ASRock X399 Professional Gaming BIOS

By default, the graphical BIOS of the ASRock X399 Professional Gaming is set to the "EZ mode", a single-page interface that includes only basic configuration settings and informative dials. From this page, the user can only switch the boot device priority, change the CPU fan speed settings, configure RAID arrays, and use BIOS flashing tools.

Pressing the F6 button reveals the entirely of the BIOS. The settings are divided under eight main tabs but most can be found under two of them. The first tab, the "Main" tab, is deceptively named and purely informative, without a single adjustable setting.

The “OC Tweaker” tab includes the CPU, RAM, and Voltage settings. By default the BIOS is set to the Auto CPU frequency and voltage mode, temporarily boosting the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X up to 4.0 GHz. Switching any of these settings to manual mode exposes new adjustable options. Unlike other iterations of ASRock motherboards, the BIOS menus here are messy, with all of the options stacked together. For example, the DRAM Timing Configuration submenu lists a host of timing settings all packed together, whereas other ASRock motherboards have this menu divided to “primary”, “secondary”, “third”, “fourth” and “advanced” settings.

The “Advanced” tab includes all of the configuration options for the motherboard’s features and onboard devices. What is of interest here is the AMD CBS submenu that hides the Zen CPU settings, which includes the thermal throttling and Core/Thread settings. A lot of advanced DRAM-related options can be found under the "UMC Common Options" submenu as well. The rest of the submenus hide advanced options that should be of no interest to most users. 

The "Tool" tab is home to the RGB configuration tool, the Instant/Internet BIOS flash tools and the RAID installer tool. The RGB LED configuration is very simple but at least each of the three channels (one for the motherboard's chipset area, one for each LED strip header) can be programmed individually.

The H/W Monitor tab is also deceptively named. Most people would expect that it should be a purely informative tab, listing the voltage and temperature sensor readings. However, ASRock included all of the fan control options in here as well. Each of the five headers can be programmed individually. The fan programming interface is very basic but at least the user can tie the speed profile of each fan to any onboard temperature sensor.

The rest of the submenus are simple and without any hidden surprises. The "Security" tab contains the password and Secure Boot settings, and the "Boot" tab all boot-related options, except from the temporary boot override options that can be found under the "Exit" tab.

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  • 29a - Thursday, July 5, 2018 - link

    The logical assumption for the Killer NIC love affair would be money.
  • PeachNCream - Friday, July 6, 2018 - link

    I'm not sure its about money. Anandtech has historically acted to avoid financial conflicts of interest and there's Purch oversight these days as well. It seems more of an interpersonal or friendship thing.

    It's in the comments of this article where AT's people met Rivet's people that seems like the starting point:

    From there, it's pretty much been site-wide drum beating in every single review where a Killer NIC ends up in a product without data that backs it up, but we're badgered into thinking that because we're gamers we should have an ethernet boner over some OEM shoveling one of Rivet's rebranded NICs and pointless AOL floppy diskette style bloatware on us. I'm guessing it's just that friendships were formed and people kicked off a bromance during the office tour that's since influenced the tone at Anandtech. The part that really irks me is that we've been told before that we wouldn't understand how a Killer NIC works because the matter is too complex to explain...that's been in comments from editors too in the past when we've tried to extract some reason for the bias. I know it's possible to explain this to technically-savvy AT readers because there are articles that have tackled more complicated for that same audience. Comments from editors like those are a cop-out for never finding a way to actually show there's a measurable real world benefit that justifies why Rivet Networks even exists today beyond it providing the industry with a supposed premium ethernet and wireless brand since there's an fairly pointless up-market version of every other component. It's just a shame this happened because lots of us otherwise still believe that Anandtech is an otherwise good site with useful, in-depth articles. I just wish they'd either publish proof or turn the dial back a few notches on Killer NIC commentary.
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, July 5, 2018 - link

    "The design of the X399 Professional Gaming is not in any way extravagant, as one would expect from a top-tier motherboard that is almost exclusively targeting gamers. On the contrary, the aesthetic design is subtle, yet elegant, focused on simple geometric shapes."

    I think it leans a lot closer to the obnoxious end of the spectrum than you do. Maybe when compared to a RGB-and-dragon/deformed bird-festooned gaming board that MSI or Gigabyte vomited up at a recent computer show it might look toned-down, but for an adult buyer, it this thing still has the stink of gamer man-child. It's only a notch or two away from the top of the volume dial thanks to someone at ASRock sticking "professional" on the box next to a has-been old guy's screen name in the hopes of catching a few workstation buyers.
  • Arbie - Thursday, July 5, 2018 - link

    This IS understated compared to practically any other enthusiast board. In fact only the extra-pointy heatsink cover could even be called flash. "The stink of gamer man-child"?? You must go insane over the truly glitzy stuff.
  • PeachNCream - Friday, July 6, 2018 - link

    Since you missed it, here's where that was already noted: " Maybe when compared to a RGB-and-dragon/deformed bird-festooned gaming board that MSI or Gigabyte vomited up at a recent computer show it might look toned-down..."
  • vailr - Thursday, July 5, 2018 - link

    What's the status of Thunderbolt appearing on AMD motherboards?
    Since Intel released the Thunderbolt patents to anyone interested in using it, one would have thought it would be appearing on AMD motherboards by now. Maybe even on an AMD-based "modular Mac Pro 2019", according to some rumors on certain Mac-related web sites.
  • GreenReaper - Sunday, July 8, 2018 - link

    I'm not sure if "released" means "licensed along with a covenant not to sue". Sometimes "free" isn't exactly free.
  • kgardas - Thursday, July 5, 2018 - link

    And does it support ECC UDIMMS or not? That is the question. W/o ECC it's really just yet another gaming board. With ECC supports one may see if it's possible to get rid of those silly LEDs and then give it a run...
  • Fujikoma - Friday, July 6, 2018 - link

    What is meant by 'comprehensive manual'? My ASRock mobo had an atrocious manual (minimalist at best). No downloadable/printable 'comprehensive manual'. There were even QR-codes that linked to nothing, meaning they still haven't written up what those options are and what they do per each firmware revision. I've ended up relying on support board postings to find out all the various nooks and crannies of the BIOS.
  • Strunf - Friday, July 6, 2018 - link

    "Gamers would most likely welcome the replacement of all three NICs with just one with proven gaming performance."
    Unlikely... a single NIC would make this board look cheap and not professional at all, it's professional gaming motherboard after all. 2 NICs are a minimum on this kind of price tag.
    I would be interested to know where your "proven gaming performance" comes from cause from what I see there's virtually no difference in gaming performance between any NIC and one only comes ahead in very specific cases scenarios like Internet bandwidth limited and torrenting/streaming while playing.

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