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Review motherboard MSI Gaming Pro Carbon B450 AC: save lossless

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Presented at the end of July, the chipset AMD B450 did not introduce anything fundamentally new in comparison with the predecessor chipset AMD B350. Yes, there is support for the technology of dynamic overclocking Precision Overdrive Boost, technology of data cache StoreMI, and support for AMD processors with core Pinnacle Ridge. However, without the first two the majority of owners of motherboards with B350 easy to do and now, and support for new processors they can get a simple BIOS update. Differences from the flagship X470 slightly more tangible: less USB and SATA ports, six PCI-Express and eight, as well as on the boards with the B450 it is impossible to organize NVIDIA SLI.

But the new chipset, according to the developers, should make the motherboard based on it is more affordable than in the case X470, with almost the same functionality and full support for overclocking. This did not fail to take advantage of all the major manufacturers, has announced a new series of boards. For example, ASUS has released seven new models, Gigabyte – six, ASRock – five. But the most distinguished company MSI, who presented twelve versions of their products for a given set of system logic AMD. The flagship series has become a model B450 Gaming Pro Carbon ACthat we can examine and test.

It should be noted that the retail price of this Board is nearly twice lower than the cost of the recently tested MSI X470 M7 GAMING AC, who also heads his series on AMD X470. Therefore, a comparison of these products in the course of today’s article seems quite interesting. Let’s get started.

#Specifications and recommended price

MSI B450 Carbon Pro Gaming AC (MS-7B85)
Supported processors AMD Ryzen (Summit Ridge, Raven Ridge, Pinnacle Ridge) seventh generation microarchitecture Zen and Athlon/A-series (Bristol Ridge) seventh generation in performance Socket AM4
Chipset AMD B450
Memory subsystem 4 × DDR4 DIMM UN-buffered memory up to 64 GB;
dual channel mode memory;
support modules with frequency 3466/3200/3066/3000/2933/2800/2667/2400/
2133/1866 MHz;
support A-XMP
Connectors for expansion boards 1 slot PCI Express x16 3.0, modes x16 or x8;
1 slot PCI Express 2.0 x16, x4 mode;
3 PCI Express x1 slots 2.0
The scalability of the video AMD 2-way CrossFireX Technology
The storage interface The AMD B450:
– 4 × SATA 3 bandwidth of up to 6 Gbps (supports RAID 0, 1 and 10);
– 1 × M. 2 (М2_2 drives only supports PCI-E 2.0 x4 types 2242/2260/2280);
AMD Ryzen:
– 2 × SATA 3 bandwidth of up to 6GB/s;
– 1 × M. 2 (М2_1 supports PCI-E 3.0 x4 and SATA drive types 2242/2260/2280/22110)
Network interface Intel Gigabit LAN l211-AT
Wireless network interface Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9260 (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual band (2.4 and 5.0 GHz) with a bandwidth of up to 1.73 Gbit/s, Dual Mode Bluetooth 2.1, 2.1+EDR, 3.0, 4.0, BLE, 4.2, 5.0
Audio 7.1 CH HD audio codec Realtek ALC1220:
– high-quality, shielded audio processor HD Audio Boost 4;
technology speed and performance 3;
– isolated from PCB sound area;
– the separate layers of the PCB for the left and right audio channels;
– protection from clicks;
– sound capacitors Chemi-Con;
headphone amplifier;
premium connectors with gold contacts
USB interface The AMD B450:
– 2 ports USB 3.1 Gen1 (connect to the connector on the system Board);
– 6 USB 2.0 ports (2 on back panel, 4 connected to the connectors on the system Board);
– 2 ports USB 3.1 Gen2 (both on the back of the PCB, Type-C and Type-A);
AMD Ryzen:
– 2 ports USB 3.1 Gen1 (rear)
Connectors and buttons on the rear panel BIOS Flashback button;
2 USB 2.0 ports and a combo PS/2;
video outputs Display Port and HDMI;
two connectors for antennas of the wireless communication module;
2 port USB 3.1 Gen1, and network LAN-socket RJ-45 (LAN Protect);
2 port USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C and Type-A;
optical S/PDIF output interface;
5 3.5 mm audio jacks with gold plated contacts
Internal connectors on the system Board 24-pin ATX power connector;
8-pin ATX 12V power;
4-pin power connector ATX 12 V;
6 SATA 3;
NGFF M. 2_1 2240/2260/2280/22110;
NGFF M. 2_2 2240/2260/2280;
USB 3.1 Gen1 to connect 2 ports;
2 USB 2.0 ports for connecting 4 ports;
4-pin connector CPU fan with PWM support;
4-pin connector for pumps DLC;
4 4-pin connectors for case fans with PWM support;
2 4-pin 5050 RGB LED strip 12V;
connector RGB LED WS2812B Addressable 5V;
CORSAIR connector;
TPM connector;
a group of connectors for the front panel;
audio connector for the front panel;
connector Chassis Intrusion;
connector Serial Port;
jumper Clear CMOS
BIOS 128 Mbit AMI UEFI BIOS with multilingual interface and the graphical user interface;
ACPI 6.1;
support PnP 1.0 a;
support SM BIOS 2.8
Controller I/O Nuvoton NCT6797D-M
Form factor, dimensions (mm) ATX, 305 × 244
Manufacturer’s warranty years 3
The minimum retail price, RUB.
(according to “Yandex.Market” on 30.08.2018)
11 560

#Packaging equipment

B450 MSI Gaming Pro Carbon AC comes in standard box made of cardboard. On the front side you can find the model name of the motherboard and chipset, as well as an enumeration of supported technologies.

 

The back of the box has the description of all the key features of the product. There are brief specifications and lists the ports on the rear panel.

The usual sticker with the end of the box serial number Board and all of its interfaces.

Equipment is relatively modest: two SATA-cable, connection cable for led strips lighting, two antennas for wireless communication module, the sticker on the case with the Gaming logo and screw to secure the drive in the M. 2 socket.

The cover on the rear panel of the motherboard was lost, but a lot of booklets, papers, reminders, labels for SATA cables, and a DVD with drivers and utilities.

B450 MSI Gaming Pro Carbon AC is made in China and is provided by a three year warranty. Cost of a novelty in the Russian shops at the time of writing began with 11 560 rubles. Note that this model is the most advanced among the solutions of MSI chipset AMD B450, however it is much cheaper, comparable in performance to AMD boards X470 of the same manufacturer.

#Design and features

Externally, the new B450 MSI Gaming Pro Carbon AC looks completely normal and does not indulge the users with bright colors. Almost black PCB with dimensions of 305 × 244 mm you can only select silver the PCI-Express slot and red lettering on the cover of the audio codec.

 

Everything else is done in one color with the PCB, including the radiators, stylized as carbon. By the way, the VRM circuits they have grown substantially in size in comparison with radiators motherboards MSI AMD B350.

 

Backboard offers eighteen different connector port types: USB ports and PS/2, two video output, two connectors for antennas of the wireless communication module, the wall outlet and the audio jacks.

This also displays the Clear CMOS switch, which, by the way, we did not have to use even when a poor choice of BIOS settings — in which case the fee itself resets the settings to the standard.

All the radiators attached to the PCB with screws and plastic covers here and not at all (which, by the way, can not but rejoice). Therefore, in order to “strip” the cost to the PCB, it only took a couple of minutes.

First of all, before component analysis B450 MSI Gaming Pro Carbon AC, here is a layout of the elements on the PCB of the operating instructions.

 

To look for some differences and peculiarities in the CPU socket format Socket AM4, as practice shows, it is meaningless. All boards it completely standard.

Supported payment processors include all CPU manufactured in this design. And this is true for all BIOS versions, starting with the first.

In the power supply system of the processor uses eight phases (in fact, correct to say 4 × 2). Two more phases are reserved for power delivery to the CPU NB/SoC.

