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ASUS USB-C2500 Provides a Handy, Tool-free 2.5GbE Upgrade

ASUS USB-C2500 lets you add 2.5 Gbps wired Ethernet to your PC or NAS without the fuss of opening it up for a PCIe adapter. The dongle features a USB 3.0 type-A (5 Gbps) connector on one end, and an easy-to-setup 2.5 GbE port on the other. The main body of this network dongle is made of an aluminium alloy, while a Nylon-sleeved 5 cm cable ties it to the USB 3.0 type-A connector. A type-A to type-C adapter, or native type-C interface aren't included, unlike with the ASUSTOR AS-U2-5G2. The company didn't mention the controller underneath, but it's very likely to be the Realtek RTL8156B, possibly the only USB3-based 2.5 GbE single-chip solution at large. The company didn't announce pricing.

ASUSTOR Unveils AS-U2.5G2 Portable 2.5GbE Adapter

ASUSTOR, the NAS-focused brand of ASUS, unveiled the AS-U2.5G2, a pocket-size external network adapter for 2.5 Gbps Ethernet. Built into a premium casing made of aluminium, the adapter uses a Realtek RTL8156B 2.5 GbE PHY, which is a single-chip solution designed for USB 3.0, without the need for a USB-to-PCIe bridge chip. A single USB 3.2 Gen 1 connection handles both power and host-connectivity. The adapter comes with a convenient USB type-C connector, and a type-C to type-A dongle is included. It measures 16.4 (H) x 23.4 (W) x 195.2 (D) mm, and weighs just 33 g. Since it's being sold standalone, it's compatible with not just ASUSTOR NAS products, but also any Windows 10 PC. The company didn't reveal pricing.

BIOSTAR Rolls Out B550M-Silver Motherboard

BIOSTAR today rolled out the B550M-Silver, a Socket AM4 motherboard in the Micro-ATX form-factor, based on the AMD B550 chipset. The board comes with out-of-the-box support for the latest Ryzen 5000 "Vermeer" processors, in addition to Ryzen 4000 "Renoir" and Ryzen 3000 "Matisse." It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 10-phase VRM that comes with heatsinks across all CPU VRM phases. Expansions slots on the BIOSTAR B550M-Silver include one PCI-Express 4.0 x16, a PCI-Express x16 (electrical gen 3.0 x4 and wired to the B550 chipset), and a PCIe 3.0 x1.

Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gbps ports, and two M.2-2280 slots, from which one has PCI-Express 4.0 x4 wiring to the CPU socket; and the other PCI-Express 3.0 x4, wired to the B550 chipset. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gbps USB 3.2 ports on the rear panel (from which one is type-C), four 5 Gbps USB 3.2 ports (from which two are via headers), and six USB 2.0 ports (two on the rear panel, four via headers). Networking includes a 2.5 GbE wired interface handled by a Realtek 8125B controller, and preparation for a WLAN module (an M.2 E-key slot and mounts for antennas are provided), although one isn't included with the board. The onboard 6-channel HD audio solution is handled by a Realtek ALC1150 CODEC. The company didn't reveal pricing.

BIOSTAR Intros Racing Z490A-SILVER and Z490T-SILVER Motherboards

BIOSTAR today introduced a pair of Socket LGA1200 motherboards based on the Intel Z490 chipset, the Racing Z490A-SILVER (ATX) and Racing Z490T-SILVER (Mini-ITX). Both appear to be middle-of-the-market products positioned below the Racing GT EVO series from the company, competing with the likes of the ASRock Steel Legend and ASUS TUF Gaming series. Z490A-SILVER draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8+4 pin EPS power connectors, conditioning power for the CPU using a 12+2+2 phase VRM. You get a pair of reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (electrical x16/x4), two M.2-2280 slots with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring, and connectivity that includes a 1 GbE interface pulled by an Intel i219-V controller, and a 6-channel HD audio solution based on the Realtek ALC1150 codec.

