Until now, we have met exclusively with expensive representatives of motherboards based on the X570 logic set. They are certainly curious, but interest in them is rather theoretical in nature. In practice, the bulk of consumers with much more attention to cheaper platforms. Despite the fact that AMD itself classifies the new Socket AM4-chipset X570 among the flagship options, manufacturers can offer not only expensive, but also relatively affordable motherboards based on it. Moreover, if we delve into comparing the passport characteristics of X570 boards with fundamentally different price positioning, it suddenly turns out that 700-dollar boards like the recently reviewed ASUS Crosshair VIII Formula are not so much superior to boards with a price of about 200. And if so, is it worth it generally overpay for premium flagship products?
The ASRock X570 Steel Legend motherboard will help us answer this question. This is the popular 200-dollar platform for Ryzen 3000 processors, which ended up in our laboratory. It is with its help that we will try to analyze thoroughly what the buyers of motherboards based on the X570 chipset will lose if they decide not to splurge on expensive motherboards. And although the discussion will focus on a specific offer from ASRock, in fact, the name of the manufacturer almost does not matter here – other manufacturers have similar to the X570 Steel Legend in price and in general similar meaning X570 solutions: ASUS will have TUF Gaming X570-Plus, Gigabyte has X570 Aorus Elite, and MSI has MPG X570 Gaming Edge. All boards in this price range have a fairly predictable list of differences from high-cost products: they lack an abundant RGB-backlight, they use a simpler power supply circuit, there are no comprehensive diagnostic hardware, only one PCI Express x16 slot is connected to the processor, network capabilities are limited the only gigabit controller, and also, most likely, there are some restrictions on the number of SATA and USB ports.
All this, of course, does not look like some catastrophic flaws, but the devil, as you know, is in the details. In this case, such details are design and layout. It’s impossible to distinguish a $ 200 board from more expensive products: it immediately raises a lot of questions regarding usability. On the other hand, layout is for the most part a subjective characteristic. While enthusiasts usually pick up boards with an eye to conducting a variety of tests and experiments, the mass audience is far from similar use cases. Many actually assemble a computer once, and then close it into the case and no longer do optimization or modernization. And in this case, inexpensive boards can become a completely justified and rational choice.
In this review, we will describe in more detail where complications may arise when using the 200-dollar ASRock X570 Steel Legend as a platform for experiments, and try to explain why this is a worthy option for ordinary unpretentious users.
However, a detailed acquaintance with the next board will not be the only storyline of this material. As if confirming the thesis that Socket AM4 is a platform for experiments, AMD recently released a new version of the AGESA libraries 22.214.171.124ABBA, in which they adjusted the frequency formula of Ryzen 3000 processors. As a result, new BIOS versions should increase their operating frequencies and, as a result, performance. At this point, we will also try to pay special attention and, using the ASRock X570 Steel Legend as an example, we can verify that owners of AMD processors can really count on increasing the speed of their systems when updating motherboard firmware.
ASRock has traditionally prepared a wide range of motherboards based on the X570 logic set. Among the mainstream solutions among them are the considered ASRock X570 Steel Legend and X570 Extreme4. In addition, along with this pair there are also cheaper boards on the X570: X570 Phantom Gaming 4 and X570 Pro4. However, it is ASRock X570 Steel Legend that looks among all these alternatives as the golden mean. On the one hand, its price does not bite, and on the other, there are no signs of obvious savings in the characteristics.
Moreover, the X570 Steel Legend is credible even because it uses the same PCB design as the X570 Extreme4, which costs 20% more. At the same time, the “steel” board contains all the necessary elements of the cooling system, including two radiators on the VRM and heat dissipation plates on the M.2 slots. Also in her favor is the fact that the element base of the board is composed of high-quality and well-proven controllers: network Intel I211AT and sound Realtek ALC1220. In other words, if you look at the characteristics table, you get the feeling that the ASRock X570 Steel Legend is a very worthy choice for a robust mid-level Ryzen system.