For the power management of the processor on Lenovo B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC meets PWM controller RT8894A production Richtek.

Beside the CPU VRM is a small block with connectors and jumper.

On her appointment in the instructions to the Board and on the website there is no word, so we can only guess that with it are governed by the limits of some stress. Write your version in the comments to the article.

To ensure the Board and its components power it uses standard connectors with 24 and 8 pins, as well as an additional four-pin connector.

 

They are all oriented with latches on the outside.

Released on Taiwan chipset AMD B450 applies to version B2 and is dated to the 12th week 2018 (mid-March).

It combines with the AMD processor Ryzen opportunities given in the diagram below.

Since MSI Gaming B450 Carbon Pro AC applies to boards in the medium price range, branded metal sheath Steel Armor and extra soldering points to the PCB, as in the top MSI, not here. But DDR4 Boost technology, which provides memory-increased stability and at the same time allowing to reach higher frequencies during overclocking, the Board supported.

Officially declared support for DDR4 memory modules with a frequency 3466 MHz, but in BIOS the available range of frequencies up to 4133 MHz. The list of tested on-Board modules is already huge and continues to fill with new models with a-XMP.

Food memory is implemented by a two-phase scheme.

Recall that the maximum amount of memory on Board with AMD B450 can reach 64 GB, and MSI Gaming B450 AC Pro Carbon is no exception.

Board is equipped with only one full PCI Express 3.0 x16 with a metallic shell of Steel Armor. It can operate in modes x16 or x8, if the cost to install two graphics cards on GPUs from AMD. In this second video card is installed in slot PCI Express 2.0 x16 with only 4 lines. Such is the strange will be AMD 2-way CrossFireX.

As a result, NVIDIA 2-way SLI motherboard/chipset is not supported (“green” graphics card with PCI-E x4 don’t work). The remaining three slots are designed for expansion cards are PCI Express x1 2.0.

Like most other MSI boards, the switching of modes of the slots provide multiplexers ASM1480 production ASMedia.

Four of the six SATA 3 bandwidth of up to 6GB/s on Lenovo B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC implemented by the chipset AMD B450 and two – processor lines, with the result that they are forced to share resources with the first M2_1 port. So I have to choose: or SATA5 ~ 6 ports will be or M2_1.

Moreover, this choice is not very pleasant, since the upper M2_1 on the Board is called a Turbo M. 2 supports SATA and PCI-E NVMe drives types 2242/2260/2280/22110 and has a radiator Shield FROZR.

In other words, to abandon the port and storage it is unlikely that anyone will want. Today, however, even in expensive systems rarely use more than four SATA drives, and in the budget. So ports should be enough.

Second М2_2 connected to the chipset and only supports drives PCI-E 2.0 x4 types 2242/2260/2280, and the radiator is provided.

Concluding the topic of ports for drives, say a few words about USB. Overall B450 MSI Gaming Pro Carbon AC comes with 12 USB ports, six of which are displayed on the rear panel — and the same can be connected to the connectors on the PCB. On the panel there are two USB 3.1 Gen1, two USB 2.0 and two SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-C and Type-A). With the internal connectors of the motherboard can take the four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.1 Gen1. Third-party controllers for USB card is not received — using only the resources of the chipset and processor. We will add that at the program level are supported by proprietary technology MSI X-Boost, MSI Super Charger and Double ESD Protection.

About the network interfaces. On Lenovo B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is present Gigabit Ethernet controller Intel l211-AT the release of the end of 2012, worth just over two U.S. dollars. However, nobody says that is bad.

At the hardware level supports technology of protection against voltage surges and static electricity, Protect the LAN, and software – intelligent control of network traffic through the app the MSI GAMING LAN Manager. A conventional controller, for household needs it is quite sufficient, but still we would like to see in motherboards even average level any progress in this area and the introduction of dezetilirovanny network controllers.

Wireless network interface Board is implemented by the controller Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9260 release the end of 2017.

It provides Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual band — 2.4 and 5.0 GHz with a bandwidth of up to 1.73 Gbit/s, as well as Bluetooth 2.1, 2.1+EDR, 3.0, 4.0, BLE, 4.2 and 5.0.

Sound B450 MSI Gaming Pro Carbon AC presents 7.1-channel HD audio codec Realtek ALC1220, protected from electromagnetic interference by an aluminum cap.

In the original concept MSI Audio Boost 4 includes not only the shielding of the processor, but also audiophile-grade capacitors Chemi-Con, dedicated headphone amplifier, protection against clicks, the individual layers of the PCB for the left and right audio channels, as well as isolated from the rest of the items on PCB area of audio.

Budget motherboard got gold-plated contacts audio software support for surround sound technologies in speed and performance Sound 3.

Controller Nuvoton NCT6797D-M Board can simultaneously control up to six fans with PWM support.

One of the connectors has a current up to 2 A — it is designed to provide power, for example, energy-intensive pumps liquid cooling systems. Note that from the point of view of placing of hull and CPU fan connectors are distributed on the PCB pretty well.

Backlight on Lenovo B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is implemented by LEDs under the chipset and the line of LEDs on the back side of the PCB in the area of RAM slots.

Branded app MSI Mystic Light will help you to choose one of 16.8 million colors and over a dozen different modes of illumination.

In addition, the backlight can be extended by connecting an external led strips, for which the Board has three connectors.

Unfortunately, the indicator POST-codes on Lenovo B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC no, but it is partially replaced by four LEDs MSI EZ Debug, soldered the RAM slots. The bottom edge of the PCB Board took the USB connectors, front panel connectors of the case and the audio and other instruments.

A distinctive feature B450 Carbon Pro Gaming AC from MSI motherboards of the previous generation are enlarged radiators on the VRM circuits. Especially their size is impressive, the radiator of the power supply circuit of the CPU core.

And as it turns out, this is done not by marketers for design and beauty, as often happens. We make sure the test portion of the article, and go over your BIOS.

#Opportunities UEFI BIOS

At the time of testing B450 MSI Gaming Pro Carbon AC was only available for two version of BIOS: 1.08 July 4, 2018, with support AGESA PinnaclePI-AM4 1.0.0.2 and 1.10 from 15 August 2018 with the support AGESA Code 1.0.0.4 C and some optimizations in the memory handling. We tested the charge on both the latest BIOS and no difference in overclocking the CPU or memory is not revealed.

As in previous MSI starts the shell in a simplified EZ mode (here and below we present a number of screenshots already with overclocking CPU and memory, not by default).

When you press F7, you can switch to advanced mode to access the six main sections with settings and integrated utilities.

The main section, Settings, incorporates the controller settings of the Board, security and boot options, and saving and loading settings.

 
 
 

OC – so short and sweet is the main section with the overclocking settings the motherboard, CPU and memory. Here we recommend you immediately switch to the Expert mode with additional settings.

 

It has everything you need for overclocking of CPU and RAM, including eight stabilization modes stresses the CPU and SOC. The core voltage of the processor can be changed in the range of 0.900 to 1,550 In increments of 0.0125 V SOC in the range of 0.900 to 1,300 In the same step, and the RAM – from 0,800 to 2,000 In increments of 0.010 V. in addition, change some more minor tensions.

There are also sub-subsections with detailed information about the installed processor and memory modules.

 
 

A separate section is configuring the technology CPU.

As for RAM, here B450 MSI Gaming Pro Carbon AC will give odds to many competitors. First, despite cypselae restriction 3466 MHz, a memory frequency of up to 4200 MHz. Another thing that is compatible with AMD Ryzen memory at this frequency you until you find (and if you find, you are not forced to work stably at this frequency), but for the future is obvious. Second, the BIOS pre-flashed more than 20 sets of memory settings (frequency/timings) for overclocking.

