Over the previous couple of months, we’ve reviewed all types of motherboards supporting Intel’s newest Alder Lake-based processors. We’ve coated flagships and halo merchandise on the Z690 fanatic chipset to extra budget-conscious choices on the B660 chipset. At the moment we’ll present how the entry-level H610 chipset fares with a flagship-class CPU. Whereas many will say that it’s not honest to place such an costly processor on a cheap-as-they come board, all these boards record help for our Intel i9-12900K. We’ll evaluate options and specs amongst our three examined boards (Asus Prime H610M-A D4, Gigabyte H610M S2H DDR4, and MSI Professional H610M-G DDR4) and see how these MicroATX choices carry out with a power-hungry chip.
The H610 chipset makes use of a cut-down model of B660 and the enthusiast-class Z690 chipsets. The place the higher-end choices get you overclocking, PCIe 5.0 functionality and a slew of PCIe lanes and USB connectivity, H610 pares that down, so that you’re restricted to much less of nearly every thing. From DMI lanes (eight to 4) to USB port pace (no 20 Gbps ports), reminiscence channels (twin to single) and networking (2.5 to 1 GbE), there’s merely much less to go round. The adjustments below the hood quantity to fewer USB ports, fewer M.2 sockets, and fewer bandwidth usually. With this, although, the value drops considerably in comparison with the opposite chipsets. However you lose all overclocking capability too, even the reminiscence overclocking that’s on provide with B660 boards. For extra data on the Intel chipsets, see the desk under and our article protecting the variations in additional element.
Intel Z690, H670, B660, H610 Specs
|P & E-Core & BCLK Overclocking||Sure||No||No||No|
|System Reminiscence Channels Supported||2||2||2||2 (1 DIMM per channel)|
|DMI 4.0 Lanes||8||8||4||4|
|Chipset PCIe 4.0 Lanes||As much as 12||As much as 12||As much as 6||N/A|
|Chipset PCIe 3.0 Lanes||As much as 16||As much as 12||As much as 8||8|
|SATA 3.0 (6 Gb/s) Ports||As much as 8||As much as 8||4||4|
|Complete USB 2 Ports||14||14||12||10|
|USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20G)||4||2||2||N/A|
|USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 (10G)||10||4||4||2|
|USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 (5G)||10||8||8||4|
|Intel Speedy Storage Know-how 19.x||Sure||Sure||Sure||Sure|
|PCIe Storage Help||Sure||Sure||Sure||Sure|
|PCIe RAID 0,1,5 Help||Sure||Sure||No||No|
|Built-in Intel Wi-Fi 6E (Gig+)||Sure||Sure||Sure||Sure|
Efficiency throughout these three boards utilizing a flagship-class processor was in every single place, relying on the take a look at. For essentially the most half, any long-running, closely multi-threaded assessments had been usually slower than B660 and Z690, because of the reminiscence configuration and BIOS limits (MSI limits energy draw to 110W, for instance) or the VRMs overheating throughout stress testing. Efficiency in our sport testing was good, however the MSI board was a bit slower than the remainder. The in need of it’s this: If you would like 100% out of your H610 system on a regular basis, it’s finest to make use of a CPU comparable to an i5-12600, which runs at a 65W base with 117W turbo (versus our chip that runs 125W/241W and throttles for numerous causes), in any other case, in some capability, these boards forestall full efficiency in sure conditions.
Within the following pages, we’ll have a look at all three boards and deal with options, specs, and efficiency in additional element to see what these sub $120 MicroATX motherboards can do in our testing suite. None of those will compete with the Z690 or B660 boards on our finest motherboards record, however if you happen to don’t plan on overclocking and will likely be utilizing an applicable chip for this class of board, these cheap H610 choices are an effective way to get into Alder Lake, although there are limitations. Let’s check out these boards in depth, beginning in the beginning of the alphabet with the Asus Prime H610M-A D4.
