Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2019 - 02:01 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, ryzen, mini-stx, barebones, asrock, APU, amd, AM4
ASRock is launching a new small form factor barebones system later this month that incorporates what the company claims Is the first Mini STX motherboard for AMD’s Zen-based processors (primarily APUs) using the AM4 socket, a tiny case, and optional accessories. The DeskMini A300 and A300W are barebones PCs where you are responsible for adding your own CPU, RAM, and storage. Measuring 155 x 155 x 80mm (approximately 6.1” x 6.1” x 3.15”), the 1.92-liter PCs sit somewhere between an Intel NUC and a Mini ITX build. The DeskMini A300 case is all black with subtle rounded corners, a stylized front panel, and ample square mesh ventilation grills along the top, left side, and back. Up front sits two audio jacks (mic/headphone), one USB 3.1 Type-C, and one USB 3.1 Type-A (both USB 3.1 Gen 1 / 5Gbps) and two USB 2.0 ports can be added via an optional front panel add-on using a header on the motherboard. Around back ASRock’s A300M-STX motherboard offers up one USB 3.1 (5Gbps), one USB 2.0, one Gigabit Ethernet, and three display outputs (one each of HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort). There is also a DC-in jack for power with the kit using a 19V 120W power brick.
Inside the case the DeskMini A300 uses the ASRock A300M-STM motherboard with measures 5” x 5”. While not the first Mini STX motherboard for AMD processors (Mini STX is generally an Intel form factor), it is reportedly the first for newer AMD chips using the AM4 socket. The board supports up to 65W CPUs and will generally only be used with APUs that have their own integrated graphics as this motherboard lacks a PCI-E x16 slot for installing a dedicated GPU. Granted, an enthusiast might well be able to use a CPU only Ryzen processor and sacrifice a M.2 slot to add in a GPU but then you would need a bigger case and at that point it might be easier to just go Mini ITX (Note that some Mini STX motherboards do support external graphics via MXM slots but those mainly mobile focused GPUs can come at a hefty premium). In any event, the AM4 socket is paired with two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots (up to 2933 MHz), two Ultra M.2 2280 slots for NVMe storage, one M.2 Key E for wireless modules, and two SATA 3 6Gpbs ports (RAID 0 and 1 are supported). ASRock sells an optional 65W CPU cooler, but if you plan to add your own height is limited to 46mm.
Audio is handled by the Realtek ALC233 codec/chipset while networking is handled by the Realtek RTL8111H NIC for wired and the Intel AC-3168 Wi-Fi for wireless (on the A300W SKU).
The DeskMini A300 barebones PC is slated for release later this month starting at $119 which gets you a tiny SFF motherboard, case, and power supply. Tom’s Hardware was able to get a hands-on look at the case and motherboard at CES and took several photos of the kit. It is an interesting product utilizing Mini STX and is nice to see an AMD option in this middle ground form factor.
Looking at the photos, the second M.2 slot as well as the CMOS battery being on the underside of the motherboard may prove to be rather inconvenient (it’s not clear if that case has a motherboard cutout for those areas or not). Using vertical SO-DIMM slots shouldn’t be a problem airflow wise in this case though and should be a bit sturdier than the angled approaches long term. Storage and other I/O seems decent especially considering this system uses the lower-end A300 chipset.
Hopefully reviewers (and modders!) will be able to get their hands on the small form factor hardware soon. What are your thoughts?
- Sapphire Shows Off New 5x5 Ryzen V1000 Platform for Embedded Systems
- Mini-STX Build: ECS H110S-2P and SilverStone VT01 Review
- AMD Details AM4 Chipsets and Upcoming Motherboards
- The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G Review: Return of the APU
Subject: Processors | December 26, 2018 - 11:52 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: overclock, 200GE, amd, msi, b350, b450, AM4
If you happen to have an MSI B450 or B350 motherboard, get out there and grab the latest UEFI BIOS which updates support for AGESA version 126.96.36.199 as it may be pulled soon. The reason it may not last is because it will let you overclock your Athlon 200GE processor, something which is generally impossible to pull off. TechSpot tried it out successfully on a variety of MSI boards, such as the Gaming Pro Carbon AC and managed to bump the $55 processor from 3.2GHz to 3.8GHz. You won't see a huge increase in performance, though you will see some and it makes for an interesting experiment.
