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ASRock Intros X370 Pro BTC+ Motherboard

Cryptocurrency mining rig motherboards have, until now, mostly been based on the Intel platform because Intel chipsets put out more PCIe lanes than AMD ones, and because Intel's sub-$100 Pentium/Celeron chips don't have narrower PCIe connectivity from the CPU. ASRock apparently has a lot of unsold AMD X370 chipset inventory, and with the possible introduction of sub-$100 Ryzen chips that have 28 PCIe lanes from the CPU, a use-case has emerged for a mining motherboard based on this platform. We hence have the X370 Pro BTC+. The board features an AM4 socket, with out of the box support for "Pinnacle Ridge" processors. The socket is wired to just one DDR4 DIMM slot, but all eight PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots.

The topmost x16 slot runs at electrical gen 3.0 x4, while the remaining seven slots are gen 3.0 x1, taking advantage of PCIe segmentation of the X370 platform. The board draws power from three 24-pin ATX, 8+4 pin EPS, and a number of Molex outputs, although most of these power connectors are optional. A point to note here is that the D-sub/HDMI display outputs only work if an A-series "Bristol Ridge" or Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APU is used (which have fewer PCIe lanes), so you're bound to take display output from one of the 8 graphics cards. A 1 GbE interface and two USB 3.0 ports make for the rest of it.

AMD Motherboard Vendors Are Removing Support for Older CPU Models

Current AMD AM4 motherboards basically support four platforms at the moment: the new Ryzen 2000 processors, Ryzen 2000 G APUs with integrated graphics, 1st generation Ryzen and Bristol Ridge. Bristol Ridge was AMD's last processor generation before Ryzen was released. Bristol Ridge introduced Socket AM4, which according to AMD has a lifespan beyond 2020. According to Anandtech, several motherboard manufacturers are now reporting that they might drop support for Bristol Ridge in their future motherboard releases. The underlying reason is that in addition to the setup interface, and UEFI with its driver and network stack, the BIOS has to support all processors by including microcode for them.

Supporting so many CPU models bloats the size of the BIOS beyond 128 megabits (16 MB), which would exceed the capacity of the BIOS flash chips used by most vendors and force them to use higher capacity models, ie 256 megabits. As always in this industry, the issue here comes down to pricing.

TechPowerUp Releases GPU-Z v2.9.0

TechPowerUp today released GPU-Z v2.9.0, the latest version of the graphics sub-system information, diagnostic, and monitoring utility no enthusiast can leave home without. Version 2.9.0 fixes some of the bugs encountered with Windows 10 April 2018 Update, with support for new WDDM 2.4 drivers. Support is also added for NVIDIA Tesla V100, and NVIDIA GPUs in TCC mode (eg: Tesla and Quadro families). Also added is support for "Haswell" GT1 variant (found on certain Celeron SKUs), and more AMD "Bristol Ridge" APU graphics variants.

At AMD's request, we disabled "Vega" SoC clock and hot-spot sensors by default. You can manually enable them any time in the settings. For enthusiasts who have GPU-Z launched at start-up (as a Scheduled Task), Windows will no longer nag with the "this file was downloaded from the Internet" dialog every time. PerfCap reason for Tesla GPUs in TCC mode has been fixed to "none." Detection of various AMD "Carrizo," "Bristol Ridge" and "Stoney Ridge" GPUs were fixed. The overall drawing code for the sensor graphs is improved. Grab GPU-Z from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.9.0

The Change-log follows.

BIOSTAR AM4 RACING, PRO Series Offer Selection of Motherboards for AMD Ryzen 3

BIOSTAR RACING and PRO series motherboards offer one of the widest selection of AM4 motherboards for Ryzen 3, 5, 7, Bristol Ridge and 7th Generation A-series. Gamers looking to take full advantage of the affordable AMD quad-core CPUs can select from BIOSTAR's RACING X370 series: RACING X370GTN, RACING X370GT7, RACING X370GT5 or RACING X370GT3. While anyone aiming to build a value and performance system can select from BIOSTAR's RACING B350 series: RACING B350GTN, RACING B350GT5, RACING B350GT3 and RACING B350ET2 and PRO B350 and A320 series: TB350-BTC, TA320-BTC, A320MH PRO and A320MD PRO.

