We compared, tested and chose the Best Motherbords for the Ryzen 5 2600 in terms of Performance, Price, Power consumption and more. Above you will see the Top 3 Ranking of the best Motherboards for the Ryzen 5 2600 and below you will find the in-depth analysis of each Motherboard.
Ranking First: MSI MEG X570 ACE
- Best Performance with the Ryzen 5 2600
- Many Different Interfaces
- A lot Space for Fans and Onbord Comfort
- Best Performance costs sadly
Although the MEG X570 Ace is an official member of the Enthusiastic Gaming series, this model is not the spearhead. Nevertheless, the MEG X570 Ace from MSI has been properly equipped, as we will see in this review. A semi-passive cooling with three profiles for the chipset was also implemented.
MSI has also put a whole range of X570 mainboards on its feet. Starting with the Pro series, over arsenal gaming, performance gaming and finally to the enthusiasm gaming series. The Enthusiastic Gaming series is responsible for the high-end series, in which the MSI MEG X570 Ace is also a permanent member.
MSI relies on the ATX format for the MEG X570 Ace and, apart from the AM4 socket and the four DDR4 DIMM slots, it uses three PCIe-4.0-x16, two PCIe-4.0-x1 slots, three M.2 slots, four SATA 6GBit/s ports and a total of 17 USB interfaces. At first glance, a strong CPU power supply for the Ryzen 5 2600 is also on board to be well equipped for the larger Zen2 calibers. So let’s take a look at the MSI MEG X570 Ace in detail.
Design and Hardware
The ATX-PCB itself is black, just like most of the connectors themselves. The VRM and M.2 coolers and also the chipset heat sink form a black-grey-gold colour combination. In this respect, the I/O panel cover and the appendix are black with gold lettering.
The WLAN antenna and all other cables were delivered in a small bag. This includes four SATA cables and various RGB extension cables. Furthermore, MSI also supplies the motherboard manual, a Quick Start Guide, SATA cable stickers and of course the well-known info card for product registration. But also three M.2 screws are included.
With the X570-FCH, AMD takes a big step forward compared to the X370- and X470-FCH, because the X570-FCH is the first chipset which establishes the PCI Express 4.0 feature in the desktop segment. At the same time, the number of lanes increases from 8 to 16, of which 12 can be flexibly distributed by the motherboard manufacturers. The connection between CPU, like the Ryzen 5 2600 and chipset is done via a down- and uplink with PCIe 4.0 x4 (Ryzen 5 2600).
If a Ryzen 5 2600 processor (Zen+, Pinnacle Ridge) is used instead, the chipset downlink is done in PCIe-3.0-x4 mode and therefore with 32 GBit/s instead of 64 GBit/s. The X570 chipset provides eight USB 3.2 Gen2 and up to 12 SATA 6 Gbps ports, although the number of M.2 interfaces depends on the motherboard manufacturer. The following constellations are available: 2x NVMe (PCIe 4.0 x4) + 4x SATA 6GBit/s, 1x NVMe + 8x SATA 6GBit/s or 3x NVMe.
Starting with a Matisse CPU (Zen2, Ryzen 5 2600), another 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes are provided. 16 of them migrate to up to two mechanical PCIe-4.0-x16 slots primarily for the graphics card(s). The distribution is either with x16/x0 or with x8/x8. But eight additional PCIe 4.0 lanes remain: Four of them serve as chipset downlink and the remaining four lanes can be implemented either as 1x NVMe (PCIe 4.0 x4), 2x SATA and 1x NVMe (PCIe 4.0 x2) or 2x NVMe (PCIe 4.0 x2). Four USB 3.2 Gen2 interfaces are also available.
In total, 40 PCIe 4.0 lanes will thus migrate to the X570 mainstream platform. Of course, there are limitations if the user decides to use a Pinnacle Ridge CPU, like the Ryzen 5 2600, as this processor has 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes and “only” four USB 3.1 Gen1 ports.
Of course we stripped the MSI MEG X570 Ace to reveal the bare PCB. Especially interesting are the VRM coolers and the chipset heat sink. All components are connected with a heatpipe. Not to forget: The X570 chipset is also actively cooled on the MSI MEG X570 Ace. For this purpose MSI uses a 40 mm axial fan with TwinFrozr technology.
