Board Features

The ASRock Z590 Steel Legend Wi-Fi 6E and Z590 Steel Legend (non-Wi-Fi) are positioned in the mid-range of its stack of Z590 motherboards, with plenty of features designed for gamers and enthusiasts. With its ATX size, it is compatible with most chassis types and includes four memory slots with support for up to DDR4-4800, with a combined capacity of up to 128 GB. While ASRock opts for a more budget-friendly Realtek ALC897 HD audio codec, it does include five 3.5 mm audio jacks and a S/PDIF optical output. In terms of expansion slots, the Z590 Steel Legend has one full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 driven by the CPU, a second full-length PCIe 3.0 slot, which is electronically locked to x4. Inbetween the full-length slots are three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. For storage, ASRock includes three M.2 slots, one with support for fast PCIe 4.0 x4 drives and two supporting PCIe 3.0 x4 and M.2 SATA devices.

Looking at cooling options, both Z590 Steel Legend models have a total of six 4-pin headers, with one for a CPU fan, one for an optional CPU fan and water pump, and five which can be used for either chassis fans for additional water pumps, including AIO coolers. 

ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E ATX Motherboard
Warranty Period 3 Years
Product Page Link
Price $
Size ATX
CPU Interface LGA1200
Chipset Intel Z590
Memory Slots (DDR4) Four DDR4
Supporting 128 GB
Dual-Channel
Up to DDR4-4800
Video Outputs 1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
Network Connectivity Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5 GbE
Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC897
PCIe Slots for Graphics (from CPU) 1 x PCIe 4.0 (x16)
PCIe Slots for Other (from PCH) 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4
3 x PCIe 3.0 x1
Onboard SATA Six, RAID 0/1/5/10 (Z590)
Onboard M.2 1 x PCIe 4.0 x4
2 x PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA
Thunderbolt 4 (40 Gbps) N/A
USB 3.2 (20 Gbps) 1 x USB Type-C (One header)
USB 3.2 (10 Gbps) 1 x USB Type-C (Rear panel)
1 x USB Type-A (Rear panel)
USB 3.1 (5 Gbps) 2 x USB Type-A (Rear panel)
4 x USB Type-A (Two headers)
USB 2.0 2 x USB Type-A (Rear panel)
4 x USB Type-A (Two headers)
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin Motherboard
2 x 8-pin CPU
Fan Headers 1 x 4-pin CPU
1 x 4-pin CPU/Water pump
5 x 4-pin Water Pump/chassis
IO Panel 2 x Antenna Ports (Intel AX210)
1 x PS/2 Combo port
1 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-A
2 x USB 3.2 G1 Type-A
2 x USB 2.0 Type-A
1 x RJ45 (Realtek)
5 x 3.5 mm audio jacks (Realtek)
1 x S/PDIF Optical output (Realtek)

Another element to consider is the networking, as the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E uses Intel's latest AX210 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi. Both the WiFi and non-Wi-Fi editions are using a Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5 GbE controller. In terms of USB, on the rear panel are one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, and two USB 2.0 ports. ASRock uses USB 3.2 G2x2 via the Z590 chipset, but users looking to leverage this will need to do so via the front panel header. For users looking to use integrated graphics can use the HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.4 video output pairing. 

Test Bed

With some of the nuances with Intel's Rocket Lake processors, our policy is to see if the system gives an automatic option to increase the power limits of the processor. If it does, we select the liquid cooling option. If it does not, we do not change the defaults. Adaptive Boost Technology is disabled by default.

Test Setup
Processor Intel Core i9-11900K, 125 W, $374
8 Cores, 16 Threads 3.5 GHz (5.3 GHz Turbo)
Motherboard ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E (BIOS L1.34)
Cooling Corsair iCue H150i Elite Capellix 360 mm AIO
Power Supply Corsair HX850 80Plus Platinum 850 W
Memory G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3200 CL 14-14-14-34 2T (2 x 8 GB)
Video Card MSI GTX 1080 (1178/1279 Boost)
Hard Drive Crucial MX300 1TB
Case Corsair Crystal 680X
Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64-bit: Build 20H2

We must also thank the following:

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16 Comments

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  • Leeea - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    I never forgiven AsRock & Intel removing overclocking from my "budget overclockers" H97M-ITX/ac with a BIOS update after the fact. A BIOS update required in order to upgrade to windows 10 or install patches.

    Nothing like having your product segmented after the purchase. -grumble grumble-
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    Don't think ASRock had much choice about that one - IIRC they were bypassing Intel's official guidance, and Intel have historically been quite brutal with companies that don't step back into line when asked. Reply
  • Leeea - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    "IIRC they were bypassing Intel's official guidance" - So it was a hack job. How does that make AsRock any less scummy here? Reply
  • Shlong - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    I like Asrock. They released bios updates (which angered AMD) to allow my X370 Taichi to work with Zen 3 5900X. Reply
  • Lord of the Bored - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    It isn't that it was a hack job, it is that they weren't going to be able to buy anything from Intel ever again if they didn't change it.

    They were really between a rock and a hard place.
    Reply
  • YB1064 - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    ASRock seem to be steadily sliding backwards. I think their last "good" offering was the z270 SuperCarrier. Reply
  • edzieba - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    ASRock are still king when it comes to SFF systems, from bonkers ITX boards (X299? Yup. LGA-3647? Sure, we can cram one on there. Hell, we'll throw in quad-channel too! ITX NAS board hosting 12 drives without an add-in card? Why the heck not!) to just dreaming up new form-factors to fill a niche (e.g. Micro STX, a socketable 5x5 board with an MXM slot). With the vanishingly small difference between boards within a form-factor (PCB colour and flavour of RGB aside, basically any two ATX boards will do exactly the same thing within a margin of error) it's much appreciated having something out of the ordinary to offer. Reply
  • HideOut - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    I just dont get th e 5 year old+ audio codec. Its like $2 for the 1200 series... Reply
  • Destoya - Saturday, August 7, 2021 - link

    Yeah, part of the reason I ended up with a Z590 Aorus Elite AX ($220). The most well-rounded offering in this $200-250 range, in my opinion. ALC1200 audio, same Wifi6 module as this board, 4 more USB ports, neutral color scheme, decent bios for overclocking. Reply
  • WaltC - Saturday, August 7, 2021 - link

    I don't usually comment on how a motherboard looks, as looks add nothing to performance or compatibility--but I'll make an exception in this case. That's the ugliest motherboard I've ever seen and I have seen a lot of motherboards...;)

    Also, cannot figure why with its latest chipset Intel still cannot deliver a system-wide PCIe4.x bus! Just one indicator of how far behind Intel still is. I mean, why buy a $230 Z590 motherboard when you can buy any number of x570 motherboards for that or less, with system-wide PCIe4 bus support? Doesn't seem rational, actually. (No need to mention the big differences between the latest Intel CPUs and AMD's, either.)
    Reply

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