AMD's Bristol Ridge APUs Released for the AM4 Platform in Retail Channels

AMD's AM4 socket really is shaping up to be one of the company's most versatile to date. From true quad-core CPUS (just now available through Ryzen 3's launch through to veritable svelte behemoths 8-core, 16-thread CPUs, AM4 has something for every consumer. AMD is now taking that show further with the release of the Bristol Ridge family of APUs, which includes eight APUs and three CPUs. While pricing wasn't announced at time of writing, the top-priced part should fall below the $110 mark and bottom out at $50, so as not to collide with AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 (although these products aren't specifically overlapping anyway.)

AMD's new entry-level processors will hit a maximum of 65 W TDP, with the top spot being taken by the 2-module, 4-threads A12-9800, running at 3.8 GHz base and 4.2 GHz Turbo. This part holds a Radeon R7 GPU with 512 Stream Processors (GCN 1.3, the same as in the Fury GPUs) running at 800 MHz Base and 1108 MHz Turbo. There are three 35 W parts (denoted by a capital E after the model name.) One thing users should take into account is that the Bristol Ridge APUs deliver a maximum of 8x PCIe 3.0 lanes - thus rendering a multi-GPU solution unfeasible.

NVIDIA GeForce 384 Series Driver Removes Need for New CPUs for 4K Netflix

NVIDIA's GeForce 384 series drivers seem to have quite a few secrets, beginning with DirectX 12 API support on 5-plus year old GeForce "Fermi" GPUs, and now 4K Ultra HD support for Netflix UWP app without the need of new-generation CPUs (namely Intel "Kaby Lake," AMD "Summit Ridge," and AMD "Bristol Ridge."). The new-generation CPUs feature a host of hardware-level DRM features which the Netflix app needs to playback 4K Ultra HD content. The new GeForce 384 series drivers let you circumvent that requirement.

Reddit user aethervisor discovered that the Windows Store (UWP platform) app of Netflix could play back content at full 4K Ultra HD resolution on their machine with an older CPU and GeForce GTX 1080 graphics. New-generation CPUs had become a requirement for this to happen, besides the latest Windows 10 version, an HDCP 2.2-compliant 4K display (and no active secondary displays that don't satisfy HDCP 2.2), a powerful enough GPU, and either the UWP app or the Netflix website on Microsoft's Edge web-browser. NVIDIA struck down a big requirement that opens up Netflix 4K to a much wider user-base.

GIGABYTE Intros the AB350N-Gaming WiFi Mini-ITX Socket AM4 Motherboard

GIGABYTE introduced the AB350N-Gaming WiFi, its first socket AM4 motherboard in the mini-ITX form-factor, with support for the entire Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor family, the 7th generation "Bristol Ridge" A-series APUs, and the upcoming Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the AM4 SoC with a 6-phase VRM. The motherboard is based on AMD B350 chipset.

The AM4 SoC is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel memory, the lone PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot on the reverse side of the PCB, two out of four of the board's SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and two out of six of the board's USB 3.0 ports. Other USB connectivity includes two USB 3.0 ports from the B350 chipset, and two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports (both type-A). Networking includes a WLAN card with 802.11ac WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.2, and gigabit Ethernet. 8-channel HD audio driven by a 120 dBA SNR CODEC makes for the rest of it. The company didn't reveal pricing.

BIOSTAR Intros a Pair of AM4 Motherboards for Bitcoin Mining Rigs

BIOSTAR expanded its niche line of motherboards for Bitcoin-mining rigs, with two boards for the socket AM4 platform, the TA320-BTC, and the TB350-BTC. These boards feature a minimalist layout so you can drop in as many PCI-Express GPU or ASIC Bitcoin-mining cards as possible. As their names suggest, the TA320-BTC is based on the entry-level AMD A320 chipset, and the TB350-BTC the mid-range AMD B350. Both boards share an identical PCB, and barring for some chipset-level features, their feature-sets are largely identical.