A total of 14 coils were provided for the AM4 processor, 12 of which were doubled and are intended purely for the VCore. The two remaining coils supply the CPU SoC with power. Each coil gets its input from an IR3555M PowIRstage MOSFET. With two 8-pin EPS12V power connectors, there is enough airflow upwards for the big cavemen, like the Ryzen 5 2600. As PWM controller, MSI uses the IR35201 from International Rectifier, which is known to manage a maximum of eight coils.
For this reason, six IR3599 phase doublers were soldered on the back of the PCB. According to this, a 6+2 phase design works effectively on the MSI MEG X570 Ace.
As usual for MSI in the higher price segment, the four DDR4 DIMM memory locations were equipped with the Steel Armor feature. Depending on the CPU choice, the board can hold up to 64 GB or 128 GB RAM respectively. Starting with Matisse (Ryzen 5 2600), up to 128 GB are supported, below that a maximum of 64 GB.
But also the maximum possible RAM clock speed depends on the installed CPU. With a Ryzen 5 2600 model, the range extends up to 4,533 MHz effectively, with Pinnacle Ridge it should generally stop at 3,600 MHz. Numerous fan and RGB headers were installed at the edge of the PCB.
On the MSI MEG X570 Ace three mechanical PCIe-4.0-x16 and two PCIe-4.0-x1 slots offer their services. While the two upper PCIe-4.0-x16 slots operate via the CPU, as in the Ryzen 5 2600, the rest is directly accessed via the X570 chipset. Note that the two PCIe-4.0-x1 slots cannot be used simultaneously.
However, two M.2-M key interfaces, each with PCIe 4.0 x4, were connected via the chipset (middle and bottom). The upper connector, on the other hand, was connected to the CPU socket and thus to the processor, in our test the Ryzen 5 2600, with PCIe 4.0/3.0 x4.
The offered connection variety fits to the upper class board. There are four USB 3.2-Gen2-generation USB ports, two USB 3.2 and two USB 2.0-generation ports, one PS/2 port, one 1-Gbps and one 2.5-Gbps LAN port and of course the usual audio ports. Both the CMOS Clear and Flash BIOS buttons provide enhanced convenience. This leaves the WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax and Bluetooth 5.0 module (Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200).
The audio components are of course housed separately. As audio codec, MSI consequently relies on Realtek’s ALC1220, together with eleven audio capacitors. On the one hand, the Nuvoton NCT6798D-M as super I/O controller, Intel’s I211 AT network controller and Realtek’s RTL8125-CG network chip were placed above it.
A power, reset and game-boost knob was left on the bottom right of the PCB. With the latter, the AM4 processor can be overclocked in seven stages in a simple but imprecise way. The Game-Boost-Knob was already installed on many past MSI mainboards of the upper and high-end class. And then there is of course the USB 3.2 Gen2 header for a type C interface, which then goes to work via the X570 chipset.
We liked the overall layout of the MSI MEG X570 Ace. We especially liked the position of the chipset fan, which was positioned a bit further down and still gets air even with an installed graphics card. One slot below the upper graphic port was not occupied, so that in case of a dual-slot graphic card no port is covered and thus becomes unusable.
Under the Ace lettering MSI has left a RGB LED panel with mirror effect, as already known from the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike.
MSI provided us with BIOS version 1.21, which included AMD’s AGESA patch 18.104.22.168a. Using the M-Flash feature, it was easy to install the BIOS.
For the UEFI interface, MSI follows the familiar picture. So there is a black-red optic matching the MEG series. A distinction is also made between the EZ and Advanced modes. This overview page (EZ mode) provides the user with information about the CPU, which is the Ryzen 5 2600, the installed RAM, the connected storage devices and the fans.
In addition, there are shortcuts to the M-Flash feature, the Favorites and Hardware Monitor pages and buttons to enable or disable LAN-ROM, Fast Boot, AHCI, the audio codec and the CPU fan warning for the Ryzen 5 2600. The wide bar above the EZ-Mode is also displayed in Advanced-Mode, which we will now come to.
The MEG logo is located in the middle of the Advanced interface. At the top left MSI has added the Game Boost button next to the time and date. Adjacent to it on the right is the A-XMP button, as we are already used to with MSI. The menu items can differ for each mainboard model. At the very top on the right side, the installed processor model, its clock frequency and the RAM capacity including clock are displayed at any time.
