ASRock revs up for AMD B450 with five new motherboards

Although we've been covering AMD's B450 motherboards as details have become available over the past couple of weeks, the official launch of those mobos happened yesterday. If you've missed our coverage of Gigabyte, Asus, and MSI's selections of freshened midrange mobos, be sure to check out our post on each manufacturer's wares for all the details.

ASRock is ready for B450 budget builds with five new motherboards of its own. The company's B450 offerings span ATX, microATX, and Mini-ITX form factors and stylings from mild to wild.

Starting from the top end of the ASRock B450 lineup, we get the Fatal1ty B450 Gaming K4. This is an ATX board with a six-plus-three-phase VRM setup and full VRM heatsinks, RGB LED lighting around the chipset heatsink, and a metal-reinforced primary PCIe slot.

ASRock wires the primary M.2 slot on this board using the dedicated PCIe x4 connection the Ryzen SoC provides for storage devices, while the secondary slot gets two PCIe 3.0 lanes through lane-sharing with two of the board's six SATA ports.

On the Fatal1ty Gaming K4's back panel, ASRock offers two USB 2.0 ports, a hybrid PS/2 port, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C ports, and four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports. Raven Ridge APUs can push pixels through a VGA connector, a DisplayPort 1.2 connector, or an HDMI 1.4 port. Gigabit Ethernet comes from a Realtek RTL8111H controller. All those features ring in for an even $100.

Next up in ASRock's ATX B450 offerings, we get the B450 Pro4. Like the Fata1ity board above, the B450 Pro4 offers a six-plus-two-phase power-delivery subsystem with full heatsink coverage. Likely thanks to its $90 price tag, this board doesn't have any RGB LED lighting on its various surfaces.

The B450 Pro4 still offers twin M.2 slots with the same lane arrangement as the Fata1ity board above, and its port cluster is identical, as well. If you don't value the Fatal1ty board's styling, the B450 Pro4 lets you keep $10 in your pocket without giving up any of its fundamental features.

For microATX B450 builders looking at ASRock's stable, the fun starts with the B450M Pro4. This midi-board is down some PCIe slots compared to its ATX sibling, but it keeps most of the regular Pro4's goodness. This board's port cluster even gets a DVI-D connector to go with the standard basket of connectivity seen on the Fatal1ty B450 Gaming K4 and B450 Pro4.

Not all the changes to the B450M Pro4 are additive. This board only has four SATA ports compared to its ATX siblings' cluster of six, and its secondary M.2 slot only supports SATA devices (although its main slot maintains full PCIe 3.0 x4 connectivity). At $80, this board is likely to be a popular option for budget enthusiast builds.

For folks who need an even more no-frills B450 microATX board, ASRock has the B450M-HDV. This board drops to a four-plus-three-phase VRM design and only heatsinks the primary VRM circuitry, so it's not likely to be the best choice for intense overclocking. The HDV does away with twin M.2 slots, USB Type-C, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectivity to keep costs down.

This board does keep a single PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot for NVMe and SATA gumsticks. Four USB 3.1 Gen 1 and two USB 2.0 Type-A ports on its back panel offer peripheral expansion, and DVI-D, VGA, and HDMI 1.4 outs pipe pixels from Ryzen APUs. That paring-back leads to a $70 price tag.

Finally, ASRock has one option for Mini-ITX B450 builders. The Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac appears to implement a beefy six-plus-two-phase VRM design with a decent-sized heatsink on its primary phases—good news for small-form-factor overclockers and Ryzen 7 builders.

This board's back panel boasts two USB 2.0 ports, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, and a hybrid PS/2 port. Ryzen APUs can hook up to displays from this board using a DisplayPort 1.2 connector and a welcome HDMI 2.0 port for running 4K displays at 60 Hz. Realtek's high-end ALC1220 codec handles sound-reproduction duties, and Intel controllers power this board's Gigabit Ethernet jack and wireless radios. At $129, this board seems reasonably priced for what looks like a fully-featured Mini-ITX mobo.

Comments closed
    • jensend
    • 1 year ago

    It’s ridiculous that manufacturers are still making AMD motherboards without DisplayPort. FreeSync has a large impact on the value of Ryzen APUs, and most of the inexpensive adaptive refresh monitors don’t support FreeSync over HDMI.

      • just brew it!
      • 1 year ago

      Yeah, that’s pretty dumb.

      All the more so when you consider that my Asus M3A78-CM (which was my primary desktop for a few years nearly a decade ago, then my file server, and just recently retired from duty) had DisplayPort coming off the IGP way back in the Socket AM2+ days. On a low-mid range micro-ATX board, no less.

    • ronch
    • 1 year ago

    Good grief these boards are giving me the upgrade itch.

    Might as well wait for Zen 2 or 3 though. Tweak those cores, Mark P.!

    • ronch
    • 1 year ago

    No gears no sale.

    • Chrispy_
    • 1 year ago

    I’ve been mightily impressed with Asrock’s mid-range Intel boards over the last half decade. I haven’t used that many of them (maybe 40?) but they seem really affordable and reliable and they’re my go-to vendor for niche motherboards too.

