As cheap as Mortar? MSI's new B350 motherboard for Ryzen

Subject: Motherboards | July 10, 2017 - 03:38 PM |
Tagged: amd, b350, B350 Mortar, msi, AM4, mATX

MSI's B350 Mortar comes in the model you see below as well as an Arctic version if you prefer a different colour scheme.  AMD's B350 chipset carries a lower cost than the X370 series but retains most of the features enthusiasts delight in, such as M.2, support for DDR4-3200MHz, a USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C plug and a Realtek ALC892 HD audio codec for audio.  Indeed about the only thing you lose is the ability to run multiple GPUs, which is not exactly a common need on an mATX build.  Modders-Inc were taken with this low cost motherboard, especially the amount of customization available in the UEFI to adjust your fan speeds ... and yes it has your RGBs.

B350mortar_07.jpg

"AMD's B350 chipset is challenging Intel's market dominance in a different subset that the chip giant did not expect: affordability. If AMD's Ryzen product releases sound too familiar with that of Intel's line, that is because it is deliberate. It is basically an aggressive move by AMD, challenging Intel directly that they can take over the naming scheme and do …"

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Source: Modders Inc

Gigabyte Launches GA-AB350N-Gaming WIFI Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | June 28, 2017 - 01:44 AM |
Tagged: gigabyte, mini ITX, b350, amd, AM4, raven ridge, SFF, ryzen

Gigabyte is joining the small form factor Ryzen motherboard market with its new GA-AB350N-Gaming WIFI. The new Mini ITX motherboard sports AMD’s AM4 socket and B350 chipset and supports Ryzen “Summit Ridge” CPUs, Bristol Ridge APUs (7th Gen/Excavator), and future Zen-based Raven Ridge APUs. The board packs a fair bit of hardware into the Mini ITX form factor and is aimed squarely at gamers and enthusiasts.

Gigabyte GA-AB350N-Gaming WIFI.png

The AB350N-Gaming WIFI has an interesting design in that some of the headers and connectors are flipped versus where they are traditionally located. The chipset sits to the left of CPU socket above the 6-phase VRMs and PowIRStage digital ICs. Four SATA 6Gbps ports and a USB 3.0 header occupy the top edge of the board. Two DDR4 dual channel memory slots are aligned on the right edge and support (overclocked) frequencies up to 3200 MHz depending on the processor used. The Intel wireless NIC, Realtek Gigabit Ethernet, and Realtek ALC1220 audio chips have been placed in the space between the AM4 socket and the single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot. There is also a single M.2 (PCI-E 3.0 x4 32Gbps) slot on the underside of the motherboard. Gigabyte has also integrated “RGB Fusion” technology with two on board RGB LED lighting zones and two RGBW headers for off board lighting strips as well as high end audio capacitors and headphone amplifier. Smart Fan 5 technology allegedly is capable of automatically differentiating between fans and water pumps connected to the two fan headers and will automatically provide the correct PWM signal based on fan curves the user can customize in the UEFI BIOS. The motherboard is powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS and while it does not have a very beefy power phase setup it should be plenty for most overclocks (especially with Ryzen not wanting to go much past 4 GHz (easily) anyway).

Rear I/O includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x Antenna (Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 4.2)
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps)
  • 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps)
  • 6 x Audio (5 x analog, 1 x S/PDIF)
  • 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4
  • 1 x Realtek GbE

Gigabyte has an interesting SFF motherboard with the GA-AB350N-Gaming WIFI and I am interested in seeing the reviews. More Mini ITX options for Ryzen and other Zen-based systems is a good thing, and moving the power phases to the left may end up helping overclocking and cooling in smaller cases with tower coolers.

Unfortunately, Gigabyte has not yet revealed pricing or availability. Looking around online at its competition, i would guess it would be around $85 though.

Also read;

Source: Gigabyte

ASUS Republic of Gamers Announces Strix X370-F Gaming and Strix B350-F Gaming

Subject: Motherboards | June 2, 2017 - 06:20 PM |
Tagged: x370, Strix X370-F Gaming, Strix B350-F Gaming, ryzen, b350, asus, amd

ASUS just announced two new members of their Strix motherboard series for AMD's Ryzen, the Strix X370-F Gaming and Strix B350-F Gaming.

strix.png

The boards offer similar features, they support up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 in their four DIMM slots and offer ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A with two headphone jacks.  You will find four USB 3.1 ports on the back panels along with HDMI 1.4b and DP 1.2 out and an Intel I211-AT powered gigabit NIC.  Storage options do vary, both have an M.2 slot however the X370 has twice as many SATA ports, eight to the B350's four. 