Under the time and the date the current BIOS version can be read. Below that, the boot priorities can easily be set by drag & drop. On the left side the user gets a first overview of the CPU ,which we used the Ryzen 5 2600 for and mainboard temperature. The virtual “Game Boost” button can be clicked with the mouse to switch from hardware to software mode. A further virtual button has been added, with which the XMP function can be activated directly.
The first point of the six “Settings” provides the “Advanced” settings in addition to the “System Status”. The latter is already basically known. There you can find all board-related settings that affect the onboard components. The items “Boot”, “Security” and “Save & Exit” are self-explanatory. The main focus of the board is without doubt the overclocking. The extremely extensive OC functions can be found in the menu item “OC”. MSI leaves nothing to be desired for the overclocking enthusiast.
But more about this in a moment. The integrated M-Flash feature has also been given its own menu item in today’s test candidate. Either the current BIOS can be saved to a data carrier or updated the other way round from a data carrier. This is exactly what happened to the overclocking profiles. A total of six different OC configurations can be stored. MSI has also thought of an import and export function this time.
The penultimate item is the “Hardware Monitor”, which displays important readout data, such as temperatures, voltages and fan speeds. Together with the CPU-FAN header, five fans can be controlled in total. Each fan can be adjusted in four steps of an automatic or manual fan curve.
The last menu item includes the “Board Explorer”, which clearly shows in which slot or other connection which component is installed. This saves you having to look inside your own case and is purely for your convenience. In general, it is also possible to save the most frequently used functions on a total of five favourite pages. Right-clicking on the respective function opens a small context menu in which the user can then save this function to one of the five pages.
Once again, the UEFI from MSI was convincing all along the line. All selected settings were implemented correctly and without problems. The user can choose whether to move through the menus with the mouse and/or the keyboard.
With a remarkable 14 CPU coils (effective 6+2), one RAM coil and the numerous onboard and BIOS features, the MSI MEG X570 Ace is perfectly suited for overclocking. The UEFI also supports the down-core function, which can be used to selectively switch off CPU cores or even a CCX module (CPU Core Complex).
On the MSI MEG X570 Ace it is possible to change the basic clock rate from 80.00 MHz to 200.00 MHz in 0.05 MHz steps. For the CPU voltage, which needs to be stable for the Ryzen 5 2600, the user can choose between override and offset mode. In override mode, the voltage can be changed from 0.9000 V to 2.0000 V in 0.0125 V intervals. The offset mode, on the other hand, allows the CPU voltage to be changed from -0.3000 V to +0.3000 V in 0.0125 V increments. All other overclocking functions can be found in the following table
Stable operation of the Ryzen 5 2600 at 4.3 GHz was also possible with the MSI MEG X570 Ace. However, with the difference that with 1.350 V a little more voltage was needed compared to the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi). There was nothing to complain about at the VRM cooler temperatures. The coolers were only hand-warm.
While the introduction of PCI-Express 4.0 is the biggest highlight of the Ryzen 5 2600 generation and the X570 mainboards, the chipset fan that is usually used is the biggest point of criticism that has already been discussed extensively. Gigabyte proves that passive cooling of the X570-FCH is possible with the X570 AORUS Xtreme. Apart from a few X570 boards with full-cover water cooling (ASRock X570 Aqua), all other models have a fan.
The reason for the criticism that has come up lies in the past. In AMD’s Socket-939 era, ASUS’ A8N-SLI mainboard series was very popular, apart from the chipset fan, because it was unbearably loud. The A8N-SLI Premium, which had a heatpipe and thus provided silence, was a remedy. Due to the increased TDP of 11 W of the X570 chipset, especially when using the 16 PCIe 4.0 lanes, an extended cooling is needed, which takes the form of a fan.
The chipset fan on the MSI MEG X570 Ace measures 45 mm in diameter and corresponds to the axial design. MSI also refers to the TwinFrozr technology. The somewhat reassuring news that MSI will offer three semi-passive modes for the chipset fan on the X570 mainboards had already been leaked in advance. We have verified the previously communicated values in the BIOS and can officially confirm them.
The user can choose between three semi-passive modes: Silence Mode, Balance Mode and Boost Mode. In all three modes, the fan does not rotate permanently, but depending on the load situation. While the fan rests in idle and thus can’t produce any noise, it starts its work depending on the mode and load. However, there is also the possibility to set a manual and fixed fan speed, so that even sensitive minds should be satisfied.