The Racing Z490T-SILVER Mini-ITX motherboard features a conventional 24-pin + 8-pin power input, a 7+2+1 phase CPU VRM, a pair of DDR4 DIMM slots, a reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and connectivity that includes four SATA 6 Gbps ports, an M.2-2280 slot (SATA 6 Gbps + PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring) on the reverse side of the PCB, 1 GbE based on Intel i219-V, and preparation for Wi-Fi 6 (you drop in your own Intel AX200-series card on a CNVi slot). The comapny didn't reveal pricing.

GIGABYTE Intros IMB410TN Thin Mini-ITX Motherboard

GIGABYTE today introduced the GA-IMB410TN, a Thin Mini-ITX Socket LGA1200 motherboard based on the Intel H410 chipset. Designed for compact desktops and all-in-one desktops, the IMB410TN is designed to draw power from a 2-pin external DC power source. It supports processors with TDP of up to 65 W (and perhaps power limited to 65 W). The processor is wired to a pair of DDR4 SODIMM slots for up to 64 GB of dual-channel memory; and a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot.

Storage connectivity includes an M.2-2280 slot, and two SATA 6 Gbps port. Other slots include an mPCIe 3.0 x1, an mSATA 6 Gb/s, and an M.2 E-key slot for WLAN cards. Other connectivity relevant to the board's AIO desktop credentials include LVDS connectors, GPIO, and a suite of jumpers, sensors, and headers meant for all-in ones. Networking is care of two 1 GbE connections driven by Intel-made controllers, and a 6-channel HD audio solution driven by a Realtek ALC887 codec. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Colorful Rolls Out CVN B550M Gaming Frozen V14 Motherboard

Colorful today rolled out the CVN B550M Gaming Frozen V14, a socket AM4 motherboard in the Micro-ATX form-factor, based on the AMD B550 chipset. The board gets its "Frozen" name from its mostly-white PCB. The chipset heatsink that extends into an M.2 SSD heatsink features fan ventilation (something not found on most other B550 motherboards). The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and single 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 10-phase VRM.

Expansion slots on the Colorful CVN B550M Gaming Frozen V14 include one PCI-Express 4.0 x16, a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (electrical gen 3.0 x4) that's wired to the chipset, and a gen 3.0 x1 slot. Storage connectivity includes an M.2-22110 slot with PCI-Express 4.0 x4 wiring from the AM4 socket, and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes a pair of 10 Gbps USB 3.x gen 2 ports wired to the CPU that include a type-C port, and a number of 5 Gbps ports. Networking is care of a 1 GbE connection from a Realtek RTL8111H controller, and the onboard audio solution uses a Realtek ALC1200 codec. Don't like the white color scheme? Colorful has you covered with the CVN B550M Gaming Pro V14, which is an almost identical board that uses a black PCB and a chipset heatsink that makes do without a fan. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASRock Intros W480 Creator Motherboard

ASRock introduced the W480 Creator premium motherboard for creators, which supports 10th Gen Core and Xeon W-1200 series processors in the LGA1200 package, based on the "Comet Lake" microarchitecture. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a 24-pin ATX and two 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 16-phase VRM cooled by large aluminium fan-heatsinks. The LGA1200 socket is wired to four reinforced DDR4 DIMM slots supporting up to 128 GB of dual-channel DDR4-4800 (OC) memory, including ECC unbuffered DIMM support when paired with Xeon W-1200 processors; and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 with both populated, else x16). These slots are gen 4.0 capable with future processors that offer PCIe gen 4.0 support. Storage connectivity includes three M.2 NVMe slots with PCIe gen 3.0 x4 wiring, each; and six SATA 6 Gbps ports.

