ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E Motherboard Review – Low Priced, Feature Packed

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Introduction

ASRock’s debut of the Steel Legend motherboard line in the form of the B450 and B450M Steel Legend has been quite successful thanks to their feature suite and affordability. The Steel Legend series is known for its Black and White design which is scarce and crazily expensive for motherboards.ASRock’s Steel Legend motherboards particularly the B450 and B450M has been the top choice of motherboards for gamers on a budget and they have been also featured on our Gaming PC Build Guides. Since then, ASRock also launched the Steel Legend line alongside Intel’s 8th Generation motherboards and has also made its way to this year’s 500 series chipset. Like its team red counterpart, the Intel Steel Legend motherboards also received the same praise from enthusiasts with their competitive price. The latest iteration of the Steel Legend line comes in the form of the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend – will it be able to keep up with its predecessors’ fame? Let’s find out

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Motherboard Specs

SocketLGA 1200
ChipsetZ590
Form FactorATX
Voltage Regulator14 Phase (12+2, 50A MOSFETs)
Video Ports(1) HDMI 2.0
(1) DisplayPort 1.4
USB Ports(2) USB 3.2 Gen 2, Type-A and Type-C (10 Gbps)
(2) USB 3.2 Gen 1, Type-A (5 Gbps)
(2) USB 2.0
Network Jacks(1) 2.5 GbE
Audio Jacks(5) Analog + SPDIF
Legacy Ports/JacksPS/2
Other Ports/Jack
PCIe x16(2) v4.0 x16, (x16/x0 or x16/PCIe 3.0 x4)
PCIe x8
PCIe x4
PCIe x1(2) v.4.0 (x1)
CrossFire/SLI2-Way CrossfireX
DIMM slots(4) DDR4 4800+(OC), 128GB Capacity
M.2 slots(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 / PCIe (up to 80mm)
(1) PCIe 3.0 x4 / PCIe + SATA (up to 80mm)
(1) PCIe 3.0 x4 / PCIe + SATA (up to 80mm)
U.2 Ports
SATA Ports(6) SATA3 6 Gbps (RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10)
USB Headers(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2×2 (Type-C)
(2) USB v3.2 Gen 1
(2) USB v2.0
Fan/Pump Headers(7) 4-Pin
RGB Headers(2) aRGB (3-pin)
(2) RGB (4-pin)
Legacy Interfaces
Other InterfacesFP-Audio, TPM
Diagnostics PanelYes (4-LED Q-LED display)
Internal Button/Switch
SATA Controllers
Ethernet Controller(s)(1) Realtek Drason RTL8125BG (2.5 GbE)
Wi-Fi / BluetoothIntel WiFi-6E AX210 (802.11ax, 2×2, MU-MIMO, OFDMA, BT 5.2)
USB ControllersASMedia 1074
HD Audio CodecRealtek ALC897
DDL/DTS Connect✗ / ✗+
Warranty3 years

Z590 Chipset Overview

ChipsetZ590Z490
Supported CPUs10th Gen Intel Core Processors10th Gen Intel Core Processors
11th Gen Intel Core Processors11th Gen Intel Core Processors
Chipset LinkDMI x8 (11th Gen only)DMI x4
PCIE Lanes(CPU)2016
PCIE Specification(CPU)43
PCIe Configx16,x8/x8, x8/x8/x4+4x16,x8/x8, x8/x8/x4
PCIe 3.0 lanes2424
SATA 6.0 Gb/s Ports66
USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gb/s) Ports30
USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 (10Gb/s) Ports106
USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 (5Gb/s) Ports1010
USB 2.0 Ports1414

The Z590 chipset supports both 10th Gen and 11th Gen Intel Core processors. Z590 chipset motherboards generally have more connectivity versus Z490. The main difference being PCI-E 4.0 support but it will only work if the Z590 motherboard is paired with an 11th Gen processor.

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Unboxing and First Impressions

The Z590 Steel Legend Sports an updated packaging design with a more premium feel and a camo-like design which is almost totally different from the B450 box design. The back part of the packaging shows almost everything you need to know about the motherboard in regards to its specs and features which is not the usual case for motherboards.

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review 020ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review 020ACCESSORIES LIST

  • 2x M.2 Screws
  • 2x SATA Cables
  • 1x CD Drivers
  • ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Motherboard Manual
  • ASRock Graphics Card Holder
  • Sticker Pack
  • 2x WiFi Antennas
  • 2x Velcro Strap

Unlike previous Steel Legend motherboards, the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend features steel-like accents throughout the heatsinks for a more premium feel. The gray PCB print design on the front paired with the white and shiny gray accents make a military camouflage-like design. The backside on the other hand has now design with only a steel bracket that holds the I/O shield and shroud combo.

