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ASRock 970M Pro3 quick review

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PetrolHead View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 Jul 2016 at 2:42pm
You're a lot braver than I am. ;) At the moment I'm running my CPU @ "only" 3.6 GHz on all cores (stock being 3.2 GHz / 3.6 GHz turbo core) with Vcore at 1.3375 V because I didn't trust the VRM section. Just out of curiosity, what sort of cooling do you have?
Ryzen 5 1500X, ASRock AB350M Pro4, 2x8 GB G.Skill Trident Z 3466CL16, Sapphire Pulse RX Vega56 8G HBM2, Corsair RM550x, Samsung 960 EVO SSD (NVMe) 250GB, Samsung 850 EVO SSD 500 GB, Windows 10 64-bit
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BabbleBits Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2016 at 5:07am
Hi PetrolHead.

I just wanted to pop in here to note that on my ASRock 970M Pro3 I have an AMD FX-8370 8 core CPU running quite happily Smile at 4.5 Ghz with boost running just above 5.0 Ghz (stock for this CPU is 4 Ghz w/ 4.3 Ghz boost) with CPU voltage at 1.4 jumping to 1.425v during Turbo boost. This board has been solid stable with this CPU so far.
Best regards,
BabbleBits
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PetrolHead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jan 2016 at 12:20pm
I'll update this as I learn more about the board.

My current system specs:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T BE
GPU: Asus GeForce GTX 650 DirectCU 1 GB GDDR5
MB: ASRock 970M Pro3
RAM: 2 x 8 GB Kinston HyperX Fury Black (official numbers 1600 MHz CL10)
PSU: Cooler Master V650S
HDD: Samsung 850 EVO SSD 250 GB
Case: BitFenix Prodigy M
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-C14S
Fans: 1 x BitFenix Spectre 120 mm, 1 x Noctua NF-A14 FLX 140 mm
OS: Windows 8.1 64-bit & Linux Mint 17.2 Cinnamon 64-bit

Pros:

-VRM section has a heatsink. It's small, but it's better than nothing.
-Affordable.
-Has the 970 chipset.
-One of the better mATX motherboards with the AM3+ socket. On paper, at least.
-Can apparently handle a Phenom II X6 pretty well.

Cons:

-VRM section generally speaking less than great.
-Could use at least one 4-pin fan connector more.
-USB 3.0 ports likely cannot work at full speed if more than one USB 3.0 device is using the same Etron header. (They can't in Fatal1ty 970, so why would this motherboard do any better?)
-VRM section generaly speaking less than great.
-Did I already mention the VRM section? Anyway, it's why overclocking potential is limited at best.

The VRM section is this motherboard's biggest downfall. It's only 4+1 phases and as a whole it's not something that can be expected to handle power hungry CPUs very well. While the CPU support list mentions CPUs such as the FX-8350, actually using them with this board will likely be risky. I'm hoping the Phenom II is a bit easier to handle, but having overclocked it to 3.8 GHz with a small voltage increase, I may be in the danger zone as well.

It's a bit weird ASRock didn't choose to make this board a bit more high-end. After all, this is pretty much the only mATX board with a 970 chipset, which means they could have easily charged a bit more and build the board with a 6+1 power phase design or at least used a doubler to get 8+2 "phases", like they've done on some other boards. I'm almost certain they wouldn't have lost a single customer. Instead, they might have gained a few more. Having an mATX board that can really handle the CPUs in the CPU support list would have earned ASRock some points in the eyes of enthusiasts.

While I've so far been quite happy with the board (partially due to having a mere Phenom II), it just seems like a missed opportunity to do a much better motherboard with little risk of customers choosing another brand because it's 5$ cheaper. I hope that if and when Zen is published, ASRock will consider making a proper enthusiast's motherboard in the mATX size.
Ryzen 5 1500X, ASRock AB350M Pro4, 2x8 GB G.Skill Trident Z 3466CL16, Sapphire Pulse RX Vega56 8G HBM2, Corsair RM550x, Samsung 960 EVO SSD (NVMe) 250GB, Samsung 850 EVO SSD 500 GB, Windows 10 64-bit
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