Much of this board's serious "creator" USP begins with its connectivity. It offers two Thunderbolt 40 Gbps ports via type-C connectors, each with its own mini-DisplayPort 1.4 passthrough input that you connect to your graphics card. Networking connectivity includes a 10 GbE wired network connection powered by an AQuantia AQC107 controller; a second 2.5 GbE connection driven by Intel i225-LM controller, and an 802.11ax WLAN connection by an Intel AX201 adapter that also provides Bluetooth 5. The onboard audio solution packs some serious hardware, with an ESS Sabre 9218 DAC handling the front-panel headphones out (130 dBA SNR), a Realtek ALC1220 HDA codec handling the other channels (120 dBA SNR), WIMA capacitors for the front outputs, and the right and left audio channel wiring being routed through distant PCB layers to minimize crosstalk. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASRock Announces Trio of Intel 400-series STEEL LEGEND Motherboards

ASRock today launched a trio of socket LGA1200 motherboards part of its Steel Legend family. These include the H470 Steel Legend, the B460 Steel Legend, the and Micro-ATX B460M Steel Legend. All three boards offer ASRock's BFB (base frequency boost) technology that improves performance of non-K processors by letting them sustain boost frequencies better. The H470 Steel Legend leads the pack with a 11-phase CPU VRM that draws power from a combination of 8-pin and 4-pin EPS connectors; enlarged VRM heatsinks, two M.2-22110 slots with heatsinks and PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring; an M.2 E-key slot for WLAN cards, and connectivity that includes a premium Realtek ALC1200-based onboard audio solution, 2.5 GbE wired networking powered by a Realtek-made controller, and a couple of USB 3.2 gen 2 ports, including a type-C port.

The B460 Steel Legend uses a different PCB design from its H470-based sibling. A simpler 9-phase VRM powers the CPU, pulling power from a single 8-pin EPS connector. You still get two M.2 slots with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring and heatsinks; and an M.2 E-key slot for WLAN cards. Connectivity is similar to the H470-based board, too, with a 2.5 GbE wired networking interface, and a premium onboard audio solution based on the ALC1200. Lastly, there's the B460M Steel Legend, which maximizes the Micro-ATX form-factor PCB area. The CPU VRM solution is carried over from its ATX sibling (9-phase, single 8-pin EPS). ASRock managed to squeeze in two M.2 slots (one of them with a heatsink, both with gen 3.0 x4 wiring), and preparation for WLAN. Much like the other two, you get an ALC1200-based premium onboard audio solution, and a 2.5 GbE networking interface. The company didn't reveal pricing.
ASRock H470 Steel Legend ASRock B460 Steel Legend ASRock B460M Steel Legend

QNAP Launches Budget-Friendly 2-Bay TS-230 NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc., a leading computing, networking and storage solution innovator, today launched the new lightweight, quiet, and feature-rich TS-230 NAS that can easily fit into any living environment. Adorned with a refreshing baby blue hue, the TS-230 is ideal for home and daily central storage, back up, photo and video sharing. All digital assets on the TS-230 are securely protected by the powerful snapshot function. Coupled with multimedia apps and transcoding feature support, the TS-230 is an ideal entry-level NAS for creating a smart and fun lifestyle.

The TS-230 uses a Realtek RTD1296 quad-core 1.4 GHz processor and built-in 2 GB DDR4 RAM for meeting personal and home NAS applications. It provides one Gigabit port and supports SATA6 Gbps disk drives, AES-256 encryption, and SSD caching. The cooling fan uses an HDB type Sintetico bearing fan for maintaining high airflow and low noise, providing better cooling for the TS-230 to ensure constant system operation. The tool-less hard drive installation makes TS-230 setup easy even for a NAS newbie.

AMD Releases AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.5 Microcode

AMD formally announced its AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.5 microcode. The new microcode is intended to be encapsulated into motherboard UEFI firmware updates and distributed by motherboard- and OEM desktop manufacturers, at their discretion. AGESA 1.0.0.5 improves POST (time) with select Micron Technology DDR4-3200 memory chips. An intermittent virtual memory error with certain Realtek onboard Ethernet PHY chips has been fixed. The microcode also improves PCI-Express bus stability and interoperability, in general. A PCIe lane configuration issue with Ryzen 3 Pro 2100GE has been fixed. Besides these, all other performance- and stability-improvements part of older 1.0.0.4 a/ab/abb/abba microcodes are incorporated into 1.0.0.5. Keep an eye on the BIOS updates section of your socket AM4 motherboard's product page on its company website.