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review 097

Z series or overclocking ready motherboards tend to sport an additional 4-pin EPS 12V connector to provide more and stable power to the CPU when overclocked. However, with the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend, ASRock included an additional 8-pin EPS 12V connector instead for that overclocking headroom. While the additional wattage of the extra 4-pin may seem to be too extra for some, it’s nice to see ASRock going the extra mile to provide the option for PC builders.

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review 090The ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E uses 12+2 Dr.MOS power configuration. A Richtek RT3609BE 6-channel controller handles the 12 Vishay Sic654 50A MOSFETs in a teamed configuration. This VRM setup is more than enough for 10th and 11th Gen processors, even the Intel Core i9 11900K.

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review 064Memory support on the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E is limited to a max speed of 4,800Mhz, the lowest of all the Z590 motherboards we reviewed so far. Don’t get me wrong, DDR4 4,800Mhz is still plenty fast, it’s just not as jaw-dropping after seeing 5,333Mhz support.

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review 048

Connectivity-wise, the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E has the standard configuration with a surprising inclusion of a PS/2 port. I personally find five USB-A ports lacking especially for a Z590 board not to mention that two of them are USB 2.0 ports.

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review 065As the box packaging and model name implies, the ASRock Z590 WiFi 6E supports the latest WiFi 6 standard via the Intel 210 BT and WiFi module. ASRock’s decision to put the WiFi module on the PCI-E slot area not to mention very close to the first PCI-E x16 slot. The placement of the wifi module, as well as the second M.2 slot, may cause some heat issues depending on the graphics card installed.

There are two detachable M.2 heatsinks on the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend.

The first M.2 slot is the only M.2 slot that supports PCI-E Gen 4 so it’s surprising to see that it’s also the one that has the shorter heatsink given the well-known heat issues of Gen 4 SSDs.

Benchmark Setup and Methodology

Gadget Pilipinas’ testing philosophy is to provide detail-oriented results as accurately as possible that our readers can replicate our tests given that these conditions are met. Different benchmarking apps and sequences are used depending on the component or device being tested.

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E Motherboard Review Test Bench Specs
CPUIntel Core i9 11900k
COOLERCorsair H100i RGB Pro XT – Noctua NT-H2 Thermal Paste
MOTHERBOARDASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming MotherboardGigabyte Z590 Vision G MotherboardASRock Z590 Steel Legend
MEMORYTforce Xtreem ARGB 16GB(8GBx2) 3600Mhz DDR4
GPUPalit RTX 3080 Gaming Pro
STORAGEWD SN850 2TB NVMe SSD
POWERSUPPLYSeasonic Prime Focus 850W Gold
OPERATING SYSTEMWindows 10 Pro Build 2404
DISPLAYLenovo Legion Y27Q Gaming Monitor

We use CapFrameX as our FPS capture and analysis tool for all our gaming benchmarks. The latest build version of Windows 10 and WHQL certified drivers are used for our benchmarks. Readings such as temperatures and power draw are recorded using HWMonitor and HWInfo64 as well as other relevant software used for cross-checking.

  • Cinebench R20
  • V-Ray
  • HWBot x265
  • Handbrake
  • Blender
  • Corona Renderer
  • Super PI – 32M Calculations
  • wPrime –1024M Calculation

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Benchmarks

SuperPI 32M

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review - SuperPi 32M BenchmarkSuperPI is a single-threaded benchmark application that lets the CPU calculate Pi(π) to the nth digit. In this benchmark, we selected the Pi calculation to 32M, the highest available for the app.

wPrime 1024M

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review - wPrime BenchmarkwPrime is a benchmark tool similar to SuperPI, but the former takes on finding prime numbers using Newton’s Method. The benchmark is set to calculate 1024M, and measured according to calculation time.

GeekBench 5

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review - GeekBench 5 BenchmarkGeekbench is a multi-platform benchmark that’s used to gauge CPU performance and compare them across Windows, Mac, and Mobile. Geekbench 5 is the latest version and doesn’t rely on memory as much compared to the previous Geekbench 4, making it a great tool to measure both single-core and multi-core CPU performance.

