Thursday, February 13th 2020

ASRock B550AM Gaming Motherboard Pictured Up Close

Here are some of the first close-ups of the ASRock B550AM Gaming motherboard, which made its first appearance back in October 2019. The B550A is a rebadged B450 low-power "Promontory" chipset. Boards based on the chipset are guaranteed to support all 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processors out of the box. The B550AM Gaming draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the AM4 SoC with an 8+2 phase VRM.

The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots supporting dual-channel DDR4 memory; the board's sole PCI-Express 4.0 x16, and an M.2-22110 slot that has PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring. The only other expansion slot is a PCI-Express x4 wired to the B550A chipset, which is likely gen 2.0. Other storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.2 gen 2 ports (from which one is type-C), and six USB 3.2 gen 1 ports (from which two are by headers). Network connectivity includes WLAN (likely 802.11ac), and a 1 GbE wired interface. The 6-channel HD audio appears to be driven by a premium Realtek ALC1220-class CODEC. There are two 4-pin RGB and one 3-pin ARGB headers. The company didn't reveal pricing, or whether this board is even available in the retail channel, given that back in October we heard that the B550A was an OEM exclusive.
Source: Komachi Ensaka (Twitter)
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22 Comments on ASRock B550AM Gaming Motherboard Pictured Up Close

#1
Cheeseball
Not a Potato
@btarunr
You won't gen PCI-Express gen 4.0 x16 with this board (for that, you'll have to wait for the actual B550 chipset coming out later this year).
I definitely won't GEN dude.

Typo!
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#2
windwhirl
btarunr
You won't gen PCI-Express gen 4.0 x16 with this board (for that, you'll have to wait for the actual B550 chipset coming out later this year)
Wait, what? I thought PCIe 4.0 was X570-exclusive?
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#3
bencrutz
looking at the spec,, it should support PCIE 4.0 on the x16 slot, and also M.2 gen4 x4, both from CPU

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#4
cucker tarlson
Their rebadged b450 supports 4.0 but high end x470s dont.
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#5
hojnikb
someone should try crossflashing a similar b450 board with this bios to gain pcie 4.0 :D
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#6
notb
Somehow unintelligent design - especially coming from AsRock.
Putting aside a few basic A320 motherboards, this AFAIK this will be their only mATX model with just 2 PCIe slots.

I understand it's a bit crowded, but why isn't one of the M.2 put on the other side of PCB?
bencrutz
looking at the spec,, it should support PCIE 4.0 on the x16 slot, and also M.2 gen4 x4, both from CPU
I don't understand why PCIe4.0 is available with Summit Ridge according to this information (whatever it is). In fact: isn't Summit Ridge incompatible with X570?
Posted on Reply
#7
claster17
PCIe 4.0 availability has nothing to do with the chipset. Only the x16 and M.2 slot wired directly to the (Zen2) CPU get Gen4. Everything else that goes through the chipset is Gen2.

cucker tarlson
Their rebadged b450 supports 4.0 but high end x470s dont.
Some of them maybe could support it (most likely ITX because of short traces) but definitely not all of them.
Posted on Reply
#8
Ferrum Master
claster17
ITX because of short traces
It's not only about short traces, but material and how you trace them. It may work, but the error rate may may trigger unwanted signal correction mechanisms. Just remember Sandy Bridge case with PCIE3. It later had workaround Erratas to escape few init bugs, for certain HW. Basically, everyone claiming that their B450 worked fine on PCIE4 mode doesn't apply to all devices, to give it a solid certification.

I compared Asrock B450 PCB's also, this a totally new design. For example this one at last has more advanced(Voltage or temperature or both) controlled crystal near the CPU socket. None of B450 for asrock had that, X470 was first. The CPU VRM changed also. It has the base of the most recent X570 design they have.

Basically calling a total rebadge ain't right. You get a new product.
Posted on Reply
#9
Valantar
notb
Somehow unintelligent design - especially coming from AsRock.
Putting aside a few basic A320 motherboards, this AFAIK this will be their only mATX model with just 2 PCIe slots.

I understand it's a bit crowded, but why isn't one of the M.2 put on the other side of PCB?
It's an OEM-only board as the B550A is an OEM-only chipset. The only reason for its existence is that OEMs demand a new model number to put on their boxes. As such it's not designed to fit DIY tastes/needs.
Posted on Reply
#10
silentbogo
@buildzoid will do a breakdown soon enough. As far as board designs go, it looks more like a stripped-down and cheapified X570M Pro4.

notb
Somehow unintelligent design - especially coming from AsRock.
Putting aside a few basic A320 motherboards, this AFAIK this will be their only mATX model with just 2 PCIe slots.
First, having only 2 slots on the uATX board is a matter of taste and build requirements. Remember - it's an OEM product, which will most likely have only one slot occupied for the entirety of its lifetime.
Second, I think you don't know AsRock that well. They are the staple of motherboard re-badging (in some cases quite literally), and design recycling. Also, they are the poster-child for two-slot board, so it looks like we are talking about different AsRock.

notb
I understand it's a bit crowded, but why isn't one of the M.2 put on the other side of PCB?
These are CPU lanes. x16 for GPU, x4 for single NVME, and x4 for chipset downlink. It is simply maxed out.
Posted on Reply
#11
notb
silentbogo
First, having only 2 slots on the uATX board is a matter of taste and build requirements.
Of course. Which means this mobo will not be interesting for people who need 3+ slots. Unlike all alternatives from AsRock. Or Asus. I haven't checked other makers, but I bet it's similar.
The only mobos with 2 slots I could find are some cheap A320.