Colorful iGame Z490 Vulcan X and CVN Z490 Gaming Pro Motherboards Detailed

Here are some of the first pictures and details of a pair of premium socket LGA1200 motherboards by Colorful. The iGame Z490 Vulcan X appears to lead the company's upcoming Intel Z490 chipset motherboard lineup. The CVN Z490 Gaming Pro, on the other hand, is a mid-range offering. The iGame board offers a 280 W-capable 14-phase CPU VRM, three each of PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x8/x8/x4 with all three populated, else x16/NC/x4) slots, PCie x1, and M.2 NVMe slots; a PCH heatsink outer shroud that extends into heatsinks for two of the M.2 slots, a rear I/O shroud that extends into an M.2 heatsink; and connectivity that includes a premium ALC1220-based onboard audio solution, 802.11ax WLAN driven by an Intel AX201 board, and 2.5 GbE wired interface driven by an Intel i225-V controller. The I/O shroud and PCH heatsink feature RGB LED embellishments.

The CVN Z490 Gaming Pro is refreshingly spartan for a Colorful board. Chunky aluminium heatsinks cool the board's 10-phase VRM rated up to 125 W. The CPU socket is wired to two reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x4 electrical), You still get three M.2 slots, but only one of them features a heatsink. The connectivity is entry-level, too, with a Realtek ALC892-driven 8-channel HD audio solution, and a single 1 GbE wired networking interface driven by a Realtek RTL8111H controller. There are ARGB headers, although no RGB LED embellishments.

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.

ASUS Rolls Out Pro WS X299 SAGE II Motherboard

ASUS today rolled out the Pro WS X299 SAGE II, a redesign and refresh of its WS X299 SAGE series quasi-workstation motherboards, designed for those who want to use Intel's 10th generation Core XE "Cascade Lake-X" HEDT processors in a workstation-like environment (CEB form-factor) and can make do without ECC memory. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and two 8-pin EPS power connectors, along with an optional 6-pin PCIe power input to stabilize add-on card power delivery. An 8-phase VRM conditions power for the socket LGA2066 processor. The board employs PLX PEX8747 bridge chips to convert two x16 PCIe gen 3.0 links from the LGA2066 processor to four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots with full bandwidth, or seven slots with x16/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8 wiring.

Storage options on the ASUS Pro WS X299 SAGE II include three U.2 ports, two M.2 slots (one right below the PCH heatsink, and the other vertical); and eight SATA 6 Gbps ports. Network connectivity includes two 2.5 GbE interfaces driven by a pair of Intel i225-LM controllers. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports driven by an ASMedia controller (from which one is type-C), a second such controller driving an internal port, and eight USB 3.2 gen 1 ports from the X299 PCH. A high-grade onboard audio solution featuring Realtek S1220A HDA codec, headphones amp, ground-layer isolation, and audio-grade capacitors, make for the rest of this board. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASUS Rolls Out ROG Crosshair VIII Impact - Not Strictly Mini-ITX

ASUS over the past week rolled out its flagship socket AM4 motherboard for SFF gaming PC builds, the ROG Crosshair VIII Impact. Based on the AMD X570 chipset and supporting the latest 3rd generation Ryzen processors, this board is slightly longer than the Mini-ITX specification, while retaining its mount-hole layout. The logic here is that most ITX gaming PC cases have two expansion slots to accommodate dual-slot graphics cards, and so it would make sense to extend the motherboard's PCB up until there, reclaiming precious PCB real-estate. Technically this board would qualify as mini-DTX, but ASUS believes it should fit in most ITX cases that have two expansion slots. The board's dimensions are 203 mm x 170 mm.

