ASRock X570 Steel Legend Motherboard Review
Introduction & Motherboard Overview
Released as part of ASRock’s AMD X570 product line, the X570 Steel Legend offers support for the latest AMD Ryzen 3000 series processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory running at up to 3200MHz speeds in stock configuration. The board features full RGB support integrated into it’s armored surface with active cooling provided for the X570 chipset integrated into the hybrid chipset / M.2 device overlay. Further, ASRock integrated PCIe 4.0 slot support into the board’s dual PCIe x16 slots for support of the latest in graphics technologies.
Courtesy of ASRock
- Supports AMD AM4 Socket Ryzen™ 2000 and 3000 Series processors
- 10 Power Phase Design
- Supports DDR4 4666+ (OC)
- 2 PCIe 4.0 x16, 3 PCIe 4.0 x1, 1 M.2(Key E) For WiFi
- AMD Quad CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™
- Graphics Output Options: HDMI, DisplayPort
- 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec), Nichicon Audio Caps
- 8 SATA3, 1 Hyper M.2 (PCIe Gen4 x4 & SATA3), 1 Hyper M.2 (PCIe Gen4 x4)
- 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 (Rear Type A+C), 10 USB 3.2 Gen1 (4 Front, 6 Rear)
- Intel® Gigabit LAN
- ASRock Polychrome SYNC
Taken from the ASRock website
– Supports AMD AM4 socket Ryzen™ 2000 and 3000 series processors
– Intersil Digital PWM
– 10 Power Phase design
|Chipset||– AMD X570|
– Dual Channel DDR4 Memory Technology
– 4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
– AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Matisse) support DDR4 4666+(OC) / 4400(OC) / 4300(OC) / 4266(OC) / 4200(OC) / 4133(OC) / 4000(OC) / 3866(OC) / 3800(OC) / 3733(OC) / 3600(OC) / 3466(OC) / 3200/2933/2667/2400/2133 ECC & non-ECC, un-buffered memory*
– AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Pinnacle Ridge) support DDR4 3600+(OC) / 3466(OC) / 3200(OC) / 2933/2667/2400/2133 ECC & non-ECC, un-buffered memory*
– AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Picasso) support DDR4 3466+(OC) / 3200(OC) / 2933/2667/2400/2133 non-ECC, un-buffered memory*
– Max. capacity of system memory: 128GB**
– 15µ Gold Contact in DIMM Slots
*For Ryzen Series CPUs (Picasso), ECC is only supported with PRO CPUs.
**Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® 32-bit OS. For Windows® 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.
ASRock USB 3.2 Gen2
– ASRock USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A Port (10 Gb/s)
– ASRock USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C Port (10 Gb/s)
ASRock Super Alloy
– XXL Aluminum Alloy Heatsink
– Premium 60A Power Choke
– 50A Dr.MOS
– Premium Memory Alloy Choke (Reduces 70% core loss compared to iron powder choke)
– Combo Caps (Nichicon 12K Black Caps)
– Nichicon 12K Black Caps (100% Japan made high quality conductive polymer capacitors)
– I/O Armor
– Matte Black PCB
– High Density Glass Fabric PCB
– 2oz Copper PCB
ASRock Steel Slot Gen4
ASRock Full Coverage M.2 Heatsink
ASRock Hyper M.2 (PCIe Gen4x4 & SATA3)
ASRock Ultra USB Power
ASRock POST Status Checker (PSC)
ASRock Full Spike Protection (for all USB, Audio, LAN Ports)
ASRock Live Update & APP Shop
– 256Mb AMI UEFI Legal BIOS with GUI support
– Supports “Plug and Play”
– ACPI 5.1 compliance wake up events
– Supports jumperfree
– SMBIOS 2.3 support
– CPU, CPU VDDCR_SOC, DRAM, VPPM, PREM VDD_CLDO, PERM VDDCR_SOC, +1.8V, VDDP Voltage Multi-adjustment
– Integrated AMD Radeon™ Vega Series Graphics in Ryzen Series APU*
– DirectX 12, Pixel Shader 5.0
– Shared memory default 2GB. Max Shared memory supports up to 16GB.**
– Dual graphics output: support HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2 ports by independent display controllers
– Supports HDMI 2.0 with max. resolution up to 4K x 2K (4096×2160) @ 60Hz
– Supports DisplayPort 1.2 with max. resolution up to 4K x 2K (4096×2160) @ 60Hz
– Supports Auto Lip Sync, Deep Color (12bpc), xvYCC and HBR (High Bit Rate Audio) with HDMI 2.0 Ports (Compliant HDMI monitor is required)
– Supports HDR (High Dynamic Range) with HDMI 2.0
– Supports HDCP 2.2 with HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 Ports
– Supports 4K Ultra HD (UHD) playback with HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 Ports