"In an unexpected turn of events, it's now possible to overclock the otherwise-locked $55 Athlon 200GE processor. In what appears to be a slip up by MSI, the component maker has enabled Athlon overclocking with their latest BIOS release across its entire AM4 motherboard lineup."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD Athlon 200GE @ Guru of 3D
- Battlefield V Multiplayer CPU Benchmark: Ryzen 7 2700X vs. Core i9-9900K @ Techspot
- Intel Core i9-9980XE Extreme Edition Review – It Hertz! @ Kitguru
- Windows Server 2019 vs. Linux vs. FreeBSD Performance On A 2P EPYC Server @ Phoronix
Subject: Memory | September 17, 2018 - 02:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: T-Force VULCAN TUF, G.SKILL Flare X, ddr4-3200, AM4, amd, overclocking, x470
AMD processors like fast RAM, but [H]ard|OCP wanted to see if sacrificing timings for higher frequencies is the answer in all cases, or only some. To test this out they grabbed two 16GB kits of DDR4-3200, one T-Force Vulcan TUF and one G.SKILL Flare X. The Vulcan's base timings are 16-18-18-38 while the G.SKILL offer 14-14-14-34, both running at 1.35v. Take a look to see how these kits performed at their base settings as well as their top overclocks in the full review.
"We take a look at some of the new RAM available for the AMD Ryzen AM4 platform and see how well these work out when it comes to overclockability and timing tweaking. On the test bench today are the Team T-FORCE VULCAN TUF Gaming Alliance and G.SKILL Flare X Series RAM, both rated at 3200MHz."
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- Team Group T-Force Vulcan Gaming SODIMM 4x 8 GB DDR4-2666 @ TechPowerUp
- Ballistix Sport AT Gaming DDR4-3000 (TUF Edition) @ TechPowerUp
- Ballistix Sport AT Gaming DDR4 RGB 32GB 3000 MHz @ Guru of 3D
- Team Group T-Force XCALIBUR RGB DDR4-3600 @ TechPowerUp
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The GIGABYTE X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WIFI board features a matte black PCB with with a black armor overlay protecting the rear panel and audio components, as well as an integrated rear panel shield. In keeping with their previous AORUS series board designs, GIGABYTE spread RGB LEDs throughout the board's surface, configurable via the UEFI or the windows app. The board supports the AMD Ryzen 2 series processor line and Dual Channel DDR4 memory via the AMD X470 chipset. The X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi motherboard can be found at most retailers with an MRSP of $239.99
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The following features have been integrated into the board: six SATA III 6Gbps ports; two M.2 PCIe x4 capable ports (one PCIe 2.0 and one PCIe 3.0); an RJ-45 port featuring an Intel I211-AT Gigabit NIC; dual antennae ports tied to the Intel 802.11ac WiFi controller; three PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; a Realtek audio CODEC; 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 12-phase (10+2) digital power delivery system into the X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WIFI 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 | June 8, 2018 - 04:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, x470, amd, ryzen, crosshair vii hero, AM4
Even after years of suggestions and beratement, CMOS battery placement remains a sore spot for a variety of reveiwers. The Crosshair VII Hero is no exception, where the battery will be buried under you GPU; what is exceptional is that this is the sole shortcoming to this AM4 board. [H]ard|OCP were duly impressed by the features and performance of this board, as well as the price tag, which is nicely under $300. Whether you plan on taking advantage of Precision Boost 2 or manually overclocking, this is a board worth checking out.
