[SFF Network] AMD’s AM4 on the M-ITX Platform – Round-up and VRM Temperature Investigation

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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So, over the past month, we have covered 4 of the 5 M-ITX AM4 offerings, with only BIOSTAR’s B350 variant un-tested. However, due to the fact that the X370 and B350 variants share the same PCB and expansion offerings, we decided that we had sufficient information to create a roundup review to make it easy to pick a board for your next build.

Read more here.
 

Phuncz

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Very interesting read !

According to this German site, Asus is preparing two ITX AM4 boards for release next month, but next to the names (X370-I Gaming, B350-I Gaming) nothing is known. I'd be interested if they could include dual PCIe M.2 ports. I'm not very confident it will be as well-equiped as the Z270 Strix board, but I'm hoping it is.
 

TheHig

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Thanks for the round up! Nowhere else can we get all the juice on these boards all in one place. :)

Edit: Quck thought. I feel that the Gigabyte board may really stand out when Raven ridge arrives. Great connectivity and with the Ram clocks to feed the iGPU. Looking to see what you can do with that @confusis when they release.

Asus is a welcome addition. 2 m.2 ports would really be a nice way to offer something over the competition certainly. I really wouldn't mind downsizing my Taichi build but that board OCs my 1700 with less voltage and more clocks than any I have tried including the Fatality x370 itx. So... Asus has a tough sell here other than form factor. :cool:

Buuut. A secondary build with say an r5 1600 seems very tempting indeed if these have the goods.
 
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confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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I personally am going with the Gigabyte board, but that's due to the fact that my build is currently set up for my F2A88XN-Wifi, so the wiring will be easy :-)
 

cj360

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I'm more surprised the other MB's are lacking usb3 compared to biostar's offering. I wonder if Asus' will also have both usb2 and 3 on theirs whenever it's released.
 

ceski

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Nice article! It makes me want... an Asus board? Some thoughts and feedback:
  • There are some typos in the comparison table (number of USB ports, number of video connections).
  • It would have been nice to see Prime95 results, since CPU-Z isn't typically used for stress testing and draws less power.
  • The stock AM3 cooler provides direct airflow for the VRM. A worst case scenario would have an AIO cooler, placed to the side (as shown in the thermal images by AsRock).
  • An open bench setup under load should take no longer than 30 minutes to reach thermal equilibrium.
  • In the AsRock image, a 20°C difference in heatsink temperature and 11°C in MOSFET temperature is significant, proving that the thicker pad is a poor thermal conductor.
  • An interesting science experiment would be gradually increasing an overclock under load and recording the power consumption and VRM temperature at the moment of VRM throttling. Then repeat for the other boards.
VRM rant:
Max junction temperature for MOSFETs is 150°C but the recommended operating temperature is under 125°C. Also, remember that the "VRM" temperature reported in monitoring software is from a thermistor on the PCB near the MOSFETs. This means that, due to thermal resistance, "VRM" temperature will always be lower than the actual MOSFET junction temperature (10-15°C lower under stock load, 20-30°C lower under OC load). Pointing an IR thermometer at the back of the motherboard behind the VRM will produce similar readings. So a general rule of thumb is to keep "VRM" temperature under ~100°C if possible. (Assumptions: Ryzen 1600X or 1800X, 108W or 241W measured at CPU connector, 4 or 6 phase design, 5°C/W thermal resistance, 90% efficiency.)
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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  • Typos fixed
  • I was going for real world results - nobody Prime95's as their day to day workload
  • It does provide direct airflow, albeit in a minimal fashion. No other airflow was given to the test system - even an AIO would flow air through a chassis
  • 30 minutes for thermal equilibrium, however, I was out to test stability at those temps, as well as temperatures
  • Valid point
  • If only I had time! This isn't my day job.. yet :p
 

maktama

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And Asrock Motherboard have NO Usb3.1 Gen2 support, only have Gen1 support. This has been mentioned earlier on other topic(and you corrected in there).
 

ceski

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@confusis
In that case, I would recommend looping x264. It's a great real world stress test (think Plex) that uses AVX and draws more power than CPU-Z.

I also don't have time (or three motherboards), that's why I live vicariously through others. :p
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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And Asrock Motherboard have NO Usb3.1 Gen2 support, only have Gen1 support. This has been mentioned earlier on other topic(and you corrected in there).
Fixed, was missed in editing. The person who checked my work has now been thrown into a pit for the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal to consume.

@confusis
In that case, I would recommend looping x264. It's a great real world stress test (think Plex) that uses AVX and draws more power than CPU-Z.

I also don't have time (or three motherboards), that's why I live vicariously through others. :p
Noted, will do so in the future :)
 

JamesCross

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Sep 10, 2017
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Excellent article. I'm planning to pick up one of these boards for my upcoming ITX Ryzen build.

Would you be able to confirm that the Intel 3168 WiFi module on the ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac is replaceable like in the other boards? It seems to be shielded better, but is it still possible to remove and replace it?

Swappable WiFi was only listed as one of Gigabyte's Pros, which left me wondering. I was hoping to replace Asrock's with an Intel 8265 WiFi Module down the road, but if it's not possible to swap it, I'd have to pick up Gigabyte's.
 

Soul_Est

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While I like the rear port selection on the GigaByte (why don't more OEMs include DisplayPort++?), the ASRock AB350 gets my choice for now. It will be interesting to see what ASUS comes out with.
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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Fixed. Seems the table had all kind of glitches happen! Thanks Wordpress -_-
 

maktama

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Fixed, was missed in editing. The person who checked my work has now been thrown into a pit for the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal to consume.
...
:)
Nope, not fixed.
"The ASRock boards’ offering includes dual HDMI for video output for APUs. The USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports are split between 1x Type-A and 1x Type-C connectors. ...."
Still there(on this new article).:D
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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Ah, I thought the only mention of that was in the spec table.. fixed. again!

TBH, I blame the USB consortium for this, for making USB3 a goddamned nightmare.