– Supports Microsoft® PlayReady
*Actual support may vary by CPU
**The Max shared memory 16GB requires 32GB system memory installed.
– 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec)
– Premium Blu-ray Audio support
– Supports Surge Protection
– Supports Purity Sound™ 4
– Nichicon Fine Gold Series Audio Caps
– NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier for Front Panel Audio Connector (Supports up to 600 Ohm headsets)
– Pure Power-In
– Direct Drive Technology
– PCB isolate shielding
– Impedance Sensing on Rear Out port
– Individual PCB Layers for R/L Audio Channel
– Gold Audio Jacks
– 15µ Gold Audio Connector
– Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
– GigaLAN Intel® I211AT
– Supports Wake-On-LAN
– Supports Lightning/ESD Protection
– Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
– Supports PXE
AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Matisse)
– 2 x PCI Express 4.0 x16 Slots (single at x16 (PCIE1); dual at x16 (PCIE1) / x4 (PCIE4))*
AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Pinnacle Ridge)
– 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slots (single at x16 (PCIE1); dual at x16 (PCIE1) / x4 (PCIE4))*
AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Picasso)
– 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slots (single at x8 (PCIE1); dual at x8 (PCIE1) / x4 (PCIE4))*
– 3 x PCI Express 4.0 x1 Slots
– Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™
– 1 x M.2 Socket (Key E), supports type 2230 WiFi/BT module
– 15µ Gold Contact in VGA PCIe Slot (PCIE1)
*Supports NVMe SSD as boot disks
– 8 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s Connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 10), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug
– 1 x Hyper M.2 Socket (M2_1), supports M Key type 2230/2242/2260/2280 M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen4x4 (64 Gb/s) (with Matisse) or Gen3x4 (32 Gb/s) (with Pinnacle Ridge and Picasso)*
– 1 x Hyper M.2 Socket (M2_2), supports M Key type 2230/2242/2260/2280/22110 M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen4x4 (64 Gb/s)*
*Supports NVMe SSD as boot disks
Supports ASRock U.2 Kit
– 1 x SPI TPM Header
– 1 x Power LED and Speaker Header
– 1 x AMD Fan LED Header*
– 1 x RGB LED Header**
– 1 x Addressable LED Header***
– 1 x CPU Fan Connector (4-pin)****
– 1 x CPU/Water Pump Fan Connector (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)*****
– 4 x Chassis/Water Pump Fan Connectors (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)******
– 1 x 24 pin ATX Power Connector
– 1 x 8 pin 12V Power Connector
– 1 x 4 pin 12V Power Connector
– 1 x Front Panel Audio Connector (15µ Gold Audio Connector)
– 1 x AMD LED Fan USB Header
– 1 x Thunderbolt™ AIC Connector (5-pin) (Supports ASRock Thunderbolt™ 3 AIC Card R2.0 only)
– 2 x USB 2.0 Headers (Support 4 USB 2.0 ports) (Supports ESD Protection)
– 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Headers (Support 4 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports) (Supports ESD Protection)
*The AMD Fan LED Header is compatible with a regular RGB LED stripe.
The AMD Fan LED Header supports LED strips of maximum load of 3A (36W) and length up to 2.5M.
**Supports in total up to 12V/3A, 36W LED Strip
***Supports in total up to 5V/3A, 15W LED Strip
****The CPU Fan Connector supports the CPU fan of maximum 1A (12W) fan power.
*****The CPU/Water Pump Fan supports the water cooler fan of maximum 2A (24W) fan power.
******The Chassis/Water Pump Fan supports the water cooler fan of maximum 2A (24W) fan power.
CPU_FAN2/WP, CHA_FAN1/WP, CHA_FAN2/WP, CHA_FAN3/WP and CHA_FAN4/WP can auto detect if 3-pin or 4-pin fan is in use.
|Rear Panel I/O||
– 2 x Antenna Ports (on I/O Panel Shield)
– 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
– 1 x HDMI Port
– 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
– 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
– 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A Port (10 Gb/s) (Supports ESD Protection)
– 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C Port (10 Gb/s) (Supports ESD Protection)
– 6 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Ports (Supports ESD Protection)*
– 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
– HD Audio Jacks: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone (Gold Audio Jacks)
*Ultra USB Power is supported on USB3_56 ports.