370.jpg

The Strix X370-F Gaming

Depending on which model you choose you could have up to three PCIe 3.0 16x slots, one capped at 8x along with support for Crossfire and SLI.  The slots are branded as SafeSlots which are made using an injection molding process that integrates metal framing to support todays monstrous GPUs. 

Those who want their system to stand out can take advantage of the AURA Sync RGB lighting and 3D printer friendly heat shields to make their build unique.  You can compare the boards directly at ASUS and check out the PR just below.

b350.jpg

The Strix B350-F Gaming

Fremont, CA (June 2, 2017) -- — Since its release back in April, AMD’s Ryzen platform has quickly established itself as a viable option, delivering exemplary performance for daily computing and gaming. ASUS was ready for the early unveil, releasing an array of motherboards for value-packed PCs to models geared for high-end rigs. However, pressing demand for Ryzen-based systems shows a need for more options in the middle of the ASUS product stack. So today, we’re bolstering our portfolio with two new AM4 motherboards aimed squarely at gamers who wish to utilize Ryzen performance in their next PC build.

Based on the latest AMD X370 and B350 chipsets, the ATX-sized Strix X370-F and Strix B350-F include all the core ROG enhancements that make system setup a breeze, while offering performance that stands out from the crowd. To read more about these motherboards, please visit ASUS ROG. ROG B350-F Motherboard

AVAILABILITY
ASUS ROG Strix X370-F Gaming and Strix B350-F Gaming Motherboards will be available in early June at leading resellers in North America.

 

Source: ASUS

AMD AGESA Update 1.0.0.6 Will Support Configurable Memory Sub Timings And Clockspeeds Up To 4,000 MHz

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2017 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: x370, ryzen, overclocking, ddr4, bios, b350, amd, agesa

AMD recently announced a new AGESA update that will improve memory compatibility and add new memory and virtualization features that have been sorely missing from AMD’s new Ryzen platforms. The new AGESA 1.0.0.6 update has been distributed to its motherboard partners and will be part of updated BIOSes that should be out by the middle of June.

cpu2.jpg

The AGESA (AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture) code is used as part of the BIOS responsible for initializing the Ryzen CPU cores, memory controller, and Infinity Fabric. With the 1.0.0.6 update, AMD is adding 26 configurable memory options (including subtimings!) that were previously locked out or limited in the range of values users could set. The biggest change is in clockspeeds where AMD will now allow memory clocks up to 4,000 MHz without needing to adjust the CPU base clock (only the very high-end motherboards had external clock generators that allowed hitting higher than 3200 MHz easily before this update). Additionally, when overclocking and setting clockspeeds above 2667 MHz, users can adjust the clockspeeds in increments of 133 MT/s rather than the currently supported 266 MT/s increments. Also important is that AMD will allow 2T command rates with the new update (previously it was locked at 1T) which improves memory kit compatibility when pushing clockspeeds and/or when running in a four DIMM configuration rather than 2 stick configurations (2T is less aggressive). These changes are especially important for overclocking and, in addition to all the other knobs that will become available, dialing in the highest possible stable clockspeeds. Reportedly, the updated AGESA code does improve on memory kit compatibility and support for more XMP profiles, but the Ryzen platform still heavily favors Samsung B-die based single rank kits. In all, it sounds like there is still more to be done but the 1.0.0.6 update is going to be a huge step in the right direction.

Beyond the memory improvements AMD is also adding support for PCI Express Access Control Services which will improve virtualization support and allow users with multiple graphics cards to dedicate a card to the host and another card to the virtual machine.

ASUS and Gigabyte have already rolled out beta BIOSes for their high-end boards, and other manufacturers and motherboards should be getting beta update’s shortly with the stable releases based on the new AMD code being available next month. I am very interested to see Ryzen paired with 4GHz memory and how that will help gaming and everyday performance and improve things in the Infinity Fabric and CCX to CCX latency department!

Source: AMD
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

The real battle begins

When AMD launched the Ryzen 7 processors last month to a substantial amount of fanfare and pent up excitement, we already knew that the Ryzen 5 launch would be following close behind. While the Ryzen 7 lineup was meant to compete with the Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake and Broadwell-E products, with varying levels of success, the Ryzen 5 parts are priced to go head to head with Intel's Core i5 product line. 

