A Closer Look
As our sample came as an OEM sample with no retail packaging, we’re going to skip normal packaging and unboxing section.
The Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 is a standard ATX form-factor board based around Intel’s LGA 1151 socket and Z390 chipset.
Intel’s 1151 socket sits near the center with the 12-phase power delivery system wrapped around the left and top sides. Four DDR4 DIMM slots sit to the right, and an M.2 slot hangs under the socket next to a PCIe x1. Three 4-pin fan headers can be found between the CPU and PCIe slots.
The bottom half of the board has three Steel Slot PCIe x16 slots and two opened ended PCIe x1 slots. They are capable of X16/x0 or X8/X8 mode from the CPU lanes for the first two and the lowest one is PCIe x4 from the Z390 chipset. There are a total of three M.2 slots woven in between the PCIe slots, the lowest one is covered with a heatsink.
Along the bottom of the board are your HD Audio header to the front panel, no less than three RGB headers, the Thunderbolt controller plug, a 4-pin fan header, a TPMS module connector, and a USB 2.0 header.
The front corner has the POST code display, clear COMS jumper, built in power and reset switches, front panel I/O connections, another fan header,
The rear of the board is pretty barren with only a few chips.
Rear I/O is pretty much packed to the gills. You get an HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2 for video, a dual personality PS/2 port, six USB 3.1 gen 1 (a max of 5.0 Gbps) and 8 channel audio with optical output. You also get two USB 3.1 gen 2 10gbps ports, twin Intel Gigabit LAN ports plus a Realtek 2.5G LAN, and a 2x2 Intel Wireless-AC Wifi plus Bluetooth 5.0 solution. Overclockers will enjoy the rear clear CMOS button in the corner as well.
The front edge of the board has eight SATA ports, a USB 3.1 connector, and two USB 3.0 headers, and the main 24-pin power.
The top edge of the board has three 4-pin fan headers and the CPU’s 8-pin EPS and 4-pin auxiliary power connections.
The VRM heatsinks are pretty neat with an asymmetrical pattern to them that flows with the red and grey accents on the board and cools the 12+2 phase VRM.
The RTL8125AG chip on the back of the board runs the 2.5 Gigabit LAN port on the rear I/O panel. The other two LAN ports are Intel powered gigabit ran from i219V and i211AT chipsets respectively.
The Hyper BCLK chip is responsible for the wide range of base clock adjustments available when overclocking.
Interestingly, only one M.2 slot of the three on the board has a heatsink. Two screws later we get a look at the pre-applied thermal pad.
Our non-retail sample still comes with the rear I/O shield, the WiFi antenna, and driver/utility disk.