"Along with the second generation AMD Ryzen CPUs, we are getting the new and somewhat improved X470 chipset motherboards. We have been beating on the Crosshair VII Hero for about a month now and have figured out what we like about, outside of it being an excellent overclocker for the Ryzen 7 CPUs."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASRock X470 Taichi @ Guru of 3D
- Gigabyte's X470 Aorus Gaming 7 Wifi @ The Tech Report
- ASRock X399M Taichi @ TechPowerUp
- MSI B360 Gaming Pro Carbon @ Kitguru
- MSI GS65 Stealth 8RE @ Kitguru
- Gigabyte AORUS AX370-Gaming K5 @ Modders-Inc
Subject: Motherboards | June 8, 2018 - 09:14 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ryzen 2000, ryzen, msi, computex 2018, computex, b450, APU, amd, AM4
One of the motherboards on display at the MSI booth was an updated AM4 socket Tomahawk series board that uses the new AMD B450 chipset. The MSI B450 Tomahawk is a refreshed motherboard for AMD Ryzen processors. The motherboard pairs the AM4 socket with four DDR4 DIMM slots, six SATA 6 Gbps ports, two PCI-E x16 slots, three PCI-E x1 slots, and a single M.2 slot.
The B450 Tomahawk is powered by an 8-pin and 24-pin power connector and appears to have a 4+2 power phase design which matches that of the current B350 Tomahawk. One thing that MSI has changed in that department is the heatsink over the VRMs which has been beefed with an "extended heatsink design" that up an extends to partially cover the rear I/O ports now. Other updates versus the B350 Tomahawk include the removal of two legacy PCI slots in favor of adding a third PCI-E x1 slot and the addition of two additional SATA ports in the lower left corner.
It is not clear what the board specifically has as far as rear I/O, but from the photos and press release it appears as though the VGA port may have been removed versus the previous generation board and it does have USB 3.1 Gen 2 along with Gigabit Ethernet and analog audio outputs (looking at the photos the audio hardware has slightly changed as well though it's hard to say to what extent).
MSI is not yet talking pricing or availability, but more information should be available soon. TechPowerUp has a hands on photo of the board here as well as a cheaper and cut down B450-A Pro motherboard.
Subject: Motherboards | April 16, 2018 - 04:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: gigabyte, aorus, x470, AM4, amd, aorus gaming 7 wifi, aorus ultra gaming
Gigabyte is gearing up for AMD’s second-generation Ryzen processors with three new Aorus motherboards based on the X470 chipset. The new boards include the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming, X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI, and the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI. These motherboards represent a refreshed and improved design over their X370 predecessors particularly when it comes to VRM cooling as the heatsinks have been vastly improved. Gigabyte has also refreshed the audio with an updated Realtek ALC1220-VB audio codec and ESS SABRE DAC. Other features Gigabyte notes are upgraded 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi, dual PCI-E x4 M.2 slots with heat spreaders, USB Type-C support, four RGB LED headers including support for digital LEDs, and Smart Fan 5 technology for managing system cooling and fans attached to the board. The new motherboards feature a up to a 10+2 power phase design using digital VRMs from IR and a 8+4-pin power connector. The power phases are cooled by two heatsinks that use a “stacked fins array” and direct touch heatpipes.
The new X470 motherboards all have four DDR4 DIMM slots, six SATA 6 Gbps ports, three PCI-E x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, two PCI-E x4 M.2 slots, and Realtek-based audio with high end capacitors and op amps. Around back the boards offer USB 2.0, 3.1 Gen 1, and 3.1 Gen 2 ports including a USB Type-C port, Gigabit Ethernet, six audio jacks, and two WI-Fi antenna connectors on the Wi-Fi boards.
