The ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 Motherboard Review: $250 Sixteen Core Stunnerby Gavin Bonshor on March 12, 2019 10:00 AM EST
The ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 is an ATX motherboard and offers users an entry-level option at just $250 onto the Threadripper socket. Some of the major features on offer include triple M.2 which all support NVMe drives, and dual LAN capability with the inclusion of a Realtek 2.5 GbE RTL8125AG Gaming NIC, which is complemented by a second Intel I211AT NIC. All three of the full-length PCIe 3.0 x16 slots run at the full available bandwidth and offer support for three-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire multi-graphics setups.
|ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 ATX Motherboard|
|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
On back panel is just two USB 3.1 G2 ports with a Type-A and Type-C both featured; a further eight USB 3.1 G1 Type-A ports make up the boards rear panel extensive USB block on the rear panel. While the cheapest board on the chipset usually contains a budget-focused controller set, the ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 is different in that it’s just as premium as other options with a Realtek ALC1220 audio codec and dual LAN, except for limited support for just 180 W processors. This includes CPUs such as the Threadripper 2920X and 2950X CPUs.
As per our testing policy, we take a high-end CPU suitable for the motherboard that was released during the socket’s initial launch, and equip the system with a suitable amount of memory running at the processor maximum supported frequency. This is also typically run at JEDEC subtimings where possible.
It is noted that some users are not keen on this policy, stating that sometimes the maximum supported frequency is quite low, or faster memory is available at a similar price, or that the JEDEC speeds can be prohibitive for performance. While these comments make sense, ultimately very few users apply memory profiles (either XMP or other) as they require interaction with the BIOS, and most users will fall back on JEDEC supported speeds - this includes home users as well as industry who might want to shave off a cent or two from the cost or stay within the margins set by the manufacturer. Where possible, we will extend out testing to include faster memory modules either at the same time as the review or a later date.
|Processor||AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X,
16 Cores, 32 Threads, 3.5 GHz (4.4 GHz Turbo)
|Motherboard||ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 (BIOS P1.10)|
|Cooling||Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 360|
|Power Supply||Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200W Gold PSU|
|Memory||4x8GB GSkill TridentZ RGB DDR4-3200|
|Memory Settings||DDR4-2666, 1.2 V, 16-18-18-35 1T|
|Video Card||ASUS GTX 980 STRIX (1178/1279 Boost)|
|Hard Drive||Crucial MX300 1TB|
|Case||Open Test Bed|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro 64-bit|
Readers of our motherboard review section will have noted the trend in modern motherboards to implement a form of MultiCore Enhancement / Acceleration / Turbo (read our report here) on their motherboards. This does several things, including better benchmark results at stock settings (not entirely needed if overclocking is an end-user goal) at the expense of heat and temperature. It also gives, in essence, an automatic overclock which may be against what the user wants. Our testing methodology is ‘out-of-the-box’, with the latest public BIOS installed and XMP enabled, and thus subject to the whims of this feature. It is ultimately up to the motherboard manufacturer to take this risk – and manufacturers taking risks in the setup is something they do on every product (think C-state settings, USB priority, DPC Latency / monitoring priority, overriding memory sub-timings at JEDEC). Processor speed change is part of that risk, and ultimately if no overclocking is planned, some motherboards will affect how fast that shiny new processor goes and can be an important factor in the system build.
New Test Suite: Spectre and Meltdown Hardened
Since the start of our Z390 reviews, we are using an updated OS, updated drivers, and updated software. This is in line with our CPU testing updates, which includes Spectre and Meltdown patches.
Many thanks due to...
Thank you to ASUS for providing us with GTX 980 Strix GPUs. At the time of release, the STRIX brand from ASUS was aimed at silent running, or to use the marketing term: '0dB Silent Gaming'. This enables the card to disable the fans when the GPU is dealing with low loads well within temperature specifications. These cards equip the GTX 980 silicon with ASUS' Direct CU II cooler and 10-phase digital VRMs, aimed at high-efficiency conversion. Along with the card, ASUS bundles GPU Tweak software for overclocking and streaming assistance.
The GTX 980 uses NVIDIA's GM204 silicon die, built upon their Maxwell architecture. This die is 5.2 billion transistors for a die size of 298 mm, built on TMSC's 28nm process. A GTX 980 uses the full GM204 core, with 2048 CUDA Cores and 64 ROPs with a 256-bit memory bus to GDDR5. The official power rating for the GTX 980 is 165W.
The ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB (or the full name of STRIX-GTX980-DC2OC-4GD5) runs a reasonable overclock over a reference GTX 980 card, with frequencies in the range of 1178-1279 MHz. The memory runs at stock, in this case 7010 MHz. Video outputs include three DisplayPort connectors, one HDMI 2.0 connector and a DVI-I.
Further Reading: AnandTech's NVIDIA GTX 980 Review
Thank you to Crucial for providing us with MX200/MX300 SSDs. Crucial stepped up to the plate as our benchmark list grows larger with newer benchmarks and titles, and the 1TB units are strong performers. The MX200s are based on Marvell's 88SS9189 controller and using Micron's 16nm 128Gbit MLC flash, these are 7mm high, 2.5-inch drives rated for 100K random read IOPs and 555/500 MB/s sequential read and write speeds. The 1TB models we are using here support TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 (eDrive) encryption and have a 320TB rated endurance with a three-year warranty.
Further Reading: AnandTech's Crucial MX200 (250 GB, 500 GB & 1TB) Review
Corsair kindly sent a set of their Vengeance LPX low profile, high-performance memory. The heatsink is made of pure aluminum to help remove heat from the sticks and has an eight-layer PCB. The heatsink is a low profile design to help fit in spaces where there may not be room for a tall heat spreader; think a SFF case or using a large heatsink.