And in practice this even works quite well. When the system starts up, the fan turns on, but then shuts down again and remains off for the time being. In our test (also during the M.2 test) we couldn’t provoke the fan to start up.
For the test the default settings are active, so that the majority of the onboard components are already activated. The graphics output is done via the Radeon R9 380. As already written above, all power saving features are enabled, which was apparently well implemented with the values of a manual configuration.
Despite the similar configuration, the MSI MEG X570 Ace handles power a bit more efficiently in idle. The difference to the ASUS mainboard is, based on 57.1 W, at least 1.5 W.
Under Cinebench R15 the difference is even greater with 185.5 instead of 190.4 watts.
It was then absolutely identical with Prime95, where the consumption meter indicated 174.4 W in both cases.
MSI’s MEG X570 Ace acts more energy efficient under load despite the minimally higher VCore (1.256 V to 1.240 V).
Since most users do not need all onboard chips, we conducted a test with only one activated onboard LAN and the onboard sound. If possible, existing additional chips are deactivated here. The voltages are still set automatically by the board, but all energy-saving features are additionally activated manually. The Radeon R9 380 is still the primary graphics card.
USB 3.2 Gen2 Performance
The MSI MEG X570 Ace provides a total of up to five USB 3.2 Gen2 interfaces with a Ryzen 5 2600 CPU. Four of them are located on the I/O panel and one connection is enabled via an onboard header. Of the five ports, two work with the Ryzen 5 2600 CPU and three with the X570 chipset. In conjunction with a second-generation Ryzen processor, two ports on the I/O panel work with the USB 3.2 Gen1 specification instead.
For the test we use the external Akitio NT2-U3.1 case, inside which we use two 2.5-inch SSDs of the type OCZ Vector 150 with a storage capacity of 480 GB each. The solid state drive comes up to 550 MB/s read and 530 MB/s write. Both SSDs work in the RAID-0 group, so that the USB 3.2 Gen2 interface can be properly utilized.
Both the Ryzen 5 2600 and the X570 chipset offer good USB 3.2 Gen2 performance, with the CPU being able to squeeze out a little more bandwidth. The processor’s peak value was 845 MB/s read and 905 MB/s write.
Together with the MEG X570 Godlike, the MEG X570 Ace forms MSI’s enthusiastic gaming series for the new Ryzen 5 2600 processors. And even though the MEG X570 Ace has to subordinate itself to the MEG X570 Godlike, it provides generous equipment. For the CPU power supply alone, MSI has positioned 14 coils accordingly, which work effectively in a 6+2 configuration and performed well in the overclocking test. But the buyer doesn’t have to do without various onboard comforts either. A power and reset button, the game boost button, the diagnostic LED, four status LEDs and a CMOS clear and USB flash button on the I/O panel are also on board.
Depending on the CPU, the four DDR4 DIMM memory banks can hold up to 128 GB of RAM, whereby the ECC mode is not included. Three mechanical PCIe-4.0-x16 and two PCIe-4.0-x1 slots, however, invite system expansion. Three M.2-M key interfaces have been consistently accommodated in the gaps, two of which are connected via the X570 chipset and one via the CPU. MSI also supplies appropriate coolers for this purpose. In addition to the storage connections, there are four native SATA 6 Gbit/s ports.
A total of 17 USB ports are offered, distributed over the CPU and chipset. Depending on the choice of processor, there are either five USB 3.2 Gen2 and six USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Ryzen 5 2600) or three USB 3.2 Gen2 and eight USB 3.2 Gen1 (Ryzen 5 2600).
In either case, six USB 2.0 ports are added. Just like the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi), the MSI MEG X570 Ace comes with one Gigabit LAN port (Intel I211-AT), one 2.5 GBit/s LAN port (Realtek RTL8125-CG). Alternatively, the wireless connection via Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX200 module, which also supports Bluetooth in the 5.0 revision, is an option.
As an eye-catcher, MSI has of course distributed some RGB LEDs on the board, the highlight being the area above the I/O panel. RGB LEDs with a mirror optics were integrated there. From there the RGB LED spectacle can also be extended by various headers.
We liked the implementation of the three semi-passive modes for the chipset fan, which were stored in the BIOS exactly as it was communicated before. Of course it would have been even better if a passive cooling solution had been used.
