ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E Motherboard Review
Today in our ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard review, we’re checking out another cool motherboard from ASRock.
The company has another praise-worthy motherboard under the Steel Legend series, and this is the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E. The series is known for its excellent durability & stunning aesthetics and is produced around the most demanding features and specifications.
The Steel Legend series’ goal is to cater and satisfy everyday and mainstream users around. With that, the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E offers a strong selection of components/materials to guarantee reliable performance.
To begin our ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard review, let’s first check out its packaging and contents.
ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E Motherboard Packaging
The Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard came in a premium-looking package that sports a cool theme. The colours used are mostly metallic blue and silver which suits the Steel Legend series adequately.
In front of the box, you’ll see a huge logo of the series occupying most of the space. The motherboard’s name is positioned at the centre, while a smaller logo is set to its right. On the upper-left corner of the box, you’ll find ASRock written there.
Flipping the box, the rear offers more details and information about the motherboard. Here, you’ll see that the different parts are illustrated, so you have an idea of what these are and their uses.
There are a couple of panels that showcase the board’s most prominent features, as well as a list of its specifications.
Overall, the design of the package was well-executed, and it perfectly fits the style of Steel Legend products.
In the box, the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E comes with numerous accessories that will help you get started. But what caught our attention was the presence of ASRock’s graphics card holder.
It features low-profile bracket mounts that provide anti-sagging and sturdy brackets perfect for your graphics card. Here, we’ve listed all the accessories included in the package.
A support DVD and manual, sticker sheets, a keychain, Velcro cable ties, and the graphics card holder. There are also two SATA data cables and two ASRock WiFi 2.4|5|6 GHz antennas. Lastly, ASRock also included three M.2 socket screws and two M.2 socket standoffs.
Now, we’ll discuss everything about the board’s design and functions in our ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard review.
ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E Motherboard Review – Design and Functionality
When we removed the motherboard from its box, we noticed a black PCB with stencilled grey and white patterns. Its shrouds and heatsinks are all coloured silver/grey, giving you a simple contrast from the dark-themed motherboard.
There are a lot of patterns on the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E. Despite that, it still gives off a premium and aesthetic look, which is great. With that, you can guarantee that the motherboard can perfectly fit into most build themes without any problems.
For most air coolers, the board’s CPU socket is open and spacious enough to fit. It comes with three M.2 slots, while the bottom and top slots sport aluminium heatsinks.
Remember that the top M.2 slot is PCIe 4.0-compliant. That means, it will only work when you install an 11th Generation CPU.
The ASRock Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard provides two PCI Express x16 slots with a metal-reinforced slot at the top. This is specifically PCIe 4.0-compliant, while the slot at the bottom is PCIe 3.0-compliant only.
This motherboard comes with six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Four of these are angled at 90 degrees in one line, while the other two are on the bottom edge.
If you think about it, this configuration is quite unusual, but it’s there for ASRock’s graphics card holder (anti-sag bracket). It’s a necessary setup because this will aid in the installation process without blocking any ports.
Of course, we’re going to discuss the top-half section of the motherboard too. Here, you’ll have a better view of the huge silver heatsinks and a shroud concealing the rear I/O bits.
On the upper-left corner, you’ll see two 8-pin EPS connectors that will bring power to your CPU. The socket portion is somewhat busy since it has a lot of caps scattered along the area.
To its right, you’ll see four DRAM slots that can support up to a maximum of 128GB, DDR4 RAM. It can also handle speeds that go up to DDR4 4,800+ OC.
Between and around the PCIe slots, you will see three M.2 sockets. One is at the top while the other is at the bottom with heatsinks. Technically, there’s a fourth M.2 socket, yet it’s Key-E and occupied by the WiFi 6E adapter from Intel.
The 6E section provides you with up to 13 extra 80 MHz channels/160 MHz channels. This is due to the increased bandwidth and 6 GHz space. In essence, you can retain faster and higher connections without needing to search for the least congested channels.
For storage, the M2_1 top socket is called the Hyper M.2 that runs at PCIe 4.0 x4 speeds. It supports PCIe-based modules only but goes up to 80mm in length.
The second slot below is the M2_2. It’s a PCIe 3.0 x4 that supports both SATA and PCIe modules of up to 80mm. Specifically, the slot shares lanes with the SATA port 1. Therefore, when utilising modules that are SATA-based, the SATA 1 gets disabled.