The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, conditioning power for the AM4 SoC using a massive 8-phase VRM. The AM4 socket is wired to a pair of DDR4 DIMM slots, the board's sole expansion slot, a PCI-Express 4.0 x16, and the interestingly-named SO-DIMM.2 slot. Physically, this is an SO-DIMM slot that's been re-wired with PCIe gen 4.0 leading up to a proprietary SO-DIMM daughterboard that holds two M.2-2280 slots with PCIe 4.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring, each. Four SATA 6 Gbps ports make for the rest of the storage connectivity. The area of the motherboard just below the PCIe x16 slot has another proprietary slot that holds the second daughterboard, this one with the SupremeFX Impact IV onboard audio solution, which has been physically isolated from the main PCB, and has an EMI-shielded Realtek ALC1220 main CODEC, ESS Sabre ES9023P DAC for the main stereo channel, a de-pop circuit, and audio-grade capacitors.

Realtek Announces New Flash Controllers, Including one for PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSDs

At the 2019 Flash Memory Summit, Realtek announced a slew of new Flash memory controllers targeting a diversity of devices, spanning from USB flash drives to USB external SSDs, M.2/U.2 NVMe internal SSDs. Leading the pack is the RTS5771, the company's new flagship NVMe SSD controller that features a PCI-Express 4.0 x4 host interface, 8 NAND Flash channels with up to 1,200 MT/s speeds per channel, NVMe 1.3, and DRAM cache. This becomes the third PCIe gen 4.0-capable client-segment NVMe SSD controller after the Phison E16 and the Marvell 88SS132x.

The RTS5765DL is its cost-effective sibling, which has PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface, just 4 NAND Flash channels, and is DRAM-less, allowing manufacturers to design cost-effective SSDs. It still has 1,200 MT/s bandwidth per channel, so drives that implement it can offer sequential speeds similar to premium drives from the previous generation. The new RTL9210 is a bridge chip that converts USB 3.1 gen 2 (10 Gbps) to PCI-Express 3.0 x2, ideal for cost-effective external NVMe SSDs. The controller also features an integrated RGB LED logic, so drive designers can bling up their creations.

BIOSTAR Unveils Racing X470GTA Motherboard: Ryzen 3000 Support and Legacy PCI

Motherboard manufacturers seem to be rushing the fill the void of cost-effective motherboards with out of the box Ryzen 3000 support, as AMD X570 motherboards start at $170. The latest entrant is the Racing X470GTA by BIOSTAR, priced around the $120-mark, and packing an interesting mix of modern- and legacy connectivity. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the SoC with a simple 4+3 phase VRM. Out of the box, the board supports all Ryzen 3000-series processors launched so far, in addition to 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen, A-series, and Athlon "Bristol Ridge," which make up pretty much every socket AM4 chip launched so far.

The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and the board's lone M.2 slot. Two PCIe gen 2.0 x1, and a PCI-Express x16 slot with gen 2.0 x4 wiring, make for the rest of the expansion area; while six SATA 6 Gbps ports make the remaining storage options. This is probably the only AMD X470 motherboard to feature legacy PCI slots, using an ASMedia bridge chip. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 ports (from which one is type-C), and eight 5 Gb/s USB 3.1 gen 1 ports (from which four are by headers) The lone network interface is a 1 GbE driven by a Realtek 8118AS "DragonLAN" chip. The onboard audio solution is powered by an entry-level Realtek ALC892. Other legacy connectivity includes a PS/2 combo port and a serial COM header. Despite these, there are some wacky enthusiast-friendly features, including onboard buttons for automated overclocking, power/reset; dual-BIOS with a manual 2-way switch, and diagnostic LEDs.

