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ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 Motherboard Review

The ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX TB3 is a unique X570 offering by way of its SFF design coupled with Thunderbolt 3 support. To users who want a compact powerhouse workstation that provides access to the high-speed Thunderbolt ecosystem, ASRock’s offering is the only choice in town.

Performance overall was excellent, with the miniature contender happily competing against larger ATX competitors. Power delivery from the well-built VRM solution was also positive and the heatsinks had no problem cooling the power stages, despite their rather inefficient design.

LGA 115X mounting holes for the CPU cooler will be excellent news to buyers upgrading from older Intel platforms and wanting to maintain their trusted heatsink. You also get better overall choice for SFF heatsinks that support LGA 115X compared to AM4. With that said, you won’t be able to install the Wraith CPU coolers bundled with your Ryzen CPU, so that is a clear caveat.

The rear-mounted M.2 connector is good for freeing up real estate on the motherboard’s front side. However, it certainly dictates that one uses an SSD with a relevant heatsink in order to avoid severe thermal throttling in write-heavy situations.

We opted for the WD_Black SN750 offering which proved to offer excellent sustained performance thanks to its heatsink. However, there are several chassis in which SSDs with heatsinks will not physically fit behind the motherboard tray, so one needs to make careful consideration.

There are clear caveats with the ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX TB3 motherboard, though. The lack of a secondary M.2 connection is highly disappointing from flexibility, performance, and sheer storage capacity perspectives. There’s no 2.5/5GbE which would have been very useful features, albeit at a cost increase. And the single internal USB 2.0 header is an oversight that will cause headaches for many AIO users.

Thankfully, the board’s Thunderbolt 3 special feature will help to alleviate many of those shortcomings whilst also offering display output capability through a single cable.

Put simply, if you want a high-performance, mini-ITX, X570 motherboard with Thunderbolt 3, the ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX TB3 is your only choice. Thankfully, the performance is strong, the VRM is very well built, and we would consider none of its caveats to be deal-breakers, provided you can manage with just one M.2 SSD slot.

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The ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 is priced at £249.95 at Overclockers UK.

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Pros:

  • Excellent Intersil-based VRM hardware
  • Very bulky main VRM heatsink with heatpipe to chipset and fan
  • Intel Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controller
  • Good video connectivity – HDMI 2.0 and Displayport-in for Thunderbolt 3
  • Clear and easy to use UEFI
  • LGA 115X cooler mounts are good for SFF users upgrading

Cons:

  • Only one M.2 port and no onboard cooling
  • No 2.5/5GbE
  • Can’t use AMD-supplied Wraith CPU coolers due to LGA 115X mounts
  • Only one internal USB 2 header

KitGuru says: A Mini-ITX powerhouse that offers the superb flexibility of Thunderbolt 3, albeit with caveats elsewhere. If you want SFF, X570, and Thunderbolt 3, the ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX TB3 is your only choice and it's certainly a good one.

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Rating: 8.0.

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