The boards are built in the narrow ATX form-factor, and draw power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 4-pin Molex (optional), and 8-pin EPS power connectors. A 6-phase VRM conditions power to the SoC, which is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, besides a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and six other PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots. Storage options are limited to four SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Connectivity includes 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, DVI and D-Sub display outputs, six 5 Gbps USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 high-power ports (1.5 A current). Both boards support Ryzen processors (up to 95W TDP), and 7th gen A-Series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. Available now, the TB350-BTC is priced at USD $84.99.

User Patch Unlocks Windows 7 and 8.1 Updates for Core "Kaby Lake" and Ryzen

Microsoft, in a bid to ensure users of 7th generation Intel Core "Kaby Lake," AMD A-series "Bristol Ridge," and AMD Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processors stick to Windows 10, ensured that the three platforms don't receive software updates when running older Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 operating systems. A new user-made patch removes this draconian restriction, letting you install Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on your new-generation CPU powered machine, and receive regular software updates through Windows Update.

The patch is open-source, so you can inspect its code, and available on GitHub. The author of the patch, Zeffy, discovered two new functions to system file wuaueng.dll after the March 2017 update for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, labeled "IsCPUSupported(void)" and "IsDeviceServiceable(void)." This library is patched to toggle those two functions "1," telling Windows Update that the CPU is "supported" and that the platform is "serviceable," making it eligible to receive updates.

DOWNLOAD: New-gen CPU Windows Update Unlocking Patch for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 by Zeffy

ID-Cooling Intros the SE-903-R CPU Cooler with AMD Ryzen Support

ID-Cooling introduced the SE-903-R tower-type CPU cooler with support for AMD socket AM4 processors, such as Ryzen and 7th gen. A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. The cooler is a variant of the SE-903, and comes with factory-fitted AM4 mounting clips and a red LED fan, compared to the blue LED the original SE-903 ships with. Its mounting clips easily hook on to the retention frames that come pre-installed on socket AM4 motherboards.

These aside, the SE-903-R is identical to the original. It is designed for thermal loads of up to 130W. It is a conventional tower-type heatsink featuring an aluminium fin stack, to which heat drawn directly from the base is fed by three 6 mm thick copper heat pipes, and ventilated by a 92 mm fan that spins up to 2,000 RPM, pushing 37.44 CFM of air, with a noise output of up to 23.1 dBA. The company didn't reveal pricing, although it shouldn't be too far off from the $20 price tag of the original.

Microsoft Locks System Updates for Windows 7, 8.1 on Ryzen, Kaby Lake Systems

It would seem Microsoft is ever looking for more creative ways of pushing its Windows 10 operating system towards the masses. Some Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users have apparently encountered one of these: a lock on system updates. The error message, which reads "Your PC uses a processor that isn't supported on this version of Windows", points towards a hardware lock-in in exchange for added security and updates.

A Microsoft Support page sheds some light on this issue: that Windows 10 is the only Microsoft operating system to support particular hardware configurations. Namely, systems based on Intel's "seventh (7th)-generation processors or a later generation" (Kaby Lake); "AMD seventh (7th)-generation ("Bristol Ridge") processor or a later generation"; and "Qualcomm "8996" processor or a later generation". This move on Windows 7 might make some sense; however, Windows 8.1 is still in its lease of life (and Microsoft support) until at least 2018.

No Windows 7 Drivers for AMD Ryzen

AMD confirmed that it will not release Windows 7 drivers for its upcoming Ryzen series processors. It was earlier reported that the company is working on these drivers. The company, however, did state that it tested and validated Ryzen processors on a variety of operating systems, including Windows 7. "To achieve the highest confidence in the performance of our AMD Ryzen desktop processors (formerly code-named "Summit Ridge"), AMD validated them across two different OS generations, Windows 7 and 10," AMD said in a statement. "However, only support and drivers for Windows 10 will be provided in AMD Ryzen desktop processor production parts," the company added.

This doesn't necessarily mean that there won't be Windows 7 drivers for other socket AM4 chips, such as the 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. AMD-supplied drivers are essential for these chips, as they drive the AMD Radeon integrated graphics, and Windows 7 continues to be a gaming platform. What happens now? Well, you can run Windows 7 on AMD Ryzen-powered desktops just fine, it's just that the OS won't support all of the processor's capabilities, such as some of the newer instruction sets it comes with.