ASUS Rolls Out Pro WS C246-ACE Motherboard with Xeon E-series Support

ASUS today rolled out of the WS C246-ACE, a sober-looking workstation motherboard in the ATX form-factor based on the Intel C246 chipset, which supports not just Intel Xeon E-series processors in the LGA1151 package, but also 8th and 9th generation Core processors. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the processor with a 9-phase VRM that's cooled by heavy ridged heatsinks. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots that support up to 128 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, and two metal-reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC or x8/x8). Two open-ended PCIe 3.0 x1 and a PCI-Express x16 (electrical gen 3.0 x4) make for the rest of the expansion area.

Storage connectivity on the ASUS WS C246-ACE include two M.2-22110 slots with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring, a U.2 port, and four SATA 6 Gbps ports. Networking is care of two 1 GbE interfaces, driven by a combination of Intel i211-AT and i219-LM controllers. The onboard audio solution combines a Realtek ALC1220S CODEC with EMI shielding, ground-layer isolation, and a headphones amp circuit. USB connectivity includes four 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, all on rear panel, one of which is a type-C port; and six 5 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, of which two are via headers. Display connectivity include HDMI and DisplayPort. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASUS Rolls Out the Prime A320I-K Mini-ITX Motherboard

ASUS today rolled out an entry-level mini-ITX motherboard for the AMD socket AM4 platform, the Prime A320I-K. Based on the AMD A320 chipset, the board supports 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen processors out of the box, including the 8-core models. The tiny A320 chipset is tucked away behind a metal heatspreader underneath the M.2-2280 slot. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, conditioning it with a 6-phase VRM that makes do without a heatsink.

Storage connectivity on the A320I-K includes four SATA 6 Gbps ports, and an M.2-2280 slot with PCI-Express 2.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring from the SoC. The board's lone expansion slot is a PCI-Express 3.0 x16. USB connectivity includes six USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, four on the rear-panel and two via headers; and four USB 2.0 ports, of which two are via headers. Display connectivity includes one each of DisplayPort and HDMI. Networking is care of a single 1 GbE interface driven by a Realtek RTL8111H controller, and the onboard audio solution is an entry-level Realtek ALC887. We expect the Prime A320I-K to be priced around $60.

GIGABYTE Gives AMD X570 the Full Aorus Treatment: ITX to Xtreme

Motherboard vendors are betting big on the success of AMD's "Valhalla" desktop platform that combines a Ryzen 3000-series Zen 2 processor with an AMD X570 chipset motherboard, and have responded with some mighty premium board designs. GIGABYTE deployed its full spectrum of Aorus branding, including Ultra, Elite, ITX Pro, Master, and Xtreme. The X570 I Aorus Pro WiFi mini-ITX motherboard is an impressive feat of engineering despite its designers having to wrestle with the feisty new PCIe gen 4 chipset. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin and 8-pin connectors, and conditions power for the SoC with an impressive 8-phase VRM that uses high-grade PowIRstage components. A rather tall fan-heatsink cools the X570 chipset, with a 30 mm fan.

Connectivity options on the X570 I Aorus Pro WiFi are surprisingly aplenty. The sole expansion slot is a PCI-Express 4.0 x16, but the storage connectivity includes not one, but two M.2-2280 slots (reverse side of the PCB), each with PCI-Express 4.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring. Four SATA 6 Gbps ports make for the rest of the storage connectivity. Networking options include 2.4 Gbps 802.11ax WLAN, Bluetooth 5.0 (Intel , and 1 GbE, all pulled by Intel-made controllers. USB connectivity includes six 5 Gbps USB 3.2 gen 1, and two 10 Gbps USB 3.2 gen 2 ports (of which one is type-C), and two 5 Gbps ports by headers. The onboard audio solution has 6-channel analog output, but is backed by a premium Realtek ALC1220VB Enhance CODEC (114 dBA SNR).

