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Asrock B550 Taichi : Review


Introduction:

AMD recently introduced their latest B550 chipset for the AM4 mainstream platform. B550 follows in the footsteps of it's elder brother, the X570 which is a higher tier chipset with much more features and full fledge PCIe Gen4 Support. B550 brings PCIe gen 4 support to mainstream albeit with a few caveats. As you may be aware, B450 has been the go to chipset for almost 2 years now for the AM4 mainstream platform. B450 was launched with Ryzen 2nd Gen CPUs aka Pinnacle Ridge. Being a cost effective chipset, we saw some excellent solutions at different price points with different feature sets. B450 SKUs had something for everyone, be it entry level, mid range, Mini ITX, High End, Workstation, etc. What B450 lacked for obvious reasons was PCIe Gen4 support. X570 Chipset was the world's first chipset to bring this functionality but was also quite a bit expensive. There was a need for a mid range chipset with this functionality. Many believed that B550 would be a successor to the outgoing hero, the B450 chipset. In some ways it is and in some ways it isn't. What this means is that, B550 brings PCIe Gen4 to the masses BUT not at the same price point of it's predecessor. I must say that somewhat to my surprise, B550 boards are substantially more expensive than the outgoing B450 models. Yes I know that PCIe Gen 4 requires much higher PCB quality to maintain signal integrity and that newer,upcoming CPUs might generally have a higher core count and therefore it is only logical to include much stronger VRM designs ,etc. Even then the overall price hike is a bit hard to swallow. I am not saying that motherboard vendors are offering "Less" for more price. The Designs are top notch, filled with features, sometimes we may wonder as to what exactly differentiates these new models with X570 ones. They are that feature rich at times. Whether B550 solutions should be so expensive is a debatable topic. Anyway, without wasting more time, let's take a closer look at the board we shall be reviewing today, Asrock's flagship offering, the B550 Taichi.


Unboxing :



Careful packaging to ensure no damage to the motherboard.


Accessories include necessary stuff.


We see a Brown (Bronzish maybe??)/Black colour theme for the first time on a Taichi Series board. Brown theme may not be to everyone's liking though.

Aluminum backplate, has hints of Taichi design language and acts as a brace to avoid PCB flexing.
Closer Look :

Solid, Chunky looking VRM Heatsinks with Heatpipe for efficient heat transfer

Solid Aluminum heatsink


Aluminum shroud/armor, chipset heatsink VRM heatsink plastic shroud removed.


M.2 SSD Heatsinks, Chipset Heatsinks, are made out of aluminum and are all part of the armor covering on the board.


Solid Aluminum heatsinks with heatpipes with thermal pads for Chokes and MOSFETs for optimum heat dissipation. Good attention to detail.


The rear backplate has thick thermal pads right behind the VRM section to act as heatsinks. Since the backplate is made of aluminum and not plastic, it acts as a large heatsink. Smart Thinking.

Chipset Heatsink

Backside of the board without the Back plate


Dual 8 Pin EPS CPU Power connectors.

VRM section in it's full glory


Vishay SiC654 50A Power Stages

Renesas RAA 229004 (7+2) PWM Controller


A2 & B2 slots should be populated first if using 2 x DIMMS.

RGB & ARGB Headers

USB Type C Front Panel Connector

AMD B550 Chipset

Front Panel Audio Connetor

More RGB & ARGB Headers

Regular USB 3.0 Front Panel connectors

4 Pin PWM Fan Headers

SATA + USB 3.0 Connectors

Power,Reset,Post Code LED, Clear CMOS Button all in one place. Good!
Test System:
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3950X (16Core/32Thread) Processor

  • Asrock B550 Taichi Motherboard

  • Galax HOF RGB 4000MHz 8GBx2 Dual Channel Memory Kit

  • Custom Water Cooling for CPU

  • Galax Low Profile Twin Fan Geforce GTX1650 4GB Graphics Card

  • Super Flower Leadex Gold 1600W Full Modular PSU

Benchmarks :





VRM Testing: PWM Controller - Renesas RAA 229004 (7+2) 14 + 2 (This board uses Phase doublers hence 7x2 = 14 Phases) Power Stages = Vishay SiC654 50A Power Stages Phase Doublers = Renesas ISL6617A


K-Type Probe was stuck to the back side of the PCB just under the VRM section to monitor realtime temperature behavior.

  • K-Type Thermocouple stuck to the PCB backside just under the VRM Section + Infrared Thermometer to monitor VRM Heatsink, Chokes, Capacitors.

  • These temperature are after running Full load Aida64 Stress test with AVX Workload with the CPU running @ 4.4 GHz on all cores for the entire duration of the test.

  • The test was run for a period of 1 Hr.

  • Since the test was performed on an open test bench, there was no airflow over the VRM heatsink.


  • K-Type Thermocouple stuck to the PCB backside just under the VRM Section + Infrared Thermometer to monitor VRM Heatsink, Chokes, Capacitors.

  • These temperature are after running Full load Aida64 Stress test with AVX Workload with the CPU running @ 4.4 GHz on all cores for the entire duration of the test.

  • The test was run for a period of 1 Hr.

  • 120mm fan running at full RPM was placed directly over the VRM heatsink.

Overclocking : 4.4 GHz @ 1.3V (Set in BIOS) on all Cores completely stable under full load.






Memory OC :


3600 MHz 12-12-12-24 1T

4266 MHz 14-14-14-28 1T
Closing Thoughts:
  • The Asrock B550 Taichi is a full fledge feature filled flagship offering from Asrock.

  • Although based on the B550 Chipset, the feature set and design is equivalent to any top tier X570 board.

  • Strong VRM Design is more than capable of handling HCC CPU like the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X & 3950X. We used the 3950X Model for this review and the board handled this CPU like a walk in the park,results above are proof of that.

  • Intel WIFI 6, Bluetooth 5, Intel 2.5G LAN, USB Type C are few of the cutting edge features found on top tier boards these days. No prizes for guessing, this board has all of them.

  • Memory overclocking potential is also extremely promising on this board. Usually 4 DIMM boards do not showcase a massive potential in terms of sheer Memory OC capability. With whatever little time i spent with this board, it could happily clock to speeds upto 4266MHz and really tight timings while at it. Not many boards can do 12-12-12-24 1T with Tight sub-timings very easily. The fact that this board was able to do it, speaks a lot about the effort Asrock has taken. BIOS was the same which this unit shipped with and was rock stable, no complaints.

  • Although not officially confirmed, the tentative price of this board is expected to be around 30,000/- (Including GST) making it one of the most expensive B550 boards. Had it been priced a bit lower, would have made a killer option to look for.

After spending some time with this board and testing it thoroughly, there are absolutely no complaints about the features, design, build quality etc. Price is slightly on the higher side and might become the Achilles Heel for Asrock. Purely for this reason we are awarding the Silver Award or it would have been a solid Gold. Thanks!


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