Specs: Asus Prime H610M-A D4
|Voltage Regulator||8 Section (7x MOSFETs for Vcore)|
|Video Ports||(1) HDMI (v2.1)|
|(1) DisplayPort (v1.4)|
|USB Ports||(2) USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)|
|(4) USB 2.0 (480 Mbps)|
|Community Jacks||(1) GbE|
|Audio Jacks||(3) Analog|
|Legacy Ports/Jacks||(2) PS/2|
|PCIe x16||(1) v4.0 (x16)|
|PCIe x1||(1) v3.0 (x1)|
|DIMM slots||(2) DDR4 3200, 64GB Capability|
|M.2 slots||(1) PCIe 3.0 x4 (32 Gbps), PCIe (as much as 80mm)|
|(1) PCIe 3.0 x2 (8 Gbps), PCIe (as much as 80mm)|
|(1) Key-E for CNVI Wi-Fi|
|SATA Ports||(4) SATA3 6 Gbps|
|USB Headers||(1) USB v3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)|
|(2) USB v2.0 (480 Mbps)|
|Fan/Pump Headers||(3) 4-Pin (CPU, Chassis)|
|RGB Headers||(3) aRGB Gen 2 (3-pin)|
|(2) AURA RGB (4-pin)|
|Ethernet Controller(s)||Intel I219-V (1 Gbps)|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||✗|
|HD Audio Codec||Realtek ALC897|
|DDL/DTS||✗ / ✗|
Contained in the Field of the Asus Prime H610M-A D4
Contained in the field, together with the motherboard, Asus features a small set of equipment together with a pair SATA cables, the IO defend, and extra. In contrast to the costlier boards, the accent stacks for these include simply the fundamentals. Under is a whole record of the included extras.
- (2) SATA cables
- I/O defend
- M.2 screw package deal
- Help DVD
- Person Information
- ACC Specific activation key card
Design of the Prime H610M-A D4
The Prime H610M-A D4’s design, just like the others in its class, is straightforward in comparison with Z690 and most B660-based boards. A black PCB provides solution to a number of white traces that meander their method across the board. The left VRM financial institution has a small silver heatsink on, it as does the chipset. Bbut in any other case, that’s all you’ll discover by way of design prospers. None of those boards are made to point out off, however at this value level, giant heatsinks and shrouds that cowl costlier boards simply aren’t a factor.
In case your construct plans require RGB lighting, the Prime H610M doesn’t have any built-in, however does have a number of headers so you’ll be able to add some lights to your case. Management over the LEDs occurs by way of the Asus Aura software program.
Beginning with the highest half and the left facet, we see the entire rear I/O uncovered as this board doesn’t include a flowery shroud or giant VRM heatsink to cowl it up. The silver VRM heatsink is small and hopefully does the job of holding these low-powered VRMs operating inside specification (we’ll see of that’s true in testing later). Simply above is a single 8-pin EPS connector (required) to energy the CPU.
To the correct of the socket, we run into two unreinforced, single-side locking DRAM slots that help as much as 64GB. Reminiscence help is listed as much as DDR4 3200, which is the utmost inventory specification for the platform. In contrast to B660, you can’t overclock the reminiscence on H610, so it’s finest to get DDR4 3200 on the tightest timings for finest outcomes.
Sitting subsequent to the DRAM slots are two (of three) 4-pin fan headers. Every fan header helps each PWM- and DC-controlled gadgets and may output as much as 1A/12W. Three fan headers aren’t so much, however this shouldn’t be a difficulty contemplating these techniques usually use low-powered gadgets that don’t want as a lot cooling and airflow.
Alongside the correct fringe of the board, we run into the primary of 5 RGB headers. On this space are two out of the three ARGB 3-pin headers, whereas we discover the others (2x 4-pin RGB and the opposite ARGB) alongside the underside fringe of the board. We run into the 24-pin EPS connector to energy the board and a front-panel USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) header as we work our method down towards the center.
The Prime has an 8-phase VRM with seven phases devoted to Vcore. In contrast to its costlier B660 and Z690 counterparts, the excessive/low parts are usually not mixed (which additionally saves on value), so every part has two ICs. Energy comes from the 8-pin connector to a ASP2100 10-channel controller and is shipped on to the 50A Vishay SiRA14 MOSFETs on the excessive facet and 25A Vishay SiRA12 on the low facet. Though this implementation is weak, it must be sufficient to energy most chips within the Alder Lake lineup with out throttling (although not our i9-12900K in stress testing).