AMD already told us the details of the new product line including clock speeds, core counts and pricing, so there is little more to talk about other than the performance and capabilities we found from our testing of the new Ryzen 5 parts. Starting with the Ryzen 5 1600X, with 6 cores, 12 threads and a $249 price point, and going down to the Ryzen 5 1400 with 4 cores, 8 threads and a $169 price point, this is easily AMD's most aggressive move to date. The Ryzen 7 1800X at $499 was meant to choke off purchases of Intel's $1000+ parts; Ryzen 5 is attempting to offer significant value and advantage for users on a budget.

Today we have the Ryzen 5 1600X and Ryzen 5 1500X in our hands. The 1600X is a 6C/12T processor that will have a 50% core count advantage over the Core i5-7600K it is priced against but a 3x advantage in thread count because of Intel's disabling of HyperThreading on Core i5 desktop processors. The Ryzen 5 1500X has the same number of cores as the Core i5-7500 it will be pitted against, but 2x the thread count. 

01.jpg

How does this fare for AMD? Will budget consumers finally find a solution from the company that has no caveats?

Continue reading our review of the AMD Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X processors!!

The clean cut Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3

Subject: General Tech | March 24, 2017 - 06:27 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, AB350-Gaming 3, b350, amd, ryzen

The design of the Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3 is quite spartan, but don't let that fool you as it is heavily infected with RGB-itis.  This brand new AMD motherboard is a hair thinner than your average ATX motherboard, at 305x230mm but that doesn't mean the board is lacking in features.  There is a single x16 PCIe 3.0 slot, and a sole x4 PCIe 2.0 slot with three  x1 PCIe 2.0 slots for additional cards.  Of the six SATA ports, only four can be used if you install an M.2 SSD, a reasonable pool of drives for most.  There is HDMI 1.4 and DVI connectors on the back, along with a half dozen USB 3.1 ports on the back of which two are Gen 2 and four Gen 1.  Check out the full review at Modders Inc.

ab350g319.jpg

"AMD is back with a new CPU line-up that brings competitive performance once again against Intel’s current generation of processors at a lower price. In true AMD fashion, the AM4 motherboard line offers the same value alternative as well, offering the latest features similarly found on the latest generation Intel processors natively including USB 3.1 Gen 2, M.2 NVMe support …"

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Source: Modders Inc
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Here Comes the Midrange!

Today AMD is announcing the upcoming Ryzen 5 CPUs.  A little bit was known about them from several weeks ago when AMD talked about their upcoming 6 core processors, but official specifications were lacking.  Today we get to see what Ryzen 5 is mostly about.

ryzen5_01.png

There are four initial SKUs that AMD is talking about this evening.  These encompass quad core and six core products.  There are two “enthusiast” level SKUs with the X connotation while the other two are aimed at a less edgy crowd.

The two six core CPUs are the 1600 and 1600X.  The X version features the higher extended frequency range when combined with performance cooling.  That unit is clocked at a base 3.6 GHz and achieves a boost of 4 GHz.  This compares well to the top end R7 1800X, but it is short 2 cores and four threads.  The price of the R5 1600X is a very reasonable $249.  The 1600 does not feature the extended range, but it does come in at a 3.2 GHz base and 3.6 GHz boost.  The R5 1600 has a MSRP of $219.

ryzen5_04.png

When we get to the four core, eight thread units we see much the same stratification.  The top end 1500X comes in at $189 and features a base clock of 3.5 GHz and a boost of 3.7 GHz.  What is interesting about this model is that the XFR is raised by 100 MHz vs. other XFR CPUs.  So instead of an extra 100 MHz boost when high end cooling is present we can expect to see 200 MHz.  In theory this could run at 3.9 GHz in the extended state.  The lowest priced R5 is the 1400 which comes in at a very modest $169.  This features a 3.2 GHz base clock and a 3.4 GHz boost.