 

However, this setting even its name “Memory TryIt!” alluding to the fact that there are no guarantees, but as a brand features the MSI boards are quite interesting. Thirdly, if you don’t rely on automatic selection of the settings, to manually change all the timings available RAM, including the secondary and deeply hidden. Below we present only two screenshots, but in practice they are twice as much.

 

The possibility of creating six profiles of BIOS settings that you can save for later use, but to upload to a USB flash drive or download from it, should simplify the overclocking.

Not disappeared and the usual utility Hardware Monitor where you can adjust each of the five plugged in for the fans as well as real-time monitor core temperature, and voltage.

The only thing I would like to wish the MSI engineers, is to increase the number of points on the fan curve from four to six, so you can adjust speed more smoothly.

In conclusion, the BIOS will remind him about the built-in browser of the motherboard.

Here without loading the operating system and opening the system unit can identify which components are installed in the cost. We will add that when you exit the BIOS displays all changes made to it.

SOURCE

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PC / Laptop

Microarchitecture Zen 2: that’s why we are waiting for Ryzen 3000

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In two weeks we, apparently, expecting a miracle. Such a conclusion can be made, if to summarize all the assumptions expressed by the user in anticipation of the upcoming announcement of Ryzen processors of the third generation. But even the most bold statements about that in the second half of the year in the market of processors for PC we will see a change of leader (in performance), has not been entirely groundless. At the beginning of the year, at CES 2019, AMD promised that its next-generation processors will increase specific performance (at constant frequency) at least 15 %. And now we have learned that this will make a noticeable increase in clock frequencies, dramatically increasing the number of cores and reduced heat dissipation.

Each of these promises separately, it seems at least very brave. But all at once?! However, all this is possible. Held in the framework of the exhibition E3 2019 special event Next Horizon, AMD explained in detail how it happened that the microarchitecture Zen 2, which originally was supposed to be a trivial translation of Zen on the rails 7-nm process technology, could be a real breakthrough, having the chance to turn the whole CPU market.

Since the release of the first processor microarchitecture Zen took a little over two years. During this time, AMD has managed to release the intermediate generation microarchitecture, Zen+. However, we saw almost no improvement. The essence of the past the updates were actually reduced to a transition from 14-nm to 12-nm production technology, and only. New microarchitecture Zen 2 meeting which awaits us in July, again implies a change in the manufacturing process — from 12 nm to 7 nm with a simultaneous change of production-contractor: now CPU, the company will produce not GlobalFoundries, and TSMC. But that’s not all: along with the process technology changes dramatically and a lot of other things.

To understand how Ryzen 3000 will be unlike their predecessors, just look at any photo of these processors with the removed heat-dissipating cover. One glance is enough to understand that AMD are moving away from the use of monolithic semiconductor crystal. The kernel they are distributed across multiple semiconductor crystals – capleton, some chiplet will be submitted and all the controllers I / o. It should be added that simultaneously with the introduction of radical changes in the construction of AMD reworked the internal structure of the cores and made sure to address the major bottlenecks of previous CPU microarchitecture Zen and Zen+.

In addition, with the advent of Ryzen 3000 changes will affect the whole ecosystem in which to operate such processors. Compatibility of new products with traditional Socket AM4 with it will remain, but completely all their benefits may be felt only in the newer motherboards that will support PCI Express 4.0.

All the numerous improvements and optimizations made in the new generation Zen 2, clearly deserve more than a mere enumeration. Therefore, following the event, AMD’s Next Horizon, which is able to be the representative of our website, we decided to prepare a separate detailed material and elaborate on why the Zen 2 is really cool.

#7 nm technology is the key to everything

The goals set by the company AMD while working on a new microarchitecture Zen 2, was quite evident. The main objective was to improve the performance of processors for both the desktop and server segment, with the compulsory preservation of continuity and compatibility with existing platforms. In other words, it was about the future scalability of existing CPU families Ryzen and EPYC comprehensive and improving their consumer qualities.

A solid Foundation for the design of a Zen 2 was to adapt the new process. In the transition from 14 – to 12-nm standards, which occurred in April last year, processors Ryzen only slightly won the clock frequency and was able fairly to slightly increase its specific capacity. But a new process technology with a resolution of 7 nm was supposed to catalyze a much more significant progress in improving the whole set of consumer characteristics. Due to the fact that long-standing manufacturing partner AMD, GlobalFoundries, abandoned the development of the 7-nm technology, the chip maker had to shift to cooperation with TSMC. And in the end, AMD has made the right decision. Speaking in favor of this number: the basic CPU building block — Quad-complex CCX (Core Complex) with L3-cache 8 GB MB — the production of 12-nm GlobalFoundries, had an area of 60 mm2. A similar complex Zen 2 enhanced with four cores and twice more capacious, 16-megabyte L3-cache, manufactured on TSMC for 7-nm process, occupies almost half the area of 31,3 mm2.

The total CPU crystal (chiplet) Zen 2, as before, is formed of two CCX. That is, it contains eight cores and a cache memory of the third level capacity of 32 MB. The total area of such crystal is only 74 mm2, which is significantly less than 213 mm2, which is the processor chip design, Zen/Zen+, for example, the same Ryzen 7 2700X. Such a noticeable gain in density of transistors has opened the doors for developers AMD opportunities for the improvement of the microarchitecture, which could be carried out without any substantial damage for the cost of the new processors.

At the beginning of this year, AMD announced that the microarchitecture Zen 2 will provide a 15 percent performance advantage compared to the Zen+ due to one only micro-improvements, that is, at the same clock frequency. However, a lot of advantages given and new advanced semiconductor process. For example, at identical energy consumption for Zen 2 promised at least 1.25 times higher performance than predecessors, and with the same performance, the new processors should be almost twice cheaper. Furthermore, AMD does not hesitate even to say that in some situations the advantage of the new processors Zen 2 will be more than 75% compared with the previous Zen+ of the same class and more than 45 % compared to the equivalent solutions of a competitor.

Of course, all these calculations have yet to be be tested independent tests and reviews, which will be released July 7. In the framework of the event AMD is actively operated indicators Cinebench R20, which suggests that if you compare the Zen 2 and Intel with the same number of cores, the AMD wins as single-threaded and multi-threaded performance and power consumption and price.

Just one example: according to AMD, senior Ryzen 3800X OCTA core 7 with a price of $400 is very close to a 500 dollar eight-core Core i9-9900K in single-threaded and multithreaded rendering, but its power consumption is comparable with the consumption of Core i7-9700K.

#Kernel Zen 2: “tik” and “tak” at the same time

According to the original plan, microarchitecture Zen 2 was supposed to be a simple transference of the old Zen design to new process technology. But later, analyzing the weaknesses of its first generation of processors Zen and Zen+, AMD engineers decided to bend and the underlying microarchitecture. And I must say, this plan apparently worked perfectly. Despite the fact that in Zen 2, there are no drastic alterations, the increase in IPC (average number of executed per cycle instructions) by 15 % — a perfect illustration of the fact that everything was done correctly.

At the same time, you need to understand that Zen 2 — microarchitecture very similar to the original Zen/Zen+. All the basic elements of a processor core remained unchanged, and the alterations relate only to improve the efficiency of existing function blocks. Accordingly, the internal configuration of the kernel has not changed: it is able to decode up to four instructions and execute up to six instructions per clock. In addition, remained unchanged support SMT technology: each core Zen 2 can execute two threads simultaneously.

What has changed? As usually happens when working on the refinement of existing microarchitectures, the first place of application of forces engineers unit fetching instructions and predicting transitions. However, the changes are not very obvious, because the basis of this unit continues to lie “neural” algorithm based on the perceptron. Although in General this scheme does not give very impressive results when working with a buffer the objectives of the branch of the first level it provides good energy efficiency, therefore, hence, to abandon it and just added more multi-stage statistical mechanism TAGE (Tagged geometric) working with buffer purposes of branching the second level.