Generally, the X570 mainboards aren’t exactly cheap, but we don’t feel that the price of $400 for the MSI MEG X570 Ace is too high. Because for this price the prospective buyer gets a top class mainboard, which may also call itself that.
Ranking Second: ASUS ROG Strix X470-F Gaming
- Good Performance with the Ryzen 5 2600
- Best Price
- Very Stable
- High power consumption
ASUS is currently sending a total of six X470 boards into the race, which can handle the Pinnacle Ridge CPUs due to the new chipset revision. We have already taken a closer look at the ROG Crosshair VII Hero (Wi-Fi). Now we bake some smaller buns into the ROG Strix squad and test the ROG Strix X470-F gaming through.
Besides the ROG Strix X470-I Gaming, ASUS also offers the ROG Strix X470-F Gaming in ATX format, which is the entry into the ROG world. Nevertheless, ASUS of course packs a lot of features on the board, which should make the gamer’s heart beat faster.
On the ATX-PCB the engineers have of course created the usual four memory banks, in addition three mechanical PCIe-x16 and PCIe-x1 interfaces each and with two M.2 and six SATA 6GBit/s a good basis. Added to this are a total of 15 USB connections in three different generations. Gigabit-LAN and a high-quality audio codec are of course also included.
The look is very similar to that of the ROG Strix H370/B360-F Gaming, which isn’t surprising, of course. However, the chipset cooler was kept dark in the X470-F gaming and numerous lettering, such as “Game on”, “Join the Republic of Gamers” and “ROG Strix” were applied. The chipset cooler was extended to the M.2 cooler.
In the packaging there was the corresponding mainboard manual, the support data carrier, four SATA cables, two M.2 threads including screws for fixing, two RGB extension cables and seven cable ties. Also included are a load of ROG stickers and a ROG door tag as well as a 2-way SLI-HB bridge. An I/O panel is intentionally not included, since the X470-F Gaming also has the pre-mounted panel.
Design and Hardware
I/O distribution is a little more complex on the AM4 platform than it is on Intel’s Coffee Lake S platform. For example, while the SATA interfaces on Intel come exclusively from the PCH, on AMD’s AM4 platform this is done in two parts.
In addition to 16 Gen3 lanes, which are primarily intended for the graphics card(s), the Ryzen 5 2600 processors bring along four more Gen3 lanes, which are reserved for the storage area and can be assigned differently by the mainboard manufacturers. The modes “2x SATA + 1x NVMe x2”, “2x SATA + 1x PCIe x2” and “1x NVMe x4” are available. In addition, Ryzen CPUs come with a USB 3.1 Gen1 controller that can control up to four interfaces.
AMD’s X470-FCH itself has eight Gen2 lanes, up to eight SATA 6GBit/s, two second-generation USB 3.1 interfaces each, and six USB 3.1 Gen1 and USB 2.0 interfaces each. So it’s clear that the difference between the X370 and X470 chipset is really marginal and mainly results in a slightly better energy efficiency and the XFR2 Enhanced and Precision Boost Overdrive feature. The latter features are only used by the Ryzen 5 2600 processors.
The two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots equipped with the Safe Slot feature work together with the installed CPU. In the case of Summit Ridge and Pinnacle Ridge, x16/x0 and x8/x8 modes are allowed. If an APU (Raven Ridge) is used, only the topmost slot with a maximum of eight Gen3 lanes can be used.
A mechanical PCIe-2.0-x16 slot and three PCIe-2.0-x1 connectors were connected via the chipset. The former operates with a maximum of four Gen2 lanes, the rest logically with a maximum of one lane. It should be noted that two PCIe-2.0-x1 ports (PCIeX1_1 and PCIeX1_3) are connected to the lower M.2-M key interface (M.2_2). If one of the two appropriately marked PCIe-2.0-x1 slots is occupied, the M.2_2 connector will only support SATA mode.
The upper M.2 M key connector, for which ASUS provides a cooler, accepts a module with a length of 4.2 cm to 11 cm and is driven by the CPU with a maximum of 32 GBit/s (PCIe 3.0 x4). According to ASUS, half of the lower connector is connected to lanes via the chipset as a replacement for two additional SATA ports and accommodates a module up to 8 cm in length.
As already mentioned in the accessories section, the I/O panel is pre-assembled, so ASUS logically does not supply an extra panel. Six USB 3.1 Gen1 (of which one is type-C), two USB 3.1 Gen2 and one PS/2 are present on the panel. In addition, there are two graphic outputs, DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4b, which can only be used with an APU such as Raven Ridge. Of course, the LAN port and the usual audio connectors are also included.