ACPI wake-up function is not supported on USB3_56 ports.
|Software and UEFI||
– ASRock Polychrome SYNC
– ASRock XFast LAN
– ASRock Full HD UEFI
– ASRock Instant Flash
– ASRock Easy RAID Installer
*These utilities can be downloaded from ASRock Live Update & APP Shop.
|Support CD||– Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), Google Chrome Browser and Toolbar|
– Quick Installation Guide, Support CD
– 4 x SATA Data Cables
– 3 x Screws for M.2 Sockets
– 2 x Standoffs for M.2 Sockets
– Temperature Sensing: CPU, CPU/Water Pump, Chassis, Chassis/Water Pump Fans
– Fan Tachometer: CPU, CPU/Water Pump, Chassis, Chassis/Water Pump Fans
– Quiet Fan (Auto adjust chassis fan speed by CPU temperature): CPU, CPU/Water Pump, Chassis, Chassis/Water Pump Fans
– Fan Multi-Speed Control: CPU, CPU/Water Pump, Chassis, Chassis/Water Pump Fans
– Voltage monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, CPU Vcore, CPU VDDCR_SOC, DRAM, VPPM, PREM VDDCR_SOC, +1.8V, VDDP
– ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm
– 2oz Copper PCB
|OS||– Microsoft® Windows® 10 64-bit|
– FCC, CE
– ErP/EuP ready (ErP/EuP ready power supply is required)
$199.99 USD list
“Steel Legend represents the philosophical state of rock-solid durability and irresistible aesthetics. Built around most demanding specs and features, the Steel Legend series aims at daily users and mainstream enthusiasts! Providing a strong array of materials/components to ensure a stable and reliable performance. A motherboard that fulfills every task – with style!”
The ASRock X570 Steel Legend features a black PCB with a black and white cammo-style design adorning its surface. The board coolers and covers are white colored, acting to contrast the coloration of the PCB. The board’s ATX form factor provides more than enough surface area to house the integrated components, as well as giving the board compatibility with most available gamer-friendly enclosures.
The board’s back is mostly clear of sensitive components with some small chips peppering the back surface. With the exception of the area directly behind the CPU socket, the mounting area behind the socket is completely component free.
ASRock built the X570 Steel Legend with a 10-phase digital power system, capable of providing more than enough power to the CPU for whatever you choose to throw at it. This claim is further reinforced with ASRock’s integration of 60A capable premium alloy chokes, the 50A per phase Dr. MOS power phase system, and Japanese-source Nichicon 12k Black Metallic capacitors into the CPU power delivery system. The VRMs are cooled by dual large white colored aluminum heat sinks. To the upper left of the CPU socket is a 4-pin system fan header.
The board’s 8-pin and 4-pin ATX12V power connectors are located to the upper right of the CPU socket, in between the VRM heatsinks and the rear panel cover along the board’s right edge.
ASRock designed the board with three M.2 slots, along the lower portions of the primary and secondary PCIe x16 slots. The two outer M.2 slots are covered by a full length port cover with thermal tape along the inside, integrated into the chipset cover. In previous reviews, such plates where found to reduce M.2 card heat by over 10C when used in a strict passive configuration with optimal cooling obtained when used in conjunction with active air-flow over the port plate.
The M.2 slot to the left of the primary PCIe x16 slot supports cards up to 80mm in length, while the slot to the the left of the secondary PCIe x16 slot supports cards up to 110mm in length. Both M.2 ports a keyed with an M-key slot devices with both supporting standard SSD, PCIe x2, and PCIe x4 type M.2 drives operating up to 64Gb/s (for devices with PCIe 4.0 support). The middle M.2 slot is compatible with E-key type devices, such as a WiFI device.
The board has a total of four DIMM slots with Dual Channel memory mode active with modules in slots 1 / 3 or 2 / 4. The board supports up to 128GB of memory running at a maximum speed of 4666MHz. Note that memory speeds above 3200MHz are considered overclocked speeds and are outside of the official AMD Ryzen 3 series stock memory speed specifications.
