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 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, the M.2 slot, 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.
Subject: Motherboards | July 25, 2017 - 12:16 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ryzen, RGB LED, overclocking, e-atx, asus, AM4
Asus recently took the wraps off of its X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme E-ATX motherboard which is the company’s new flagship motherboard for the AMD Ryzen platform. The new board is packed with features and is aimed at extreme overclockers and gaming enthusiasts.
The massive board surrounds the AMD AM4 socket with four DDR4 DIMM slots, a 12 phase Digi+ VRM, and a plethora of expansion and storage connections including two PCI-E 3.0 x16, one PCI-E 2.0 x16, three PCI-E 2.0 x1, two M.2 slots, and 8 SATA 6Gbps ports. One of the M.2 slots sits under the passive PCH heatsink and connects directly to the CPU while the other M.2 slot does not benefit from the passive heatsink and shares bandwidth with the PCI-E 2.0 lanes coming from the chipset.
The board has a massive VRM heatsink that can also be swapped out for a monoblock that can be integrated into a custom water cooling loop with ASUS partnering with Bitspower for a monoblock that will be sold separately (the board will also work with monoblocks from other manufacturers) and will include sensors to measure flow rate, temperature, and leak detection. The board also has a header that will allow you to attach those same sensors to another point in your loop with all the sensor data being available through ASUS’ Fan Xpert 4 software. There are 13 fans headers on board (16 with fan extension card) with one dedicated pump header and two groups of four fan headers that are placed closed together to make wiring up radiators a bit cleaner. The X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme also sports multiple RGB LED lighting zones and two headers that will allow users to extend the lighting to RGB LED strips, fans, and cases (one header is for addressable LEDs and the other is for standard LED strips up to 3A). The on board lighting zones include the IO and VRM cooler, the two SafeSlot (metal-reinforced) PCI-E x16 slots, the chipset heatsink, and the right edge of the board. The audio jacks are also LED color coded which is actually kind of cool since it can be hard to see what colors the jacks are when the case is under a desk! Other useful features include an ROG backplate and a right angle 24-pin power connector to make cable management a bit easier. There are also the usual overclocker friendly error code display, power and reset buttons, and voltage read points for multimeters. Further, the board features a dedicated base clock generator and a “TPU” (TurboV Processing Unit) that helps manage voltage to the VRMs and controls the clock generator. The external clock generator is important when overclocking Ryzen and hitting extremely high memory frequencies.
Asus is using an Intel I211-AT Gigabit Ethernet controller for the wired networking and there is also support for Intel 8265-powered 802.11 ac Wi-Fi. Sound is handled by a SupremeFX S122 codec paired with ES9023P ESS Sabre DAC with high end capacitors and TI op-amps for a 113 dB line in (for recording) and 120 dB output.
Rear I/O is where the Extreme board is a bit wanting with:
- 2 x Antenna connectors
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2
- 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 5 x Gold plated 3.5mm jacks
- 1 x S/PDIF (Optical)
- 2 x Clear CMOS and BIOS Flashback buttons
On one hand, I am not sure what else they could have included (Thunderbolt is really the only missing thing and not strictly needed), but it does look a bit barren even compared to the Crosshair VI Hero.
Asus’ flagship AMD AM4 motherboard will be available in early August with an MSRP of $349.
I am interested to see if the X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme really does up the ante especially in the overclocking department versus the ROG Crosshair VI Hero which seems to be a popular choice for overclockers aiming to break records. I am looking forward to reviews to see whether the $100 premium is worth it (the Crosshair VI Hero is $245 or $270 with AC Wi-Fi).
Personally, I think I would rather go with a cheaper motherboard and better graphics card or SSD, but for those not on a budget I can see them opting for the board with all the bells and whistles (and RGB)!
Subject: Motherboards | July 19, 2017 - 04:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: x370, ryzen, Racing X370GT7, biostar, amd, AM4
BioStar have greeted the release of AMD's Ryzen with enthusiasm, releasing numerous AM4 boards, some of which are garnering better reviews than the main brands. [H]ard|OCP tested out their Racing X370GT7, an ATX model with a ~$160 price tag. The silkscreen on the board is rather unique and the layout is extremely clean. You get a lot of nice high end features such as a heatsink for the M.2 slot located just below the CPU socket, Realtec ALC1220 8 channel audio and even an LN2 switch for extreme overclockers. As with many other X370 boards there were some quirks with memory compatibility as well as some questionable UEFI choices specific to this board. It will offer a solid base for someone building a Ryzen platform and it will likely improve as the AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture for AM4's matures.
"BIOSTAR isn’t exactly a juggernaut of a manufacturer here in the U.S. Despite stiff competition, the big boys are blowing it bad enough at the X370 Ryzen motherboard game that BIOSTAR’s X370GT7 just might be one of the best AM4 motherboard options around. While we think it might actually be good, it still doesn’t make for a smooth ride."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium Review @ OCC
- ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 @ Hardware Secrets
- MSI X370 Krait Gaming @ Modders-Inc
- Gigabyte AB350N-Gaming WIFI @ Modders-Inc
- Gigabyte AORUS Gaming 3 X299 @ eTeknix
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 14, 2017 - 03:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thermaltake, Contac Silent 12, ryzen, AM4, amd, heatsink, air cooler
Thermaltake has a new cooler for those planning a Ryzen build on a budget, or for quiet system builds. The Contac Silent 12 is a mere 153x12x100.3mm in size, with the fan attached, and weighs a paltry 700g however it is capable of almost matching the performance of AMD's Wraith cooler while operating at a noticeably quieter level. In addition to the heatsink you will find a 'low-noise cable' which changes the fans RPM span from 500-1500 RPM to 400-1100 RPM however in their tests The Tech Report found it had little effect on the noise produced by a system under load. See the full results here.
"Thermaltake's Contac Silent 12 relies on an established design and a simple mounting system to get AMD Socket AM4 builders up and running as quickly as possible. We tested this cooler at stock and overclocked speeds to see how it stacks up for just $25."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Aqua Computer cuplex kryos NEXT CPU Water Block @ techPowerUp
- In Win 301 Mini Tower @ Benchmark Reviews
- Aerocool P7-C0 @ Kitguru
- VIVO CASE-V08 Review @ OCC
Subject: Motherboards | July 10, 2017 - 03:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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 …"
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI Z270 GAMING M7 @ techPowerUp
- ECS Z270-Lightsaber Review @ Neoseeker
- ASRock X299 Taichi @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2017 - 11:06 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: video, Vega FE, thermalright, Spirit 140, Samsung, radeon, prorender, podcast, mining, mini ITX, microcode, logitech, GTX USB, gigabyte, galaxy s8+, G433, amd, AM4
PC Perspective Podcast #456 - 06/28/17
Join us for talk about Radeon Vega FE, Intel SSD 545S, GTX USB, Mining Specifc Cards, 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)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Jeremy: Cheap drone with 720p video