In most respects the three motherboards are the same, but as you move up Gigabyte adds a bit more power delivery hardware, more built-in RGB, a bit more slot armor, and a bit more shielded audio. The Ultra Gaming board is the lowest end offering with RGB only on the chipset and audio path, and there is no second M.2 shield or PCI-E and RAM slot armor. This board also has the least amount of shielding and extra caps on the integrated audio and the smallest VRM heatsinks. Moving up the Gaming 5 Wi-Fi gets you RAM slot armor, a shielded audio path, and RGB around the PCI-E slots and above the rear I/O. Of course, it also give you built-in Wi-Fi. Further, moving to the X470 Gaming 7 Wi-Fi cranks up the RGB to include the third PCI-E slot, the customizable RGB plate on the right edge, RGB around the RAM slots, and more RGB over the VRM heatsinks. The motherboard also adds an integrated baseplate behind the motherboard, additional Nichicon capacitors for the audio, and the rear I/O panel includes additional USB ports as well as built-in power and reset buttons. The rear I/O backplate is also built-into the motherboard.
As for power delivery, the Ultra Gaming and Gaming 5 WIFI have a single 8 pin CPU power connector feeding an 8+3 "Hybrid Digital PWM" design with Intersil Digital PWM and Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs which Gigabyte claims run cooler than standard MOSFETs. The Gaming 7 WIFI board steps things up to 8-pin plus 4-pin CPU power connectors and a 10+2 all digital power phase from IR including digital PWM and Power Stage controllers. The phases are broken up into ten for the vCore and two for the SoC.
As far as pricing goes, all three of the AMD motherboards are currently available to pre-order and will ship on April 18th (according to Newegg). The X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming is listed at $139.99, the X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI is listed at $179.99, and the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI is listed for $239.99. I am interested to see how these motherboards perform especially when it comes to overclocking!
Subject: Motherboards | April 12, 2018 - 01:34 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, ROG Strix, AM4, mini ITX, amd, x470
Asus appears to be planning a Republic of Gamers branded updated motherboard for AMD’s Ryzen 2000 series processors. The ROG STRIX X470-I is a mini ITX form factor board that is loaded with RGB, higher end power phases and onboard sound, and built-in Wi-Fi.
Videocardz obtained several images of the new X470 chipset based Mini ITX motherboard.
Asus is using a unique design with this board where it has moved the rear IO down a bit to make room for a larger 8-pin CPU power connector to be tucked into the upper left corner. The AM4 socket is surrounded by the VRMs, two full size DDR4 DIMM slots, and a heat shield that hides the M.2 slot. For storage, there are four SATA 6 Gbps ports (two next to the M.2 slot and two along the right edge) and for graphics cards there is a single PCI-E x16 slot. The board further has a USB 3.0 header, USB 2.0 header, audio header, three fan 4-pin connectors (one AIO pump header), and two RGB headers.
Around back, ASUS has provided a single HDMI output for those wishing to use an APU, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) ports, Gigabit Ethernet, two 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna ports, and three LED-backlit audio jacks.
Because this motherboard is a refresh of the X370-I, I think it’s safe to say that it is very likely that Asus is using Intel for the Gigabit Ethernet and the same SupremeFX S1220A codec (with high end Japanese capacitors and dual TI op amps) on the shielded M.2 Audio combo card.
As for the RGB, the board supports Asus Aura Sync and has a 3-pin addressable LED header and a 4-pin RGB header as well as built-in RGB LEDs along the right edge and on the M.2 heatsink.
Not much else is known about this small form factor motherboard, but with the launch of Zen+ coming any week now (allegedly), we should know more soon! You can find more photos of the motherboard over at Videocardz.
With the previous generation X370-I going for $230+ online though, I would not expect the X470-I to be cheap, however. It is interesting that it will continue to carry the ROG and STRIX branding though in light of ASUS moving its Radeon graphics card offerings to a new AREZ brand to get around the whole GeForce Partner Program situation. I am glad to see the SFF boards getting updates this quickly from many manufacturers in time for the launch of the 400 series chipsets and Ryzen 2000 series processors.