At the same time was increased and the size of the buffer goals of the branch. Table of first level in Zen 2 includes 512 entries instead of 256, and the second level – 7K instead of 4K records. With regard to the zero level, the corresponding buffer, as before, includes 16 entries, but an array of addresses of indirect transitions has expanded to 1K entries. In other words, the new microarchitecture transitions are predicted clearly better than the original Zen/Zen+. This means that situation when the processor needs to completely reset the Executive pipeline because of the incorrectly predicted transition will happen much less frequently.

Another improvement is the Zen 2 was the fact that AMD decided to significantly reallocate resources to caching instructions. The micro-operation cache that stores already-decoded x86 instructions has been doubled to 4096 entries. This classic statement cache of the first level, which keeps the team prior to their decoding, on the contrary, decreased. While the earlier volume was 64 KB, with 4-channel associative, Zen 2, he was cut to 32 Kbytes, while increasing the degree of associativity to 8.

Simulations of AMD, demonstrated that such changes have a positive impact on performance. And judging by what happened to the growth of the IPC, it really is. Interestingly, as a result of changes in the size of the cache memory, the Zen 2 become the processor with the largest cache micro-operations. For example, in the Skylake microarchitecture this cache is 1.5 To operations, while at the Sunny Cove Intel engineers just extended it to 2.25 To operations.

Changes in the input part of the Executive pipeline does not entail any significant changes in the organization of the work of planners. As before, the Zen decoder 2 is able to supply four instructions per clock cycle together with the cache micro-operation, which can do up to eight related instructions, they fill a queue of micro-operations from which the user choose two schedulers: one for integer operations and another for operations with floating point numbers. In this case the integer scheduler can submit to the execution of six micro-operations per clock, and veselinovsky – four.

But a noticeable change in the microarchitecture occurred at the stage of execution of instructions. If to speak about the execution of integer instructions, here — bargain to increase the size of the buffers (like the scheduler, so the register file and reorder buffer) by about 10-15 % — there are additional generating block addresses (AGU). In sum, it means that the number of Executive ports in the Zen 2 has increased from six to seven: four ports for arithmetical and logical operations (ALU) and three port – operations for generating addresses (AGU). As a result, the microarchitecture Zen 2 can initiate two 256-bit reads and one 256-bit write operation every clock cycle. Last version of micro was, for obvious reasons, is limited to only two such operations per clock, and only a width of 128 bits.

But more importantly, in Zen 2, AMD has doubled the throughput of the block floating point operations. He was now fully 256-bit, which means the possibility of direct enforcement AVX2 instructions. In the original architecture of Zen/Zen+ such teams, working with 256-bit registers, before executing crashed onto a pair of 128-bit instructions and were processed in two steps, therefore, from Zen 2 you can expect a doubling in the pace of work with AVX2 code. The execution units in the FPU remained old. There are two devices for the operations of addition and two of multiplication that gives Zen 2 the ability to simultaneously execute two 256-bit FMA-team. There is a very useful ability, a new microarchitecture to initiate a 256-bit forwarding operations data: as a result, the performance of the AVX2 code can occur without any delay. Moreover, in Zen 2 AMD was able to ensure that the processing of AVX2 instructions can be carried out without any reduction in clock frequency, as is the case in Intel.

Along the way, AMD reported that it was able to increase the speed of the multiplications of floating point numbers from four to three cycles. Ultimately, this also contributes to increase the performance of processors with a new microarchitecture.

As follows from the above, microarchitecture Zen 2 was a bit “wider” Zen in the sense of ability of parallel execution of instructions. But at the same time she became “wider” in the sense of working with data. Although the subsystem of the cache memory, a data not structurally changed, she got a bus with more capacity, which allow to obtain the necessary data, without delaying the implementation of AVX2 commands. More specifically, it means that L1 data cache retained size 32 KB per core 8 way set associativity, and the L2 cache, as before, has a volume of 512 KB per core 8 way set associativity, but now the cache can handle two 256-bit reads and one 256-bit write operation per clock cycle at level L1, and one 256-bit read and write per clock cycle at the L2 level. The latency of the cache memory has not changed and is 4 cycles for L1 and 12 clock cycles for L2.

Despite the immutability of the structure of the cache memory, the Zen 2 was improved L2 TLB (buffer address translation). In the first generation of processors Zen the size of this table was 1.5 K, now it increased to 2K, and the latency at the same below. But most importantly, now the L2 TLB supports page 1 Gbyte, which in previous versions of the microarchitecture had not been implemented.

Another notable change in the Zen 2 was the doubling of the size of the cache memory of the third level. In new processors of its size is not 8, but 16 MB on each Quad CCX. So AMD tried to compensate for the dismemberment of the processor into several independent crystals. Developers Zen 2 believe that the growth in the volume of L3 cache will reduce the amount of data transfer between the chipset core and capleton with the memory controller. Maybe so, but do not forget that the increase of the cache memory is almost always accompanied by an increased latency. And she had L3 cache in the Zen 2 is really increased to 40 cycles, while in Zen processors L3 cache had a latency of approximately 5 cycles below.

#From the core to the CCX and CCD, and further to the CPU

We have already mentioned that the design of the processors Ryzen 3000 is markedly different from what was arranged all the past Ryzen. However, CCX-complexes collected from the cores 2 Zen exactly the same as before. In one unit CCX merged 4 cores and 16 MB of shared cache in the third level.

CCX pair within the 7-nm semiconductor crystal and generates CPU chipset, received the acronym CCD (Core Complex Die). In addition to cores and caches, in CCD-chiplet also includes a bus controller Infinity Fabric, by which it shall be ensured connection CCD required for any Ryzen 3000 capleton IO.

In coplete input / output (I/O) processors generation Zen 2 are the so-called extra-nuclear components as well as elements of the North bridge and SoC. In it, among other things, the memory controller and bus controller PCI Express 4.0. Also in the I/O coplete implemented and two of the tires Infinity Fabric required for connection with the CCD chipsetati.

Depending on what processor family Ryzen 3000 it is, it can consist of either two or three chipsetov. In processors with eight cores and less used one CCD-ciple and one I/O-chiplet. In processors with cores more than eight CCD-chipsetov becomes two. However, you need to understand that the processor is still a single entity. Due to the fact that in any Ryzen 3000 memory controller is in I/O-Deplete and he is only one, either kernel can smoothly access any of its areas: no-NUMA configurations, which spoiled the lives of the owners of processors Threadripper, in the case of Zen 2 will not.

It is worth mentioning that the Zen 2 is not the first attempt to go to layout multi-chip processors. Previously, manufacturers had resorted to such an approach. For example, was based on two semiconductor crystal Quad-core Core 2 Quad, and before the same technique was used in the creation of a dual core Pentium D. But then the producers still went on to have a monolithic structure processors, as it was more effective as the number of cores and transferring the processor components of the North bridge. However, the new Ryzen 3000, which includes two or three ciplet, – not a step back. On the contrary, it is the transition to the next level because of AMD new generation of processors is not a simple extensive, increasing the number of cores by adding additional crystals and uses a much more intelligent approach, introducing the use of chipley with different features and combining them into a single entity the specialized high-speed bus Infinity Fabric.

The advantages of using a multi-chip layout is quite obvious. First and foremost, it allows you to reduce costs. Production of chipsetov having a relatively small die area, much simpler than the production of large monolithic processor. Smaller crystals not only allow you to obtain a higher yield of chips, but also more effective placed on a circular semiconductor substrate, which further reduces the amount of waste. In the end, it Chipita configuration allowed AMD to create a very complex processors Ryzen 3000 is relatively inexpensive, despite the fact that their production is organized at the facilities of TSMC’s most advanced and new to industry process technology with the norms of 7 nm.

