ASRock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac Review: Small Wonder

Motherboard makers love to load up tiny boards with big-model-number chipsets, but those boards often lack the bonus features that would have made the big chipset worthwhile. The Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac takes the opposite approach, offering most of the features of AMD’s low-cost chipset while retaining the overclockability associated with high-end motherboard models.

Specifications

Socket

AM4

Chipset

AMD B450

Form Factor

Mini-ITX

Voltage Regulator

8 Phases

Video Ports

DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0

USB Ports

10Gbps: (1) Type-C, (1) Type-A
5Gb/s: (2) Type-A, (2) USB 2.0

Network Jacks

Gigabit Ethernet, (2) Wi-Fi antenna

Audio Jacks

(5) Analog, (1) Digital out

Legacy Ports / Jacks

(1) PS/2

Other Ports / Jack

PCIe x16

(1) V3.0 (x16, Raven Ridge at x8)

PCIe x8

PCIe x4

PCIe x1

CrossFire / SLI

✗ / ✗

DIMM slots

(2) DDR4

M.2 slots

(1) PCIe 3.0 x4 / SATA

U.2 Ports

SATA Ports

(4) 6Gb/s

USB Headers

(1) v3.0, (1) v2.0, (1) AMD LED fan

Fan Headers

(3) 4-Pin

Legacy Interfaces

System (beep-code) speaker

Other Interfaces

FP-Audio
AMD LED fan (RGB)
Addressable LED

Diagnostics Panel

Internal Button / Switch

✗ / ✗

SATA Controllers

Integrated (0/1/5/10)

Ehternet Controllers

WGI211AT PCIe

Wi-Fi / Bluetooth

Intel 3168 802.11ac (433mb/s) / BT 4.2 Combo

USB Controllers

HD Audio Codec
ALC1220
DDL / DTS Connect
Warranty

Three Years

Layout & Features

AMD’s B450 chipset appears to be an almost-perfect fit for compact gaming motherboards, since its reduced PCIe pathway count doesn’t impact the PCIe 3.0 lanes fed directly from the CPU to the single x16 slot and four-lane NVME interface. So much of the AM4 platform is fed directly by the CPU that we could almost say “Why even bother adding the B450?” if not for the SATA ports and network controllers connected there.

The B450 Gaming-ITX/ac hammers home the above point by using only two of the B450’s PCIe lanes to connect Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi controllers. The B450 also adds two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, located on the I/O panel.

The B450 Gaming-ITX/ac targets gamers specifically, so we power users probably shouldn’t complain too much that the I/O panel is sparsely populated with USB despite the platform’s combination of four CPU-based and two B450-based USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. ASRock probably wanted more cooling space for the voltage regulator--or at least this is what I told myself as I counted the ports on the front-panel header and found that just four out of the six USB ports were USB 3.0. But the inclusion of two USB 2.0 ports on the I/O panel is no insult since keyboards and mice can’t use a higher-bandwidth standard anyway, and we won’t knock the space consumed by DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0, since ASRock is also marketing the board to APU gamers. That’s right, the B450 Gaming-ITX/ac’s overclocking power could potentially be harnessed to an APU for the ultimate cheapskate gaming build.

Users also get a PS/2 port for legacy peripherals, a Gigabit Ethernet port driven by Intel’s PCIe-based i211AT controller, five analog audio ports served by Realtek’s ALC1220 high-end codec, a digital optical audio output and two Wi-Fi antenna jacks connected to an Intel 433Mb/s Key-E module on a riser bracket.


The B450 Gaming-ITX/ac’s surface features an eight-phase (6+2) voltage regulator with an 8-pin power connector at the rear, its latch exposed between I/O panel connectors. Addressable LED, a 4-pin USB, RGBW (labeled AMD_Fan_LED) and a 4-pin CPU fan header are at the top, behind the DIMM slots. Another 4-pin fan header is positioned in front of the DIMMs. Below that are the 24-pin power header, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 front-panel headers, four SATA ports, the LPC (low pin count) bus and front-panel button/LED ports. The front-panel audio and beep-code speaker headers are toward the rear of the board, above its PCIe x16 slot.

Located on the board’s underside, its sole M.2 storage interface supports both PCIe x4 (NVMe) and SATA-interface SSDs.

The B450 Gaming-ITX/ac’s installation kit features an I/O shield, two SATA cables, two Wi-Fi antennae, a driver disc and printed documentation, which includes a very thorough manual and a software guide.

MORE: Best Motherboards

MORE: How To Choose A Motherboard

MORE: All Motherboard Content

Create a new thread in the UK Article comments forum about this subject
No comments yet
Comment from the forums
    Your comment