Asrock’s Phantom Gaming (PG) series motherboards for multiple Intel and AMD chipsets are marketed as premium but affordable gaming platforms. They don’t have quite as many frills and tweaking options as elite flagship motherboards (like Asrock’s own astronomically priced Aqua series), but they achieve an appealing balance between premium features and cost. The Asrock Z590 PG Velocita ($289.99) fits right in, with a sturdy base for overclocking and an edgy look that gamers will love—at least those who prefer Intel’s 11th Generation “Rocket Lake” CPUs over its newer “Alder Lake” chips. For enthusiast-grade Z590 boards, it receives our Editors’ Choice award.
ASROCK Z590 PG VELOCITA SPECS
|CPU Socket||Intel LGA 1200|
|Maximum Supported Memory||128 GB|
|No. of DIMM Slots||4|
|Maximum Memory Speed||4800 MHz|
|PCI Express x16 Slots||3|
|PCI Express x4 Slots||0|
|PCI Express x1 Slots||1|
|Onboard Video Out for IGP (Rear Panel)||DisplayPort, HDMI|
|USB 3.0, 3.1, or 3.2 Ports Onboard (Rear Panel)||8|
|USB 3.0, 3.1, or 3.2 Ports Supported Via Header||5|
|USB 2.0 Ports Onboard (Rear Panel)||2|
|USB 2.0 Ports Supported Via Header||4|
|USB Type-C Header||Yes|
|Thunderbolt 3 or 4 Ports (Rear Panel)||0|
|Onboard Audio Chipset||Realtek ALC1220|
|No. of Audio Channels||7.1|
‘Rocket Lake’ has a lot of lights.
The PG Velocita is without a doubt one of the most colorful Z590 boards we’ve ever seen. The motherboard’s eye-catching appearance is accentuated by aRGB LEDs, which are set over a black PCB with red highlights. Personally, I want more flare, but gamers seeking for something spectacular to place behind a tempered-glass screen will be ecstatic.
Asrock’s Polychrome software control works with the onboard lights, as well as the RGB and aRGB connections on the motherboard (for attaching lighting strips and colored fans), and the Polychrome Sync environment also works with Razer’s popular Chroma lighting scheme. More information on the intricacies of Polychrome and its associated lighting hardware can be found at the previous link.
Asrock didn’t skimp on the cooling hardware either, despite the bright lights. Heat spreaders for all three M.2 slots and rather large heatsinks for the power circuits are included in the Z590 PG Velocita. If you plan on overclocking, Asrock includes a small fan that can be mounted to one of the VRM heatsinks to help cool the board’s 14 power phases.
A Look at the Audio and Networking
The Velocita offers a competitive networking solution for its price range. It has two wired NICs as well as a wireless adapter. The primary network interface controller is a Killer E3100G controller, which supports data rates of up to 2,500Mbps. The second wired networking chip is an Intel i219V controller, which is less capable (gigabit).
A Killer AX1675x Wi-Fi 6E module handles wireless networking, which can theoretically allow even more bandwidth than either of the LAN connections. The Wi-Fi 6 standard officially offers rates of up to 2,400Mbps, whereas Wi-Fi 6E can reach speeds of up to 3,600Mbps theoretically. (For more information about Wi-Fi 6E, see our guide.) However, unless you’re upgrading your home or business network at the same time as your PC, you won’t be able to take use of the cutting-edge hardware just yet, as Wi-Fi 6E routers are still uncommon. However, if you replace your router in the future, this mainboard will be available, and it should provide a significant gain in wireless data throughput, especially in scenarios when many wireless streams and traffic are present.
The audio option is a bit more mundane. The PG Velocita includes the Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, which has been a long-time industry favorite. With a 120dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and a sampling rate of up to 192kHz, this chip offers 7.1-channel surround sound. Although it isn’t the newest and greatest in the embedded-audio field, and it has been phased out on certain high-end motherboards, I see no reason to object to its use here, especially given the Velocita’s low price.
Examining the I/O, Back, and Front
There are a total of 10 USB ports on the back I/O panel. There are a half-dozen USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports with the recognizable Type-A connection on this list. There are two USB 3.2 Gen 2 connectors on the back, one Type-A and one Type-C. The last two are USB 2.0 ports from the past.
Two RJ-45 connectors for the above-mentioned wired network connections, two Wi-Fi antenna hookups for the Killer module, the customary five 3.5mm audio jacks, and a S/PDIF optical audio port are also found on the back I/O panel. DisplayPort and HDMI outputs are also available for connecting monitors to your CPU’s integrated graphics (provided you’re using a 10th or 11th Gen processor with onboard graphics). That’s a lot, but there are two items missing from the back panel: the twin buttons for wiping the BIOS and flashing new firmware that can be found on some enthusiast-grade boards.
The motherboard’s headers are arranged in a pretty standard pattern. The USB 2.0 headers are located towards the bottom of the board, while the USB 3.0 and USB-C headers are located near the RAM slots and the board’s 24-pin power connector on the right side.