The distribution functions of the processor in various capleton allowed AMD to save money and even in one aspect. New process technology was not necessarily to use in the manufacture of all parts of the processors. “Thin” advanced standards are important to processor cores, because they directly affect the frequency potential and energy consumption, but there is no need to use them to craft more simple chiplet responsible for the functions of input / output. The I/O chiplet Ryzen in 3000 is made the old-fashioned way – in factories GlobalFoundries for 12-nm process used in the manufacture of Ryzen processors of the second generation.

However, you need to keep in mind that Chipita design gives rise to certain difficulties. For example, in modern processors, very high demands are placed on how connect and interact with each other in different parts of the CPU. To implement such a bus when mnogoshipovyh the layout is a bit trickier. However, this problem was solved by engineers of AMD. Processors Ryzen first and second generations, although they were based on monolithic kernel, used for connection the CCX and the memory controller, North bridge and elements of the SoC specialized tyre Infinity Fabric. New Ryzen 3000 processors used the second version of this bus: it is responsible for data transfer between all chipsetati.

Frankly, to how to operate the Infinity Fabric, had previously been well-founded claims: it is not always able to provide the required level of performance when interacting processor cores with L3 cache and memory controller. In processors Ryzen 3000 AMD has tried to correct the main shortcomings of the Infinity Fabric.

First, this bus has been expanded twice: now its width is 512 bits, which means a doubling of the capacity and the transfer of 32 bytes per clock in each direction. The developers claim that this step they went in the first place because of the emergence of Ryzen in 3000 support PCI Express 4.0, but it is obvious that a more productive bus, which connects all key components are CPU, will play a positive role in many other cases.

Secondly, Infinity Fabric is now “unleashed” with the memory controller frequency. Earlier the frequency of this bus was synchronized with the memory clock, which on the one hand, leads to a strong dependence of the performance of processors Ryzen speed assigned to the DDR4 SDRAM, and the other – let overclocking memory above 3466-3600 MHz. Now the tyre Infinity Fabric will be able to work with the memory controller not only synchronous, but less than half relative to the frequency with the use of divider 2:1. It is — at least theoretically — means a much greater freedom in the choice of speed of memory, though AMD continues to insist that the synchronous mode to Infinity Fabric will still provide better performance, and more optimal with Ryzen 3000 to use modules DDR4-3600 with low timings.

However, it is already known that the memory in Socket AM4-systems, processors Ryzen 3000, will do much to disperse.

For example, AMD showed working memory module in the mode DDR4-5100 in the system built on Socket AM4-motherboard MSI MEG X570 Godlike.

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Which processor is needed for GeForce RTX 2060 1660 and GeForce GTX Ti: Ryzen vs AMD Intel Core

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In this article we will talk about what is often called the potential of the GPU, or, to speak more correctly, on processorepiemonte in games. On our website, and in other sources, you can find a lot of reviews of processors and graphics cards that explore the relative performance of different types of CPU and GPU. However, the question of what types of processors and graphics better suited to each other, often remains unanswered. Meanwhile, the buyers are forced to look for the answer on it: having a fixed amount, they should optimally allocate it between the processor and the graphics card, and here on this subject there is a clear shortage of some ready and well-reasoned prescriptions.

It is worth Recalling that during the reign on the market with Quad core processor was a popular theory with the conditional name “the potential revealed”, in which it was assumed that for each card there is a ceiling in processor performance, above which rise does not make sense – all the same frame rates in games then have will not grow. The explanation of this effect was based on the assumption that at some point the card stops to display the time frames with the speed with which they are preparing for her CPU, and at this point you can stop chasing faster CPU – better performance to achieve still does not work.

But later in the manifest fallacy of this theory has convinced many of her followers. The fact that the CPU and GPU in modern games are responsible for different stages of the training image. The CPU handles the reaction of the player, recalculation of internal game logic and behavior of the secondary characters, as well as modeling of the whole game environment and physics of the environment. In addition, one of the most important tasks of the CPU in most games is also flow control and transmission of necessary information to the GPU. The GPU is thus engaged exclusively on visualization based on the data received from the CPU the data it builds a picture, which then appears on the screen. Obviously, this is largely the successive stages of one process, so ultimately the frame rate in any case should affect the power of the graphics card and CPU.

However, this does not mean that by increasing the CPU power, you can compensate for a weak GPU, and Vice versa. The optimal ratio between performance Central and graphics processor exists precisely because these components meet in the games for different things. Therefore, in order to obtain adequate performance of the system and deal with sudden FPS dips, if you have any specific game situations, with its design should seek to maximize the characteristics of both GPU and CPU. The limit here in most cases is allocated for the purchase of the equipment budget, which makes selection of suitable processors and graphics cards in the optimization problem with multiple criteria.

Proponents of the theory of “potential” can bring here the argument that in practice at some point, gaming performance with increasing CPU power to grow almost stops. But, if you do not take into account any exorbitant cases with the installation of ultra-high resolution in which the performance of the SRI securely masked behind a lack of GPU performance, it will be connected not with the fact that above a turn of the performance of the processor becomes quite important. In reality, the fact is that “CPU power” is too abstract and collective term, which many people associate with a model number or price of the chip. In fact, it consists of many factors such as number of cores, clock speed, amount and speed of the cache memory, the speed of the memory controller and so on. More powerful processors better less powerful only for some part of these parameters, while from the point of view of other characteristics of any improvement when driving on the lineup up may not be observed. The result is some of the features in the various families of processors can become a bottleneck, which does not allow them to show higher performance in games, despite the fact that the other options are much better.

A good illustration for the given thesis can be the situation with the gaming performance of the members of the family Ryzen. Even the most senior and the most expensive models of AMD processors almost always give significantly lower frame rate in comparison with what provide offers from Intel, and to fix it until AMD could not increase the frequency or increase number of cores or roomy L3-cache. Performance Ryzen, obviously, depends on some other characteristics such as the speed of the memory subsystem, latency, or inter-core interaction in single-threaded performance. In other words, if the power increase of processors does not increase the number of FPS in games, it’s just talking about what we felt the bottleneck of the architecture and not ran into a limit that is predefined by the system-installed graphics card.

Unfortunately, all these arguments systematically lead us to the conclusion that the selection of a balanced combination of CPU and video card is a very trivial task. After all, no universal table that describes the performance of all possible combinations of configurations of CPU and GPU does not exist in nature. While there was such a fanatical researchers, not frightened would be a huge number of options to be included in such a comparison. And we also do not belong to them. Therefore, under the present experimental material, we will reply only to private question about which processor is better to choose NVIDIA’s latest generation mid – RTX 2060 and GeForce GeForce GTX Ti 1660. And then, if the results of this study will be useful to our audience, we will conduct similar tests and some other common graphics cards.

#Why GeForce RTX 2060 1660 and GeForce GTX Ti

Video card average level is one of the most popular options for use in modern gaming systems. Performance is enough for to run modern games with maximum quality settings in the standard Full HD resolution, which, according to statistics collected by the digital distribution system Steam, choose two-thirds of the total number of players.

It is therefore not surprising that, according to the same statistics, the most popular discrete graphics card is still the GeForce GTX 1060 – a mid-level solution from the previous generation of NVIDIA accelerators. Now replaced Pascal Turing come, and if you start from the positioning, it is 2060 and RTX GeForce GeForce GTX Ti is 1660 should gradually take the place of the most common graphics cards.

It is quite natural that now GeForce RTX 2060 1660 and GeForce GTX Ti are the three accelerators with the fastest growing shares. Only last month the user base of these cards increased by almost 40 %. In absolute terms, the share of owners GeForce RTX 2060 1660 and the GeForce GTX Ti is still not too noticeable, but the background of how a growing number of systems with other graphics cards of the family of Turing, no question remains that these GPUs will soon become the most popular choice of the gamers.

