The following system was used to test the motherboard:
– CPU: Intel 9900K @ 5.0 GHz
– RAM: Ballistix Tactical Tracer 16GB DDR4 @ 2666MHz
– GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Founder’s Edition
– HDD: WD 1TB Blue
– SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB
– PSU: Seasonic Snow Silent 750W Platinum
– CPU Cooler: Silverstone Tundra TD-04E
– Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe
– OS: Windows 10 64-Bit (After April Update)
The processor was used with the stock turbo frequency of 3.6 GHz and overclocked to 5 GHz with a core voltage of 1.298. The overclocking starts at 4 GHz and with each motherboard I try to achieve the highest safe overclocking possible. The RAM memory was used at its default frequency
Software used for testing the motherboard:
– 3D Mark – FireStrike
– CineBench r11.5
– SuperPi mod 1.5
– Grand Theft Auto V
– The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
SuperPi mod 1.5
Grand Theft Auto V
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The ASRock Z390 Steel Legend is an affordable motherboard that is equipped with the Intel Z390 chipset and offers plenty of features.
The design has remained consistent through the entire Steel Legend series, the centerpiece of this motherboard is the camouflage pattern applied directly on the PCB surface. There is also RGB integration inside the chipset heatsink and under the right edge of the motherboard, which can be controlled either by software or through the motherboard’s Bios.
The components used in the CPU power delivery system are good, however as is the case of other Steel Legend motherboards, the VRM cooling is not the best. The Z390 Steel Legend also does not have two VRM heatsinks installed. When used, the VRM would reach a temperature of 81°C with an ambient temperature of 26°C. If overclocking is tried, then the temperature will go above 90°C. This can be fixed, by either having a fan blowing air over the VRM area of the motherboard or using a Top Flow CPU Cooler.
In terms of standard storage options, the Z390 Steel Legend has you covered, by offering a total of SATA 6 connectors. However, these are split for your convenience and better cable management. The main four connectors are bundled together in stacks of two in the classic location of the right side of the board. The other two SATA connectors are located on the lower right corner of the motherboard, right next to the front Panel header.
The fast storage on this board is in the shape of two M.2 SSD slots both covered by heatsinks to provide passive cooling to the SSDs. A third M.2 slot is present under the PCIe connector; however, this is an E-Key M.2 slot that can be used to add a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth network card.
In conclusion, the ASRock Z390 Steel Legend is good entry level Z390 motherboard that is affordable and will deliver a good gaming experience. There are numerous features offered including fast storage M.2 slots and split SATA6 ports.
The main drawback of this motherboard is the VRM cooling which can be improved by either using a Top Flow CPU Cooler or having a fan directing airflow to the CPU area of the board. This is perhaps one of the reasons ASRock does not recommend this model for overclocking, however it does not take away the fact that the Z390 Steel Legend is a good and affordable motherboard for gaming.