Subject: Motherboards | January 11, 2018 - 01:18 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Zen+, x470, ryzen, gigabyte, CES 2018, CES, aorus gaming 7, aorus, amd, AM4
Gigabyte had several motherboards on display at CES including an AMD AM4 motherboard with an unreleased AMD 400-series Promontory chipset! The stealthily displayed AORUS branded motherboard was spotted by Steven Burke over at Gamer’s Nexus who then jumped at the opportunity and started taking it apart! The AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi appears to check all the boxes for a high-end gaming focused motherboard and should allow enthusiasts eyeing a Ryzen or Zen+ (Ryzen 2000 series) processor to push it as far as possible.
We went hands-on with the AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi
The X470-based motherboard features a six layer PCB and improved CPU power delivery in the form of a 10+2 power phase (doubled 5-phase for CPU plus 2 phases for memory) with VRMs that are cooled by a hefty copper heat-pipe and aluminum fin stack. Gamer’s Nexus reports that Gigabyte is using hardware from International Rectifier in the form of IR 3599 drivers, IR 3553 MOSFETs, and a IR 35201 PWM controller. For those interested in how motherboard VRMs and power phases works, Buildzoid has several great introductory videos on Youtube that are worth watching.
Other overclocking friendly features include an external clock generator, diagnostic LED readout, power and clear CMOS buttons on the rear IO panel, dual BIOSes, and various hybrid fan headers for air and water cooling. Gigabyte reportedly rates the motherboard at 4,000+ MHz memory overclocking which is good news for Ryzen and Ryzen 2 users since memory speeds have a big impact on performance.
The AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi feeds the AM4 socket with both an 8-pin and 4-pin ATX power connectors. To the right of the processor socket sits four DDR4 DIMM slots and the accent LED along the right edge. Expansion is handled by three PCI-E x16 slots (two are wired to the CPU for graphics), two PCI-E x1 slots, and two M.2 slots that sit under black head spreaders. There are six SATA ports in the right corner. While the heatsink is covering the audio chipset, whichever solution they are using (likely Realtek as it does not appear this is a Killer-equipped board) has high end WIMA and Nichicon caps and also supports USB DAC-UP technology.
Rear I/O includes two antenna connectors for the built in Wi-Fi chipset, power and clear CMOS buttons, four USB 3.0 ports plus two more USB 3.0 ports that support USB DAC-UP, two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-C and one Type-A), a RJ45 connector (likely Gigabit Ethernet), and six audio outputs (one S/PDIF and five 3.5mm analog outputs).
It is interesting to finally see a 400-series motherboard and for Gigabyte to give AMD its Gaming 7 treatment. Also comforting is that while the new 400-series boards will offer slight connectivity benefits, users that bought into Summit Ridge and X370/B350/A320 boards aren’t missing out on too much and may actually get multiple CPUs out of one motherboard for a change. The 400-series chipsets allegedly enable a bit more bandwidth for devices hanging off of the chipset thanks to the upgrade from PCI-E 2.0 (5GT/s) to PCI-E 3.0. With this upgrade, a M.2 drive connected through the chipset would be able to hit its full speeds. While the chipset’s eight PCI-E 3.0 lanes could in theory support two nearly full speed M.2 NVMe drives, the PCI-E 3.0 x4 link between the chipset and processor would ultimately bottleneck things. At least a single drive can hit its full speeds though and bring Ryzen systems up to three total PCI-E M.2 drives running at full speed.
Oh, and did I mention there is RGB? Yep, Gigabyte has hooked the X470 Gaming 7 WIFI up with RGB LEDs around the PCI-E x16 slots, DIMM slots, over the chipset, and under the accent overlay in the top right corner. All things considered, the RGB is pretty tame in this model, which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on Gigabyte’s upcoming motherboard and on the 400-series motherboards in general? Are you ready for Pinnacle Ridge?
Subject: Motherboards | January 5, 2018 - 03:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, mini-itx, msi, ryzen, B350I PRO AC, AM4
While it is not as impressive as it would be if this were a mini-ITX Threadripper board, building a motherboard that is over 50% socket may be asking a bit too much. Instead the B350I PRO AC is designed for Socket AM4 Ryzen chips.