For the bottom M2_3 socket, it’s also PCIe 3.0 x4, and it supports both SATA and PCIe drives. However, it can hold up to 110mm modules. With the M2_3, the SATA port 5 gets disabled when utilising the SATA drive on this socket.
The Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E comes with seven fan headers. There are three bundled along the CPU socket, while four are along the bottom-right section of the motherboard.
The first of seven 4-pin pump/fan headers can be found over the DRAM slots. The rest of these are scattered throughout the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E’s bottom half.
As for power, the CPU fan connector can support up to 1A|12W. For the water/CPU pump and water/chassis pump, these support a total of 2A|24W. Every header, except the CPU header, automatically detects if a 4 or 3-pin spinner is linked.
A motherboard won’t be complete without RGB lights, and the Steel Legend consistently features this trend. On the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E, a lit “S” is present on the IO shroud. For its chipset heatsink, it lights up the words “Steel Legend”, adding more aesthetics to the board.
From below, the right-hand corner is lit via RGB LEDs. These give the board an attractive glow from underneath. In fact, we noticed that the RGB lights were bright and saturated when we tried it.
When it comes to its controls, you can configure the RGB lights via the Polychrome RGB software from ASRock.
The bottom-half portion of the board, to its left, is a collection of audio features. Here, you’ll find an entirely exposed Realtek ALC-897 codec together with four Nichicon audio caps. This codec comes from the budget side of elements, though you and other users should find it adequate.
ASRock claims that the Steel Legend is a 14-phase Dr. MOS VRM. It breaks down to a 12+2 setup for the SOC and Vcore.
What handles the CPU is a Richtek RT-3609-BE 6-channel controller. On the other hand, a Rensas RAA-229001 controls and manages the SOC.
The 6-channel controller feeds 12 Vishay Sic-654 50A MOSFETs for the CPU Vcore that’s done in a parallel/teamed setup. Clearly, the company doesn’t utilise phase doublers for the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard. With that, this setup is abundant and adequate for 11th and 10th Generation CPUs made for the platform.
Lastly, the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E’s rear ports utilise adjustable and pre-installed IO plates. These match the motherboard’s grey/white patterns.
There are six USB ports on the rear. There are two USB 3.2 1st Generation ports, two USB 3.2 2nd Generation ports, and two USB 2.0 ports. All of these support ESD protection.
The video outputs have HDMI ports and a DisplayPort as well. The Realtek Dragon 2.5 GbE port is fixed at the top of the USB 3.2 1st Generation ports. Additionally, it consists of the SPDIF audio stack. Outside is the legacy PS/2 port for the mouse/keyboard and a WiFi antenna too.
Next, we’ll check out the motherboard’s key features here in our ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard review.
Key Features of the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E Motherboard
14 Power Phase Configuration
The Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E features a 14-phase CPU power design. With its sturdy components, this motherboard can smoothly deliver power to the CPU.
Aside from that, it offers unparalleled overclocking capabilities and improved performance in the lowest temperatures, making it ideal for gamers.
High-Speed PCI Express 4.0 M.2 Solution
This Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E can accommodate multiple M.2 storage devices. Plus, it can support the net-gen PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD. With that, the motherboard can deliver speed that is two times faster than the previous generation.
When using this motherboard, you can enjoy a lightning-fast experience in data transferring.
Dragon 2.5 Gbps LAN
The Dragon 2.5Gbps LAN is designed for optimal networking performance. This feature allows the motherboard to meet the demanding requirements of content creation, home networking, online gaming, and high-quality streaming. Also, its network performance is better than the standard gigabit Ethernet, so you’ll enjoy fast and unmatched connectivity.
Clever Access Memory
The processors of conventional systems can only access a fraction of the GPU’s memory, causing it to limit its performance. But with Clever Access Memory, data channels are expanded, allowing you to fully take advantage of your GPU memory.
By eliminating the bottleneck, it boosts your system’s performance and harnesses the GPU’s full potential.
WiFi 6E 802.11ax
The WiFi 6E technology has expanded to the latest 6GHz spectrum band, offering more WiFi capability. As a result, there’s better and faster internet traffic.
Aside from delivering high speeds, WiFi 6 maintains lower latency and supports service levels equal to 5G networks.
