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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  • alufan - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - link

    I understand the frustration however if your buying a Budget Board then surely a budget CPU is the best fit, also new APUs are inbound according to all the rumours, meanwhile your older APU will fit just fine I believe, I expect the new APUs will have Navi cores as per the Xbox and PS5 but of course they probably cannot be released until the new Navi cards and consoles are out, think about it though what a sea chamge folks are now waiting eagerly for a new release from AMD because they know it will kick ass not close the gap to Intel, its a good time to be a customer! Reply
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - link

    Older APUs aren't supported on B550 Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    I think you forgot something... :-)

    Fortunately, this component is a unique motherboard among B550 and well worth reading up on [add link].
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Interesting that the GIGABYTE B550 Vision D board's Type-C ports don't have the Thunderbolt logo next to them. I wonder if Intel won't all the logo to be use on AMD systems. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    *allow Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    "Although on paper, there isn't much difference between B450 and B550 with slightly more SATA available due to the removable of eSATA support, both remain PCIe 3.0 bound."

    The B450 only had PCIe 2.0 lanes. Huge difference from the B550 IMO
    Reply
  • Lucky Stripes 99 - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Agreed. That's going to make a huge difference for boards with secondary or tertiary M.2 or U.2 ports that hangs off the chipset. That goes double if they only get 2 PCIe lanes instead of the full 4. Reply
  • a5cent - Friday, June 19, 2020 - link

    Yup, exactly what I thought.

    Equally "BIG" is that B550 finally has more PCIe lanes, so adding more NVMe drives doesn't require downgrading other ports like it always did on B450.

    B450 was a firmware upgrade for the budget B350 chipset. B550 is the first time this tier of AMD chipset doesn't suck.
    Reply
  • Ghan - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Right now, it seems more like B for Backordered. They may be priced a bit high, but the demand still seems to be there. Reply
  • yannigr2 - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    This is a great article but it needs a follow up with a table for every motherboard explaining how they use the PCIe lanes in conjunction with M2 and SATA slots. It seems that motherboard makers are totally f up(sorry for the expression) the more reasonably priced models in that area. Reply

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