AMD Readies Ryzen Platform Drivers for Windows 7

AMD is reportedly providing platform (chipset) drivers for its upcoming socket AM4 platform, for the ageing Windows 7 operating system. This is noteworthy as rival Intel isn't providing Windows 7 drivers for its 200-series chipset, which drives the Core "Kaby Lake" processors, and the onboard graphics of Core "Kaby Lake" processors. Graphics drivers by AMD could power integrated graphics cores of the 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs, and the three socket AM4 chipsets - A320, B350, and X370.

ASRock Socket AM4 Motherboard Lineup Detailed

At the 2017 International CES, ASRock showed off some of its first socket AM4 motherboards for AMD Ryzen processors and 7th generation A-Series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. Leading the pack is the X370 Taichi. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. It uses a 16-phase CPU VRM with high-capacity Super Alloy chokes. The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and two PCI-Expres 3.0 x16 slot (x8/x8 when both are populated). The third x16 slot is electrical x4 and wired to the chipset. Two other x1 slots make for the rest of its expansion area.

Connectivity on the X370 Taichi include two USB 3.1 ports (one type-A and one type-C), ten USB 3.0 ports, 8-channel PureSound 4 onboard audio solution (of the same grade the company is deploying on its high-end Intel Z270 motherboards), gigabit Ethernet with an Intel-made controller, and 802.11ac WLAN. Storage options include one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, one 16 Gb/s M.2 slot, and eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Next up, is the X370 Professional Gaming. This board is practically identical to the X370 Taichi. The two boards share a common PCB, and differ only with the red+black color scheme on the X370 Professional Gaming, as opposed to white+black on the X370 Taichi.

AMD A12-9800 "Bristol Ridge" AM4 APU with ASUS A320M-C Tested

German PC enthusiast "Crashtest" clinched a sweet combo of an AMD A12-9800 "Bristol Ridge" socket AM4 APU with an ASUS A320M-C entry-level micro-ATX motherboard, for 200€. Pairing it with 8 GB of dual-channel DDR4-2133 memory, the platform was put through the AIDA64 test-suite. In the memory front, the platform performs on-par with older platforms at comparable DDR3 bandwidth. The K15.6 integrated memory controller isn't producing the kind of memory bandwidth as the Core i7-6700K with dual-channel DDR4-2133 memory from AIDA64's internal reference bench table.

In the CPU-related tests, the APU has about the same performance as its predecessors, such as the A10-7850K. The chip features two "Excavator" x86-64 CPU modules, making up four cores, and is clocked at 4.20 GHz. There are performance upticks seen in tests such as Hash and VP8, where the chip likely benefits from new instruction sets.
More results follow.

GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming K3 Socket AM4 Motherboard PCB Pictured

The picture of a bare PCB of an upcoming GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming series socket AM4 motherboard is doing rounds on the web. The picture reveals the bare PCB of the motherboard with all its traces and printed markings, but at a stage before surface-mount components can be soldered onto it. One can still make out quite a bit about the board. AMD X370 is the company's upcoming high-end desktop chipset, which will be launched alongside the company's Ryzen 8-core processor, some time in February, 2017.

To begin with, the AX370-Gaming K3 is built in the ATX form-factor. Its AM4 socket supports both Ryzen "Summit Ridge" CPUs and 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. The board draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the CPU with a 7-phase VRM. The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots. Expansion slots include one PCI-Express 3.0 x16, a second gen 3.0 x16 slot that's electrical x4, and three other gen 3.0 x1 slots. Storage connectivity appears to include at least eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. 8-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.1 (including type-C) ports, appear to make for the rest of the connectivity. GIGABYTE's signature Dual-UEFI is featured.
Many Thanks to TheLostSwede and Tomas H. for the tips!

Motherboard Vendors Optimistic about High Price-Performance Ratio of AMD Ryzen

AMD Ryzen, the high performance processor based on the company's "Zen" micro-architecture, will increase the company's market-share of the desktop CPU market in Q2-2017, according to sources from motherboard manufacturers, in a report by Taiwan-based industry observer DigiTimes. The report states that motherboard manufacturers are "optimistic about [Ryzen's] high price/performance ratio," prompting them to ramp up orders of motherboards for the new platform, from their suppliers.