On the underside half of the board, the entire bits are absolutely uncovered – no faraday cages, shrouds, or heatsinks right here, which retains prices low. We see the Realtek ALC897 codec on the left facet, together with 4 yellow audio caps and a visual audio separation line. Whereas this audio resolution is a few generations outdated, most customers ought to discover it ok. In case you really care about pristine audio it’s best to go for a higher-end board or a great set of audio system with their very own built-in DAC. Simply above the audio part is a Key-E slot for a CNVi-based Wi-Fi card (not included).
A few M.2 sockets and PCIe slots take up area in the midst of the board. The highest full-length PCIe slot runs at PCIe 4.0 x16, which is loads of bandwidth even for a high-end graphics card. You’ll be aware none of those boards, and the H610 chipset usually, help PCIe 5.0. The x1 slot on the backside helps PCIe 3.0 x1 from the chipset.
Positioned simply on high of the first graphics card slot is the primary M.2 socket. This one helps as much as 80mm modules and runs as much as PCIe 3.0 x4 (32 Gbps) mode. The second slot helps the identical 80 mm measurement, however bandwidth cuts again to PCIe 3.0 x2 (16 Gbps) mode. In comparison with B660 and Z690, that is restricted, so be certain you aren’t overbuying efficiency on storage. The board can’t help the speeds of the quicker PCIe 4.0 drives. It’s additionally price noting that this board doesn’t help SATA-based M.2 modules. So be certain you may have a PCIe Gen 3 SSD, a SATA 2.5-inch drive or – gaspt – a spinning-platter laborious drive.
Alongside the underside edge are a number of headers for connectivity and RGB lighting, together with 4 SATA ports. There’s no lane sharing between M.2 and SATA, so you’ll be able to run with every thing populated with out dropping a port or bandwidth. Under is a whole record of all of the headers throughout the underside of the board.
- Entrance panel audio
- SPDIF out
- (2) 4-pin ARGB headers
- 3-pin RGB header
- (2) USB 2.0 header
- (4) SATA ports
- Entrance panel header
Flipping the board round to the rear IO, you’ll see all of the ports and plugs of their glory, for the reason that IO plate doesn’t come preinstalled. The included IO plate is straightforward, only a skinny piece of aluminum with labels stamped on the steel. Nonetheless, it would shut the holes and determine ports nearly as good because the preinstalled plates with graphics on them.
Working left to proper, we first run into legacy PS/2 ports, one for a mouse and a second for a keyboard – this board is ideal if you happen to’ve been holding onto a set of peripherals since 1996. Subsequent to that could be a video stack that features D-SUB, HDMI (v2.1) and DisplayPort (v1.4) outputs to be used with a processor that features built-in video. There are six USB ports; two USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) and 4 USB 2.0 (480 Mbps). The decrease USB depend is typical of the H610 boards, so be certain six are sufficient. Above a set of USB 2.0 ports is the Intel GbE port, whereas subsequent to it’s the area for a CNVi Wi-Fi card, must you select to purchase and set up one. Lastly, the audio stack on the correct consists of three analog ports.
Asus’ Prime H610M-A D4 BIOS must be acquainted to those that ran Prime boards within the current previous. The Prime’s black and light-blue/white theme persists, as does the benefit of motion by way of the UEFI. It’s loaded with choices and menus, although essentially the most often accessed gadgets are simply accessible and never buried a number of layers down. There’s additionally a straightforward mode that’s extra of a dashboard with restricted performance. We’re a fan of the Asus BIOS and its logical structure. It has every thing you want, after which some, to tweak your motherboard and part settings (although no overclocking on H610). If you wish to know tips on how to entry your BIOS (from any system), we may also help!
Asus has functions designed for numerous features, starting from RGB lighting management, audio, system monitoring, overclocking and extra. As an alternative of plodding by way of every utility as if it adjustments for every overview, we’ll seize a number of screenshots of some main utilities. On this case, right here’s a have a look at Ai Suite 3, Armoury Crate, Sonic Studio and the Realtek Audio utility.
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