With a ROG mainboard a SupremeFX sound is of course also part of the equipment. So under the EMI shield there is the re-labelled Realtek ALC1220, which is the current top model from Realtek and can be found on almost every top class mainboard. It is accompanied by ten audio capacitors and also by a headphone amplifier.
The overall layout is very appealing. Only the PCIe-2.0-x1 slot under the upper PCIe-3.0-x16 slot could have been left out by ASUS, since it would have been useless in case of a dual-slot graphics card anyway. But ASUS also left a lot of connections for numerous fans and for (AIO) water cooling, so that the system can be cooled properly.
With ten coils (effective 6+2) and the numerous onboard and BIOS features, the ASUS ROG Strix X470-F Gaming is of course also suitable for overclocking. The UEFI also supports the down-core function, with which CPU cores of the Ryzen 5 2600 or even a CCX module (CPU Core Complex) can be selectively disabled. For the eight-core CPU models the following modes are available in addition to “Auto” (4+4): 1+1, 2+2 and 3+3.
On the ASUS ROG Strix X470-F Gaming, the base clock can be changed from 96 MHz to 118 MHz in 1 MHz steps. For the CPU voltage the user can choose between override and offset mode. In override mode, the voltage can be changed from 0.75000 Volt to 2.00000 Volt in 0.00625 Volt intervals. The offset mode, on the other hand, allows the CPU voltage to be changed from -0.50000 Volt to +0.50000 Volt in 0.00625 Volt increments. All other overclocking functions can be found in the following table
The effective 8 coils of the ROG Strix X470-F Gaming could run our Ryzen 5 2600 stable at 4 GHz. Since we were able to reach this clock frequency many times before, this clearly limits our CPU. In the BIOS, we had to apply a VCore of 1.4 Volt and is therefore only slightly higher than the ROG Crosshair VII Hero (Wi-Fi), which was 1.3875 Volt.
The profile stored in the DIMMs was correctly implemented by ASUS ROG Strix X470-F Gaming. We were able to increase the latencies a bit with manual settings. The VDIMM was 1.35 volts in both cases.
Power Consumption and Performance
The results for the 3DMark 2013 FireStrike and also for the Cinebench R15 CPU, we used the Ryzen 5 2600, meet the expectations. However, the memory bandwidth turns out a bit lower, but is still at a decent 30 GB/s.
With 15.31 seconds the ASUS ROG Strix X470-F Gaming is well in the race.
For the test the default settings are active, so that the majority of the onboard components are already activated. The graphics output is done via the Radeon R9 380. As already written above, all power saving features are enabled, which was apparently well implemented with the values of a manual configuration.
With 50.4 watts, the ASUS ROG Strix X470-F consumes the most power in idle of all AM4 mainboards tested so far.
This is also true in combination with Cinebench R15 CPU with 159.4 watts, whereby the in-house ASUS Prime B350-Plus was a bit higher.
A similar picture was also seen with Prime95. Our consumption meter showed a power consumption of 158.1 watts.
With default BIOS values, the ASUS ROG Strix X470-F Gaming supplied the Ryzen 5 2600 with a VCore of 1.210 volts, just like the ROG Strix X370-I Gaming.
Since most users don’t need all onboard chips, we did a test with only one activated onboard LAN and the onboard sound. If possible, existing additional chips are deactivated here. The voltages are still set automatically by the board, but all energy saving features are additionally activated manually. The Radeon R9 380 is still the primary graphics card.
USB 3.1 Gen2 Performance
The ASUS ROG Strix X470-F Gaming provides a total of three USB 3.1 Gen2 interfaces, two of which operate on the I/O panel via the ASMedia ASM1142 and the onboard header was connected via the FCH.
For the test we used the external Akitio NT2-U3.1 case, inside which we used two 2.5-inch SSDs of the type OCZ Vector 150 with a storage capacity of 480 GB each. The solid state drive comes up to 550 MB/s read and 530 MB/s write. Both SSDs work in the RAID-0 group, so that the USB 3.1 Gen2 interface can be properly utilized.
The test shows that the ASmedia ASM1142 is now old hat. Up to 781 MB/s and 789 MB/s respectively were achieved in reading and writing. The current ASM3142 from ASMedia can easily beat this.