According to the report, the new platform built around the AMD Ryzen processor will be officially released by the end of February 2017, and will enter global mass-shipments in March. It will help increase AMD's desktop processor market share in the following quarter. The sources point out that motherboard vendors are sourcing high-end X370, mid-range B350, and entry-level A320 chipsets from AMD, and their new product designs are now in the final stage of related testing. The B350 and A320 chipsets are already launched, to support the 7th generation A-Series "Bristol Ridge" APUs.

AMD Socket AM4 "Bristol Ridge" APU De-lidded

Here are some of the first pictures of an AMD socket AM4 APU being de-lidded. De-lidding is the process of removing the IHS (integrated heatspreader), the metal plate covering the CPU die. Some PC enthusiasts remove the IHS to improve heat-transfer between the CPU and extreme cooling solutions, such as LN2/dry-ice evaporators. Overclocker Nam Dae Won, with access to a couple of socket AM4 chips (most likely 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs), de-lidded the chips, revealing a large rectangular die. AMD is using high-quality TIM between the die and the IHS, which could either be solder or liquid metal. There's also a clear picture of the underside pin-grid of the AM4 chip, which has a central cutout that lacks any SMT components. Socket AM4 has 1,331 pins.

AMD's Internal ZEN SR7, SR5, SR3 Priced Above A12-9800

AMD's first desktop processors based on the "ZEN" micro-architecture will be priced above the fastest socket AM4 part currently in production, the A12-9800 APU. While AMD hasn't started selling the A-series socket AM4 APUs in the retail channel, the top-end A12-9800, which is faster than the A10-7870K from its previous-generation, is expected to be priced at least the same ($160) or higher. This would mean that even the cheapest ZEN part, under the ZEN SR3 series, likely quad-core; could be priced above $160.

Two key slides from a presentation AMD intended for Chinese distribution channels, was leaked to the web by ChipHell tech forum members, revealing that ZEN parts will be priced in a segment "above" RMB ¥1,500 (USD $218), assuming that that's a price inclusive of all taxes. The company also put out some performance numbers for the A8-9600 "Bristol Ridge" socket AM4 APU, keeping the "Godavari" A8-7650K as baseline, compared to the Intel Core i3-6100 "Skylake" processor. The A8-9600 was shown to be faster in most tests.

Two GIGABYTE Socket AM4 Motherboards Pictured

Ahead of their launch later this year, to cater to the 7th generation AMD A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs, with support for next-generation "ZEN" processors due in 2017, two GIGABYTE socket AM4 motherboards smiled for the camera. The two appear to be based on either AMD's entry-level A320 or mid-range B350 chipsets. Since the AM4 chips are true-blue SoCs with complete integration of chipsets, including what you'd normally call a southbridge or FCH; the "chipsets" in the AM4 platform are merely chips that add to the PCIe lane budget of the platform, and provide additional SATA and USB connectivity.

The first of the two GIGABYTE AM4 boards is built in the narrow micro-ATX form-factor; featuring a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, two DDR4 DIMM slots, four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and basic connectivity that includes 6-channel HD audio, one gigabit Ethernet connection, and 4-6 USB 3.0 ports. The second board is better endowed, and is likely a variation of the socket AM4 board that was earlier pictured this September. It features two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 ports (the second one could be electrical x4); and comes with two additional SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0 ports compared to the other board.

FinalWire Announces AIDA64 v5.80

Today FinalWire released a new stable update to the desktop editions of its popular system information software. AIDA64 v5.80 supports the latest Windows 10 builds and the most recent hardware components, including the AMD RX 400 series and NVIDIA's GTX 1050 GPUs.

As a new feature, it now allows users to define global hotkeys with which they can enable or disable the AIDA64 hardware monitoring panels or switch between multiple hardware information pages on external displays, even when AIDA64 is running in the background. Using these customized key combinations, PC enthusiasts can also start and stop saving temperature, voltage and power measurements as well as fan RPM readouts to a CSV or HTML log file. The developers have made AIDA64 v5.80 DPI aware so that all elements of its graphical user interface scale properly when the DPI zoom is active in Windows. In practice, this means that users will see no more blurry or incorrectly sized graphics or text on high-resolution screens as AIDA64 now looks crisp even on 4K and 8K LCD and OLED displays.