The CPU fan headers on the Z590 PG Velocita are easier to access than on typical boards since Asrock placed them above the RAM slots rather than above the VRM heatsinks. Although this area can be a little crowded at times, it is still significantly easier to plug in fans here than it is elsewhere.
There are a few sharp corners on the VRM heatsinks that you should be aware of while connecting the CPU power connectors, but I’ve seen far worse. The CPU power sockets and VRMs are placed in such a way that they do not block your access to the ports.
The Z590 PG Velocita features six SATA 3.0 ports in addition to the three M.2 Key-M slots, which is plenty (and possibly overkill) for most acceptable configurations in 2021.
Taking a Quick Look at the BIOS
The PG Velocita’s EZ Mode BIOS screen appears when you first boot into the BIOS. This needs to be mentioned because I’ve recently tested several motherboards that boot into Advanced Mode by default, leaving EZ Mode as an afterthought. As a result, it’s refreshing to see an OEM follow the rules for a change.
The EZ Mode BIOS includes all of the essential functionality that most users will require on a regular basis. Change the boot sequence from here, check whether storage devices are identified and attached, flash the BIOS, and enable an XMP memory profile.
As you’d think, Advanced Mode has a lot more choices, the most significant of which being the OC Tweaker tab. If you want to overclock your RAM and processor, here is the place to go. Although Asrock doesn’t offer as many options as some higher-end boards, it does include all of the essentials, as well as a few fine-tuning capabilities such as AVX2 settings.
A few useful secondary programs are included in the tools section, including one for wiping data from a solid-state drive before reselling or disposing of it. You may also use this menu to switch on and off the RGB lights on the board, as well as flash the BIOS.
In addition to the board and the previously mentioned little fan for the VRMs, Asrock includes a PCB keychain in the Velocita box.
Of course, this handy little extra isn’t truly beneficial in the board’s operation; it’s merely a gimmick. Some lifelong techies, on the other hand, will adore the concept of a keychain that looks like their motherboard. Although it isn’t exactly a selling factor, it’s worth noting when firms include thoughtful extras like these. Normally, they’re confined to case stickers and cheesy doorknob hanging (“Danger: Gaming Inside!”), so this is a step up from the norm.
Compare with similar items
|ASROCK Z590 PG Velocita||ROG Strix Z590-E||MSI MPG Z590||ASROCK Z590 Extreme||ROG Maximus XIII Hero||GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS ELITE AX|
|Customer Rating||4.5 out of 5||4.7 out of 5||4.7 out of 5||4.6 out of 5||4.6 out of 5||4.5 out of 5|
|Chipset Type||IntelZ590||Intel Z590||IntelZ590||IntelZ590||IntelZ590||—|
|CPU Socket||LGA 1200||LGA 1200||LGA 1200||LGA 1200||LGA 1200||LGA 1200|
|Item Dimensions||15.5 x 12.6 x 3.8 inches||13.5 x 10.75 x 3.03 inches||12 x 9.6 x 2.5 inches||15.2 x 12.6 x 4 inches||14.57 x 12.28 x 4.25 inches||13.18 x 10.62 x 3.14 inches|
|Item Weight||2.20 lbs||1.76 lbs||4.19 lbs||—||6.50 lbs||4.00 lbs|
|Memory Slots Available||4||4||4||4||4||4|
|RAM Memory Maximum Size||128.0 GB||128 GB||—||128.0 GB||128 GB||—|
|RAM Memory Technology||DDR4||DDR4||DDR4||DDR4||DDR4||DDR4|
Conclusion: The Z590 Edge is a good value.
Except for a few sharp corners on the rear VRM heatsinks, we have few complaints about Asrock’s Z590 PG Velocita, unless you want to be a spoilsport and mention Intel’s LGA 1200 socket and “Comet Lake” and “Rocket Lake” CPUs being obsolete in light of LGA 1700, Intel’s new Z690 chipset, and the 12th Generation “Alder Lake” processors. The Velocita combines a low price with a robust feature set; it isn’t lacking in any major areas, it’s simple to build on, and the BIOS is straightforward to use. It also includes a few extras in the box. This board will suit you well if you’re building a new Z590 system and plan on doing some mild overlocking.
Although Intel’s new “Alder Lake” CPUs cast a pall over the 10th and 11th Gen processors and platforms, it’s not too late to build a “Rocket Lake” desktop. (While not all Z690 boards require new-generation DDR5 memory, many do, and DDR5 is both expensive and scarce at this time.) Given the board’s low pricing and compatibility with DDR4 you may already have, the Z590 PG Velocita is likely a better value than many higher-end choices right now. It may be the cornerstone of an undeniably strong yet practical machine with a reasonably priced CPU. We’ll have to see how long the “Rocket” window remains open, depending on DDR5 prices and supply, but for now, the Velocita has one of the best price-to-features combinations we’ve seen on a Z590 board.
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