Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Our In-Depth MSI X470 GAMING M7 AC Review for 2018

MSI has seen its ups and downs, but when it comes to this particular motherboard, they have done a pretty good job. While most people complain about the plain aesthetics and lack of flashy shrouds and colors, the performance properties are very similar to any other x470 chipset coming from different vendors.

In other words, if you’re aiming for a performance boost within the different x470 chips, there’s no need to, they are very similar to each other. On the other hand, if you’re looking for subtlety and immense overclocking capabilities, you’re looking at the right product.

Take a moment and check this MSI X470 GAMING M7 AC review out if you have a dilemma of whether or not to invest in such technology (or see our full list of AM4 motherboards here). As x470 isn’t a mandatory upgrade from the x370 chipset, the minor differences are what is going to make or break it for you (you can learn more about their differences here).
product image of MSI X470 GAMING M7 AC on a white background


Supported CPUs – AMD RYZEN Desktop Processors and AMD A-series / Athlon Processors for socket AM4

Memory compatibility – DDR4 1866/ 2133/ 2400/ 2667(OC)/ 2933(OC)/ 3200(OC)/ 3600+ MHz, 64GB max, Dual-Channel support, 4x DIMM slots

Multi GPU support

  • 2-way Nvidia SLI
  • 3-way AMD CrossFire
  • 2x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots
  • 1x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot
  • 3x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots

Audio features

  • 1-channel High Definition Audio
  • S/PDIF output is supported

Rear IO

  • Clear CMOS Button
  • PS/2 Gaming Device Port
  • USB 3.1 Gen1 Ports
  • Intel WiFi/ Bluetooth Module
  • USB 3.1 Gen1 Ports
  • Killer E2500 Gigabit LAN
  • HD Audio Connectors
  • USB 2.0 Port
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A+C
  • Optical S/PDIF-Out

REAR IO of MSI X470 GAMING M7 AC model

Features and Notes

If you’re familiar with this particular chipset and have seen models from other vendors, then this list of features and notes is probably going to be pretty anticlimactic. However, that doesn’t mean that these innovative features don’t deserve mention.

Taking a look at the bottom-right side of this motherboard, one can see a couple of interesting features. First of all, the power/reset button is quite useful in case you’re benchmarking or using the motherboard outside of the case. The post-code display is neither particularly innovative nor new, but it’s definitely an appreciated addition.

There are also buttons that automatically overclock your Ryzen CPU to preset settings, but if you’re buying this motherboard, there is a high possibility that you’ll overclock manually. IO offers a decent amount of options including two Wi-Fi ports, four USB 3.1 ports, two USB 2.0, two 3.1 Gen-2 ports, one type-A, and one type-C port. Clear CMOS and BIOS flash buttons are also included for user’s convenience.

Advantages and shortcomings

The thing this motherboard does the best is – overclocking. Managing VRM temperatures under heavy loads is its main selling point. Therefore, while it “lacks” aesthetics, it definitely makes up for it in the overclocking department. Luckily, heat dissipation has also been thoroughly considered by MSI and is therefore at a pretty admirable level.

image of MSI X470 GAMING M7 AC

As for the downsides, the only thing most people complain about is the premium price of this board. It may not be the best possible investment for someone who is not going to use its full potential, but if you’re an avid enthusiast, the x470 chipset is a must-have.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Our In-Depth ROG Strix X470-I Gaming Review

The X470 chipset has become one of the go-to chipsets for overclocking as well as a synonym for stability. There are plenty of variations out there coming from different vendors, but most of them aren’t as different from each other as one would imagine. The ROG Strix X470-I Gaming is a Mini ITX form factor motherboard with plenty of useful features and it’s made of high-quality components.

This motherboard is a great solution for people who are looking to upgrade their machine with a Ryzen processor and use its full potential. On top of that, it comes with comprehensive software and it’s more user-friendly than most others on the market. Therefore, whether you’re an avid gamer or an occasional user, the X470-I Gaming would probably be a pretty good choice.


Supported CPUs:

  • AMD AM4 Socket AMD Ryzen™ 2nd Generation/Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Vega Graphics/Ryzen™ 1st Generation/7th Generation A-series/Athlon X4 Processors

Chipset: X470

Memory compatibility:

  • 2X DDR4 DIMM slots
  • Dual-channel architecture
  • Max capacity – 32GB
  • Frequency – Up to 3600Mhz with Ryzen 2nd generation CPU, 3400Mhz with Ryzen 1st generation CPU, 2400/2133 Mhz with AMD 7th generation A-series processors


  • ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A
  • Dual OP Amplifiers
  • Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
  • Supports: Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
  • High-quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input
  • Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback

Exclusive features:

  • ROG RAMCache II
  • Overwolf
  • GameFirst IV

picture of ROG Strix X470-I Gaming with a logoFeatures and notes

The first thing people should be aware of is the form factor. While it’s not technically a feature per se, it’s definitely worth mentioning as it is one of the most common misconceptions people fall victim to. In other words, make sure you have an appropriate case before ordering this motherboard.

The rear IO consists of an HDMI port, four USB 3.1 Gen-1 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen-2, an Intel Gigabit Ethernet port, two Wi-Fi ports, and standard audio jacks. Furthermore, RGB lighting is available but not as dominant as one might expect. There are two lighting zones available, one on the back of the board and one on the M.2 heatsink. Speaking of M.2, most people are quite surprised by the improvement in speeds and data transfer thanks to heat dissipation. In other words, even though most people think cooling is quite gimmicky nowadays, it’s actually relevant and useful apart from being aesthetically pleasing.

