty turn down their offer of a 2990WX instead.
For PCIe, ASRock have provided their Steel Armour to all three slots while for storage, M.2 can support a 22110 and two 2280 drives. Audio is taken care of by a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec and is separated in the usual fashion we have all become accustomed to. A nice touch is the right angled audio connector that we wish all manufacturers would implement as standard for motherboards across all connectors including USB and ATX 24 pin.
ASRock also include a TPM header, twin USB 2.0 headers, a USB 3.1 G1 header, Clear CMOS button, Power and Reset buttons, handy for benching. Rear panel I/O also provides 1xPS/2, 1x Optical, 1x USB 3.1 Type A, 1x USB 3.1 Type C, 8x USB 3.1 G1, 2x RJ45 and HD Audio Jacks.
The ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 comes with the usual bundle of parts in the box. These include the software CD, installation guide, I/O Shield, four SATA cables, two way SLI HB Bridge, Wifi bracket and four M.2 screws.
Given that this is our first ASRock motherboard review, we have nothing to compare it to. Having said that, the BIOS is easy to navigate and there are plenty of prompts to hand if needed.
A black and red GUI bred from the Phantom Gamng theme greet us upon entry to the BIOS. Its well organised and intuitive yet lacks a easy and advanced mode.
ASRock provide eight menu options to choose from and includes their OC Tweaker that will help to get the most out of your chip. XMP can also be enabled here to get DRAM up to speed, limited to DDR4 4000.
More advanced options are also available for networking ports, audio, hot plugging and more. Fan headers can be controlled via the ASRock Fantastic utility, assigned to CPU, AIO or system fan from within, custom fan profiles can also be set giving you flexible control over the cooling of your system.
Again at “entry level”, there are more than enough options to new and experienced overclockers and system tweakers.
We were going to mention software and drivers seperatley but honestly, given this day in age that CDs are no longer in fashion we would simply recommend visiting the ASRock product page to grab everything you need. Its such a simple yet effective way to ensure that everything is up to date and given its 2019, we cant see why manufactureres are still providing CD support. Driver and utilities can all be found and we recommend trying out the Polychrome Sync utility for on bard RGB lighting.
We have gone over some of the most mportant aspects of this board but to complete the full featuree set we have listed everything here.
|Warranty Period||3 Years|
|CPU Interface||TR4 / SP3r2|
|Memory Slots (DDR4)||Eight DDR4|
Up to DDR4-3400
|Network Connectivity||Realtek RTL8125AG (2.5 GigE)|
Intel I-211AT Gigabit (1 GigE)
|Onboard Audio||Realtek ALC1220|
|PCIe Slots for Graphics (from CPU)||3 x PCIe 3.0 (x16)|
|PCIe Slots for Other (from PCH)||N/A|
|Onboard SATA||Eight, RAID 0/1/10|
|Onboard M.2||1 x PCIe 3.0 x4 (top slot) – 22110|
1 x PCIe 3.0 x4 (left middle slot) – 2280
1 x PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA (right middle slot) – 2280
|USB 3.1 (10 Gbps)||1 x Type-A|
1 x Type-C
|USB 3.0 (5 Gbps)||8 x Rear Panel (Type-A)|
2 x Header (four ports)
|USB 2.0||2 x Header (four ports)|
|Power Connectors||1 x 24-pin ATX|
2 x 8-pin CPU
|Fan Headers||1 x CPU (4-pin)|
1 x CPU/Pump (4-pin)
3 x System (4-pin)
|IO Panel||1 x USB 3.1 Type-A (USB 3.1 Gen 2)|
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
8 x USB 3.1 Type-A (USB 3.1 Gen 1)
1 x Network RJ-45 (Realtek)
1 x Network RJ-45 (Intel
5 x 3.5 mm Audio Jacks (Realtek)
1 x S/PDIF (Realtek)
1 x PS/2 Combo Port
Given this is our first Threadripper based review, we will be using the components kindly provided by Cooler Master, ASRock, AMD and Team Group for our Phantom Gaming build. For future TR4 based reviews we will be using this as a benchmark for all future runs. We do not own any specialised testing hardware such as wall power meters, at Mod83 we are modders first and foremost and our reviews are carried out to the best of our ability with the resources we have at our disposal.
|Processor||AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX,|
32 Cores, 64 Threads, 3.5 GHz (4.4 GHz Turbo)
|Motherboard||ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6|
|Cooling||Cooler Master ML360 TR4 Edition|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master V750|
|Memory||4x8GB TeamGroup Xcalibur DDR4 3200|
|Video Card||ASUS GTX 1070 Strix|
|Hard Drive||Samsung 860 Evo|
|Case||Cooler Master H500P|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit Home|
ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 Conclusion
The ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 is an ATX board that clearly wishes to dominate the entry to HEDT and TR4. At “just” £250 it comes in at a lower price than offerings from Gigabyte and undercuts its big brother, the X399 Taichi by £100. It’s still not cheap and we get that, there are mainstream platform options at half this price but looking at the list of features, it’s a hard board to beat given the inclusion of three M.2 and PCIe x16 slots.
The only downside so to speak is the CPU support list but that’s not a big problem as far as we can see. Yes, we tested with an over the top CPU given the availability of a 1950X. But, for an entry level board is it a winner? Hell yes.
This board sits on its own, away from the competition for us. It gives a new comer or more budget conscious buyer something to really get the most out of without spending more than they need to. As we said before, we would not call this entry level but more of a value proposition and we applaud ASRock for making this call.
With great build quality, rich feature list and good pricing the ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 gets our vote.