ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 + 4ac

For this segment, we’re covering two motherboards: the ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4, and the ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4ac. The difference between the two, you would think given the name, is that the AC model has Wi-Fi 5 installed. There is another subtle difference, in that the standard PG4 has six SATA ports, whereas the PG4ac model only has four. This is despite both models still having the same PCIe layout, so we’re unsure why there is a difference. Nonetheless the rest of the boards are the same.

As we move to the cheaper end of the B550 range, we move to the motherboards that do not have rear-IO covers, and more limited power delivery and chipset cooling. Despite the PG4 box being red, the board itself is a lot more silver, playing into the Phantom Gaming theme, but with fewer heatsinks there is less to actually cover. For the power delivery here, for example, there is a single heatsink on the left hand side where all six phases for the CPU are. The chipset heatsink is a lot smaller, and neither of the M.2 slots have heatsinks either.

The CPU is powered by an 8-pin and a 4-pin, and the socket area has easy access to three 4-pin fan headers as needed. The motherboard still has a full complement of DDR4 slots, and these are single sided latch variants.

On the right hand side of the motherboard there is a USB 3.0 header, SATA ports, but no power/reset buttons. On the bottom there is an audio header, a COM header, a TPM header, RGB LED headers, three more 4-pin fan headers, two USB 2.0 headers, and a front panel header.

The PCIe layout puts a full PCIe 4.0 x16 slot at the top with additional reinforcement, directly above the PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slot for storage. There is an M.2 Wi-Fi slot underneath this, which with the PG4ac is filled with an Intel AC3168 1x1 solution, one of the cheapest 802.11ac modules you can get. There is a full length PCIe 3.0 x4 slot from the chipset, and underneath this is another M.2 slot, this time PCIe 3.0 x2 from the chipset.

The audio section on the right hand side is using an upgraded ALC1200 audio codec, with PCB separation and filter caps. Unlike the other ALC1200 variants we’ve seen from ASRock, this board only has three audio outputs.

On the rear panel we have a combination PS/2 port, six USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a HDMI output, and a single Realtek RTL8111H gigabit Ethernet port. There are no USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports on this motherboard.

ASRock B550 PG Velocitá ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ax
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  • WaltC - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - link

    Yep, price is all down to the mboard OEMs. Reply
  • sing_electric - Thursday, June 18, 2020 - link

    On one hand, you're right, on the other, AMD provides the chipset and specifications, and the fact that NO OEMs seem to be able to make cheap boards suggests that there's challenges with meeting the spec at a certain budget. Reply
  • Irata - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Well, the cheapest board starts at $95, there are still plenty cheap B450 boards around and there will be B520 soon.

    As for OEM, I am sure they will have boards built based on their requirements.

    I am curious to see what will happen to mainboard prices in a few months and if there will be additional / improved entry level options like for X570.
    Reply
  • Chaitanya - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    B550 has better connectivity than X470 with excellent VRM to boot. Reply
  • _espo - Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - link

    U have to understand amd didnt fuck up.motherboard companys didnt too because theres thing like covid and mb are made in china so
    Its more expensive to them now.And they have less stock and they still have to make money
    Reply
  • Desierz - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Article refers to AMD's SMT as hyperthreading. I think hyperthreading is an Intel specific term. Reply
  • WaltC - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - link

    Intel has no objection to AMD using the phrase...;) Reply
  • MB-Guru - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    I would like to purchase this MB. Which Reputable Vendor is selling this Gigabyte B550 vision D right now? Does anyone know? Thanks ! Reply
  • kpb321 - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    I'm kinda disappointed they ended up missing the opportunity to go PCI-E 4 for the CPU to GPU link. With 2 10gbs USB ports, 2 5gbs USB ports, 10 flexible PCI-E lanes that can be NVME/ Sata ports or add on controllers on the chipset there's plenty of bandwidth there to be bottlenecked by a 4x PCI-E 3 link to the CPU. Going PCI-E 4 would make this somewhat less of a bottleneck and could support for example 2 NVME PCI-E 3.0 4X drives at full speed. The B350 more balanced in this way but sadly it was because the PCI-E off the chipset was only PCI-E 2. Hanging 16x lanes worth of things off a 4x link isn't great when they could have doubled that link bandwidth pretty easily. Reply
  • kpb321 - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Edit 'm kinda disappointed they ended up missing the opportunity to go PCI-E 4 for the CPU to chipset link Reply

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