The board is designed with 9-phase PWM design (6+2+1), which will ensure great stability along with an electrically isolated Realtek ALC887 codec and Steel Armour protecting that lone PCIe 16x slot. Memory of up to 32GB of DDR4-3200+ is supported, important to get the most out of your Ryzen processor. There are two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports on the back as well as HDMI out, so you could use this as an unobtrusive VR box with the right GPU installed; WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity will also come in hand for that.
Check out the full specifications here, while we await availability.
Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2017 - 01:45 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: podcast, xfx, Vega, Raspberry Pi, radeon, qualcomm, nicehash, Intel, IME, GTX 1070Ti, gddr6, evga, Elgato, dell, coolermaster, cluster, asus, arm, amd, AM4, Adrenalin Edition, 4k60, 10nm, video
PC Perspective Podcast #478 - 12/07/17
Join us for discussion on Windows on ARM, Intel 10nm rumors, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, Jim Tanous
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:39:42
0:03:30 PCPer Mailbag #020 - 11/30/2017
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | November 30, 2017 - 06:48 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asus, AM4, ryzen, Vega, ryzen mobile, APU, raven ridge
ASUS recently made new BIOS updates available for several of its motherboards that suggest desktop Raven Ridge APUs are coming soon. The BIOS updates contain AGESA! V9 RavenPi-FPS-AM4 22.214.171.124 along with Raven Generic VBIOS to add support for the Zen-based Raven Ridge CPU cores and Vega-based graphics.
Desktop Raven Ridge APUs have been promised in AMD roadmaps for awhile now, but details are still scarce. These desktop parts have the same four CPU cores as Ryzen Mobile Ryzen 5 2500U and Ryzen 7 2700U, but will run with higher TDPs (up to 65W) and higher clockspeeds along with a much larger GPU with up to 11 CUs (704 Vega cores). As of this writing the rumors of a HBM-equipped APU is still just that, a rumor. The first desktop Raven Ridge parts are sure to use standard DDR4, however.
Speculation over at [H] suggests that ASUS may have jumped the gun a bit on making the BIOS updates available by a few days which suggests that AMD is planning a December launch for the desktop parts (likely a soft launch though hopefully not as terribly long as Bristol Ridge!) and BIOS updates coming from other manufacturers at that time.
Guru3D has a list of links to the BIOS updates currently available from ASUS covering 13 of their motherboards including X370, B350, and A320 PRIME series motherboards and X370 and B350 ROG STRIX motherboards. Missing from the AMD AM4 lineup are the EX-A320M-GAMING, PRIME A320M-C and -C R2.0, and ROG CROSSHAIR VI Hero and Extreme boards.
Interestingly, desktop Raven Ridge is the second APU generation to work with the AM4 socket, and is is allegedly not the last. AMD has stated previously that it intends to support the AM4 socket for quite a while and their own roadmaps list support for at least two more Ryzen CPU generations and one more generation of APUs. Specifically, AMD plans to support Bristol Ridge, Raven Ridge, and Picasso (which is essentially the Zen+ APU generation) APUs along with Summit Ridge (Zen), Pinnacle Ridge (“12nm” Zen+), and Matisse (“7nm” Zen 2) CPUs on the same AM4 socket which is refreshing to see. Of course, AMD is introducing new chipsets (e.g. X400 series with Pinnacle Ridge) with each new generation, but it is nice to know that at least there is an upgrade path if you want it and don’t need whatever new I/O the new motherboards offer.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming 5 board features a matte black PCB with with a white armor overlay protecting the rear panel and audio components. In line with their AORUS Intel boards, GIGABYTE spread RGB LEDs throughout the board's surface, configurable via the UEFI or the windows app. The board supports the AMD Ryzen processor line and Dual Channel DDR4 memory via the AMD X370 chipset. The AX370-Gaming 5 motherboard can be found at most retailers with an MRSP of $194.99
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The following features have been integrated into the board: four SATA III 6Gbps ports; two SATA-Express ports; an M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable port; a U.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable port; dual RJ-45 ports featuring an Intel I211-AT Gigabit NIC and a Rivet Networks Killer E2500 NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; dual Realtek audio CODECs; an integrated HDMI video port; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
To power the board, GIGABYTE integrated integrated a 10-phase (6+4) digital power delivery system into the AX370-Gaming 5 board's design. The digital power system was designed with IR digital power controllers and PowIRstage ICs, Server Level Chokes, and Durable Black capacitors. The power components used are the same as those used to great effect on their AORUS Intel boards.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
GIGABYTE integrated a variety of fan headers and temperature sensors into the board They integrated temperature sensors into the CPU socket, VRMs, and chipset. Additionally, there are monitored fan headers spread throughout the board's surface, all supporting high current devices (fans or water pumps), rated for up to 24W (2A at 12V).
