Today in our ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi Review, we are looking at one of the latest offerings from ASRock. The Z790 Steel Legend WiFi motherboard supports the current Intel Rocket Lake-S. It has a distinct design and excellent gaming features, making it a great option.
Like other ASRock products, the cost of this Z790 Steel Legend WiFi is also competitive. So, we are sure you are curious about what this motherboard offers.
Sit back, relax, and read our ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi Review to see if it is perfect for your needs.
Our package arrived in a premium-looking box with the ASRock branding on the front. You will also find the product name and some of its key features in this area.
It looks like every other ASRock series packaging but looks great with its urban black-silver camo theme.
At the back of the box, you will find more details like its specifications, new features, etc. ASRock also included an image of the motherboard components.
The main box contains another cardboard package divided into two levels. You can find the motherboard in the upper area, which is well-protected.
We did not miss out on the lower area of the package in our ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi Review. And it is where the accessories are stored. These include the manual, four M.2 socket screws, two SATA cables (straight and angled), and two M.2 spacers. It also has a graphics card holder, two Velcro cable ties, a WiFi antenna, plus a Steel Legend keycap.
The ATX I/O panel is pre-assembled out of the box. And extra USB slot bezels/an ASRock USB 3.2 front panel are available (optional).
If you are worried about the motherboard getting damaged during shipping, relax. The Z790 Steel Legend WiFi is foam-wrapped and covered with an anti-static foil for safer delivery.
ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi Review – Design and Functionality
There is not much difference between earlier Z790 Steel Legend boards and the current one we are reviewing. So, there are no surprises design-wise.
Its heatsinks are massive and cover most components requiring extra cooling. And only the M.2 sockets do not feature heatsinks. You will not find additional fans, but the heatsinks are adequate to keep its temperature at bay.
The chipset heatsink and IO cover feature RGB lighting that is controllable via the ASRock Polychrome Sync software. Aside from that, you can also connect RGB devices to the motherboard headers.
The Z790 Steel Legend WiFi is pre-installed with an IO shield, a standard in higher-gaming series boards. In this generation, you will only find a WiFi version of the product, which is a step forward for ASRock. The reason is WiFi controllers are cheaper, and users assume their availability on higher series motherboards.
Like most ASRock motherboards, the Z790 Steel Legend WiFi features an M.2 WiFi socket. Its presence allows you to upgrade your WiFi card whenever anything new appears on the market. Plus, it will be faster and offer additional features for your convenience.
Moreover, the motherboard sports a 16+1+1 power phase design, which is stronger than the earlier generation. It is enough to support and overclock top-notch processors like the i9 13900K.
On our processor, we did not have any problems reaching 5.8GHz on P-cores.
Let us continue our ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi Review and discuss its RGB lighting. Removing the chipset and M.2 cooler shows us another significant feature of the Z790 Steel Legend WiFi. These are the SMD RGB LED lights underneath the cooler.
We know that RGBs are a selling point for many companies, and with that, ASRock did something again. You can link conventional 5050 RGB LED strips to the 4-pin 12V RGB header to light up your case.
Additionally, it has a grey Polychrome RGB connector that supports addressable LED lights on addressable RGB strips using the WS2812B. There are also two aRGB headers on the upper corner close to the CPU cooler connector.
The addressable RGBs of the motherboard connect to the chipset cooler, IO panel, and M.2 cooler. It means the motherboard already has efficient lighting upon power up.
Key Features of the ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi
You need to know the features of any product you purchase. So we will share these details in our ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi Review.
Are all these elements in this new motherboard perfect for your needs? Let us find out.
16+1+1 Power Phase Design
The Z790 Steel Legend WiFi has sturdy components and smooth power delivery, thanks to its 16+1+1 power phase design. It offers unparalleled overclocking capabilities and improved performance while keeping temperatures low, making it ideal for advanced gamers.
SPS (Smart Power Stage)
The Dr MOS design uses the newest Smart Power Stage technology, optimised for monitoring the temperature and current of phases. As a result, the Z790 Steel Legend WiFi can deliver smoother power to the CPU.
6-layer PCB Made of 2oz Copper
This motherboard has a 2oz copper 6-layer PCB that transmits stable signal traces and power shapes. These result in higher energy efficiency and lower temperatures to ensure the reliability and longevity of the system. Also, it delivers unrivalled performance without compromise.
Support for DDR5 XMP and EXPO
ASRock manufactured this motherboard using low-loss materials, allowing enthusiasts to enjoy the DDR5 memory overclocking boost.
Reinforced DIMM Slot
The reinforced DIMM slot surface-mounted onto the motherboard offers better physical strength and a stable memory signal. With this impressive design, the motherboard can overclock the DRAM module at high frequencies.
DIY-friendly Design of the ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi
Since the DDR5 DIMM has a unique electrical architecture, its memory module is more prone to damage. If you do not disconnect the AC power properly during removal or installation, it can lead to breakage. To solve this problem, ASRock implemented a trouble-free protection circuit on all DDR5 motherboards from the company.
PCIe 5.0 and Surface-Mount Tech
Unlike the usual DIP-style PCIe slot, the Z790 Steel Legend WiFi uses the SMT, which improves signal flow. It also maximises stability under high speeds to support the latest PCIe 5.0 motherboards.
The latest PCIe 5.0 can deliver 128GBps bandwidth to unleash the maximum potential of high-end graphics cards.