Directly below the memory port block are dual USB 3.0 headers, the 24-pin ATX power connector, and a 12V RGB LED header. To the upper right of the DIMM slots are the primary and secondary 4-pin CPU fan headers.
The AMD X570 chipset is actively cooled by a low profile aluminum heat sink with a cover plate that acts as a heat sink for the outer M.2 slots above and to the left of the chipset. The fan plugs into a power header to the right of the chipset with the RGB LEDs embedded into the metallic logo on the chipset cover plugging into a header to the left of the chipset. The RGB LED can be configured via the UEFI or Windows applet. In addition to the two PCIe x4 M.2 slots, the board features eight SATA III ports in the port block directly below the chipset. All SATA ports are usable in conjunction with a drive seated in either M.2 port.
The board contains a total of five PCIe slots – two PCIe 4.0 x16 slots and three PCIe 4.0 x1 slots. The PCIe x16 slots can be used in x16 / x16 mode, depending on the CPU in use. Notice that ASRock designed the primary PCIe x16 slot to hold up to a triple slotted video card without impeding the secondary PCIe x16 slot. Also, the primary slot has been steel-reinforced to prevent damage to the slot when using video cards with larger coolers in a vertical mount orientation. The bandwidth for PCIe x16 slot 3 is configurable via the UEFI for either x2 or x4 operation.
The board’s integrated audio components are located just above the PCIe ports. The audio subsystem lives on an isolated PCB to minimize line-noise and distortion caused by other integrated components. To ensure balanced audio performance using headphones or external speakers, ASRock designed the audio system around the Realtek ALC1200 CODEC, a dedicated NE5532 amplifier for use with headphones on the front panel header, and premium Nichicon Audio capacitors.
ASRock integrated support for connecting RGB LED strips directly into the board using the RGB LED headers located in the mid left quadrant and lower right quadrant (by the DIMM slots) of the board. Both 4-pin 12V RGB and 3-pin 5V addressable RGB LED headers are integrated into the board. Connecting an RGB LED strip to the header synchronizes the LED strip color and activity with that of the motherboard’s integrated LEDs. The board is shown with an external RGB strip connected to one the headers in the board’s lower right quadrant.
In addition to the two RGB LED headers, CMOS battery, UEFI reset jumper, and multiple 4-pin system fan headers are located on the middle left edge of the board.
Along the upper and lower left side of the board are multiple 4-pin fan headers, the front panel audio header, the trusted module port (TPM) header, a Thunderbolt 3 device header, the Node header, the USB 2.0 headers, and the front panel headers.
The rear panel assembly comes as a sealed assembly from the factory with a metal RGB LED embedded enclosure and an integrated shield plate for added protection. The X570 Steel Legend motherboard contains the following integrated ports in its rear panel assembly: six USB 3.0 ports (blue), a USB 3.1 Type A 10Gbps port (teal), a USB 3.1 Type C 10Gbps port, an Intel I211-AT GigE RJ-45 port, HDMI and DisplayPort video ports, an S/PDIF digital audio output port, and five analogue audio output ports. All USB ports are controlled by the AMD X570 chipset.
CPU Cooler Fit
To test the amount of space surrounding the CPU socket, we mounted the Noctua NH-D15 cooler to the CPU socket. This behemoth CPU air cooler sports a dual fan construction and two huge vertical cooling towers.
When oriented in its default configuration with air blown towards the rear panel of the case, the Noctua cooler fits into the CPU socket area of the X570 Steel Legend without issue. Further, the spacing between the CPU socket area and the primary PCIe x16 slot are sufficient to seat a video card with the cooler mounted.
The Noctua hold down mechanism is large enough to qualify the socket space for use with the majority of mount methods included with a CPU cooler. The Noctua mount fits the CPU socket without issue.
The X570 Steel Legend motherboard comes with the minimum components necessary to get the board up and running.
The X570 Steel Legend package included the motherboard manual, driver DVD, and an ASRock-branded case sticker. The included manual gave enough information to get the board installed and working, but more in depth information would have been nice to have.
ASRock bundled in four black 6Gb/s rated SATA cables for use with the integrated ports. The cables have integrated port locks and a mix of straight and 90 degree connectors.