The 1400, 1500, and 1600 CPUs come with Wraith cooling solutions.  The 1600X comes bare as it is assumed that users want to use something a bit more robust.  The R5 1400 comes with the lower end Wraith Stealth cooler while the R5 1500X and R5 1600 come with the bigger Wraith Spire.  The bottom 3 SKUs are all rated at 65 watts TDP.  The 1600X comes in at the higher 95 watt rating.  Each of the CPUs are unlocked for overclocking.

ryzen5_03.png

These chips will provide a more fleshed out pricing structure for the Ryzen processors and provide users and enthusiasts with lower cost options for those wanting to invest in AMD again.  These chips all run on the new AM4 platform which are pretty strong in terms of features and I/O performance.

ryzen5_02.png

AMD is not shipping these parts today, but rather announcing them.  Review samples are not in hand yet and AMD expects world-wide availability by April 11.  This is likely a very necessary step for AMD as current AM4 motherboard availability is not at the level we were expecting to see.  We also are seeing some pretty quick firmware updates from motherboard partners to address issues with these first AM4 boards.  By April 11 I would expect to see most of the issues solved and a healthy supply of motherboards on the shelves to handle the influx of consumers waiting to buy these more midrange priced CPUs from AMD.

What they did not cover or answer would be how the four core products would be presented.  Would each be a single CCX and only 8 MB of L3 cace, or would AMD disable two cores in each CCX and present 16 MB of L3?  We currently do not have the answer to this.  Considering the latency between accessing different CCX units we can surely hope they only keep one CCX active.

ryzen5_05.png

Ryzen has certainly been a success for AMD and I have no doubt that their quarter will be pretty healthy with the estimated sales of around 1 million Ryzen CPUs since launch.  Announcing these new chips will give the mainstream and budget enthusiasts something to look forward to and plan their purchases around.  AMD is not announcing the Ryzen 3 products at this time.

Update: AMD got back to me this morning about a question I asked them about the makeup of cores, CCX units, and L3 cache.  Here is their response.

1600X: 3+3 with 16MB L3 cache. 1600: 3+3 with 16MB L3 cache. 1500X: 2+2 with 16MB L3 cache. 1400: 2+2 with 8MB L3 cache. As with Ryzen 7, each core still has 512KB local L2 cache.

BIOSTAR Shows Mini-ITX AM4 Motherboard for AMD Ryzen

Subject: Motherboards | March 4, 2017 - 11:32 AM |
Tagged: X370GTN, x370, small form factor, SFF, ryzen, racing, motherboard, mITX, mini-itx, B350GTN, b350, amd, AM4

The first images of a mini-ITX AM4 motherboard are here, courtesy of BIOSTAR (via ComputerBase). Part of their second-generation RACING-series of gaming motherboards, BIOSTAR is now the first company to show an AMD Ryzen-capable mini-ITX option with their X370GTN.

x370gtn_motherboard_1.jpg

Image credit: ComputerBase

There had been mention of an upcoming mITX board for AMD Ryzen CPUs from BIOSTAR, with a (rather low-key) mention of such a product in a recent company press release (“the exciting new RACING X370GTN in the mini-ITX form factor will also be available”), and these images from the company's RACING event are now circulating along with the specs of two different mITX offerings.

x370gtn_motherboard_2.jpg

Image credit: ComputerBase

There will in fact be two mini-ITX motherboards, with both X370 (shown) and the lower-end B350 chipsets (with the RACING B350GTN). ComputerBase provided slides with specifications (via Zolkorn, Thai language) who covered the BIOSTAR event:

x370gtn.jpg

Image credit: Zolkorn via ComputerBase

b350gtn.jpg

Image credit: Zolkorn via ComputerBase

BIOSTAR has not announced availability or pricing of their mini-ITX Ryzen boards yet, but given the pent-up demand for mini-ITX solutions for enthusiast AMD processors (with AM3 conspicuously absent from mITX), this is great news for small form-factor enthusiasts.

Source: ComputerBase

AMD Supports CrossFire On B350 and X370 Chipsets, However SLI Limited to X370

Subject: Motherboards | February 26, 2017 - 01:29 AM |
Tagged: x370, sli, ryzen, PCI-E 3.0, gaming, crossfire, b350, amd

Computerbase.de recently published an update (translated) to an article outlining the differences between AMD’s AM4 motherboard chipsets. As it stands, the X370 and B350 chipsets are set to be the most popular chipsets for desktop PCs (with X300 catering to the small form factor crowd) especially among enthusiasts. One key differentiator between the two chipsets was initially support for multi-GPU configurations with X370. Now that motherboards have been revealed and are up for pre-order now, it turns out that the multi-GPU lines have been blurred a bit. As it stands, both B350 and X370 will support AMD’s CrossFire multi-GPU technology and the X370 alone will also have support for NVIDIA’s SLI technology.

