ASRock B550 Taichi

The ASRock B550 Taichi is the top-end model from the company, with the key highlight being the use of Intel’s 2.5 gigabit Ethernet controller as well as the Intel AX201 module for Wi-Fi 6 capabilities. As with other ASRock Taichi models, the focus is always on all the cogs working together, and for this motherboard the company has splashed a good amount of brushed metal around the heatsinks. The chipset heatsink is an extended affair across most of the bottom half of the motherboard, also covering the two M.2 slots.

This motherboard is also unique among other B550 boards by offering dual 8-pin CPU power connectors, along with sixteen power phases on board. Despite this being a B550 ‘mid-range’ motherboard, ASRock wants users to push the system, as right in the middle is enscribed ‘Philosophy of Infinite Potential’.

The socket area has four easy-to access 4-pin fan headers, and the power delivery heatsink extends through a heatpipe into a more solid mass on the rear panel. The system has single sided DRAM slots, suggesting users need to push hard on the modules to make sure they are in properly. On the right hand side of the motherboard are two USB 3.0 front panel headers, a USB Type-C header, another 4-pin power connector, and eight SATA ports.

Another unique thing about this board is that this is the only B550 board we have seen with eight SATA ports. In this case, ASRock uses the four SATA ports on the chipset and adds another four from an ASMedia ASM1061 controller.

The top two full-length PCIe 4.0 slots from the CPU can run at x16 or x8/x8, while the bottom full-length slot is a PCIe 3.0 x4 from the chipset. Each of these three slots use extra protection for heavy graphics cards.

On the bottom of the motherboard are additional fan headers, RGB headers, two USB 2.0 headers, and power/reset buttons with a two-digit debug LED.

Audio on the right hand side of the motherboard comes from a Realtek ALC1220 codec, which also has an NE5532 amp in the setup.

From left to right, the rear panel has the two antenna for the Wi-Fi 6 module, a BIOS flash button, a Clear CMOS button, DisplayPort and HDMI, four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, Intel’s I225-V 2.5 gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, a Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, a Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, and the audio jacks.

B for Budget ASRock B550 Steel Legend
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  • Kougar - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Most of these boards are a serious VRM upgrade over the B450 boards. If I was buying Ryzen right now I'd easily go B550 over X570.

    So, only the ASUS boards offer bios flashback? Seems like a cheaper, just as userful version of dual BIOS anyway.
  • Brane2 - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Finally ONE mini-ITX board with 3-monitor output.
  • Gigaplex - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Colour me disappointed. I was hoping to do a mATX file server build using an APU. No support for existing APUs, no ETA on when consumers can buy the newer APUs, and most of these boards only have 4 SATA ports.

    I really don't want to have to buy a crappy NVIDIA 710 just to get it running.
  • mm0zct - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - link

    If you're booting Linux, you might be able to get away with either a good old fashioned serial cable (a lot of boards still have a serial port header) or a USB-HDMI/VGA dongle, since these are supported by the mainline kernel. The main issue might jus tbe getting the BIOS to boot your install media, but a serial port might work still here.

    You could also just borrow a graphics card from any other system you own to do the initial install, and then let it run headlessly once it's up and running.
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - link

    I am booting Linux, and have tried completely headless in the past. It's not really worth the trouble (especially if I need to quickly diagnose issues), I'd rather just buy the crappy GPU.
  • IBM760XL - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    I'm probably missing something, but what's the point of including HDMI/DP/DVI outputs if the boards don't support APUs? Aren't you going to need to use the output on your dGPU anyway?

    I appreciate the summaries on the last page, but wish it could be enhanced a bit. E.g. what's the cheapest board with 2.5G Ethernet? What are the cheapest boards in general? I probably wouldn't go with the cheapest one, but given the prices on a lot of these, it's likely I would choose one of the less expensive ones.
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - link

    They will support the Zen 2 APUs, which aren't out yet.
  • IBM760XL - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    So checking my local store's inventory, they have 25 B550 boards in stock, of all varieties, but are completely sold out of both B450 and X570 (there are a few cheap A320 boards available as well, and nine TRX40 boards that start at $450).

    Something tells me Ryzen 3000 chips have been selling quicker than the motherboard manufacturers can keep up, and maybe that's part of the reason B550 prices are starting out high. If they're selling out, it makes sense for them to start with a higher MSRP, which they can always lower if demand falls.

    Unfortunately for AMD, if B450 doesn't come back in stock, that's going to hurt Ryzen 3000 sales. Intel mobo inventory is also a bit limited, but about half of the Intel models they offer are available, including some in that $75-$125 range, versus about 15% of the AMD models being in stock currently.
  • romrunning - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - link

    I think the delays are all shipping-related. It's affecting all computer parts, like power supplies, motherboards, and the like. I wish a bunch of the mfgs would just pool resources to buy dedicated air cargo flights; maybe pooling will mitigate some of the losses on the lower margin items.
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    "Most of these boards are a serious VRM upgrade over the B450 boards. If I was buying Ryzen right now I'd easily go B550 over X570."

    Why does that matter? Overclocking died with Zen, especially Zen 2.

    As long as it doesn't throttle, you're good.

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