DOWNLOAD: FinalWire AIDA64 v5.80 Installer | FinalWire AIDA64 v5.80 ZIP Package

AMD Announces the 7th Generation AMD PRO Processors

AMD at the Canalys Channels Forum announced the first PCs featuring 7th Generation AMD PRO APUs (formerly codenamed "Bristol Ridge PRO"). Built for business, AMD PRO APUs deliver increased computing and graphics performance, improved energy efficiency, while providing a secure and stable platform to protect customers' IT investments.

"In the past two years we made incredible progresses in the commercial client segment. Since its inception in mid-2014, AMD PRO processor unit shipments increased more than 45 percent enabling businesses all over the world to simplify IT with secure, high performance, reliable solutions" said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics Business, AMD. "We are thrilled to have PC market leaders like HP and Lenovo expanding their use of AMD technology in their business client portfolios."

AMD Aggressively Clearing Inventory to Make Room for ZEN

AMD is reportedly "aggressively clearing" its inventories of current-generation processors, such products in the AM3+ and FM2+ packages; to make room for next-generation processors based on the "ZEN" architecture, and new 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs, both of which are built in the new socket AM4 package. You should be able to find AMD FX CPUs at attractive prices, so current 4-core and 6-core users could be lured to upgrade to faster 8-core chips, including those featuring the company's Wraith silent CPU cooler.

Taiwan industry observer DigiTimes reports that AMD will launch its next-generation "ZEN" processors, and motherboards based on the high-end X370 chipset, alongside the 2017 International CES expo, in early January. 2017 promises to be a big year for the company as it's not only attempting to regain competitiveness in the performance desktop CPU space, but also high-end graphics, with its Radeon "VEGA" family.

GIGABYTE AMD B350 Socket AM4 Motherboard Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of a socket AM4 motherboard by GIGABYTE. Positioned as an entry-mainstream offering by the company to launch with AMD's 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs, while being ready for upcoming "ZEN" based CPUs and APUs, this board appears to be based on AMD B350 chipset, the company's mid-tier socket AM4 chipset alongside the entry-level A320 and enthusiast-segment X370. This board appears to feature a rectangular CPU cooler retention-module like older AMD sockets. Could the "square" bolt-type RM we spotted on OEM boards, as well as AMD's own platform demonstrator board not make it to the DIY segment?

This unnamed (label not clearly pictured) motherboard is built in the micro-ATX form-factor, drawing power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. It uses a 7-phase CPU VRM. AMD appears to have introduced new voltage domains with AM4, probably because these are full-fledged SoCs, with core-logic completely integrated. The board features four DDR4 DIMM slots, and PCI-Express gen 3.0 slots. The B350 chipset wires to the SoC over PCI-Express gen 3.0, and puts out additional downstream general-purpose PCIe gen 3.0 lanes, besides additional SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.1 ports.

HP Socket AM4 A320 Chipset OEM Motherboard Pictured

Here is perhaps the first picture of a socket AM4 motherboard up close. The HP "Willow" is a micro-ATX motherboard custom-designed by the company to deploy on several of its upcoming desktop PC models, offered initially with AMD A-series "Bristol Ridge" socket AM4 APUs. Since this is custom-built for desktops that will probably be sold under $500, the board is built to a cost. The board features AMD A320 chipset.

The picture reveals socket AM4 to have extremely fine pins, and feature a square bolt-type cooler retention mechanism similar to that of contemporary Intel sockets. It does away with the rectangular layout. The advantage of a square layout is that it allows you to orient your cooler in any direction. Since the core-logic is moved to the APU/CPU package, the remaining rump of what AMD refers to as "chipset," is just a PCIe multi-function chip that puts out additional SATA and USB ports. With its TDP under 5W, this chip can make do without a heatsink. Other noteworthy features include two DDR4 DIMM slots, a PCIe gen 3.0 x16 slot, a short M.2 slot, a couple of SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and basic connectivity.
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