In other Mini ITX X470 news:
Subject: Motherboards | April 5, 2018 - 08:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x470, mini ITX, ddr4, biostar, amd, AM4
Biostar is planning to release an updated Mini ITX AMD motherboard according to leaked images sourced by Videocardz. According to the image, the new board will be called the Biostar Racing X470GTN and will feature the AMD X470 chipset which is a refreshed enthusiast chipset that is supposed to be more power efficient and contain tweaks and optimizations for AMD’s upcoming “Zen+” Ryzen 2000 series of desktop processors and APUs.
The Racing X470GTN looks very similar to the Racing X370GTN that Biostar released last year down to the same black PCB and board component layout though the VRM heatsink has been spruced up a bit and is now in red and white rather than black and white. Further, the X470 chipset heatsink lacks the carbon fiber aesthetic and the PCI-E slot is white instead of black. Lastly, the PCB audio isolation for the onboard audio may have been slightly tweaked. The LED-equipped Mini ITX motherboard is powered by a 24-pin ATX and a 4-pin EPS CPU power connector that feeds the seven phase (4+3) power phases. Unfortunately, the heatsink on the VRMs does not look any larger which may hamper any heavy overclocking attempts on the processor as Hardware Canucks saw rather high temperatures (though not magic smoke bad) at stock clocks on the X370GTN they reviewed. In any event, the AM4 socket sits up top and is surrounded by two DDR4 memory slots, four SATA 6 Gbps ports, and one PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot. There is also a PCI-E M.2 slot hidden behind the board for enthusiasts. The onboard audio codec is a Realtek ALC892 chip (per Videocardz) and while the leaked image does not confirm anything I am guessing the Gigabit Ethernet NIC is also of Realtek origin and is likely the same RTL8118AS used in the previous generation motherboard.
As far as rear I/O is concerned, there is not much to speak of but Biostar does include a decent amount of high speed USB ports with at least two being USB 3.1 Gen 2 and the remaining four being USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Gen 1 (the X370GTN had USB 3.0 but the X470 update may have bumped these up to USB 3.1 Gen 1 not that it matters in practical terms of speed). In addition to USB, the Racing X470GTN’s rear panel hosts a combo PS/2 port, DVI and HDMI video outputs, Gigabit Ethernet, and six audio outputs (one optical, five analog).
Naturally, being a leak, there is no word on official pricing or availability on this motherboard, but I would guess it will be priced around $120 following the launch of AMD’s Ryzen 2000 series CPUs and 400 series chipsets.
In other Mini ITX X470 news:
Subject: Motherboards | April 5, 2018 - 01:33 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asrock, x470, AM4, mini ITX, 802.11ac, usb 3.1
Videocardz managed to snag several photos of an upcoming AMD X470-based motherboard from ASRock. Specifically, the ASRock X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac is a Mini ITX board ready for AMD's Ryzen 2000 and other AM4 processors. Powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, the Mini ITX board uses an eight phase (6+2) power phase cooled by a black heatsink that is a bit larger than the red affair on the previous generation X370 Fatal1ty motherboard.
The AM4 socket sits at the center of the board and is paired with two DDR4 DIMM slots, one PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, and four SATA 6 Gbps ports. There is also a single PCI-E x4 M.2 slot on the back of the motherboard for your NVMe solid state drives. The motherboard further features built-in 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and (likely Realtek) Gigabit Ethernet for networking and 8-channel Realtek codec audio enhanced with Nichicon capacitors.
Rear I/O is difficult to ascertain by the photos, but it appears that the X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac includes a Fatal1ty mouse port, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.1 ports (including one Type-C), one HDMI, one DisplayPort, one Gigabit Ethernet, six audio outputs (one optical, five analog), and two Wi-Fi antenna connectors.
AMD's "Zen+" Ryzen 2000 series CPUs are not quite out yet, but will be soon enough along with the new 400-series chipsets. No word on how much this Mini ITX motherboard will cost, but I am glad that SFF options are coming at launch with the updated chipsets that are said to be lower power and optimized for Zen+. We will have to wait a bit for reviews to see how well it overclocks and what the pricing works out to.