It should be noted that the positions of the GeForce RTX 2060 in this case look a bit better, although this card and a quarter as much. However, buyers apparently willing to pay $70 more for the possession of a special RT-kernel, allows the graphics hardware to accelerate algorithms for ray tracing.

#Optimal processor for GeForce RTX 2060 1660 and GeForce GTX Ti: I advise usually

The lack of detailed and thorough tests of processorepiemonte popular graphics cards has led to the fact that buyers have developed a number of empirical approaches to how to relate spending on basic components of the game system. The most popular rule of this kind suggests that the price of the video card and the price of the processor should be as two to one, that is, in a balanced system the graphics card should be roughly twice as expensive as the CPU.

If you apply this rule to video cards, which we are going to talk about today, that is GeForce RTX 2060 1660 and GeForce GTX Ti with manufacturer’s recommended price of $349 and $279, respectively, it turns out that they need to look for processors that stand about $175 and $140. In the price list Intel for these amounts are available Core i5-and Core i3 9400-9300 and AMD, with a similar budget, you can choose considerably cheapened recently Ryzen Ryzen and 5 2600 5 2500X.

Almost the same recommendations formulated in his “Computer of the month” and our resident expert, Sergey Plotnikov. For several months in optimal Assembly 3DNews uses the GeForce RTX 2060 the system with which it is proposed to install processors Ryzen 5 2600X or Core i5-9400F.

In other words, almost all estimations indicate that for medium level graphics cards need a six-core processor, but not necessarily senior – will go and the easier option. However, convincing illustrations, how fair are the assumptions still did not exist. That’s why we undertook detailed tests GeForce RTX 2060 1660 and GeForce GTX Ti in combination with different processors AMD and Intel. Try to use a practical approach and understand what the CPU is the best choice for medium gaming configurations.

#Description of test systems and test methodologies

To study processorepiemonte GeForce RTX 2060 1660 and GeForce GTX Ti was chosen graphic cards in the performance of the NVIDIA (Founders Edition) and Gigabyte (1660 GTX Ti OC). The tests were conducted in two resolutions relevant to these GPU – 1080p and 2560p. Paired with these video cards we tried to test the widest possible range of processors for platforms LGA 1151v2 and Socket AM4. Therefore, tests were selected for major and minor modifications within each class of CPU that made it possible to gather very heterogeneous and representative company of a variety of Core ninth-generation and second-generation Ryzen with the number of cores from two to eight nominal frequencies from 2.9 GHz to 4.0 GHz and the amount of L3 cache from 4 to 16 MB.

In the end, the list involved in the testing of components were as follows:

  • Processors:
    • AMD Ryzen 7 2700X (Pinnacle Ridge, 8 cores + SMT, 3,7-4,3 GHz, 16 MB L3);
    • AMD Ryzen 5 2600X (Pinnacle Ridge, 6 cores + SMT, the 3.6-4.2 GHz, 16 MB L3);
    • AMD Ryzen 5 2500X (Pinnacle Ridge, 4 cores + SMT, 3,6-4,0 GHz, 8 MB L3);
    • AMD Ryzen 3 2300X (Pinnacle Ridge, 4 cores, 3.5-4.0 GHz, 8 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i9-9900K (Refresh Coffee Lake, 8 cores + HT, 3,6-5.0 GHz, 16 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i7-9700K (Refresh Coffee Lake, 8 cores, the 3.6-4.9 GHz, 12 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i5-9600K (Lake Coffee Refresh, 6 cores, 3.7 V-4.6 GHz, 9 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i5-9400F (Lake Coffee Refresh, 6 cores, a 2.9-to 4.1 GHz, 9 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i3-9350KF (Lake Coffee Refresh, 4 cores, 4.0 to 4.6 GHz, 8 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i3-8100 (Coffee Lake, 4 cores, 3.6 GHz, 6 MB L3);
    • Pentium Gold G5600 (Coffee Lake, 2 cores + HT, 3.9 GHz, 4 MB L3).
  • CPU cooler: Noctua NH-U14S.
  • Motherboard:
    • ASRock X470 Taichi (Socket AM4, AMD X470);
    • ASRock Z390 Taichi (LGA1151v2, Intel Z390).
    • Memory: 2 x 8 GB DDR4-SDRAM 3466, 16-16-16-36 (G. Skill Trident Z RGB F4-3466C16D-16GTZR).
  • Graphics card:
    • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (TU106, 1365/14000 MHz, 6 GB GDDR6 192-bit);
    • Gigabyte GeForce GTX Ti OC 1660 (TU116, 1500/12000 MHz, 6 GB GDDR6 192-bit).
  • Disk subsystem: Samsung 960 PRO 1TB (MZ-V6P1T0BW).
  • Power supply: Thermaltake Toughpower DPS G RGB Titanium 1000W (80 Plus Titanium, 1000 watts).

All Intel CPUs were tested with enabled Multi-Core Enhancements, that is, without any restrictions on energy consumption. We are aware that this mode is somewhat at odds with the specifications of Intel, but most users Willy-nilly uses the processors that way. The fact is that without exception, all motherboard manufacturers will activate the Multi-Core Enhancements by default, and some even hide the settings to disable it, and any shift in this trend is not expected.

Testing was performed in the operating system Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise (v1809) Build 17763.503 installed patches against the vulnerabilities of Meltdown and the Spectre, and using the following set of drivers:

  • AMD Chipset Driver 19.10.0429;
  • Intel Chipset Driver 10.1.1.45;
  • Intel Management Engine Interface Driver 11.7.0.1017;
  • NVIDIA GeForce 430.64 Driver.

To check gaming performance of the platforms used the following games and settings:

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. The 1920 × 1080 Resolution: Graphics Quality = Ultra High. The Resolution Of 2560 × 1440: Graphics Quality = Ultra High.
  • Ashes of the Singularity. Resolution 1920 × 1080: DirectX 12, Quality Profile = Extreme. The Resolution Of 2560 × 1440: DirectX 12, Quality Profile = Extreme.
  • Civilization VI: the Gathering Storm. Resolution 1920 × 1080: DirectX 12, MSAA = 4x, Performance Impact = Ultra, Memory Impact = Ultra. The resolution of 2560 × 1440: DirectX 12, MSAA = 4x, Performance Impact = Ultra, Memory Impact = Ultra.
  • Far Cry New Dawn. The 1920 × 1080 resolution: Graphics Quality = Ultra, HD Textures = On, Anti-Aliasing = TAA, Motion Blur = On. The resolution of 2560 × 1440: Graphics Quality = Ultra, HD Textures = On, Anti-Aliasing = TAA, Motion Blur = On.
  • Grand Theft Auto V. the Resolution of 1920 × 1080: DirectX Version = DirectX 11, FXAA = Off MSAA = x4, NVIDIA TXAA = Off, Population Density = Maximum Population Variety = Maximum Distance Scaling = Maximum Texture Quality = Very High, Shader Quality = Very High, Shadow Quality = Very High Reflection Quality = Ultra, Reflection MSAA = x4, Water Quality = Very High Particles Quality = Very High, Grass Quality = Ultra, Soft Shadow = Softest, Post FX = Ultra In-Game Depth Of Field Effects = On Anisotropic Filtering = x16 Ambient Occlusion = High, Tessellation = Very High, Long Shadows = On, High Resolution Shadows = On, High Detail Streaming While Flying = On, Extended Distance Scaling = Maximum Extended Shadows Distance = Maximum. The resolution of 2560 × 1440: DirectX Version = DirectX 11, FXAA = Off MSAA = x4, NVIDIA TXAA = Off, Population Density = Maximum Population Variety = Maximum Distance Scaling = Maximum Texture Quality = Very High, Shader Quality = Very High, Shadow Quality = Very High Reflection Quality = Ultra, Reflection MSAA = x4, Water Quality = Very High Particles Quality = Very High, Grass Quality = Ultra, Soft Shadow = Softest, Post FX = Ultra In-Game Depth Of Field Effects = On Anisotropic Filtering = x16 Ambient Occlusion = High, Tessellation = Very High, Long Shadows = On, High Resolution Shadows = On, High Detail Streaming While Flying = On, Extended Distance Scaling = Maximum Extended Shadows Distance = Maximum.
  • Hitman 2. Resolution 1920 × 1080: DirectX 12, Super Sampling = 1.0, Level of Detail = Ultra, Anti-Aliasing = FXAA, Texture Quality = High Texture Filter = Anisotropic 16x, SSAO = On, Shadow Maps = Ultra Shadow Resolution = High. The resolution of 2560 × 1440: DirectX 12, Super Sampling = 1.0, Level of Detail = Ultra, Anti-Aliasing = FXAA, Texture Quality = High Texture Filter = Anisotropic 16x, SSAO = On, Shadow Maps = Ultra Shadow Resolution = High.
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Resolution 1920 × 1080: Overall Image Quality = Ultra High. The Resolution Of 2560 × 1440: Overall Image Quality = Ultra High.
  • Metro Exodus. Resolution 1920 × 1080: DirectX 12, Quality = Ultra, Texture Filtering = AF 16X, Motion Blur = Normal, Tesselation = Full, Advanced PhysX = Off, Hairworks = Off, Ray Trace = Off, DLSS = Off. The resolution of 2560 × 1440: DirectX 12, Quality = Ultra, Texture Filtering = AF 16X, Motion Blur = Normal, Tesselation = Full, Advanced PhysX = Off, Hairworks = Off, Ray Trace = Off, DLSS = Off.
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Resolution 1920 × 1080: DirectX12, Preset = Highest, Anti-Aliasing = TAA. The resolution of 2560 × 1440: DirectX12, Preset = Highest, Anti-Aliasing = TAA.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The 1920 × 1080 Resolution: Graphics Preset = Ultra Postprocessing Preset = High. The Resolution Of 2560 × 1440: Graphics Preset = Ultra Postprocessing Preset = High.
  • Total War: Warhammer II. Resolution 1920 × 1080: DirectX 12, Quality = Ultra. The Resolution Of 2560 × 1440: DirectX 12, Quality = Ultra.
  • Watch Dogs 2. The 1920 × 1080 resolution: Field of View = 70°, Pixel Density = 1.00, Graphics Quality = Ultra, Extra Details = 100%. The resolution of 2560 × 1440: Field of View = 70°, Pixel Density = 1.00, Graphics Quality = Ultra, Extra Details = 100%.
  • World War Z 1920 × 1080: DirectX 11, Visual Quality Preset = Ultra. The Resolution Of 2560 × 1440: DirectX11, Visual Quality Preset = Ultra.

In all gaming tests as the outcome is the average number of frames per second and the 0.01-quantile (first percentile) for the values of FPS. The use of 0.01-quantile instead of the minimum FPS due to the desire to clear the results from the random bursts of productivity that was triggered not directly associated with the operation of the main components of the platform causes.

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Overview of ASRock Z390 Steel Legend: simplicity is not to the detriment of

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Until April this year, the company ASRock has released 15 motherboard on chipset Intel Express Z390. One of them was as advanced level pattern Z390 Taichi Ultimate, and very simple and affordable kind of Z390 Pro4. In other words, fans of ASRock to pick up cost according to the specifications, form factor and the wallet did not work. However, in mid-April, the company announced a new model – ASRock Z390 Steel Legend, part of a series of “Steel of legends”, where now there are three boards, two of which are based on chipset Intel B450.

The company is positioning the boards in this series as the basis for gaming systems, since these products have improved reliability, improved cooling and is based on durable components. This warranty period is still limited to three years rather than five, as the products of competitors with similar positioning. Let’s see, why do we need ASRock Z390 Steel Legend, and to whom it is interesting?

#Specifications and cost

Supported processors Intel Core i9 / Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron
performed LGA1151v2 eighth and ninth generation microarchitecture Core
Chipset Intel Z390 Express
Memory subsystem 4 × DDR4 DIMM UN-buffered memory up to 128 GB;
dual channel mode memory;
support modules with frequency of 4266(O. C.)/4133(O. C.)/4000(O. C.)/3866(O. C.)/3800(O. C.)/
3733(O. C.)/3600(O. C.)/3200(O. C.)/3000(O. C.)/2933(O. C.)/2800(O. C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz;
modules support for ECC UDIMM memory (does not work in ECC);
15-micron gold-plated contacts in the connectors;
support for Intel XMP 2.0 (Extreme Memory Profile)
GUI The integrated graphics core processor allows you to use the HDMI port is version 1.4 and Display Port version 1.2;
supports resolutions up to 4K inclusive (4096 × 2304 at 60 Hz);
supports Auto Lip Sync, Deep Color (12bpc), xvYCC and HBR (High Bit Rate Audio) via HDMI 1.4 Port (you need a compatible HDMI monitor is required);
support for the HDCP 2.2 with HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2 Ports
Connectors for expansion boards 2 PCI Express 3.0 x16 modes x16, x16/x4;
3 PCI Express x1 slots, Gen 3
The scalability of the video AMD 2-way CrossFireX Technology
The storage interface Intel Z390 Express:
– 6 × SATA III throughput up to 6 Gbps (supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10, Intel Rapid Storage Technology 16, NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug);
– 2 x Ultra M. 2, bandwidth of each up to 32 GB/s (both connectors support SATA and PCI Express drives, М2_1 length from 30 to 110 mm, М2_2 length from 30 to 80 mm);
– support Intel Optane Memory
Network
interfaces
Intel Gigabit LAN I219-V (10/100/1000 Mbps):
– supports Wake-On-LAN;
– protection from lightning and electrostatic discharges;
– supports energy efficient Ethernet 802.3 az;
– supports PXE
Audio 7.1 CH HD audio codec Realtek ALC1220:
– supports Premium Blu-ray audio;
– protection against power surges;
audio capacitors Nichicon Fine Gold Series;
– 110dB SNR DAC with Differential Amplifier;
– insulation of the printed circuit Board;
– separate layers on the PCB for the left and right channel;
gold – plated audio plugs
USB interface Intel Z390 Express:
– 5 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (2 on back panel, 3 connected to the connectors on the system Board);
– 6 ports USB 3.1 Gen 1 (2 on back panel, 4 connected to the connectors on the system Board);
– 2 ports USB 3.1 Gen 2 (rear panel, Type-A and Type-C).
All ports are protected against electrostatic discharges.
Connectors and buttons on the rear panel Two port USB 3.1 Gen 1 and a combined PS/2 port;
the HDMI and DisplayPort;
single port USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C;
two USB 2.0/1.1 network LAN-socket RJ-45 with led (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED);
optical S/PDIF output interface;
five 3.5-mm 15-mm gold-plated audio connectors
Internal connectors on the PCB 24-pin ATX power connector;
8-pin ATX 12V power;
6 SATA 3;
2 M. 2;
4-pin connector CPU fan with PWM support power up to 1A (12 W);
4-pin connector for pumps DLC power up to 2A (24 W);
3 4-pin connectors for case fans with PWM support;
connector for addressable RGB LED-lines;
2 connector for RGB LED-lines;
a group of connectors for the front panel;
audio connector for the front panel;
SPI connector TPM;
COM connector;
the power led and speaker connector;
Thunderbolt AIC connector (5-pin);
2 USB 2.0/1.1 connection 3 ports;
2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 for connecting 2 ports
BIOS 128 Mbit AMI UEFI BIOS with multilingual interface and the graphical user interface;
ACPI 6.0 wake-up;
support SM BIOS 2.7;
DRAM, PCH 1.0 V, VCCIO, VCCST, VCCSA, VPPM
Controller I/O iTE I/O Controller Chip IT8688E
Corporate functions, technologies and features ASRock Super Alloy:
– XXL aluminum radiator;
– chokes Premium 60A Power Choke;
capacitors Nichicon 12K Black (100% Japan made polymer capacitors high quality and conductivity);
– shaped PCB Design;
black frosted printed circuit Board;
– High Density Glass Fabric PCB;
Technology ASRock Intel POOL (Planes on Outer Layers);
Steel socket ASRock;
ASRock Full sized radiator for M.2;
ASRock Ultra M. 2 (PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3) ASRock andthe indicator POST of the codes;
ASRock Full Spike Protection (all USB, Audio and LAN);
ASRock Live Update & APP Shop
Form factor, dimensions (mm) ATX, 305 × 244
Operating system support Windows 10 x64
The warranty of the manufacturer, years 3
The estimated retail value for you! ~10 000