ASRock X570 Aqua is a $1000 Zen2-ready Liquid-Cooled Monsterboard

We were pleasantly mistaken when we thought ASRock would stop at the X570 Phantom Gaming X or the X570 Taichi for AMD's new "Valhalla" enthusiast desktop platform. It turns out that they have a roughly-$1,000 monster motherboard in the pipes, called the X570 Aqua. Pictured below, the board is based on a slight variation of the X570 Phantom Gaming X PCB. The biggest change of course is the aluminium shroud that covers most of the board's front side. There's also a metal back-plate.

Beneath the metal shroud is what gives the board its name: a massive liquid-cooling monoblock that cools not just your processor (including heavyweights such as overclocked Ryzen 9 3900X chips), but also the CPU VRM, and the feisty AMD X570 chipset. The coolant channel first goes over the CPU through a large micro-fin lattice, then onto the X570 chipset, and finally over the CPU VRM on its way out. Much like the Phantom Gaming X, this board features daisy-chained dual-channel DDR4 memory slots designed to make the most OC out of 2-module setups.

AMD X570 Unofficial Platform Diagram Revealed, Chipset Puts out PCIe Gen 4

AMD X570 is the company's first in-house design socket AM4 motherboard chipset, with the X370 and X470 chipsets being originally designed by ASMedia. With the X570, AMD hopes to leverage new PCI-Express gen 4.0 connectivity of its Ryzen 3000 Zen2 "Matisse" processors. The desktop platform that combines a Ryzen 3000 series processor with X570 chipset is codenamed "Valhalla." A rough platform diagram like what you'd find in motherboard manuals surfaced on ChipHell, confirming several features. To maintain pin-compatibility with older generations of Ryzen processors, Ryzen 3000 has the same exact connectivity from the SoC except two key differences.

On the AM4 "Valhalla" platform, the SoC puts out a total of 28 PCI-Express gen 4.0 lanes. 16 of these are allocated to PEG (PCI-Express graphics), configurable through external switches and redrivers either as single x16, or two x8 slots. Besides 16 PEG lanes, 4 lanes are allocated to one M.2 NVMe slot. The remaining 4 lanes serve as the chipset bus. With X570 being rumored to support gen 4.0 at least upstream, the chipset bus bandwidth is expected to double to 64 Gbps. Since it's an SoC, the socket is also wired to LPCIO (SuperIO controller). The processor's integrated southbridge puts out two SATA 6 Gbps ports, one of which is switchable to the first M.2 slot; and four 5 Gbps USB 3.x ports. It also has an "Azalia" HD audio bus, so the motherboard's audio solution is directly wired to the SoC. Things get very interesting with the connectivity put out by the X570 chipset.
Update May 21st: There is also information on the X570 chipset's TDP.
Update May 23rd: HKEPC posted what looks like an official AMD slide with a nicer-looking platform map. It confirms that AMD is going full-tilt with PCIe gen 4, both as chipset bus, and as downstream PCIe connectivity.

ASRock Outs Z390 Phantom Gaming 4S Motherboard

ASRock today rolled out the Z390 Phantom Gaming 4S motherboard. Clearly built to a cost, the board ships with a narrow ATX PCB, and is positioned below both the Z390 Phantom Gaming 4 and the Z390 Pro4. It draws power from a 24-pin ATX and an 8-pin EPS, conditioning it for the CPU with a 6+2 phase VRM. The LGA1151 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16. The second x16 slot is electrically x4 and wired to the PCH. An M.2 PCIe E-key slot (for WLAN cards) and three open-ended PCIe 3.0 x1 slots make for the rest of the expansion area. Storage connectivity includes just the one M.2-22110 slot (PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring), and six SATA 6 Gbps ports.

Display outputs include just the one HDMI port. USB connectivity includes eight USB 3.2 gen 1 ports, four on the rear panel, four by headers. The board's sole 1 GbE network interface is driven by an Intel i219-V controller. The onboard audio solution combines a rather premium Realtek ALC1220 CODEC with 6-channel analog output, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. Separate PS/2 ports, one 3-pin addressable-RGB, two 4-pin RGB, and five 4-pin PWM fan headers make for the rest of this board. We expect this to be ASRock's cheapest Z390 offering, priced between USD $110-120.