CINEBENCH R20 & CINEBENCH R23

Maxon’s Cinebench benchmark is one of the most iconic benchmark applications used by reviewers and enthusiasts. The latest Cinebench R20 uses the latest rendering architectures, including Intel’s Embree ray tracing technology and other advanced features from AMD and Intel that allow users to render the same scene on the same hard. Cinebench R20 uses a larger and more complex testing scene than Cinebench R20 by about 8x computational power and requires 4x the memory.

V-RAY

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review - VRAY BenchmarkV-Ray Benchmark is a stand-alone version of V-Ray developed by Chaos Group. It is designed to test the CPU and GPU by rendering sample scenes at a fixed amount of time. V-Ray is a plug-in mostly utilized by 3D computer graphics software applications mainly for industrial design, product design, architecture, film, and video game production. V-Ray is not limited to 64-threads as it supports multi and mega-threading.

HWBOT x265

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review - HWBOT BenchmarkHWBOT x265, developed by Czech overclocker Havli, is a multi-threaded application that takes advantage of modern CPU instruction sets with support for older CPUs.  HWBOT x265 benchmark uses the x265/HEVC encoder that renders a video in 1080p or 4K resolution.

HANDBRAKE

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review - Handbrake BenchmarkHandbrake is a top-rated open-source video conversion software that is used by professionals, enthusiasts, and even reviewers as a reference point mainly because of its wide variety of media codecs. The rise of streaming and blogging makes video content, both encoding, and transcoding necessary for these people, regardless if they’re seasoned professionals or just starting out. Handbrake also takes advantage of AVX-512 and OpenCL to accelerate certain types of media codecs. Our Handbrake benchmark converts a 500MB MP4 video to H.264 to measure the processor’s performance.

BLENDER

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review - Blender BenchmarkBlender is a widely used, free, opensource 3D creation suite. It supports the whole 3D pipeline process from modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, and even motion tracking. Blender has become a standard for CPU benchmarks with the BMW27 and Classroom scene most used. This prompted the company to release Blender Open Data Benchmark in 2018, a benchmark-specific version that allows users to run a preset benchmark and share the results online similar to 3D Mark.

CORONA RENDERER

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review - Corona BenchmarkCorona Renderer is an unbiased photorealistic render available for Autodesk 3Ds Max, Maxon Cinema 4D, and as a stand-alone application. Its popularity, similar to Blender, led Chaos Group to develop a benchmark version of the app which runs using Corona Renderer 1.3. Workstation systems, especially CPUs, can utilize Corona Benchmark as up to 72 threads can be used in the benchmark, making it very suitable for CPUs with various price segments.

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend UEFI BIOS

Easy Mode is set as the default landing page when you go into the ASRock Z590 for the first time. Pressing F2 will toggle the BIOS to Advanced Mode with the Tweaker tab set as the default page.

ASRock’s Z590 motherboard has the standard 6-tab BIOS with an extra tab for saving the changes and profiles. It has a pretty standard BIOS layout without many sub-categories to go through certain settings. If you’re into overclocking, you’ll mostly spend your time in the OC Tweaker tab which is sub-categorized into CPU, DRAM, and Voltage configuration. For this review, we used the default UEFI BIOS configuration aside from setting our RAM’s XMP setting.

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend VRM Thermals

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review VRM TempsOur stress test consists of an Aida64 system stability test with a Cinebench R20 multi-core render loop running for one hour. We then measured the VRM temperatures as well as the back-side of the PCB using our K-type thermometer. After one hour’s worth of stress test, we only recorded a peak temp of 52°C – the lowest so far. Though it’s worth noting that the Z590 Steel Legend’s default setting isn’t as aggressive compared to ASUS and Gigabyte’s profiles.

CONCLUSION

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Review 031

All in all, the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E is a well-rounded motherboard that packs impressive features at an affordable price of Php 10,200. The dominant white and camo-like design is arguably one of the best white-colored motherboards, not to mention it has one of the brightest RGB lighting I’ve seen in a motherboard. The ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E offers more than the basics of a Z590 motherboard with cherry-on-top features that you would only normally see in flagship motherboards while having an attractive design and competitive price. If you’re in the market for an affordable Z590 motherboard that can take advantage of the latest Intel 11th gen processors(even the i9 11900K), then the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend is a great bargain that you shouldn’t miss.

Grant is a Financial Management graduate from UST. His passion for gadgets and tech crossed him over in the industry where he could apply his knowledge as an enthusiast and in-depth analytic skills as a Finance Major. His passion allows him to earn at the same time help Gadget Pilipinas' readers in making smart, value-based decisions and purchases with his reviews and guides.

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