Recently, major chipmakers offer three types of system logic for their platforms, which include top-end solutions for high-performance systems also designed for extreme overclocking, mid-range solutions for most gaming machines, and budget options for office PCs or undemanding users. At AMD, the X370, B350 and A320 chipsets now meet these criteria. The wiring of the mid-level hub does not affect the overclocking capabilities of the board in any way. Much more restrictions are imposed by the schemes of power stabilizers and the chosen way of implementing them, and only then can one complain about the possibilities available in the UEFI environment. In this review, we will get acquainted with the top board from ASRock, the structure of which includes the B350 (there are five of them at the time of writing the review). Nominally, it belongs to the «game» series, which means that the user has the right to count on special bonuses.
Among the characteristics on the official web page of the product, I did not get a detailed idea of the USB outputs, although their total number on the board is quite a lot. Only one thing can be said for sure, the most current version of the interface — 3.1 Gen2 — is not here. The only additional controller brings two additional SATA ports.
|Model||ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4|
|Official product page on the Web||asrock.com|
|Processor socket||AMD AM4|
|Processors||AMD Series: Athlon X4, A6, A8, A10, A12, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7|
|Memory||4 DIMM DDR4 SDRAM 2133/2400/2667/2933*/3200+*(OC), 64 GB maximum|
|PCI slots||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16) — CPU
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x8) — APU/Athlon
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (x4) — CPU
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (x2) — APU/Athlon
4 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 — B350
|M.2||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4 (Key M, 2242/2260/2280) — CPU
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x2 (Key M, 2242/2260/2280) — APU/Athlon
1 x SATA 6Gb/s (Key M, 2242/2260/2280/22110) — B350
|Integrated video core (in APU)||Radeon Series: R7, R5|
|Video connectors||HDMI, DVI-D, D-Sub|
|Number of connected fans||4x 4pin|
|PS/2 ports||1 (keyboard/mouse)|
|The port is USB||8 x 3.1 Gen1 (6 connectors (one type C) on the rear panel)
6 x 2.0 (2 connectors on the rear panel)
|Serial ATA||4 x SATA 6 Gb/s (B350)
2 x SATA 6Gb/s (ASM1061)
|RAID||0, 1, 10 (HOURS, B350)|
|Built-in sound||Codec — Realtek ALC892 (7.1, HDA)|
|Networking||Realtek 8111GR (Gigabit Ethernet)|
|Dimensions, mm||305 x 224|
|Additional features||A pair of RGB LED strip connectors, AMD 2-Way CrossFireX support|
|Retail price, $||124|
Packaging and equipment
The device is substituted in a box of medium volume. Like the nearest market rivals, the design is no different from the solutions made with the involvement of chips from Intel.
All details are printed on the back of the package. The main part of the area was taken away for the description of the features of the series, support for special software for sound and peripherals was announced, and they also did not forget to focus on the backlight.
Basic delivery set:
- multilingual quick installation guide;
- additional brochure on RGB LED;
- memo on the correct installation of memory modules;
- UEFI and F-Stream manual in English;
- postcard with the emblem of the series (there is a place for the stamp);
- disk with drivers and proprietary software;
- company logo sticker;
- two mounting screws for M.2 format devices;
- plug for the body, standard version — with embossed symbols and icons for designating sockets;
- two SATA 6Gb / s cables, one of which has an L-shaped connector on one of the ends.
There are a total of seven mounting points in the case. The microcircuit with the firmware is soldered, you will have to reset the settings using a jumper located at the bottom edge. There are absolutely no means to simplify overclocking or simply operation — buttons, switches, status indicators.
There is an insignificant number on the back side of the electronic components; there is no backlight in the area of the insulating gap near the audio codec.
The main accent in the illumination on the board was the cooler on the hub, it was a massive ribbed heatsink, and bright red LEDs were soldered under it.
ASM1061 was also hidden there, thanks to which two longitudinal SATA sockets appeared on the board.
Four more ports are connected to the B350. The marking on the board will help you figure it out.
The top compact M.2 socket will allow you to use the fastest drives, but the limit on their length will work.
To the lower seat, where there are no restrictions on the dimensions of devices, only lines from SATA are connected (interconnected with one of the six previously indicated ports).
USB case cables can count on four outputs of the second generation, and for the third there are only two ports.
The armored socket is designed for a video accelerator, the total number of lines will be determined by the type of CPU. The lower full-format PCI-E x16 actually has only four lines, also connected from the socket. The compact «four» PCI-E x1 works with a hub.
Despite the status of the product, the network and sound controller are inexpensive Realtek models. There are no shielding structures here, and there is no op-amp. Saved on the number of special capacitors.
It is difficult to call it dense placement of elements near the socket, it is unlikely that anything will interfere with the installation of the cooling system.
Intersil Corporation ISL95712 is the main PWM controller. In general, it is seven-channel, but only six lines are used here. Three drivers are built-in, three more can be counted on the board in the form of discrete models. It turns out that both the CPU stabilizer and the NB Voltage stabilizer are three-channel. In the first case, the method of doubling the number of elements in each channel is used, the PK618BA and PZ0903BK models from Niko Semiconductor are selected (a total of four assemblies per channel). For the second group, only the first of the units just indicated was decided to be doubled (three assemblies per channel).
Two identical heatsinks are pressed with spring-loaded nails; no traces of savings on the thermal pad were found.
A lot of space at the back is occupied by video outputs, including even D-Sub (requiring soldering an additional controller). Eight USB sockets is a very commendable number. The lack of space came back to haunt the sound outputs, there are only three of them, and there is no optical one. If it were not for the balanced type C output, we could safely say that we have a budget solution before our eyes.