ASUS Also Outs ROG Strix B365-F Gaming Motherboard

In quick succession to last week's launch of the ROG Strix B365-G Gaming, ASUS rolled out its first ROG-branded ATX motherboard based on Intel B365 Express chipset, the ROG Strix B365-F Gaming. Supporting all 9th and 8th generation Core processors out of the box, this board is targeted at gamers who don't intend to overclock their CPUs or need memory clock speeds above DDR4-2667. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 10-phase VRM. The board supports up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory capped at 2667 MHz.

Expansion includes one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot with metal reinforcement wired to the CPU, a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (physical x16) slot wired to the B365 PCH, three PCIe x1, and an M.2 E-key slot for WLAN cards. Storage connectivity includes two M.2 slots each with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring, one of which even has SATA 6 Gbps wiring; and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports at the rear panel, and six 5 Gbps USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel, two by header. The onboard audio solution is premium ROG SupremeFX, combining a Realtek ALC1220A CODEC with dual high-impedance headphones amplifiers, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. The board's sole 1 GbE interface is pulled by the ubiquitous Intel i219-V controller. Expect this board to be priced around $120.

ASUS Unveils ROG Strix B365-G Gaming Motherboard

With inventories of the B360 Express digesting nicely, motherboard vendors are finally implementing its replacement, the B365 Express, in premium gaming-grade products. ASUS rolled out its first Republic of Gamers (ROG) product, with the ROG Strix B365-G Gaming. Built in the micro-ATX form-factor, this board packs many gamer-essentials and is targeted at PC gamers who don't bother with overclocking. With its in-BIOS memory frequency setting capped at DDR4-2667, ASUS is very specific about the target audience. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 7+2 phase VRM. The board supports all 9th gen and 8th gen Core "Coffee Lake/Refresh" processors out of the box.

The LGA1151 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots that support up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4-2667 memory; and the board's sole PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot with a metal reinforcement. A PCI-Express 3.0 x1, M.2 E-key slot (for WLAN cards), and PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (physical x16), make for the rest of the expansion area. Storage connectivity includes two M.2-2280 slots, one of which supports both PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps, while the other is just PCI-Express 3.0 x4; and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. The board's sole 1 GbE interface is driven by an Intel i219-V controller. USB connectivity includes two type-A 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, besides six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by headers). The onboard audio solution combines a Realtek ALC1220A CODEC with dual OPAMPs, EMI shielding, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. A couple of 3-pin addressable RGB headers make for the rest of this board, which is expected to retail around the $100-mark.

ASUS Intros Prime B365-Plus Motherboard

Response from motherboard manufacturers to the Intel B365 Express mid-range socket LGA1151 chipset has been rather lukewarm, with very few product launches. The B365 Express is a rebadged H270 Express with 8th and 9th generation Core CPU support replacing 6th and 7th gen. ASUS launched one of its first ATX form-factor boards based on this chipset, with the Prime B365-Plus. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 4+3 phase VRM. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. The board supports 9th generation Core processors out of the box.

Besides the main x16 slot, the board's expansion slots loadout is designed to benefit from the increased 20-lane PCIe budget of the B365 Express. You get a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (electrical gen 3.0 x4) slot, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots. There are two M.2 slots on offer. The bottom slot has PCI-Expres 3.0 x4 wiring only, and supports M.2-22110 drives, while the top M.2 slot has PCI-Express 3.0 x2 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring. There are six SATA 6 Gbps ports. Display connectivity includes one each of D-Sub, DVI, and HDMI. USB connectivity includes eight USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel, four by headers. The board's sole 1 GbE network interface is controlled by a Realtek 8111H PHY. The onboard audio solution is driven by an entry-level Realtek ALC887 CODEC. Expect this board to be priced around $90.
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