The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Today we launch our first review of an ASRock B450 chipset motherboard, our first one. The new motherboard offers all the latest features of the B450 chipset, and it adds a few extra.
It's designed to be more of an HTPC capable mini-ITX motherboard, and we know this because of the presence of an HDMI 2.0 chip, WIFI, and LAN. Let's take a look at the new motherboard!
The Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac features one M.2 slot, WIFI, Intel LAN, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.1, and SATA6Gb/s.
The Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac costs $127.12
Packaging and Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac Overview
Packaging and Overview
The box lets us know that the motherboard is capable of supporting Ryzen 200 series chips right out of the box. Packaging is decent and protects the motherboard well.
The accessory package includes two SATA6Gb/s, WIFI antenna, M.2 screws, case badge, postcard, driver DVD, and manuals.
ASRock put in three fan headers. The CPU fan header is 4-pin PWM and is circled in red; it supports up to 2A. The other two circled in blue are DC/PWM mode headers with support for up to 3A each, and they are capable of supporting water cooling pumps.
The UEFI and ASRock's A-Tuning program offer control over all headers. The motherboard carries a straightforward design aesthetic; black and gray. The back of the motherboard doesn't have much on it, but there is an M.2 slot back there.
The rear IO panel features two USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard/mouse, DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, two USB 3.0 ports, Gbit LAN, 7.1 gold plated audio with S/PDIF out, and WIFI antenna connectors.
At the rear of the motherboard, we find an x4 PCI-E 3.0 M.2 slot routed to the CPU. Internally the motherboard offers up an 8-pin power connector for the CPU.
The motherboard has a USB 3.0 internal header and USB 2.0 internal header, four SATA6Gb/s ports, and front panel headers on the right side of the motherboard. At the top of the motherboard, we find an addressable RGB LED header, an ASRock RGB LED header, and an AMD fan LED USB header.
The HD audio header is near the WIFI controller, and the battery is glued to the back of the audio headers. The heat sinks are all screwed into the motherboard.
ASRock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac Circuit Analysis
The Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac shows us the goods with the heat sinks removed!
The VRM is in a 6+2 phase controlled by an Intersil ISL95712, it's in 3+2 phase mode and features two integrated drivers for the main 3 phase rail and one on the 2 phase rail. The SoC phases use two dual N-channel MOSFETs, and the VCore phases use one per phase. The Sinopower SM7341EHKP MOSFETs and high-power inductors should be solid for powering the new CPUs.
The memory VRM is a fully integrated controller from MPS; the MPQ8636 rated up to 20A in this case.
ASRock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac Circuit Analysis Continued
Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac Circuit Analysis Continued
The audio solution consists of a Realtek ALC1220 rated up to 120dB and supports an integrated headphone AMP. There are also some gold-plated jacks and gold audio capacitors as well as a physical PCB divide to separate the audio section from the rest of the motherboard.
The NIC is an Intel i211AT, and the WIFI NIC is an Intel Wireless-AC 3168NGW rated up to 1x1 433Mbps.
The Pericom PI3EQX re-drives two USB 3.1 signals from the chipset and feeds one of them to the ASMedia ASM1543 type-C switch and CC logic chip. There is also a Texas Instruments HD3SS3415 4-channel high-performance differential switch that moves around some PCI-E bandwidth when using different CPUs.
The main SuperIO is the nuvoTon NCT5562D, and it handles all the fan control, monitoring, and even RGB LED support. The ITE IT66317 is an HDMI 2.0 re-timer buffer.
The BIOS chip is a 128Mbit/16MB size ROM, but we can see that ASRock had intentions of using their new 256Mbit/32MB ROM we find on very high-end motherboards, but to lower costs, it seems they didn't use it.
BIOS and Software
The UEFI on this motherboard is very similar to that of other ASRock AMD 400-chipset motherboards, although we couldn't locate an easy mode, but that's all good since all the settings we need are in the advanced mode. Fan control was present as both a GUI and manual input menu. The UEFI was easy to navigate through, and it was quite easy to input overclocking settings.
ASRock's software package includes F-Stream, Polychrome RGB, Key Mater, and XFast LAN.