#Packaging equipment

ASRock Z390 Steel Legend comes in a very large cardboard box, decorated mostly in dark colors. The front side of the package contains only the name of the Board and icons of supported technologies.

 

The reverse side talks about the key features of the product, there you can find the brief characteristics of the Board.

Inside colored sheath inserted box of cardboard, where the pallet is made of polyethylene foam fixed fee, additionally sealed in antistatic bag. On the bottom of the box there were a few screws in the bag, the cover on the rear panel, one SATA cable and instructions with DVD.

 

Of course, any bonuses are not included, since the Board belongs to the budget class and will cost about $ 150, or about ten thousand rubles at the current rate. Warranty – three years.

#Design and features

ASRock Z390 Steel Legend performed at almost black PCB on the front side of which there are three silver radiator. No plastic casings here, which can not but rejoice. The reverse side of the Board, by and large, is empty, which once again confirms its modest budget level.

 

Aluminum radiator large area for power supply circuits of the processor modeled by the casing, so it looks quite original. Echoes and chipset combined with a plate heat spreader of the second M. 2 port. Coupled with another heat sink at the first M. 2, these elements give the Board a modern and even to some extent aggressive look.

 

The elements of design can be attributed to the inscription STEEL LEGEND at the edge of the PCB, which gets highlighted along with the logo of the series.

We add that the dimensions ASRock Z390 Steel Legend are 305 × 244 mm, that is, it refers to the standard ATX.

The particular location of the motherboard components on the PCB shown in the diagram from the instruction manual.

 

On the interface panel displayed only a basic set of connectors. Here you can find a combo PS/2 port, video outputs HDMI and DisplayPort, network LAN-socket, six USB and audio outputs.

To the left there is a mounting bracket for antennas of the wireless communication module, although the module included with the cost there, but the connector for it M. 2 (Key E) in the center of the Board is present — it allows you to set module 2230 WiFi/BT and Intel CNVi.

Despite the low price of the Board, all the radiators are fastened with screws, not plastic studs, so they are removed without difficulty.

Note that the fee is based on the PCB of high density, more resistant to thermal stress and humidity. But the double thickness of copper layers, the product is ASRock, not here. However, it is quite predictable.

Any brand features CPU socket LGA1151 design-v2 does not have the holes for the temperature sensor in its center and no. In this case, it is possible to install any Intel eighth and ninth generation of the Core microarchitecture.

CPU power is organized according to 8-phase scheme with assemblies Dr. MOS, durable capacitors Premium 60A Power Choke and Nichicon 12K. In this case directly on the CPU core only have six phases.

For power management meets PWM controller uP9521P production uPI Semiconductor.

Power to the Board and its components is supplied in two standard housing with 24-and 8-contacts.

 

They have no needles high density or metallic sheath. All standard.

Chipset Intel Z390 here too, the most usual, however, something special he can be, in principle, can not.

ASRock Z390 Steel plastic Legend is equipped with four DIMM slots for memory modules of standard DDR4.

The total amount of RAM on the Board can reach 128 gigabytes, and the maximum frequency of 4266 MHz. Of course, the Board supports XMP profiles, and a list of certified modules it takes a few pages.

In terms of PCI-Express fee, can be called poor. She has only one full PCI Express 3.0 x16, connected to the processor lines. He has a metallic shell to amplify and additional electrical protection.

The second slot of this form factor can only work in x4 mode, therefore, NVIDIA SLI technology is not supported, and the combination of the two AMD graphics cards will work in CrossFireX at x16/x4. In addition, the Board has three PCI Express x1 slots with open ends for the installation of long expansion cards.

Six SATA III ports with a throughput of up to 6GB/s implemented by the chipset. Four ports are located horizontally, and two vertically.

 

High speed storage, there are two Ultra M. 2 port, throughput can reach up to 32 GB/s. it is Convenient that both connectors support both SATA and PCI Express drives, and uncomfortable that М2_1 divides chipset line ports SATA3_0 (if you install a SATA drive) or SATA3_1 (if you install a PCI-E drive), and М2_2 shares lines with SATA3_5 connector.

In port М2_1 you can install drives in length from 30 to 110 mm, and in М2_2 – length from 30 to 80 mm. Feature ASRock Z390 Steel Legend: both M. 2 port is equipped with a plate-radiator with pads. To budget models of motherboards that do not meet often.

All 13 of the USB ports on the motherboard are implemented by the capabilities of the chipset Intel Z390, additional controllers, no. On the back panel, 6 ports, including two high-speed USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-A and Type-C) with data transfer rate up to 10 GB/s. Four ports USB 3.1 Gen 1 can be connected to the two connectors on the PCB, and similarly with fees can take the three USB 2.0 ports.

Network controller on ASRock Z390 Steel Legend single Gigabit Intel I219-V.

Claimed protection from lightning and electrostatic discharges, Protocol support PXEand energy efficient Ethernet 802.3 az.

Based on the audio Board lies 7.1 CH HD audio codec Realtek ALC1220, complemented by five audiophile Nichicon Fine Gold audio caps in Japan.

The audio room is isolated from other elements on the PCB of the multiple conductive stripes for the left and right channels are different layers of the PCB, and the connectors for the connectors are covered with 15 micron layer of gold. Except for the last one is more of a marketing move, it’s quite a standard set for budget Board.

For monitoring and fan control on the motherboard is provided by controller Nuvoton NCT6791D.

Only the Board can control six fans with PWM or voltage changes, and one of the connectors is designed to connect energy-consuming pumps cooling system and could provide up to 2 A (24 W). Setting fans available in the BIOS or in the signature Annex A-Tuning.

Unfortunately, the fee is devoid of the indicator POST-codes, and partly to replace it offers four status LEDs CPU/DRAM/VGA/BOOT in the bottom right corner of the PCB.

ASRock Z390 Steel Legend supported proprietary illumination system Polychrome RGB SYNC. On the Board itself highlighted area of the chipset and the entire reverse side of the right edge of the PCB.

To connect led strips lighting on ASRock Z390 Steel Legend has three connectors, including one addressing mode (5 V, 3 A, 15 watts). Backlight control implemented in the BIOS or through the app ASRock RGB LED.

The set of connectors on the bottom edge of the PCB is quite usual and does not stand out with some unique solutions.

In conclusion, we note quite a decent cooling system of fees, consisting of a massive aluminum heatsink on the power circuits, chipset, combined with plate-radiator of the second M. 2, a separate heat spreader for the first M. 2.

After the first inspection ASRock Z390 Steel Legend can be quite a simple Board, with an average power of the power supply system of the processor and a basic set of controllers and functions. All pretty standard and no interesting features. Now look at your BIOS.

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