- ASRock Polychrome SYNC
- ASRock XFast LAN
ASRock Polychrome SYNC RGB LED Lighting Control
The ASRock Polychrome Sync applet controls the active state of the RGB LEDs embedded in to the board as well as LED strips connected to the board’s RGB LED 12V and 5V-addressable headers. The controlled LEDs can be configured for any desired color using the color picker control and to operate in a variety of modes including static, breathing, strobe, color cycling, random, music effect, wave, spring, stack, cram, scan, neon, water, and rainbow.
ASRock bundled the X570 Steel Legend motherboard with the latest revision of their UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) implementation, a customized version of the AMI baseline UEFI BIOS replacement. The UEFI offers full keyboard and mouse support while using the BIOS pages. ASUS changed the way mouse right-click functions in their UEFI implementation with right-click having no impact on the screen. By default, the user sees the EZ mode screen when entering the UEFI. The Advanced mode screens accessible via the Exit/Advanced Mode button at the upper right corner of the screen or by hitting the F7 function key. Advanced mode screens can be set for the default user interface via the UEFI Boot menu as well.
In comparison to UEFI implementations from previous generation motherboards, ASRock did a good job with the layout and responsiveness of the board’s UEFI. The UEFI is very responsive to both keyboard and mouse input with almost no lag or questionable click-space evident anywhere. The UEFI is designed in an intuitive manner so that both novice and advance BIOS users can quickly find what they are looking for. The lack of an EZ Mode type screen is unexpected, but the base tabbed layout displays as you would expect from a traditional BIOS. ASRock also gives you the ability to taken screen captures from within the BIOS by pressing the F12 key with those screen-caps saved in a 1920×1024 bitmap format to an attached USB device. From the Tools menu, the user can access a variety of tools and applets, ranging from an UEFI-based updater (Instant Flash) to their UEFI-based RGB LED configuration utility.
UEFI Notable Features
In addition to the normal features you would find in an enthusiast-friendly UEFI, ASRock chose to expose many advanced features specific to the AMD Ryzen 3000 series processor line, mostly concentrated in the AMD-specific links under the Advanced Page. One of the nicer features of the UEFI was the breadcrumb title that appeared on every page, making it much easier to navigate through the deeply nested sub-menus.
The UEFI interface offers advanced users access to a more traditional tabbed interface with its logically grouped system settings and configuration features. GIGABYTE enhanced this interface with popo ut side and bottom menus. Settings are split between the OC Tweaker, Advanced, Tool, H/W Monitor, Security, Boot, and Exit tabs.
The Instant Flash link on the Tools tab gives the user access to a GUI-based BIOS update utility. The BIOS can be updated from any connected disk drive including an attached USB device.
ASRock integrated the ability to store up to five UEFI profiles through the Save User Profile and Load User Profile links at the bottom of the OC Tweaker tab. The Profile names are listed above the load and save links to easy reference. The user also has the ability to save and load profiles from or to a disk attached to the system, included an attached USB device.
The board’s frequency and voltage settings are located in the OC Tweaker tab. The CPU Frequency setting allows for frequency settings in 25MHz increments with the Infinity Fabric Frequency and Dividers setting controlling the speed of the memory controller. The CLD0_VDDP Control setting allows for user control over the voltage applied to the DDR4 PHY in the SoC. Note that this voltage is unique to the AGESA v184.108.40.206 update and is not the same as the VDDP voltage. VDDP voltage setting controls the voltage applied to the CPU VDDP pins. The PREM VDDCR_SOC Voltage setting controls the voltage supplied to the Ryzen processor’s integrated chipset and memory subsystems. The VDDP voltage sets the external voltage applied to the CPU VDDP pins which affects GPU, memory, and base clock settings at high processor frequencies.
The CCD/Core/Thread Enablement page, accessed via a series of nested sub-menus under the AMD CBS link on the Advanced tab, contains Expert-level CPU settings, including several AMD-specific processor settings. The CCD control setting controls the state of the CPU CCDs (Core Complex Die), allowing for individual control over each of the dies integrated into the processor. The Core control setting gives fine control over the cores enabled over both CCX (CPU CompleX) units with the auto setting enabling all cores across both CCX units and a variety of other settings available (depending on the active processor) to customize the active cores within the CCX units. The analogue to Intel’s HyperThreading technology lives in the SMT control setting (simultaneous multi-threading) enabling 2 operational threads per core in the processor.
