SFF.Network ASRock Reveals M-ATX AM4 Boards

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John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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With Ryzen and AM4 just around the corner, information on SFF-orientated AM4 motherboards has been scant. With only ATX leaked or shown so far, we were afraid that we'd see a LFF (large form factor) launch. Fear not though, with not one, but two boards from ASRock, the AB350M Pro4 and the AB320M Pro4.

Read more here.
 
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zovc

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This is spicy!

I'm really hoping there's a motherboard with two ethernet ports (gigabit, of course) and that there's a Ryzen chip that's got ~8+ threads and virtualization support. At the right price, I think that's my upgrade path.
 

3lfk1ng

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ASRock loves a challenge and that's exactly why they push for innovation BUT, they had to draw the line with Ryzen. At present, ASRock has no plans to make an ITX board as AMD's socket and HSF mounts take up far too much space on the surface of the motherboard. Due to this, ASRock feels that their isn't enough room on the PCB for them to offer an enthusiast board (or any board for that matter) without severe compromises.

They had a LARGE selection of Ryzen ATX boards though. I shunned those though, for a good cause.
 

Necere

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ASRock loves a challenge and that's exactly why they push for innovation BUT, they had to draw the line with Ryzen. At present, ASRock has no plans to make an ITX board as AMD's socket and HSF mounts take up far too much space on the surface of the motherboard. Due to this, ASRock feels that their isn't enough room on the PCB for them to offer an enthusiast board (or any board for that matter) without severe compromises.
That's a shame, though I recall there were a few AM3 mini-ITX boards, and isn't AM4 roughly the same size? I guess the "enthusiast" features might make the difference here, but surely a good balance of features is still possible? Perhaps moving to SO-DIMMs, or daughtercards for VRMs/audio/wifi, like ASUS does?
 
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Phuncz

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Strange that they choose to place the two PCIe slots in postion 2 and 4, instead of position 1 and 3. This eliminates the support for 4-slot cases.

And if ASRock can make X99 happen on ITX, I don't see how they can't make X300 happen on ITX, come on ASRock !!
 

K888D

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ASRock has no plans to make an ITX board as AMD's socket and HSF mounts take up far too much space on the surface of the motherboard.
Not great news for SFF enthusiasts that want to move back over to an AMD system.

If the AM4 socket is too big for an M-ITX motherboard, then haven't AMD shot themselves in the foot here?
 

EdZ

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If the AM4 socket is too big for an M-ITX motherboard, then haven't AMD shot themselves in the foot here?
It may be they saw such small sales of previous system in ITX that they considered it a lower priority.
 

ChainedHope

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Not great news for SFF enthusiasts that want to move back over to an AMD system.

If the AM4 socket is too big for an M-ITX motherboard, then haven't AMD shot themselves in the foot here?
Someone (@3lfk1ng) go measure an AM4 motherboard socket so we can compare it to LGA2011
 

zovc

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Someone (@3lfk1ng) go measure an AM4 motherboard socket so we can compare it to LGA2011
Note, I'm pretty sure there aren't any LGA2011 mITX boards, rather 2011 v3. I don't know what exactly the differences are between the versions (or why they needed to have different slots), but I supposedly can't put my 2670 (v1)'s in the only 2011 v3 mITX board I've found. (Granted 2670's are pretty hot anyways.)
 

K888D

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I could understand if AM4 was supposed to be an enthusiast performance socket only and therefore not best suited to M-ITX, but I was under the impression that AM4 was going to be AMD's universal socket going forward for ALL future AMD processors? Therefore severely limiting themselves in the SFF market if their socket is too big for M-ITX boards? Correct me if I'm wrong?
 

Aibohphobia

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I don't know what exactly the differences are between the versions (or why they needed to have different slots), but I supposedly can't put my 2670 (v1)'s in the only 2011 v3 mITX board I've found. (Granted 2670's are pretty hot anyways.)
They're basically the same physically but LGA 2011v3 CPUs use DDR4 instead of DDR3 so it was probably easier just to make a socket revision so people didn't try to use the older chips in the newer motherboards and mess things up.
 
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Therandomness

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ASRock loves a challenge and that's exactly why they push for innovation BUT, they had to draw the line with Ryzen. At present, ASRock has no plans to make an ITX board as AMD's socket and HSF mounts take up far too much space on the surface of the motherboard. Due to this, ASRock feels that their isn't enough room on the PCB for them to offer an enthusiast board (or any board for that matter) without severe compromises.

They had a LARGE selection of Ryzen ATX boards though. I shunned those though, for a good cause.
Hmmm.. Make a custom mounting pattern (or pester AMD enough to come up with a 'narrow' mounting socket, like 2011-3 has :p) and provide a cooler with the board? One sku for a larger cooler, and one for a smaller one? Also, who said it needed to be an enthusiast board? A simple ITX or STX board with the cheap components would still be headed in the right direction. Another thing, I read before that AMD CPUs (and APUs) wouldn't actually need the chipset as they were closer to a SoC in nature, and that it just provides extra features like more USB or something... is that still true? If so, not needing the chipset would make this a lot easier... although I did read that on WCCFtech, and it was probably false :p
I could understand if AM4 was supposed to be an enthusiast performance socket only and therefore not best suited to M-ITX, but I was under the impression that AM4 was going to be AMD's universal socket going forward for ALL future AMD processors? Therefore severely limiting themselves in the SFF market if their socket is too big for M-ITX boards? Correct me if I'm wrong?
Especially if their APUs have decent graphics...
 
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confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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Socket AM4 appears to be the same size as all AM sockets and FM Sockets. Just look at the gigabyte F2A88XN-WIFI for what can be done with a socket that size on ITX. Saying they can't fit an enthusiast spec list on ITX is a cop out
 
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3lfk1ng

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Hmmm.. Make a custom mounting pattern (or pester AMD enough to come up with a 'narrow' mounting socket, like 2011-3 has :p) and provide a cooler with the board? One sku for a larger cooler, and one for a smaller one? Also, who said it needed to be an enthusiast board?
That was my exact suggestion but he said they weren't interested in selling a bundled proprietary solution as it would be too clostly for such limited sales.

Knowing that AM3+ is no bigger/smaller, it's just a matter of time before someone announces an X300 ITX. I'm guessing that AMD needs to prove themselves as a player in the enthusiast market before companies will invest in them.
 

EdZ

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A 'cut down' AM4 is probably not viable due to the need for external stabilisation from those big outboard plastic chunks. Unlike Intel's LGA sockets which have a big metal chip-guard, the PGA sockets AMD are using have nothing to protect a chip from uneven mounting pressure, and from overpressure. The worry is not so much damage to the die itself now IHS are pretty much standard, but damage to the PGA mechanism itself (which to function needs to be free-floating in order to slide), and to the clamped pins.
Removing the stabilisers entirely and providing a custom cooler (or sticking LGA-spaced holes and standoffs to correct for height difference) would run into the issue of hoping customers actually follow the exacting installation instructions to prevent damage and a swathe of RMAs. And from the continued cries of complaint over Intel's push-pin mounting (possibly one of the simplest mounting methods possible) breaking, that's not really going to go so well.