Subject: Motherboards | October 20, 2017 - 12:25 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: X370-I Gaming, strix, small form factor, SFF, ryzen, motherboard, mITX, mini-itx, gaming, B350-I Gaming, amd, AM4
While Intel users have long enjoyed the option of a premium ASUS ROG mini-ITX experience, AMD Ryzen owners are now on equal footing with the annoucement of a pair of mITX gaming boards with premium features. ASUS has apparently been working on these for a while now, and they think they will be worth the wait.
"Mini-ITX boards are among the most difficult to produce. Their diminutive 6.7” x 6.7” dimensions leave little real estate for slots and ports, let alone the extra features that make ROG unique. We’re not willing to compromise your experience for a compact footprint, so it takes some time and creativity to make everything fit. But it’s worth the effort, because our new Strix X370-I Gaming and Strix B350-I Gaming motherboards for Socket AM4 raise the bar for small-form-factor Ryzen builds. They match the cutting-edge features of their full-sized siblings, including liquid-ready cooling and addressable RGB lighting, and they combine an M.2 SSD heatsink and amped-up audio on an innovative riser card."
The motherboards both feature a 6-phase VRM design, which ASUS says is the same as their full-sized AM4 motherboards, with memory support of up to DDR4-3600. One-click overclocking is provided via the ASUS "5-Way Optimization technology", which can calibrate fan curves in addition to tuning CPU speeds. Speaking of fans, there are three PWM fan headers, one of which is configured by default for a liquid cooling pump.
An interesting design choice was made in the interest of space, as the sound card (S1220A codec) and an M.2 slot (PCIe Gen 3 x4) are part of a shared riser card:
"The Republic of Gamers has a history of working around Mini-ITX limitations by building up with additional circuit boards. Our Maximus Impact series made room for upgraded audio with a dedicated riser, and the Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming go one step further with an M.2 Audio Combo card that contains both SupremeFX sound and M.2 storage. This small PCB is sandwiched between isolated heatsinks for an M.2 drive and the platform chipset, ensuring effective cooling without taking up too much space."
ASUS Aura Sync RGB lighting effects are on board, as is an 802.11ac Wi-Fi solution with 2x2 antenna and integrated Bluetooth. Connectivity includes a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports and four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, Gigabit LAN, and multi-channel audio on the rear panel, with 4x SATA ports, dual M.2 slots (one on the rear as well as the riser card), and headers for both USB 3.0 and 2.0 onboard.
The ASUS ROG Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming motherboards will "be available starting late-October in the United States with pricing to be released in the coming weeks" according to ASUS.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ASUS
The ASUS Crosshair VI Hero board features a black PCB with a plastic armor overlay covering the board's rear panel and audio subsystem components. ASUS added RGB LED backlighting to the rear panel cover and chipset heat sink to illuminate the board and ASUS ROG logos, as well as under board lighting along the sound PCB separator line. ASUS designed the board around the AMD X370 chipset, offering support for AMD's Ryzen processor line and Dual Channel DDR4 memory running at a 2400MHz speed. The Crosshair VI Hero motherboard can be found in the wild at an MRSP of $254.99
Courtesy of ASUS
To power the Ryzen CPU, ASUS integrated a 12 phase digital power delivery system into the Crosshair VI Hero, providing enough juice to push your CPU to its limits. The following features have been integrated into the board: eight SATA III 6Gbps ports; an M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable port; an RJ-45 port featuring the Intel I211-AT Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; the ASUS SupremeFX S1220 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DVI-D and HDMI video ports; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.
Courtesy of ASUS
For superior audio performance, ASUS built the Crosshair VI Hero's audio subsystem around the SupremeFX CODEC, featuring Nichicon audio capacitors, switching MOSFETs, a high-precision clock source, an ESS ESS9023P DAC, and an RC4580 audio buffer.