Is this mobo placed so low in the lineup? Seriously? :)
Remember - it's an OEM product, which will most likely have only one slot occupied for the entirety of its lifetime.
Chipset may be for OEMs, but this is a standard mATX mobo that AsRock likely intends to sell.
OEMs make their own motherboards.
These are CPU lanes. x16 for GPU, x4 for single NVME, and x4 for chipset downlink. It is simply maxed out.
But another PCIe slot could be connected to the chipset. I mean... that is this B550A doing anyway?
Posted on Reply
#12
Ferrum Master
notb
OEMs make their own motherboards.
No all of them.

I understand your pain, but it really ain't crucial for most of the market. Yes a good point, but on the paper it's wasted resource and not needed. Most people won't populate all slots.
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#13
WonkoTheSaneUK
Am I the only one who can see a second (possibly double-stacked) NVME position to the right of the lower PCIe slot?
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#14
Ferrum Master
WonkoTheSaneUK
Am I the only one who can see a second (possibly double-stacked) NVME position to the right of the lower PCIe slot?
No, the discussion is to take away from the the PCIE area to have more dedicated PCIE slots, thus moving the nvme slot to the backside of the board.
Posted on Reply
#15
notb
Ferrum Master
I understand your pain, but it really ain't crucial for most of the market. Yes a good point, but on the paper it's wasted resource and not needed. Most people won't populate all slots.
But I'm not saying this is a mandatory feature. As you say: it's just for some clients.
What I am saying: these clients (as small as this group may be) will instantly reject this product, because basically every alternative has 3 slots (unless future B550A boards also won't...).

What if this was something more material to you. For example: if it turns out this board doesn't support CPUs over 8 cores?
The group of clients who would use this with 3900X or 3950X is also small. But I'm sure this would seem more significant - being a serious upgrade limitation. :)
Posted on Reply
#16
cucker tarlson
WonkoTheSaneUK
Am I the only one who can see a second (possibly double-stacked) NVME position to the right of the lower PCIe slot?
good find,looks like the slot is on the backside
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#17
milewski1015
btarunr
Other storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gbps ports.
Could you please point out where you see the 5th and 6th SATA port? That stack alongside the lower right end only looks to be 4.

WonkoTheSaneUK
Am I the only one who can see a second (possibly double-stacked) NVME position to the right of the lower PCIe slot?
I see it as well. The slot must be on the back (or just not there, it looks like the holes for the M.2 standoffs are empty). To me, this looks like a stripped down/re-purposed higher end board. Very similar to the X570 Phantom Gaming 4 line: https://www.asrock.com/mb/photo/X570%20Phantom%20Gaming%204S(L2).png
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#18
iO
milewski1015
I see it as well. The slot must be on the back (or just not there, it looks like the holes for the M.2 standoffs are empty). To me, this looks like a stripped down/re-purposed higher end board. Very similar to the X570 Phantom Gaming 4 line: https://www.asrock.com/mb/photo/X570 Phantom Gaming 4S(L2).png
That bottom m.2 socket is on the front but not populated, so only one.

Link to manual

Shame it's OEM only.
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#19
milewski1015
iO
That bottom m.2 socket is on the front but not populated, so only one.

Link to manual

Shame it's OEM only.
Nice find! Didn't even think to go searching for the manual. That diagram confirms my suspicion about only 4 SATA ports as well. @btarunr Might want to correct that
Posted on Reply
#20
silentbogo
notb
Is this mobo placed so low in the lineup? Seriously? :)
Yes, think of it as a typical low-budget board in a sub-$100 segment. With WiFi, Intel LAN, RTL1220, radiators and other trinkets, I'd say having more unnecessary slots on a limited BOM was at the bottom of their list.
Steve at GN went as far as saying sub-$80, but that's an overstatement.

notb
But another PCIe slot could be connected to the chipset. I mean... that is this B550A doing anyway?
Second slot IS connected to the hub. Don't forget that it's technically a B450 chipset with only six PCIe lanes (one of which is occupied by LAN, another one is eaten by bundled WiFi/BT card, and four routed to the bottom slot). They didn't add another PCIe or the second M.2, cause let's be honest - shared lanes suck and no one wants to explain why their second SSD does not work with capture card installed (especially in a prebuilt). Plus, it's cheap. Another thing to note, is that the bottom slot should be 4xPCIe gen 2.0.
Posted on Reply
#21
Valantar
notb
Chipset may be for OEMs, but this is a standard mATX mobo that AsRock likely intends to sell.
OEMs make their own motherboards.
No. This is an OEM only product, and will never be sold at retail. AMD sells the B550A chipset to board manufacturers as an OEM only part, and they would thus violate their agreement with AMD if they sold it separately.

As for OEMs making their own motherboards - sure, the big ones like Dell or HP or those with motherboard design teams like Asus. The rest have them made by other companies.

notb
But I'm not saying this is a mandatory feature. As you say: it's just for some clients.
What I am saying: these clients (as small as this group may be) will instantly reject this product, because basically every alternative has 3 slots (unless future B550A boards also won't...).

What if this was something more material to you. For example: if it turns out this board doesn't support CPUs over 8 cores?
The group of clients who would use this with 3900X or 3950X is also small. But I'm sure this would seem more significant - being a serious upgrade limitation. :)
Again: OEM only. This board is only going into pre-built systems where the OEM picks the parts. <99% of these will never be upgraded or have any add-in-cards installed beyond factory issue. OEMs know this and thus don't give a damn about the number of PCIe slots. They just want a new chipset name and PCIe 4.0 for their marketing materials.
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#22
Snoop05
If anyone gets their hands on such board could you please dump the bios to see if its different agesa with pcie4 unlocked
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