ASRock B550M-ITX/ac

It looks like ASRock will have a second mini-ITX motherboard, this time on the cheaper end of the scale. The B550M-ITX/ac, at first glance however, seems to have some rough layout choices. First of all, the CPU 8-pin connector, is on the rear panel. Whoever thought that was a good idea needs removing from the design team.

The CPU power delivery seems to be an 8-phase design, with a small heatsink to assist. The socket area has two 4-pin fan headers above it to assist, and there is a third on the bottom right of the board, although this is a bit far away for any air coolers. The two DRAM slots in between are single sided latch designs.

On the right hand side of the board is the 24-pin ATX power connector, and four SATA ports in a configuration which makes taking two of the locking cables out impossible if memory is installed – again, an odd design choice. Below this are a USB 3.0 header, a USB 2.0 header, the front panel header, and that third 4-pin fan header.

The chipset and PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slot have one combined heatsink, just above the PCIe 4.0 x16 slot. The PCIe slot doesn’t have additional support embedded in it. To the left is the audio codec, in this case it’s the low-end ALC887 design.

The rear panel has a DisplayPort, a HDMI port, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a combination PS/2 port, gigabit Ethernet from a Realtek RTL8111H controller, a Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, a Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, audio jacks, and Wi-Fi antenna for the built in Wi-Fi 5 module (likely Intel’s 1x1 AC3168 solution).

ASRock B550M-HDV ASUS ROG Strix B550-E Gaming
POST A COMMENT

100 Comments

View All Comments

  • 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
  • Irata - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    That‘s X570. If you need the additional storage bandwidth, this is what you should go for.

    Alternatively there is the Aorus board that offers the 8x CPU plus 2x 4x PCIe 4 lanes for nVMe drives plus the PCIe 3 lanes from the chipset. That could be an alternative and eight PCIe 4 lanes for the GPU should be fine with the next gen GPU, except perhaps for the top of the line models.

    On the plus side, with Ryzen you have four dedicated PCIe lanes from the CPU for nVMe (16+4+4 vs. 16+4 on Intel).
    Reply
  • kpb321 - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    The X570 goes whole hog on PCI-E 4 with PCI-4 hanging off the chipset too and it supports more PCI-E and SATA and USB devices hanging off the chipset so while the CPU to Chipset bandwidth is higher it's actually even more imbalanced between the combine possible bandwidth of devices possible off the chipset and the CPU to Chipset bandwidth.

    Going PCI-E 4 for just the CPU to Chipset on the B550 would have given the option to decrease that imbalance and one PCI-E 4x link shouldn't have driven the power up too high.
    Reply
  • romrunning - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Then most people wouldn't buy X570 and get B550 instead as there wouldn't be much of a difference. That, and having less PCIe 4.0 stuff lowers the power requirements a bit.

    I personally held off on X570 because I knew I basically only needed the GPU and NVMe drive to be PCIe 4.0 for the most future-proof setup. I figure I'll buy new again when the new AM5 socket is released with Zen 4. Plus, some of the B550 boards have a Type-C front connector, which will go with the new ITX case I'm getting that has one on the front.
    Reply
  • PixyMisa - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - link

    Yes, but then you need to add a separate PCIe controller on the chipset to handle just those 4 lanes. The market probably isn't big enough to make it worthwhile. Reply
  • Irata - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    The CPU to GPU link is 16x PCIe 4.0 - that has nothing to do with the chipset.

    Or did you mean something else?
    Reply
  • a5cent - Friday, June 19, 2020 - link

    True, but would that not have brought back the requirement for an actively cooled chipset? That definitely contributes to cost, so it makes sense to cut that from the package.

    Personally, I'm happy that we've finally left PCIe 2.0 behind. Such chipsets still being sold in 2020 is horrific.
    Reply
  • Lucky Stripes 99 - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    I was hoping to build several B550 APU mITX systems this week, but the lack of a compatible APU has stopped those plans. AMD's decision regarding to use a prior generation micro-architecture for its APUs in addition to their decision regarding AM4 firmware size limits are really colliding to create a missed opportunity here. If the iGPU in the Comet Lake processors was better, I'd be picking up H460 or Q470 boards right now instead. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    My understanding is that the firmware size limit wasn't created by AMD. The motherboard makers could always use firmware chips with a larger capacity. Intel doesn't have this problem since they only support one or two CPU generations per motherboard :-) Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now