The ASRock Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard offers plenty of features, including dual TB4, three M.2 slots, and a 10+1+1 phase power supply. I had the opportunity to unbox and test this motherboard, and I found that it’s possible to add even more to its already impressive capabilities

The Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard by ASRock is designed to work with Intel’s 12th and 13th generation processors, and features a 10+1+1 phase 105A power supply that can support an I7 processor. It also comes equipped with two DDR5 DIMM slots that can accommodate up to 64GB of DDR5 memory at a speed of 7000+(OC) MT/s. One of the key features of this motherboard is the inclusion of three M2 2280 PCIe Gen4 x4 SSD installation slots, which allow for ample storage expansion. In addition, there are two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports located on the back of the motherboard, making it an ideal choice for those looking to expand their ITX PC with additional hubs.

The ASRock Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 is a Mini-ITX motherboard with dimensions of 17 x 17cm. It supports Intel 12th/13th generation Core i9/i7/i5/i3, Pentium, and Celeron processors with LGA1700 pins. The CPU power supply consists of 10+1+1 phases and 105A SPS. The motherboard features an Intel Z790 chipset and a 256Mb AMI UEFI Legal BIOS. There are two DDR5 DIMM slots, which can support up to 64GB of DDR5 non-ECC memory with a speed of 7000+(OC) MT/s. The memory is certified with Intel XMP 3.0 (Extreme Memory Profile) and AMD EXPO (EXTended Profiles for Overclocking).

The display output includes HDMI 2.1, DP 1.4, and two Intel Thunderbolt 4 ports. There is one PCIe 5.0 x16 expansion slot and three storage slots, including Hyper M2_1 2280 PCIe Gen4 x4, Hyper M2_2 2280 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s & PCIe Gen4 x4, and Hyper M2_3 2280 PCIe Gen4 x4. The motherboard features a Killer E3100X (2.5Gb) network and supports 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6E 2×2 (Killer 1675x) and Bluetooth 5.3 wireless connections.

The audio is provided by a Realtek ALC4082 7.1 channel. The motherboard includes a front expansion with one USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 (supports two front USB 3.2 Gen 1), and one USB 2.0 (supports two front USB 2.0 ports). The rear I/O has two USB4 Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports and six USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports. The motherboard features one ARGB 5v 3-Pin and one RGB 12v 4-Pin for RGB lighting. It also includes three FAN connectors, including one 4-Pin CPU Fan (1A-12W), one 4-Pin CPU/PUMP (2A-24W), and one 4-Pin Chassis (1A-12W).

PG -ITX/TB4 motherboard out of the box

Intel’s approach to upgrading the 700 series motherboard chipsets is quite consistent in this wave, as it involves halving the number of PCIe 3.0 lanes to increase the number of PCIe 4.0 lanes. As a result, when various brands release their Z790/B760 motherboard models, there are often not many differences between them and the Z690 model. In the case of Mini-ITX motherboards, which have limited space to showcase their capabilities, the differences between the Z790 and Z690 models may be even less noticeable. So, what are the main differences between the Z790 and Z690 models?

The Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard is equipped with a 10+1+ phase Dr. MOS power supply that supports SPS (Smart Power Stage) technology. This technology allows for more accurate power supply settings and control, resulting in stronger overclocking performance. The rear I/O includes two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and the motherboard features a total of three M.2 PCIe Gen4 x4 expansion slots, as well as a PCIe 5.0 x16 metal graphics card slot. These specifications allow for great use of space, making this small motherboard highly expandable.

Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 belongs to ASRock’s Phantom Gaming series.
There are product features and paper specifications on the back of the box.

The Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard is a small Mini-ITX motherboard with dimensions of 17 x 17cm. Its size makes it ideal for use in a mini host, whether it’s placed in a living room TV cabinet to play movies as an audio-visual player or used as a small e-sports PC in a school dormitory. It doesn’t take up much space and can be taken home easily during long vacations, making it a convenient choice for different usage scenarios that require flexibility.

The Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard does not come with RGB lights or light strips, so there are no lighting effects when powered on. However, the motherboard features a heat dissipation armor and heat conduction on the processor VRM power supply block and the first M.2 SSD installation position. In addition, there is a shaped heat sink on the back of the PCB with a heat conduction pad that helps the chip components to dissipate heat.

Mini-ITX’s Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 is very suitable for assembling Mini PC.
There is also a shaped heat sink on the back with a thermal pad to help the VRM power supply back block dissipate heat.

The Z790 motherboard supports Intel’s 12th/13th generation Core i9/ i7/ i5/ i3, Pentium, and Celeron processors with LGA1700 pins. But the Z690 chipset can also support the 12th/13th generation processors, so it depends on the player. If you want to buy the latest Z790, you should wait for the Z690 special price to pick up a bargain and install it.