    I was somewhat surprised the other day to see that most of their B350 customer reviews on Newegg were very poor. What gives?

    Are Asrock not good for AM4 or has the target market for cheap AM4 boards brought a lot of incompetent-yet-easily-frustrated people out of the woodwork?

      • LoneWolf15
      • 1 year ago

      In the Z97-era I bought their second from top-end board after multiple great reviews, and had an extremely frustrating user experience, combined with useless technical support. I later found I wasn’t the only one.

      In my case, plugging in a PCIe TV tuner card would cause the PnP systems on the board to go haywire. It would cause issues with the GPU in the primary PCIe x8 slot, or the card would not be detected, resulting in musical chairs of cards (I had a PCIe sound card too, all major manufacturers) to figure it out. It was clear there were issues with the BIOS being able to assign resources to different slots, and I did a lot of logging and debugging before I opened an Asrock technical support case, hoping it would help in a new, better BIOS.

      Asrock response: Return the defective board to the vendor. (point blank, nothing else, after several days of wait).

      Me: I don’t think the board *IS* defective from a hardware perspective, I think you have a BIOS issue, I have logs and debu-

      Asrock: Either keep the board or return it to vendor.

      So, I did what they said, returned the board to vendor, and bought a Gigabyte which I still have, and which worked first time out-of-box-no-hassles. Their designs are nice, and I’ve occasionally bought a board from them since (like the niche mini-ITX Atom boards which have worked well), but I’ve seen bugs, or what looked suspiciously like quality control issues, followed by an apathetic response from support which limits me to buying them for niche products; at least I can get some response from ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI.

      • DPete27
      • 1 year ago

      In my experience, customer reviews on ALL motherboards are 90% incompetent owners.

    • strangerguy
    • 1 year ago

    Hey Asrock, if you want to brand your XTREMEZ gamer mobo maybe you shouldn’t use a pro player whose heyday is only like 15 years ago.

      • Topinio
      • 1 year ago

      Hey now, dude still has nearly 40k followers on Twitch, 18k on Twitter, 9k subscribers on YouTube …

        • Waco
        • 1 year ago

        Nice guy in person to – I ran into him at a CES party a few years back. Chatted about random games, hardware, etc. He seemed genuinely cranky about a few products that were branded in his name that sucked; he claimed he was sent different products that worked better/were sturdier/etc.

        He might not be be the name he was 15 years ago but he’s still fairly popular in an oversaturated market.

    • crystall
    • 1 year ago

    … and they all support ECC memory. Yay for workstation/NAS builds!

      • stdRaichu
      • 1 year ago

      Caveat if you’re using Raven Ridge, which [i<]doesn't[/i<] support ECC UDIMMs like regular Ryzen does. Although I believe the Raven Ridge Pro chips [i<]do[/i<] support ECC (not that anyone seems to sell them). /someone who nearly bought ECC for his new Raven Ridge HTPC

        • Topinio
        • 1 year ago

        That does seem to be the issue — I’ve already been looking closely at a Raven Ridge build option (and these ASRock boards were high on the list!) but I can’t find anywhere to buy the Ryzen 5 PRO 2400GE that I want…

        • just brew it!
        • 1 year ago

        None of AMD’s APUs (previous generations included) have supported ECC.

    • Klyith
    • 1 year ago

    Stop counting chokes for power phases.

      • DPete27
      • 1 year ago

      That still works the majority of the time. But certainly AsRock (at least) has used doublers in decent boards.

        • Chrispy_
        • 1 year ago

        I think a lot of vendors use doublers for the SoC phases – that’s what I’ve seen in AM4 boards at least.

        6 chokes on the left of the socket and two on top of the socket probably means a 6+4 phase design.

          • Klyith
          • 1 year ago

          Most midrange and low-end boards *don’t* use doublers, just stack up 2 sets of components on the same phase. Which is the case in these boards, the primary CPU side is a 3 phase.

          The controller is the most expensive bit. Twice as many mosfets means they use cheaper mosfets. Twice as many chokes is twice as expensive, but they’re the cheapest part.

      • Krogoth
      • 1 year ago

      I really never understood why number of power phases is so important. Unless you are going for suicide runs and/or like to push silicon to the edge. The VRM circuitry for the majority of motherboards is more than sufficient for stock operation and turbo-clocking.

        • Chrispy_
        • 1 year ago

        On anything except a high-end board it’s probably irrelevant but it’s also an approximate indication of what price class a board is.

        It’s obvious what the hierarchy of models is at launch when everything is fully priced, but nine months into the market lifecycle all the random discounts on various overstocked models means that you can end up paying more for an inferior board. When it’s not obvious which cryptic model number is the better of two boards at the same price, go for the one with more chokes!

        • just brew it!
        • 1 year ago

        More phases means the individual components in the VRM will run cooler since the load is more spread out. Cooler running translates to longer component life for the MOSFETs and filter capacitors, lowering your odds of a VRM failure. With many modern tower CPU coolers no longer creating much airflow in the VRM area, this has become more important.

        And while not exactly common, I have seen VRM failures even on stock clocked systems.

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