TLDR: As one of now three mini-itx Ryzen motherboard options, the Asrock AB350 Gaming-ITX rises to the top of the heap. WIth rock solid performance, and an excellent feature set, it is hard to beat.
Ryzen is starting to mature as a platform, and with that maturation comes more mini-itx motherboards. I used the Biostar X370GTN in my first Ryzen build and wasn’t impressed.
Now Asrock has released their Fatality AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac motherboard. Is it any good? Lets find out.
Asrock AB350 Specifications
|CPU SUPPORT||AMD AM4 A-Series, Ryzen|
|CHIPSET||AMD Promontory B350|
|MEMORY SUPPORT||Dual Channel DDR4|
up to 3466MHz(OC)
up to 32GB Max
|Wireless||Intel Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi|
|LAN||Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s|
|PCIE||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16|
|POWER||8-Pin, 8-Phase Delivery|
|AUDIO||7.1 Channel Realtek ALC1220|
|DIMENSIONS||6.7″ x 6.7″ (170.18mm x 170.18mm)|
The board has a fairly standard layout, featuring all typical connectors you would expect. What sets it apart a bit, is the inclusion of 3 PWM fan headers, and 2 RGB headers. For a mini-itx motherboard, this is excellent. One of the fan headers is even located near the PCI-e slot towards the bottom of the board, making it easier to place fans throughout your case.
Unlike most mini-itx motherboards, all of the SATA connectors are located on the front side. This won’t be a problem for most people, but with some case layouts like the NFC S4 Mini it could be problematic.
Rear Ports & IO
- 2 Antenna Ports
- 1 PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
- 2 HDMI Ports
- 1 Optical SPDIF Out Port
- 2 USB 2.0 Ports
- 1 USB 3.0 Type-A Port
- 1 USB 3.0 Type-C Port
- 2 USB 3.0 Ports
- 1 LAN Port with LED
The rear IO is the only place where this motherboard really leaves something to be desired. It has 6 USB ports, however two of them are USB 2.0. The type-C port isn’t even USB 3.1. I found the lack of USB 3.1 to be an odd omission, especially when it is almost standard these days.
The included Intel WiFi/Bluetooth module is a 433Mbps unit. With the more expensive X370 version of this motherboard you get a faster 800Mbps module.
Asrock Fatality Gaming BIOS
Asrock has done a really nice job with their UEFI. The Fatality Gaming BIOS is one of the best in the business. It has a practical layout, with common sense feature descriptions. The only company doing it better at this point would be Asus with their ROG Strix BIOS.
BIOS Overclock Settings
If you jump over to the OC Tweaker tab you will find the CPU and RAM overclock controls. Overclocking your components couldn’t be any simpler. Both offer manual and auto controls.
For CPU’s you can adjust the core clock, and voltage. I was able to achieve a stable overclock of 3.9GHz with a Ryzen 7 1700 at 1.39V. The board handles overclocking very well unlike the other two mini-itx Ryzen boards currently on the market.
|CPU||OC Speed||OC Voltage|
|Ryzen 7 1700||3.9GHz||1.395V|
The RAM control allows you to manually manage the clock speed and timings. It also has an auto timing feature. So if you up the RAM frequency, the motherboard will adjust your timings automatically. It took my Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000MHz kit from 15-16-16-35, to 16-17-17-36 when I raised the speed to 3200MHz.
|RAM||OC Speed||OC Timings|
|Corsair Vengeance LPX||3200MHz||16-17-17-36|
A hot topic when it comes to Ryzen AM4 motherboards has been VRM temperatures. Both the Biostar and Gigabyte mini-itx AM4 offerings reportedly have struggles cooling their respective VRM’s when overclocking.
Unfortunately Asrock did not include VRM temperature sensors with this board. While I don’t have a laser thermometer yet, I can confirm that to the touch there does not appear to be a cooling issue. The Biostar VRM’s were noticeably hot when touched while overclocked. This board does not seem to have the same issue. I will update this section once I get a proper IR thermometer.
Asrock did a really good job with the AB350. It has almost every feature you would want from a mini-itx motherboard. Including an excellent easy to use BIOS, and rock solid CPU/RAM overclocking.
Some of you may see this next to its more expensive brother the X370 Gaming-ITX. The only difference between the two is the chipset, and WiFi module. The chipset difference is largely irrelevant since mini-itx motherboards only have one PCI-e GPU slot.
At this point, the Asrock Fatality AB350 Gaming-ITX is the mini-its Ryzen motherboard to beat.
For more info the video review above shows board layout, BIOS settings, overclocking and fan control settings.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 1700|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-L9a|
|RAM||32GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000MHz|
|HDD||Samsung 960 EVO 256GB|
|GPU||Zotac GTX 1060 Mini|
|Power Brick||HP 230W|