LGA 1700 processor mounting pins and VRM power block heat sink.

Moving on, let’s take a closer look at the various expansion slots on the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4. The motherboard features an 8-pin processor ATX_12V power supply slot located in the upper left corner.

ATX_12V single 8-Pin processor power supply socket on the upper left corner of the motherboard.

The gray ADDR_LED1 (5V-3Pin ARGB) slot and three 4-pin fan power supply slots are located in the upper right corner of the motherboard. The fan power supply slots can provide 1A (12W), 2A (24W), and 1A (12W) of power, respectively.

For players using integrated water cooling, it is recommended to install the water cooling PUMP in the CPU_FAN2/WP slot. This slot is designed to automatically run the PUMP in the water cooling at full speed. The slot can automatically detect the device PWM/DC power supply mode and switch modes automatically.

ARGB and three 4-Pin power supply sockets, it is recommended to read the manual before installation to make it clearer.

The Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard features dual-slot DDR5 DIMM memory slots that support DDR5 non-ECC, un-buffered memory installation. It is advertised to be capable of overclocking to 7000+(OC) MT/s, but it needs to be supported by the memory QVL list. The motherboard can accommodate up to 64GB of memory, and a maximum capacity of a single memory stick is 32GB. It is also certified for Intel XMP 3.0 (Extreme Memory Profile) and AMD EXPO (EXTended Profiles for Overclocking) memory one-key overclocking technology.

Since DDR5 memory has a unique electronic structure, ASRock has included a protection circuit for the DDR5 slot on the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard. This helps to eliminate the risk of damage caused by installing or removing memory while the power is still on.

Dual-slot DDR5 DIMM memory socket with single buckle, supports up to 64GB memory capacity expansion.

On the right side of the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard, there are several components, including a Post status checker, CMOS data clear button, 24-pin power supply slot, 12V 4-pin RGB, front system I/O slot, a USB 3.2 Gen1 slot (which supports two front-built USB 3.2 Gen1 ports), three SATA3 6Gb/s slots, buzzer slot, and one front Type-C USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20Gb/s) slot.

View of slots on the right side. One of the SATA and buzzer slots is hidden next to the memory slot.
Post status checker can quickly check the motherboard self-check status.
HD_AUDIO (left) and USB 2.0 (right) slots are set on the graphics card slot.

The Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard features a single PCIe 5.0 x16 slot that is directly connected through the processor channel. To accommodate increasingly heavy independent graphics cards, ASRock has adopted a metal reinforced SMT slot, which provides better physical strength and helps prolong the life of the socket. This allows graphics cards to be inserted directly into the slot.

PCIe 5.0 x16 graphics card metal slot.

The Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard features three Hyper M2 PCIe Gen4 x4 SSD expansion slots, which is one more compared to the Z690 model. All three M.2 slots support PCIe Gen4x4 (64Gb/s) 2280 size SSD installation. The M.2_1 slot on the front of the motherboard is directly connected to the processor channel and features a heat sink sandwiched between the upper and lower sides to help dissipate heat.

The other two expansion slots on the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard are located on the back and can be installed vertically or horizontally. The horizontal M2_2 slot supports not only PCIe Gen4 x4 SSD but also early M.2 SATA SSD installation.

The Hyper M2_1 socket directly connected to the CPU supports 2280 PCIe Gen4x4 M.2 SSD installation.
Hyper M2_3 (vertical mounting position) and Hyper M2_2 (horizontal mounting position) are set on the back of the motherboard.
The Hyper M2_1 socket is used with a heat sink and a thermal pad, and the small anti-drop screw is more convenient to install.

The Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard features a flexible I/O baffle on the rear that can be fine-tuned for better installation compatibility with the case. The rear I/O interface provides several features, including HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4, six USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A (10 Gb/s), RJ-45 2.5G LAN wired network port, two USB4 Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports (40 Gbps), a Wifi 6E antenna port, an optical SPDIF digital audio output, Line Out Jack, and Microphone Input Jack.

The rear I/O of the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard has been upgraded from four USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A and one USB 3.2 Gen1 on the Z690 to six USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A and an additional Thunderbolt 4 Type-C port. However, the BIOS Flashback button has been removed, and the CMOS data clear button has been relocated to the side of the memory slot.

The two Thunderbolt 4 interfaces on the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard can achieve a transmission speed of up to 40Gbps and can be used to connect a 4K or 8K display using a dedicated cable. In addition, both interfaces support PD 3.0’s fast charging function, which includes [email protected] (27W) and [email protected] (15W) options.

A list of the rear I/O interface, which provides two Thunderbolt 4 interfaces for additional hub expansion or image output.

Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 power supply material / 10+1+1 phase 105A SPS power supply

After reviewing the expansion slots on the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard, let’s take a look at the power supply materials and various small components underneath it. The motherboard is equipped with a 10+1+1 phase 105A SPS Dr.MOS power supply, which includes 10 phases that are responsible for the CPU Vcore (processor operating voltage), 1 phase that is responsible for SOC (internal display), and the last phase that is responsible for VCC AUX.

Overview of mainboard PCB, equipped with 10+1+1 phase 105A SPS Dr.MOS power supply.
PCB back side.
Ten-phase RAA22010540 105A SPS, one-phase Renesas ISL99360 60A SPS.
VCC AUX phase is Vishay SIC450 40A microBuck chip.
PWM controller is RENESAS RAA229131.
REALTEK 5452E is a Type-C power supply control chip (Power Delivery Controller).
Killer E3100X 2.5G network chip.
Intel JHL8540 Thunderbolt 4 controller.
Realtek ALC4082 audio codec.
On the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard, the Nuvoton NCT6686D (Super I/O) environmental control chip is located on the left, while the Z790 chipset is located on the right.
The Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard features various heat sinks, including the M.2 SSD heat sink on the front, which also acts as a heat sink for the Z790 chipset.
The VRM power supply block of the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard has a heat sink with an embedded heat pipe and is equipped with a 3cm small fan to help with heat dissipation.

The accessories that come with the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard include two velcro cable ties, two SATA cables, M.2 SSD fixing screws, PG keycaps and postcards, stickers, thermal paste for M.2 SSDs, and a WiFi antenna group.

List of accessories contents.
The angle of the Wifi antenna module cannot be adjusted, and it is fixed on the case or desktop by the adhesive foam at the bottom.

BIOS settings and various function menus

Once the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard has completed the self-certification process, users can press F2 to enter the EZ MODE of the BIOS. In EZ MODE, users can set basic functions such as XMP configuration files, boot sequence, fan curve adjustments, and more.

EZ MODE has basic functions that can be adjusted, and also includes hardware information monitoring.

In the EZ MODE of the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard, users can press F6 to switch to the advanced mode, where they can adjust more detailed motherboard settings.

Basic information can be viewed in the main menu of advanced mode, including BIOS version and processor information.
Overclocking tools page.
CPU settings can be adjusted for overclocking of the processor.
Load XMP settings in memory settings to enable XMP 3.0 one-key overclocking function.
Memory Information You can view the XMP and EXPO related setting files of the memory.
Voltage parameter setting.
Advanced menu.
Advanced menu/CPU settings.
Chipset settings.
Thunderbolt related settings.
Tool related options.
Polychrome RGB in the BIOS can set the lighting effect of the RGB slot.
Hardware monitoring function.
The Fan tastic option at the bottom can synchronize the operation modes of all fan slots at once.
Boot hard drive sequence.

Auto Driver Installer driver download / PolyChrome RGB software

Previously, after assembling a new PC, one had to download various software and drivers individually to ensure the system ran normally and reached its full performance potential. However, the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard by ASRock offers a convenient solution. If the Auto Driver Installer function is enabled, users will receive an update prompt after the system boots to the desktop for the first time.

The Auto Driver Installer software on the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard allows users to download and update all required drivers in one go, eliminating the need for a time-consuming search and download process. Users can choose which drivers they want to update, and once the download and update process is complete, the software removes itself and does not remain stored in the system.

After entering the system for the first time, the Auto Driver Installer notification prompt will pop up.
You can check which drivers you want to download.

Despite lacking lighting effects, the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard supports the connection of additional RGB fans and devices via the 5V ARGB/ 12V RGB slots. With the PolyChrome RGB software, users can control and set the lighting effects of the RGB and ARGB slots.

ASRock PolyChrome RGB lighting control software.
Can be synchronized with other gaming peripherals.

ASRock Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 Motherboard Performance Test

To test the performance of the ASRock Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard, an i7-13700K processor with 8 P-Cores, 8 E-Cores, and 16 cores and 24 threads was used, along with a Micron Crucial DDR5 5600MT/s UDIMM 16GBx2 dual-channel memory kit. Except for the XMP 3.0 profile, default settings were used for the memory during the platform build and testing process.

Test Platform
Processor: Intel Core i7-13700K
Radiator: VALKYRIE C360-RGB
Motherboard: ASRock Z790 PG-ITX/TB4
Memory: Micron Crucial DDR5 5600MT/s UDIMM 16GBx2
Display Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
Operating System: Windows 11 Home Edition 21H2
Power Supply: SilverStone HELA 850R Platinum

The hardware information of the test platform looks solid. The Intel Core i7-13700K processor is indeed an 8+8 Raptor Lake CPU with 16 cores and 24 threads, manufactured using Intel’s 10nm process. The ASRock Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard also appears to be working well with DDR5 5600MT/s dual-channel memory. The CPU-Z benchmark results are also impressive, with a single thread score of 880.4 points and a multi-threading score of 12727.3 points.