Advantages and shortcomings

One of the great advantages of this motherboard is its compactness combined with the sheer quality of the included components. ASUS is a pretty well-known and thus well-respected brand in this industry meaning you can rest assured that they offer a well-engineered piece of hardware. The X470-I Gaming isn’t flashy nor over-engineered, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy investment. As far as the disadvantages go, we would have liked seeing a RAM capacity greater than 32GB, but it’s definitely not a deal-breaker by any means. The price is reasonable, although it’s somewhat premium.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

AMD’s Infinity Fabric and Why you Should Care About it

The modern technology keeps evolving on a daily basis and keeps bringing new and innovative things to the table, especially when there are two major competitors on the scene. AMD has been manufacturing revolutionary chips for quite a while now, and they are definitely not afraid to come up with new solutions for everyday problems most people are facing.

The AMD Infinity fabric is an architecture that facilitates data transmission across all linked components. Now, if this definition sounds too complex for you, the simplified version of it is – The infinity fabric is a true successor of AMD’s obsolete HyperTransport technology.

Things you should know about Infinity Fabric technology

Without going into very specific details, we can construct a comprehensive guide to why this technology is important for the performance of existing as well as upcoming chips.

Basically, this particular technology helps with tying different pieces together whether it’s data links in AMD APUs or linking different CPU cores together more efficiently than before. At this moment it’s featured on AMD’s lates AM4 and TR4 sockets.

Many people are confused by the fact that memory speed matters so much with Ryzen processors. For example, the cores in the Ryzen 7 are divided into two CCXs. For data to cross from one CCX to the other, it needs to go across something that’s called Infinity fabric. The mentioned Infinity Fabric does not operate at the same speed as your processor, but rather it operates at the same clock speeds used by your memory. By this logic, if you wish to transfer data faster from one CCX to another, you’ll need higher memory clocks.

AMD Infinity fabricHowever, the main concern here is how much of an effect different memory speeds have on data transfers. It turns out judging by the benchmarks that as long as your memory can hit 2667Mhz or 2800Mhz, it should perform well in conjunction with the Infinity fabric technology. The most interesting thing here is that higher clocks than 2800MHz don’t yield significantly better results. In other words, the difference between 2800MHz and, for example, 3000+ Mhz is negligible as far as the performance, or rather, the usability of Infinity fabric goes.

What does this mean for future developments?

As expected, the new technology opens many doors towards performance improvements. Faster data transfer is definitely the main advantage of this particular technology, even though it’s not fully developed. Not that it isn’t fully developed per se, but there is a lot of potential that hasn’t been utilized yet, or rather, hasn’t been available for the general public.

On the other hand, what we have is more than enough to cause a significant leap in performance, especially in comparison to older technologies such as AMD’s HyperTransport.

The design itself consists of two parts – Scalable Data Fabric (SDF) and Scalable Control Fabric (SCF). The SCF is responsible for security and power management whereas the SDF is responsible for tying the memory and components together. By this logic, the SDF must have low latency in order to minimize the effects of inter-core data exchange. According to AMD, the SDF can scale up to 64 cores.

When it comes to the difference between Intel’s Ring Bus and Infinity fabric, some things are worth pointing out. In lieu of explaining this in a very technical manner, it’s probably better that we oversimplify things in order to make it clearer to the average Joe.

The Ring Bus technology utilizes a dual ring bus style of design in which all cores, as well as cache, are connected in a single ring so that data can travel from one core to another faster. It’s very similar to a traffic circle or a roundabout. The problem here is scaling as it is quite hard to make a bigger “roundabout” within the technology without making fundamental changes.

Infinity fabric works in a similar way, but instead of data being contained within a single circle, it puts all the connected devices into a single massive block of connections. Following the aforementioned traffic analogy, we can say that this technology is more like a big intersection with a police officer in the middle controlling the traffic. As you can imagine, it’s much easier to add new roads to the existing intersection instead of building roundabouts over and over again.

AMD infinity fabric presentationTherefore, the scalability issue is solved thanks to the mentioned block of connection. For example, if AMD wants to add more cores to their existing technology, they can do it without going through hassles such as building a new architecture. The design flaw here is the amount of latency between each CCX in the CPU. As we said, RAM frequency mitigates this issue, at least for now.

What makes this particular concept different from Intel’s ring technology is that all cores and cache are connected to each other by a unique pathway instead of having to share/use a universal one. This makes manufacturing chips with more cores significantly cheaper to make and implement in new technologies.

Why should I care about this?

If you’re just a regular user, then there probably isn’t much you should worry about whether you’re on the Intel’s side or AMD’s. However, if you’re an avid enthusiast, the existence of Infinity fabric should allow you to experience better performance during heavy tasks, especially the ones that require multi threading.

It’s not like it hasn’t been tested yet. Ryzen has shown a great performance as well as good stability, especially when performing tasks that cause a heavy load which thus increases the latency between chips.

Judging by the current state of the IT market, we should start seeing more and more of these innovations hitting the consumers thanks to the relatively low costs of manufacturing and production. Of course, the battle between Intel and AMD is far from being over, but one cannot deny the usefulness of the said clash as it motivates both parties to work extensively on new technologies.

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