Due for review is ASRock’s PHANTOM GAMING Z790 Nova WiFi. This is a high-end Intel Z790 chipset motherboard, featuring a local price of ₱23,000 PHP.

Disclosure: ASRock sent the PG Z790 Nova WiFi for the purpose of this review – along with an Intel Core i9-14900K CPU. They did not ask me to say anything particular about it.

Technical Specifications

The PG Z790 Nova WiFi is at the top of ASRock’s food chain, featuring a 20+1+1 power design, support for up to six M.2 devices, Wi-Fi 7, PCIe Gen5, and many more that we will explore in this review.

Processor
CPU Intel Core (12th, 13th, 14th), Pentium Gold, Celeron
Chipset Intel Z790
Socket Intel LGA 1700
Memory
SDRAM DDR5
Interface 4x LO-DIMM
Channel Dual Channel
Speed 8000+ MT/s (OC)
Capacity 192 GB (Max)
Graphics
GPU Intel Xe (12th Gen), UHD
Multi-GPU N/A
Expansion
PCIe PCIe 5.0 x16, PCIe 4.0 x16,  PCIe x1
Storage
Interface PCIe 5.0 M.2, 5x PCIe 4.0 M.2, 4x SATA
RAID 0/1/5/10 (M.2 and SATA)
Network
Ethernet Killer E3100G 2.5 Gbps
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 7
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.4
Audio
DAC Realtek ALC4082
ADC Realtek ALC4082
Amplifier N/A
Channel 7.1
External
USB 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x USB 2.0 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C
Ethernet RJ45
Audio 2x 3.5mm, S/PDIF
Display DisplayPort, HDMI
Internal
USB 4x USB 2.0, 4x USB 3.2 Gen 1, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2
Audio HD_Audio
Fan CPU Fan, CPU/Water Pump, 5x Chassis/Water Pump, VRM Fan Connector
LED RGB LED, 3x Addressable LED
Dimensions
Length 305 mm
Width 244 mm
Height N/A
Weight N/A

Packaging and Accessories

ASRock had the PG Z790 NOVA motherboard wrapped inside a 3 part cardboard packaging along with its accessories.

asrock pg z790 nova wifi review 6

Scope of delivery are as follows:

  • ASRock PG Z790 Nova WiFi Motherboard
  • User Manual
  • 4x SATA Data Cables
  • Graphics Card Holder
  • ASRock WiFi 2.4/5/6 GHz Antenna
  • ARGB Splitter Cable
  • 3x Thermistor Cables
  • 5x Screws for M.2 Sockets
  • 5x Standoffs for M.2 Sockets

As far as the bundle goes, I have nothing to complain.

Design, Build and Connectivity

ASRock’s Z790 NOVA WiFi is a premium ATX motherboard, featuring CNC milled parts covering most of its matte-black PCB. Like many flagship intel Z790 chipset boards cladded in metal, the Z790 NOVA is heavy so make sure to handle it with care.

asrock pg z790 nova wifi review 7

Given its substantial weight, it’s no surprise that the Z790 NOVA WiFi includes a backplate for additional PCB reinforcement. Speaking, the I/O shield is also reinforced with its own brace.

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CPU power delivery is a courtesy of a 20+1+1 VRM design fed by dual 8-pin CPU power connectors. As for cooling, ASRock incorporated the use of both active and passive cooling solutions for the Z790 NOVA’s VRM. This area also houses 3x fan headers, 2x LED headers and the debug LED.

asrock pg z790 nova wifi review 3

The lower part of the motherboard has the usual assortment of headers (HD_Audio, USB, Speaker, F_Panel, TPM) with the addition of a Thunderbolt header, 3x fan headers, 2x LED headers, power and reset buttons. ASRock also included 3x temperature sensor headers here for the bundled thermistors.

asrock pg z790 nova wifi review 1

The Z790 NOVA WiFi only comes with 4x SATA ports. However, you will be pleased to hear that it offers 6x M.2 slots – one of which is PCIe 5.0 featuring a tool-less passive cooler. Another fan header could be seen here and almost adjacent to it is yet another – around the VRM area. That sums up for a total of 8 fan headers.

asrock pg z790 nova wifi review 2

Back panel I/O options are plenty. We have a total of 10 USB ports, 4 of which are 10 Gbps while the single Type-C is capable of reaching 20 Gbps. Sadly, the board doesn’t offer Intel Thunderbolt out of the box. In turn, the Z790 NOVA offers 2.5G LAN and Wi-Fi 7 support instead. As for audio, the board comes with two 3.5 mm jacks (line-in and out), along with an S/PDIF out with surround sound capabilities.

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Firmware

The Z790 NOVA WiFi comes with a simple and easy to follow UEFI design. The EZ Mode in particular offers quick settings for the CPU, memory and storage.

asrock pg z790 nova wifi uefi 1

Going into advanced mode shows a more classic BIOS layout. Here, we have 8 sub-menus, with the OC Tweaker being the most important menu for CPU and memory overclocking.

asrock pg z790 nova wifi uefi 2

The Z790 NOVA WiFi comes with a healthy amount of sensors. That includes temperature, voltage, current and RPM readings for various components found within the motherboard.

asrock pg z790 nova wifi uefi 4

Now this board comes with a capable fan tuning tool. ASRock calls its FAN-Tastic Tuning and for the Z790 NOVA, you could control each of its fans via a temperature curve. These curves may be adjusted based on the thermal readings from the CPU, motherboard or even the thermistors.

asrock pg z790 nova wifi uefi 3

Processor

The Intel Core i9-14900K pairs well with the ASRock Z790 NOVA WiFi featuring excellent scores from AIDA64’s computational heavy benchmarks.