CPU-Z information overview and Version 17.01.64 built-in test results.

CINEBENCH R20 and R23 are widely used benchmarking software that evaluate the 3D rendering and drawing performance of the processor. Developed by MAXON, they are based on Cinema 4D and are commonly used by professionals to evaluate the performance of CPUs and GPUs.

These scores show that the i7-13700K processor performs well in both single-core and multi-core performance tests. It is a powerful processor that can handle demanding tasks such as 3D rendering and drawing.

CINEBENCH Release 20.
CINEBENCH R23.

The memory and cache test results are impressive, with a high read speed of 86328 MB/s, a write speed of 77329 MB/s, and a copy speed of 77594 MB/s. The delay of 77.6 ns is also very low, which indicates that the memory is performing well and the system is able to access data quickly. These results suggest that the ASRock Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 is a high-performance motherboard that can handle demanding tasks with ease.

AIDA64 memory and cache test.

The 3D Mark CPU Profile is designed to evaluate the performance of various thread configurations, including MAX, 16, 8, 4, 2, and 1. Generally, thread configurations above 16 are more relevant for professional tasks such as 3D rendering or audio-visual work. In terms of mainstream DX12 games, the scores obtained from the 8-thread configuration are most relevant, while the scores obtained from the 4 and 2-thread configurations are more applicable to older games that were developed using DX9.

For the i7-13700K processor, the maximum thread score is 12922 points. Mainstream gamers can use the scores obtained from the 8-thread and 4-thread configurations, which are 8549 and 4519 points, respectively, as a reference.

3D Mark CPU Profile.

Furthermore, the author conducted tests using 3D Mark Fire Strike and 3D Mark Time Spy, which are commonly used for simulating game performance. The tests were conducted using an NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti graphics card. In Fire Strike, which simulates a 1080p quality DX11 scenario, the CPU scored 45759 points. In the Time Spy test, which simulates a DX12 scenario with 1440p quality, the CPU scored 20542 points.

3D Mark Fire Strike.
3D Mark Time Spy.

The V-Ray 5 Benchmark consists of three different test scenarios that evaluate the processor’s rendering performance using V-Ray projects. The i7-13700K test platform obtained a score of 20902 points in this test.

V-Ray 5 Benchmark.

CrossMark test comprises of 25 items that simulate different workloads, including productivity, creative content work, and system responsiveness. These items are designed to test various scenarios such as file editing, spreadsheets, web browsing, photo editing, photo organization, video editing, opening files, file response speed, and multitasking. The three scores obtained from the test have different scoring standards and usage scenarios. The productivity score measures the performance of the processor in tasks such as file editing, spreadsheets, and web browsing. The creativity score evaluates the processor’s performance in photo editing, photo organization, and video editing. The responsiveness score assesses the processor’s speed and performance in opening files, responding to files, and multitasking.

The i7-13700K processor obtained an overall score of 2554 points in the CrossMark test. The productivity score was 2354 points, the creativity score was 2757 points, and the responsiveness score was 2591 points.

CrossMark daily use scene test items.

PCMark 10 is another test that simulates various scenarios to evaluate the overall performance of a computer. This test includes basic function items such as application startup, web browsing, and video conferencing tests. The productivity item simulates document and spreadsheet writing scenarios. The final item, image content creation, includes professional tests such as photo editing, video editing, and rendering.

In the PCMark 10 test, the basic function items obtained a score of 10608 points, the productivity item scored 12054 points, and the video content creation item scored 18942 points.

PCMark 10 test.

ASRock Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 Summary

ASRock has updated its Mini ITX size Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 small motherboard in the Z790 chipset product line. This motherboard features a 10+1+1 105A power supply with a 3cm VRM fan and heat pipe, which provides sufficient power supply performance for the i7 13700K processor used in this test.

The Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard features two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports on the rear I/O, which is a significant upgrade for ITX hosts with limited expansion space. This provides users with more expansion options and is a practical improvement that meets user needs. The motherboard is equipped with six USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A ports, which is an upgrade in terms of both quantity and transmission speed when compared to its predecessors featuring USB Type-A.

In addition to the USB upgrade, the Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard features an M.2 PCIe Gen4 x4 SSD expansion slot located on the back of the motherboard. This provides users with three M.2 SSD expansion slots in total. The Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 is priced at NT$12,450, which is only 560 yuan lower than the price of the previous generation Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4. Therefore, unless the Z690 is sold at a significant discount, I recommend purchasing the new Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 as it features dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, which is a valuable addition.

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Title: The ASRock Z790 PG-ITX/TB4 motherboard offers plenty of features, including dual TB4, three M.2 slots, and a 10+1+1 phase power supply. I had the opportunity to unbox and test this motherboard, and I found that it’s possible to add even more to its already impressive capabilities