In case the price of the ROG Crosshair VII Hero seems too high, a look at the ROG Strix X470-F Gaming, which is about $70 cheaper and was tested here, is a good choice instead. Thus, the CPU power supply for the Ryzen 5 2600 was only slightly weaker than in the ROG Crosshair VII Hero (Wi-Fi), so that we could run our Ryzen 5 2600 stable at 4 GHz without any problems.
Prepared for the new Ryzen 5 2600 processors (Pinnacle Ridge), the ROG Strix X470-F Gaming also provides four DDR4 UDIMM memory banks for a maximum of 64 GB RAM. For graphics cards and other expansion cards, ASUS has provided two PCIe 3.0 x16 (mechanical) including Steel Armor feature and additionally three PCIe 2.0 x1 and one PCIe 2.0 x16 (also mechanical).
In terms of storage, the PCB has two M.2-M key interfaces, one of which is driven at 32 Gbps and the other at 16 Gbps. However, this is not without restrictions. ASUS has also mounted a cooler for higher speeds. Furthermore, six SATA 6GBit/s are available.
But there’s no lack of USB ports either. ASUS considered three interfaces of the second USB 3.1 generation, one of which is also designed as an onboard header for a type C interface. In addition, there are eight USB 3.1 Gen1 and four USB 2.0 interfaces. An HDMI 1.4b and DisplayPort 1.2 graphic output on the I/O panel are available for the use of an APU. Once Gigabit LAN via Intel’s I211 AT controller and also the SupremeFX sound are on board.
The ROG Strix X470-F gaming is convincing in terms of features. But the power consumption turned out to be too high both in idle and under load. In return, the user gets his usual fare with the UEFI, which once again made a good impression with the stability and implementation of the settings.
The ASUS ROG ROG Strix X470-F Gaming doesn’t seem like a cheap board with just under $200, but it is a good bit cheaper than the ROG Crosshair VII Hero, for which about $70 more have to be planned. The ROG Strix X470-F Gaming also shows itself from the good side in terms of overclocking and therefore is ranking second on the Best Motherboards for the Ryzen 5 2600 in 2020. Due to its relatively (compared to its Performance class), the ASUS ROG ROG Strix X470-F Gaming won our Best Price category!
Ranking Third: ASRock X370 Gaming
- BIOS with many Extras
- Good Cooling Fans
- Many Fast USB Ports
- CPU Fans are not controllable
ASRock offers two gaming motherboards for the socket AM4, once the Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4 and the Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4. We have the latter in our test and will check if ASRock manages to appeal to gamers and overclockers. Because this is exactly what most users associate the name “Fatal1ty” with.
Besides the two mentioned Fatal1ty boards, which we have already mentioned, there is also another one, the Fatal1ty X370 Professional Gaming. This one offers even more gadgets, but costs a lot more. We’ll take a closer look at the X370 Gaming K4 and see how many options it offers in the BIOS and how it performs against the MSI X370 Krait Gaming we tested before.
Hardware and Design
Let’s take a closer look at the Gaming K4. First we take a look at the power supply of the processor and the RAM.
ASRock cools the existing MOSFETs with two red heat sinks. Beside these there are altogether twelve coils and ten capacitors. According to ASRock the capacitors are black caps. They should provide a long life time. As can be seen on the third picture, the coolers are not correctly placed on all MOSFETs and on both coolers a part of a converter is sticking out. Since the MOSFETs can get very hot, we do not consider this to be a good idea for cooling.
Now that we have removed the coolers, we can see all voltage phases. Asrock himself writes that they offer 12 phases. The built-in PWM controller can handle 8+0, 7+1 or 6+2 phases, so dopplers are used here. As high- and lowside MOSFETs we use NIKOS PK618BA and PZ0903BK and the capacitors used are 12K. Whether the components used by Asrock help us with overclocking, we will see in the further course of the review.
ASRock relies on Creative Soundblaster Cinema3 for the sound of the X370 Gaming K4, which is supposed to provide for sonic gaming and movie enjoyment. To be able to realize this, high-quality components like the TI NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier and
Nichicon Fine Gold Series Audio Caps.
In addition to the reinforced PCIe slots, the X370 motherboard also features two M.2 interfaces for SSDs and one M.2 for a WLAN module. The upper M.2 supports PCI Express x4 and is therefore Generation 3. Under the chipset cooler there are LEDs that can be controlled with the help of a tool.