Nahimic Audio on the ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi
It does not matter if you use headsets, headphones, or external/internal speakers via WiFi, USB, analogue output, or HDMI. This feature gives you an engaging listening experience that is vibrant in detail.
ASRock Graphics Card Holder
The exclusive ASRock graphics cardholder can carry your heavy graphics card. When connecting it to your motherboard and chassis, you will use screws to allow this to slide up and down. This flexibility allows you to adjust the required height for your graphics card to stay in place.
PCIe Gen5 Blazing M.2
The Blazing M.2 accommodates the PCIe 5.0 standard with 128GBps transfer speeds. It performs twice the bandwidth of the previous generation and is ready to maximise ultra-fast SSDs.
XXL M.2 Heatsink
The XXL aluminium alloy M.2 heatsink dissipates heat effectively to keep the temperature of high-speed M.2 SSDs low. With maintained temperatures, this motherboard can be more stable and perform better.
You will not have more dropping or missing screws in the chassis because of the enhanced M.2 heatsink. It features an anti-drop screw design to ensure easy installation.
POLYCHROME RGB Sync-certified
Aside from the integrated RGB illumination, the Z790 Steel Legend WiFi has onboard RGB headers and an addressable RGB header. You can connect compatible LED devices like strips, CPU coolers, fans, etc. You can also synchronise RGB LED gear across the Polychrome RGB Sync-certified accessories to create unique lighting effects.
Dragon 2.5 Gb/s LAN
This intelligent 2.5Gb/s LAN platform offers maximum networking performance to meet the requirements of various demanding tasks. With 2.5x the speed of standard Gigabit Ethernet, you can enjoy faster connectivity for gaming, backups, and file transfers.
Later in our ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi Review, we will discuss its network performance. It is to let you know if the Dragon 2.5 Gb/s LAN is an efficient feature.
WiFi 6E 802.11ax
WiFi 6E technology uses the new 6GHz spectrum band, allowing it to deliver more WiFi capabilities. As a result, it can offer faster and better internet traffic.
Aside from high speeds, WiFi 6E is also more efficient in maintaining low latency. Plus, it can support service levels equal to 5G networks.
USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C
The USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C is the latest generation of USB connectors. It delivers up to 20 Gbps data transfer rate, which is twice the speed of the previous one. It has a fast data transfer speed, while its type-C connector has a reversible design.
Built-in eDP Signal Connector and Side Panel Kit Compatibility
Selected ASRock motherboards have the eDP signal connector to support two functions – transmitting and powering digital display signals. It reserves room for upgrading with the exclusive ASRock 13.3-inch Side Panel Kit.
The Side Panel Kit allows you to build an LCD inside the PC case. Plus, it lets you add a sub-screen for monitoring system status, watching videos, or streaming. This new customisation concept opens doors for more possibilities in personalising designs for doubled entertainment and productivity.
The Z790 Steel Legend WiFi supports 13th and 12th Gen Intel Core processors (LGA 1700) and uses the Intel Z790 chipset. It has dual-channel DDR5 Memory Technology, 4x DDR5 DIMM slots, and a Realtek ALC-897 audio codec.
This motherboard has 2.5 Gigabit LAN 10|100|1000|2500Mb/s. And then the WLAN module is 802.11ax WiFi 6E.
The Z790 Steel Legend WiFi supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 for SATA storage devices. While it also supports RAID 0, 1, and 5 for M.2 NVME storage.
On the product, you will find a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C in front). Its rear has a USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C and USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A. There are also 12 USB 3.2 Gen1 available: eight on its rear and four in front.
Other ports on the motherboard include the following:
Two antenna ports
RJ45 LAN port
Optical SPDIF OutPort
HD audio jacks
Eight USB 3.2 Gen1 ports
USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A port (10Gb/s)
USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port (10Gb/s)
And lastly, the Z790 Steel Legend WiFi has an ATX form factor measuring 30.5 x 24.4cm.
Hands-on with the ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi
We used the Z790 Steel Legend WiFi for more than a week to see how it performed. Now we can share our experience with it in this ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi Review. But before we discuss its performance, let us look into the BIOS.
The company BIOS is well-known, so we already mentioned it in our previous reviews. But if it is your first time using it, we will gladly discuss it with you.
The BIOS is easy to navigate and manage, making it clear and user-friendly. Some options even have extra descriptions, so you will not get confused when navigating.
Everything that could pose dangers to the hardware is marked, thus, serving as a warning for the less-advanced users.
The Z790 Steel Legend WiFi BIOS comes with easy and advanced modes. So if you are not confident using various motherboard settings, you can opt to stay on the simple main page.
If you tinker with the settings, you will notice the OC and stable profiles. The latter will limit voltages based on the total recommended values.
In BIOS, you will find everything you need for overclocking and monitoring. There are extra tabs with advanced settings that overclockers and enthusiasts can opt for additional performance gain.
ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi Review Summary
The Z790 Steel Legend WiFi is another impressive and high-performance motherboard from ASRock. It delivers excellent stable performance at a reasonable price and is one of the mid-range Z790 boards. Also, this product has an unparalleled power design, large heatsinks, PCIe 5.0 slot, and other superb features.
During our tests, the motherboard performed well while maintaining stability and low temperatures under heavy load. We also had no problems configuring the BIOS.
The Z790 Steel Legend WiFi is a well-balanced motherboard that meets the demands of gamers. With its outstanding performance and impressive features, we highly recommend it to improve your experience.