The RGB LED Settings page, accessed from the link on the Tools tab, give the user a graphical interface from which to configure operating mode and color of the board’s integrated RGB LEDs as well as RGB/RGBW LED strips connected to the RGW headers. The UEFI integrated interface allows for setting the LED activity to any of the modes supported by the Windows app.
AMD CBS settings
The AMD CBS submenu, accessed from the AMD CBS link in the Advanced tab, houses AMD Ryzen-specific advanced settings for configuring the processor internal settings.
AMD PBS settings
The AMD PBS submenu, accessed from the AMD PBS link in the Advanced tab, houses AMD Ryzen-specific advanced settings for configuring chipset-related settings.
AMD Overlocking settings
The AMD Overclocking submenu, accessed from the AMD Overclocking link in the Advanced tab, houses AMD Ryzen-specific advanced settings for configuring voltage and frequency settings outside of the OC Tweaker tab.
|Test System Setup|
|Motherboards||AMD X570-based systems ASRock X570 Steel Legend ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming|
|CPU||AMD X570-based system AMD Ryzen 5 3600X (3.7GHz CPU, 37 x 100MHz FSB)|
|Memory||AMD X570-based system Micron Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 modules (3200MHz, 16-18-18-36-1T, 1.35V)|
|Hard Drive||Intel 730 240GB SSD Toshiba 1TB SATA III HD|
|Sound Card||On-board sound|
|Video Card||NVIDIA GTX 780 3GB|
|CPU Cooling||Processor Block XSPC Raystorm Pro water blockCooling Loop Components XSPC Photon 170 Tube Reservoir with D5 pump XSPC RX480 V3 Radiator|
|Video Drivers||NVIDIA 431.60|
|Power Supply||Corsair HX750|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro x64, May 2019 Update (v1903)|
Test Setup ExplanationThe 64-bit Windows 10 based test bench used for the AMD X370 AM4 board testing includes an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X processor, 16GB of DDR4-3200 memory, an NVIDIA GTX 780 3GB video card, and an Intel 730 240GB SSD drive were used in the test system. Using the selected components gives us the ability to demonstrate the motherboard’s capabilities rather than that of the components themselves.
Benchmark Tests used for evaluation
- SiSoft Sandra 2020 (v2020.1.30.14)
- Handbrake video transcoder v1.2.2
- Maxon Cinebench R20
- PCMark 10 v2.0.2115
- ATTO Disk Benchmark v4.01.0f1
System and Application Benchmark Testing
System Benchmark Testing
ATTO Disk Benchmark
To validate that the board’s device ports were functioning correctly, we connected an Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SATA III SSD to the system and ran the ATTO Disk Benchmark against the drive. The SSD was directly connected to the native SATA III ports. NGFF port testing was performed using an M.2 based Samsung 950 Pro PCIe M.2 2280 256GB SSD. The M.2 device was tested using the board’s integrated M.2 slot. USB port testing performed using the M.2 drive MyDigitalSSD M2X USB 3.1 Gen 2 compatible enclosure. ATTO was configured to test against transfer sizes from 0.5 to 8192 KB with Total Length set to 512 MB and Queue Depth set to 256. The M.2 SSD selected for testing has a maximum read throughput of 2200 MB/s and a write throughput of 900 MB/s over a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 bus. The selected SSD has a maximum read throughput of 540 MB/s and a write throughput of 520 MB/s on a SATA III controller. The drive tests were repeated three times with the highest repeatable read and write speeds recorded.
Across the board, drives connected to the native chipset controlled SATA and M.2 ports performed within specs with a few surprises encountered. The most surprising results were with drive performance when attached to the SATA III ports. Drive performance connected to the chipset controlled USB ports were solid as well. The SATA III drives managed just about 500 MB/s for read performance while dipping into the 460 MB/s range for writes. Typically, both of those values should be well about 500 MB/s. With the M.2 device attached to the USB 3.0 port, performance fell slightly behind that of the SATA ports, hovering around the 400 MB/s spot. Performance of the M.2 device attached to the USB 3.1 Type A and C ports was considerably faster, coming in at above 900 MB/s for both write and read tests.
SiSoft Sandra 2020
SiSoftware’s Sandra benchmark is an industry-standard suite for measuring various aspects of a systems performance. We use the CPU and memory-subsystem tests to validate how well those subsystems perform related to similar classed boards. This test was repeated three times with the highest repeatable scores recorded from each benchmark.