Pre-mounted Flexible I/O Shield
Most pre-mounted I/O shields only have fancy designs. For the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E, the I/O shield is adjustable, and ASRock also reserved more tolerance space. So when you’re setting up your system, you won’t experience any mechanical issues.
2oz Copper PCB
The Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E has 2oz of copper inner layers, allowing it to provide stable signal and power. With that, the motherboard can deliver lower temperatures and better energy efficiency for overclocking.
As a result, it can support the latest DDR4 memory modules and deliver optimum memory performance.
No matter what type of audio peripheral device you use, Nahimic Audio provides you with an impressive listening experience. This technology brings rich and vibrant sounds that are full of detail.
Customisable Lighting with Polychrome RGB
Like all ASRock motherboards, the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E offers both superior performance and aesthetics. With the RGB LED, you can showcase your build with style.
ASRock also offers the Polychrome RGB, a comprehensive software where you can customise and synchronise your RGB devices conveniently.
This time, our ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard review will discuss the different specifications of the board.
The Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard features an ATX form factor and utilises the LGA 1200 socket. Since it has the Intel Z590 chipset, it supports 10th and 11th Generation Intel Core processors.
For its power design, the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E’s CPU power features a 14-phase design. Its memory power comes with a 2-phase configuration.
It comes with a couple of onboard Type-A and C USB 3.2 2nd Generation ports. These are built on the rear I/O section to support next-generation USB 3.2 2nd Generation devices. Not only that, but these are created to deliver up to a total of 10 Gbps data transfer rates.
The USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C offers up to 20 Gbps transfer rates twice as fast as the earlier generation. Because of that, it gives you fast data transfer interfaces with a changeable USB Type-C style.
For networking, the board sports a Realtek RTL-8125-BG 2.5 GB/s LAN. There’s also an Intel WiFi 6 AX-210, plus a Realtek ALC-897 audio codec.
For its dimensions, the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E measures 30.5 x 24.4 cm (12 x 9.6″). Lastly, ASRock included a 3-year warranty with the motherboard.
Hands-on with the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E Motherboard
This section of our ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard review is where we get hands-on with the board. But first, let’s check out its BIOS and software.
The BIOS used for the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E features the same layout as ASRock’s recently released motherboards. The interface is user-friendly and easy to understand because of its well-organised settings.
The OC section separates the DRAM, CPU, and voltage settings into their own respective subfolders. Plus, the most commonly used functions are also easily accessible, so we didn’t have a hard time finding what we needed.
Additionally, the Steel Legend series BIOS has a different theme compared to the PG and Taichi series. It uses a black, blue, and white colour scheme instead of the black and red combo.
Overall, the BIOS worked well, and we didn’t experience any issue while tweaking the configurations.
ASRock’s software has the AppShop included, and it functions as a hub for other software. It also aids the PolychromeRGB for lighting management.
There’s a Dragon LAN and a network optimisation tool as well. Lastly, it features the Restart to UEFI, the company’s applet for restarting directly to the BIOS.
Let’s continue with our ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard review and see how it performed.
When talking about its performance, the Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E performed excellently during our VRM torture test. Its temperature barely went over 70-degrees Celsius, which only shows that it can handle what Intel throws at it.
Even if a slightly lower-end audio controller was utilised, the motherboard was able to live up to the series’ standards. It performed like how we expected it to, and it’s just as good or even better than other similar products. We loved that it featured the extras we wanted, specifically the S/PDIF out port.
For the RGB LED lights, these were bright and vibrant with good diffusion. We greatly appreciate that the company continued the trend of offering outstanding RGB implementations.
ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E Motherboard Review Summary
The ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E is one of the inexpensive Rocket Lake boards. But also, it’s one of the most capable motherboards that can handle any cooled CPU while delivering superior performance. With its features like integrated WiFi 6E, six SATA ports, and more, it’s definitely a well-rounded Z590 option.
The Z590 Steel Legend WiFI 6E motherboard comes with all the necessities in an affordable and stylish package. If you’re looking for a mid-range Z590 motherboard without LAN or three PCIe x16 slots, this is a great pick.
In conclusion to our ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E motherboard review, we highly recommend this product. If you want to purchase this motherboard, you can find authorised sellers in your area via the company’s store locator.