The AM4 motherboards equipped with the B350 and X370 chipsets that feature two PCI-E x16 expansion slots will run as x8 in each slot in a dual GPU setup. (In a single GPU setup, the top slot can run at full x16 speeds.) Which is to say that the slots behave the same across both chipsets. Where the chipsets differ is in support for specific GPU technologies where NVIDIA’s SLI is locked to X370. TechPowerUp speculates that the decision to lock SLI to its top-end chipset is due, at least in part, to licensing costs. This is not a bad thing as B350 was originally not going to support any dual x16 slot multi-GPU configurations, but now motherboard manufacturers are being allowed to enable it by including a second slot and AMD will reportedly permit CrossFire usage (which costs AMD nothing in licensing). Meanwhile the most expensive X370 chipset will support SLI for those serious gamers that demand and can afford it. Had B350 supported SLI and carried the SLI branding, they likely would have been ever so slightly more expensive than they are now. Of course, DirectX 12's multi-adapter will work on either chipset so long as the game supports it.

  X370 B350 A320 X300 / B300 / A300 Ryzen CPU Bristol Ridge APU
PCI-E 3.0 0 0 0 4 20 (18 w/ 2 SATA) 10
PCI-E 2.0 8 6 4 0 0 0
USB 3.1 Gen 2 2 2 1 1 0 0
USB 3.1 Gen 1 6 2 2 2 4 4
USB 2.0 6 6 6 6 0 0
SATA 6 Gbps 4 2 2 2 2 2
SATA RAID 0/1/10 0/1/10 0/1/10 0/1    
Overclocking Capable? Yes Yes No Yes (X300 only)    
SLI Yes No No No    
CrossFire Yes Yes No No    

Multi-GPU is not the only differentiator though. Moving up from B350 to X370 will get you 6 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) ports versus 2 on B350/A30/X300, two more PCI-E 2.0 lanes (8 versus 6), and two more SATA ports (6 total usable; 4 versus 2 coming from the chipset).

Note that X370, B350, and X300 all support CPU overclocking. Hopefully this helps you when trying to decide which AM4 motherboard to pair with your Ryzen CPU once the independent benchmarks are out. In short, if you must have SLI you are stuck ponying up for X370, but if you plan to only ever run a single GPU or tend to stick with AMD GPUs and CrossFire, B350 gets you most of the way to a X370 for a lot less money! You do not even have to give up any USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports though you limit your SATA drive options (it’s all about M.2 these days anyway heh).

For those curious, looking around on Newegg I notice that most of the B350 motherboards have that second PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot and CrossFire support listed in their specifications and seem to average around $99.  Meanwhile X370 starts at $140 and rockets up from there (up to $299!) depending on how much bling you are looking for!

Are you going for a motherboard with the B350 or X370 chipset? Will you be rocking multiple graphics cards?

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Gigabyte is Ryzen up to the challenge of their rivals

Subject: Motherboards | February 24, 2017 - 05:30 PM |
Tagged: aorus, gigabyte, ryzen, b350, x370

Gigabyte have lead with five motherboards, two X370s under Aorus and three B350s with Gigabyte branding.  They all share some traits in common such as RGB Fusion with 16.8 million colours to choose from and an application to allow you to customize the light show to your own specifications.  It supports control from your phone if you are so addicted to the glow you need to play with your system from across the room. 

lightshow.PNG

Smartfan 5 indicates the presence of five headers for fans or pumps that will work with PWM and standard voltage fans, which can draw up to 12V at 2A.  The boards also have six temperature sensors to give you feedback on the effectiveness of your cooling and modify it with the included application.  Most models will offer Thunderbolt 3, Intel GbE NICs and an ASMedia 2142 USB 3.1 controllers which they claim can provide up to 16Gb/s.  All will have high end audio solutions, often featuring a headphone pre-amp and high quality capacitors.  There are a lot more features specific to each board, so make sure to click through to check out your favourites.

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The Aorus boards, the GA-AX370-Gaming K7 and GA-AX370-GAMING 5 are very similar but if you plan on playing with your BCLK it is the K7 which includes Gigabyte's Turbo B-Clock.  The Gigabyte lineup includes the GA-AB350M, GA-AB350-Gaming and GA-AB350-GAMING 3.  The GA-AB350M is the only mATX Ryzen board of these five for those looking to build a smaller system.  For audiophiles the full size the GAMING 3 includes an ALC1220 codec as opposed to the ALC 887 used on the other two models. 

You can expect to see reviews of these boards which offer far more details on perfomance and features after they are released on March 2nd.  Full PR under the break.

Source: Gigabyte