The Sandra benchmarks remain a fast and easy way to determine system quality from a CPU and memory subsystem perspective. The X570 Steel Legend motherboard performed well, matching performance with the other similarly classed AMD X570-based systems. This CPU and memory performance parity indicates proper CPU and memory subsystem operation.
Multimedia and Application Benchmark Testing
Handbrake was used to convert an uncompressed version of the Iron Man Blu-ray movie in MKV format to a compressed 1080P30 MP4 format. The Iron Man MKV file was ripped from the Blu-ray disc in the past with the file size for the uncompressed media coming in at 26 GB. Handbrake was run with the Fast 1080p30 preset settings enforced with the exception of Anamorphic set to Loose. This test was repeated three times with the lowest repeatable conversion time recorded.
Video encoding is one of the more system intensive operations, making it a good test to measure system performance quirks under elevated usage scenarios. The X570 Steel Legend board performed as expected, matching performance with the other AMD X570-based test systems.
Maxon Cinebench R20
Maxon’s Cinebench R20 benchmark can be used determine a system’s ability to render 3D content based on their Cinema 4D animation software. The CPU benchmark test was run three times, with the highest reproducible Cinebench points score recorded.
The X570 Steel Legend board again matched performance with the AMD X570-based systems, illustrating its optimal functioning.
UL PCMark 10
UL’s PCMark 10 can be used to reliably ascertain a system’s performance in a Windows 10-based use environment. The tests chosen for benchmarking included the Extended Suite and the Applications Suite. The Extended Suite of tests is comprised of the Essentials test, the Productivity test, the Digital Content Creation test, and the Gaming test. The Applications Suite of tests is comprised of the MS Word test, the MS Excel test, the MS Powerpoint test, and the MS Edge browser test. For the Applications Suite, MS Office 365 was used in conjuction with PCMark 10. All test suites within the PCMark 10 benchmark suites were run three times, with the highest reproducible PCMark scores recorded.
The X570 Steel Legend motherboard performed well in comparison to the other test systems in this real-world application benchmark. The small performance differences could be attributed to quirks with the benchmark itself and how different AMD boards manage CPU ratios and voltages at stock settings.
To give a feel for the overclocking performance potential of the X570 Steel Legend motherboard, we attempted to push it to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. At the stock base clock speed of 100Mhz, we pushed the CPU to 4.3GHz across all cores with a 1800MHz Infinity Fabric frequency and a 3600MHz memory speed. This was done at a 1.450V CPU voltage, a 1.20V SOC/Uncore OC Voltage, and a 1.375V memory voltage with all other values left at default settings. All overclocking sessions remained stable for over 4hrs. System stability was tested running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with EVGA’s OC Scanner X graphical benchmark running at 1280×1024 resolution and 8x MSAA in stress test mode. Note that 8GB (2 x 4GB) of Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4-4000 memory modules were used for the overclocking tests.
ASRock did a fine job in designing the X570 Steel Legend motherboard. The layout and design were done in an elegant fashion with no hard to reach or crowded components and the black and white aesthetics ensure that the board will easily fit into almost any gamer-centric build. The board’s performance was respectable in both stock and overclocked configurations with no real gotchas encountered. One of the nicer features was the inclusion of the fully enclosed rear panel assembly, adding protection to that normally vulnerable area and the full cover plate for the chipset and M.2 drive slots. However, it would have been nice to be able to access the M.2 slots without having to remove the entire chipset cover.
- Stock and Overclocking performance
- Gamer-friendly board aesthetics, layout, and design
- UEFI BIOS design and usability
- Chipset active cooling
- Storage offerings – dual M.2 PCIe 4.0 ports and SATA ports
- Network offerings – Intel I211-AT GigE NIC
- Configurable board-integrated RGB LEDs using the UEFI and Windows app
- Multiple 12V RGB and 5V addressable RGB LED headers
- M.2 port placement and cooling
- CMOS battery placement
- Usable PCIe x1 port with all PCIe x16 ports populated
- Lack of usable PCIe x1 port with all PCIe x16 ports populated
- Lack of USB 3.1 (10Gbps) front panel header
- SATA III port performance
- M.2 drive access requirs removal of entire chipset cover plate
- Motherboard manual multi-language support favored over depth of information