Memory

Memory benchmark results are slightly lower compared to the i7-14700K equipped MSI Z790 motherboard we’ve tested prior. Nothing major to worry though, as I find the small differences inconsequential.

Graphics

Performance is in-line with the Radeon RX 6700 XT results I’ve seen with other Z790 boards regardless of CPU – with the exception of the higher 64-bit Integer result from AIDA64’s GPGPU benchmark. I do not have the last Z790 motherboard I’ve tested here along with its CPU so I cannot retest this benchmark to check if the gains were due to a software, driver update or a combination of both.

Storage

Solid state storage performance is pretty much on point with other motherboards supporting the same interfaces tested. I have nothing to complain here really.

As for the USB ports, I failed to test the board’s USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps) interface – it only shakes hand with devices at USB 3.0 Gen 2. I’ve tried my 20 Gbps and 40 Gbps enclosures along with a number of Thunderbolt and 40 Gbps certified cables to no avail. I made sure to update the drivers and the firmware prior to testing so this is going to the con list until I’ve found out a solution. Other interfaces worked at their expected speed ratings though.

Network

Wired network speed via its 2.5 Gbps capable Killer E3100G NIC maxes out my 2.5 Gbps network.

The Z790 NOVA WiFi supports Wi-Fi 7, but I could only test it with a Wi-Fi 5 router. I can’t say much here really.

Audio

ASRock’s Z790 NOVA WiFi uses the Realtek ALC4082 chip to for its audio input and output. Now, line-out performance is very good – minus the THD + Noise results which is just below average. Line-in performance is where it doesn’t cut though, featuring weak results from our tests. I am pretty sure the line-in wasn’t isolated properly from the rest of the components.

Right Mark Audio Analyzer | Audio
Test Options Line-In Line-Out
Noise Level (dBA) -36.0 -92.4
Dynamic Range (dBA) 43.7 92.9
THD (%) 0.528 0.047
THD + Noise (dBA) -24.4 -64.3
IMD + Noise (%) 6.136 0.062
Stereo Crosstalk (dB) -1.7 -88.6
IMD at 10 kHz (%) 1.818 0.037

Temperature

The VRM temperature of the Z790 NOVA is actually good, not even hitting 65 °C with the Intel Core i9-14900K at full load.

Power

Motherboard power averages at 41.5 W and 78.9 W at both idle and at load.

Final Thoughts

The Z790 Nova WiFi is a premium ATX motherboard, featuring a matte-black PCB with CNC milled parts for cooling and style points. This motherboard is heavy, requiring you to handle it with care. I’m glad that ASRock included a backplate for PCB reinforcement to address this.

Now, the motherboard’s power delivery system is impressive, featuring a 20+1+1 VRM design fed by dual 8-pin CPU power connectors. With such beefy power solution, cooling is a priority, so I am happy it comes with active and passive solutions to maintain optimal VRM temperatures. The board also includes multiple headers for fans, LEDs, and a debug LED for troubleshooting.

Like with many Z790 motherboards, connectivity options are plentiful. The lower part of the motherboard houses essential headers, including a Thunderbolt header, power and reset buttons, and temperature sensor headers for the bundled thermistors. The motherboard supports up to 4 SATA ports and 6 M.2 slots, one of which is PCIe 5.0 compliant complete with a tool-less passive cooler. I just wish it comes with a Thunderbolt ready USB port along with 100% tool-less M.2 coolers.

Speaking of ports, the back panel I/O features 10 USB ports, including four 10 Gbps ports and a single Type-C port capable of 20 Gbps. However, the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps) interface failed to reach its expected speeds, operating only at USB 3.2 Gen 2 speeds despite thorough testing with various devices and cables. Network connectivity includes 2.5G LAN and Wi-Fi 7.

As for audio, it offers two 3.5 mm jacks (line-in and out) and an S/PDIF out. While its audio line-out performance is commendable, the line-in performance is subpar.

The ASRock PHANTOM GAMING Z790 Nova WiFi is a feature-rich, high-performance motherboard with robust design and comprehensive connectivity options. It excels in power delivery, cooling, expansion, and connectivity options. It excels particularly with high-end components like the Intel Core i9-14900K.

However, it has minor issues, such as the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interface not achieving expected speeds along with a subpar audio input performance. Despite these drawbacks, it remains a strong contender in the high-end motherboard market, offering great value for its price.

ASRock PG Z790 Nova WiFi Motherboard ₱23,500 PHP
Passed Award

Product Name: PG Z790 Nova WiFi

Product Description: The ASRock Z790 NOVA WiFi is a high-end, feature-rich motherboard with robust design, and extensive connectivity options, ideal for premium Intel builds.

Brand: ASRock

8/10

Summary

Despite a few drawbacks, the ASRock PHANTOM GAMING Z790 Nova WiFi offers a compelling package with strong performance, extensive connectivity, and robust design, making it a solid choice in the high-end motherboard market.

Pros

  • Premium design and build quality
  • Powerful power delivery and cooling solutions
  • Extensive connectivity options
  • User-friendly UEFI

Cons

  • USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 failed to achieve expected speeds
  • Subpar audio line-in performance
  • Lacks out-of-the-box Thunderbolt support

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