The second M.2 slot for an SSD is located under the six existing SATA ports. This offers a PCI Express x2 connection.
At the I/O we even find two PS2 connectors this time, which are especially important for overclockers. Above the PS2 ports are the holes for attaching the two antennas, which can be connected to the WLAN module that can be expanded via M.2(Key E).
We also find an HDMI port for the Ryzen APUs that will be released in the future and numerous USB ports. Here ASRock relies on six USB 3.0 and two USB 3.1 Gen2, one of which has a type C connector. Next to the LAN port are the audio connectors. As usual, the Gaming K4 relies on five jack plugs and one Optical SPDIF Out.
The Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 offers some options on the subject of overclocking. As before with the MSI X370 Krait Gaming K4, we’ll try to reach our values for 4GHz. Unlike the Asus Prime X370-Pro and Krait Gaming, the Gaming K4 needs more voltage. We need 1.456 volts and thus 0.04 volts more voltage than the other two mainboards. We even need 1.47 volts with the previously tested BIOS version 2.0. But this is only higher values of the mainboard sensor. The CPU sensor for the Ryzen 5 2600 shows the same values here as before with the other boards, except for small differences.
In order to test conditions with which the processor can also be operated in everyday life, we test the mainboards with certain OC specifications starting with this test. We determine with which clock rate the CPU runs with 1.25 and 1.35 Volt, which are set according to the mainboard sensor. Here it shows that we reach 3.8GHz with 1.25v and 3.9GHz with 1.35v.
Performance and Power Consumption
In the benchmarks, we have changed a few things compared to the previous test of the MSI motherboard. Thus, we leave games out, since there weren’t any striking differences to be found. Therefore we test the existing interfaces, such as the PCI Express and SATA ports. With the Unigine Superposition we test the PCI Express x16 port in which the graphics card is installed.
With Cinebench and the x265 benchmark, we look to see if the 1700X’s existing performance is also retrievable and if the turbo on 3.5GHz works with all cores. We also look at the SSD and memory read and write speeds with AIDA64 and the CrystalDiskMark 5. Finally, we’ll look at the power consumption in IDLE, Prime95 and War Thunder. We start only once each and note the results. In order to be able to present comparative values, we also let the MSI B350 Tomahawk run through the test parkour. The complete test will be published soon.
The Gaming K4 is a bit faster than the Tomahawk in Cinebench R15, but is still within the range of the measurement fluctuation.
The tables turn in the x265 benchmark and the Tomahawk is faster. Just like in Cinebench and Superposition, it is still within the range of the measurement tolerance.
The ASRock is minimally in front in the memory throughput. But this shouldn’t have a big impact in applications and games.
In terms of power consumption, we could also draw on the X370 Krait Gaming and the Asus Prime X370-Pro’s rates in addition to the B350 Tomahawk. We measure energy consumption with our fire chair energy meter again. We can see on the diagram that the Gaming K4 in Prime95 needs less power than the other motherboards, but it needs a bit more power in the War Thunder game.
The ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 is on par with the competition in terms of performance. It offers many BIOS options for overclockers and with the in-house software many things can also be adjusted under Windows. Unfortunately, the Gaming K4 is not yet fully developed. When overclocking the motherboard was very unruly and the memory-OC was not successful either.
But here it can be assumed that the manufacturer is working on it and there will be some BIOS updates in the near future. But the power supply with twelve phases is more than sufficient. This can be seen especially in the low temperatures of the MOSFETs despite high voltages. With the coolers ASRock could have worked a little cleaner, so that they cover all MOSFETs completely.
We found another problem with the connection for the CPU fan, which is supposed to cool the Ryzen 5 2600. This only allows that 4-pin fans can be controlled in speed. So our connected 3-pin fan was running at full speed. The next problem was found with a case fan connector. As soon as a case fan is plugged in there, a long graphics card cannot be installed anymore.
On the positive side, we noticed that the remaining 3-pin case fans can be controlled without problems and that there are enough USB and M.2 ports. Since the ASRock Fatal1ty Gaming K4 has some problems, we give it 8.0 of 10 points and with that it receives the silver award. Despite the problems it offers us a lot for the money and with a price starting at $180 it is not too expensive, which makes it third in the best Motherbords for Ryzen 5 2600.