Courtesy of ASUS
To appease their AMD user population, ASUS designed the CPU cooler mount for compatibility with both the AM3 and AM4 style coolers. This gives users a wider selection of cooling solutions available to use with the board.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 25, 2017 - 10:43 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ryzen, noctua, low-profile, htpc, cooler, APU, amd, AM4, air cooling
AMD's popularity with Ryzen CPUs (and upcoming APUs) has made waves across the industry, and Noctua have jumped in with a pair of low-profile offerings that update previous designs for cramped case interiors.
First up is the new version of the NH-L9a:
"The new NH-L9a-AM4 is an AM4-specific revision of Noctua’s award-winning NH-L9a low-profile CPU cooler. At a height of only 37mm, the NH-L9a is ideal for extremely slim cases and, due to its small footprint, it provides 100% RAM and PCIe compatibility as well as easy access to near-socket connectors, even on tightly packed mini-ITX motherboards."
Next is the new NH-L12S:
"The new S-version of the renowned NH-L12 not only adds AM4 support but also gives more flexibility and improved performance in low-profile mode. Thanks to the new NF-A12x15 PWM slim 120mm fan, the NH-L12S provides even better cooling than the previous model with its 92mm fan. At the same time, the NH-L12S is highly versatile: with the fan installed on top of the fins, the cooler is compatible with RAM modules of up to 45mm in height. With the fan installed underneath the fins, the total height of the cooler is only 70mm, making it suitable for use in many compact cases."
Noctua says that these new coolers now shipping "and will be available shortly", with an MSRP of $39.90 for the NH-L9a-AM4 and $49 for the NH-L12S.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 12, 2017 - 02:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Threadripper, ryzen 7, AM4, XSPC RayStorm
The question is if installing the XSPC RayStorm Threadripper waterblock on an AM4 actually improves your systems thermals. [H]ard|OCP tested out the difficulty of the installation process and the performance of the cooler on a Ryzen 7 1700X overclocked to 4GHz. The mounting worked exactly as advertised, mating perfectly with the AM4 processor; the performance on the other hand demonstrates the advantage of using coolers specifically designed for your processor.
"If you could mount your Threadripper custom cooling waterblock on your socket AM4 Ryzen 7 CPU, wouldn't you? Of course the answer is yes. However, the results turned out a bit different than we thought those might."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Game Max Iceberg 240mm Liquid Cooler @ Kitguru
- Swiftech Apogee SKF "Heirloom Series" CPU Water Block @ techPowerUp
- Thermaltake View 27 Snow Gull-Wing @ [H]ard|OCP
- CRYORIG H7 Quad Lumi @ techPowerUp
- Be quiet! Shadow Rock TF 2 CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Gigabyte ATC700 AORUS CPU cooler @ Guru3D
- Corsair Commander Pro: fan, lighting, temperature control w/ Link @ Kitguru
- Rosewill ORBIT-Z1 @ techPowerUp
- Fractal Design Meshify C @ Guru3D
- Mean:IT 5PM LUM RED Case @ Modders-Inc
- Game Max Moonstone (Tempered Glass w/ RGB Fans) Case @ Kitguru
Subject: Memory | August 6, 2017 - 11:41 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wraith max, Wraith, ryzen, fm2, amd, AM4
Amidst all the big AMD announcements recently, the company quietly revealed that it would begin selling the Wraith Max CPU cooler separately at retail. The Wraith Max heatsink and fan was previously only available in OEM systems and in boxed SKUs of the highest end Ryzen processors (mainly the 1700X and 1800X). The cooler is a refreshed and upgraded version of the company’s original Wraith cooler that measures 105 x 105 x 85mm and features a boxy horizontal cooler with a copper baseplate and heatpipes with a shrouded 92mm fan along with a RGB LED ring around the fan that can be controlled via motherboard software.
The Wraith Max is rated at 140W TDP and is connected to the system using a fan header and USB (for controlling the lighting). AMD further rates the cooler at a fairly quiet 38 dBA. The Wraith Max supports all of the usual AMD sockets including AM4, AM3, and FM2 (no Threadripper support of course heh), but there is no official support for Intel sockets.
The Wraith Max cooler will retail for $59 USD. I have been keeping an eye on the usual online retailers and have not yet seen it listed, but it should be available soon. Hopefully there will be more reviews of the cooler now that it is a retail product on its own, and maybe we can get Sebastian to take a look at it and compare it to the original Wraith cooler (and his usual lineup of course) he reviewed last year.