Test System Setup
Steven's Motherboard Test System Specifications
- MotHeroboard: ASRock FATAL1TY B450 GAMING-ITX/AC
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
- Cooler: Coolermaster MasterLiquid ML240R RGB - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB x2 3466MHz
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - Boot Drive: Kingston KC1000 480GB
- Storage - SATA6G Drive: Corsair Force 240GB / Read our review
- Storage - USB Drive: Corsair Voyager GS 64GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 900D - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 - Buy from Amazon
- Monitor: ASUS PA328 ProArt 32" 4K - Buy from Amazon
- Keyboard: Corsair K70 LUX - Buy from Amazon
- Mouse: Corsair M65 PRO RGB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Headset: Corsair VOID RGB Wireless - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Network: ASUS XG-U2008 10Gbit Switch
The motherboard has no RGB LEDs, but it does have multiple RGB LED headers.
I enabled XMP in the BIOS, set x42 for the multiplier, and then set a VCore of 1.33v. However, we used ASRock's overclocking style setting rather than AMD's style setting. The difference is different input ranges and such. We didn't need to touch the LLC.
CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks
3DMark: Fire Strike
3DMark: Cloud Gate
The Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac's performance is average; it does well in some benchmarks and better or worse in others, but always within a standard margin of error.
System IO Benchmarks
ixChariot Network Throughput:
The FATAL1TY B450 GAMING-ITX/AC's storage performance is quite good as it typically is on ASRock motherboards, wired networking was good, but WIFI could have been better with a 2x2 controller.
Audio RMAA 5.5:
I disable all audio features, set the correct bitrates, and then test the audio with a loopback test.
Sound Judgment by Ear: Excellent, look at that frequency response! There are five ratings for audio: 1. Problems, 2. Okay, 3. Acceptable, 4. Very good, 5. Excellent
Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption
System power is measured at the wall with an AC power meter.
Note on Thermal Images: In the temperature section, we use our Seek Thermal imaging camera to capture the surface temperatures of major components on the board. I look at the VRM and then all other things that light up the screen. If there is something to worry about, then I will state it. Otherwise, I will just show the hotter running parts of the board for fun. Unless some component is over 80-90C, then there isn't anything to worry about.
All systems will act differently, so I will look for commonalities, such as how far from the VRM the heat spreads through the PCB and the difference in temperature between the front side and back side of the PCB. Keep in mind, the majority of the heat from the VRM goes into the PCB as it is a giant soldered on copper heat sink. A larger difference in temperature between the back and front of the PCB points towards a more effective heat sink.
Thermal Testing at Stock Speeds:
The image on the left is always at idle, and the image on the right is at load. During ALL TESTS, fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (Corsair H110i) radiator are turned on to high (12v).
Up-close of the front of the VRM.
Up-close of the back of the VRM.
The Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac has a doubled triple phase VRM, but it looks like it's getting the job done. Compared to some other B450 motherboards we are going to show you later, this motherboard did really well, even considering it's a mini-ITX motherboard. Anything under 60C is great, 60-80C is acceptable, and anything above 80C is a bit worrisome (if at stock).
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
HTPC Features: Equipped with an HDMI 2.0 re-driver, WIFI, and solid built-in audio, this B450 mini-ITX motherboard is designed with the right stuff so you can use it in an HTPC build.
Aesthetics: The motherboard utilizes a black and gray color theme, which lets the motherboard blend into the background. On top of that, we find both an addressable RGB LED header and a normal RGB LED header. There is also a single USB 2.0 header near the two labeled AMD FAN_LED USB, and that can be plugged into one of AMD's fans with built-in RGBs.
Decent VRM: ASRock made sure to provide enough power stages in the form of dual-N channel MOSFETs with power inductors to provide enough main power to AMD CPUs. On top of that, they made sure to include an 8-pin power connector for the CPU instead of a 4-pin header, and they used 20oz copper in the PCB.
WIFI is 1x1: You do get Wireless AC, but it's Intel's 1x1 Wireless AC controller that maxes out at 433Mbps, which is less than 867Mbps.
The ASRock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac is a high-end B450 mini-ITX motherboard, and there are not that many of them. ASRock added in a pre-driver to help with the HDMI 2.0 port, as well as WIFI so you can use the computer anywhere and included the high-end ALC1220 audio codec with full audio ports.
The VRM has a high component count, and together with the 2oz copper PCB, decent inductors, and a decent heat sink, it should keep your CPU well fed and not throttling. The motherboard also has both main types of RGB LED headers, a neutral color theme, and has that single header for AMD RGB LED heat sink fans. If you are looking for a decently loaded B450 motherboard, give the B450 Gaming-ITX/ac a look.
The Bottom Line: The ASRock B450 Gaming-ITX/ac is another stellar mini-ITX product from ASRock, but this time it uses the B450 chipset.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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