ASRock X570M Pro4 Micro-ATX Motherboard Review

Manufacturer: ASRock ASRock X570M Pro4 Micro-ATX Motherboard Review

In the eight months since AMD and its partners released the X570 chipset for Ryzen processors, the tech press has left very few superlatives unused in their assessments of the 3000 series processors and the new chipset. The performance of the latest Ryzen chips and boards has been astounding and has knocked the blue team back on their heels.

With that said, the launch hasn’t been without a small share of controversy. The Ryzen Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) feature still doesn’t seem to work as well as it should. Various AGESA versions have seemed to fix, unfix, and then fix again the boost issues, and X570 does require extra attention to cooling the chipset as it runs hot.

The thing is this series is so good that those problems almost don’t matter. No matter what your price range or needs, there is a Ryzen 3000 processor and motherboard combo for you…unless you are a fan of the Jan Brady of motherboard form factors, Micro-ATX.

Micro-ATX: The Middle Child

Micro-ATX always seems to be left out. It’s just not as hot, sexy, and fully featured as Full Size ATX, and not as cute and tiny as Mini-ITX. It’s a crying shame because Micro-ATX has the ability to support more devices, and provide better power delivery than Mini-ITX, and still fit in a much smaller enclosure than a full ATX motherboard.

There are also some excellent cases for Micro-ATX which aren’t much larger than many of the ITX cases on the market right now.

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ASRock seems to be known for occasionally trying a few unconventional things with their motherboards, and when X570 was announced, they decided to be the only major motherboard manufacturer that would provide a Micro-ATX form factor in the new chipset.

At the time of writing there are only two Micro-ATX motherboards available in this chipset; the first of which, the ASRock X570M Pro4, we will take an in depth look at here.

Product Specifications
  • Model: ASRock X570M Pro4
  • Chipset: AMD X570
  • Form Factor: Micro ATX 9.6-in x 9.6-in / 24.4 cm x 24.4 cm

CPU

  • Supports AMD AM4 socket Ryzen 2000 and 3000 series processors
  • Digi Power design
  • 10 Power Phase design

Memory

  • Dual-Channel DDR4 Memory Technology
  • 4x DDR4 DIMM Slots
  • AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Matisse) support DDR4 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 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
  • For Ryzen Series CPUs (Picasso), ECC is only supported with PRO CPUs
  • Max. capacity of system memory: 128GB
  • Supports Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
  • 15μ Gold Contact in DIMM Slots

Graphics

  • Integrated AMD Radeon Vega Series Graphics in Ryzen Series APU (actual support may vary by CPU)
  • DirectX 12, Pixel Shader 5.0
  • Shared memory default 2GB. Max Shared memory supports up to 16GB (max shared memory 16GB requires 32GB system memory installed)
  • 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

Slots

  • AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Matisse)
  • 2 x PCI Express 4.0 x16 Slots (PCIE1/PCIE3: single at x16 (PCIE1); dual at x16 (PCIE1) / x4 (PCIE3))*
  • AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Pinnacle Ridge)
  • 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slots (PCIE1/PCIE3: single at x16 (PCIE1); dual at x16 (PCIE1) / x4 (PCIE3))*
  • AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Picasso)
  • 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slots (PCIE1/PCIE3: single at x8 (PCIE1); dual at x8 (PCIE1) / x4 (PCIE3))*
  • 1 x PCI Express 4.0 x1 Slot
  • 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)

Storage

  • 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 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 M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen4x4 (64 Gb/s) (with Matisse) or Gen3x4 (32 Gb/s) (with Pinnacle Ridge and Picasso)
    • If Thunderbolt support is enabled, SATA type M.2 will be disabled
  • Supports NVMe SSD as boot disks
  • Supports ASRock U.2 Kit
  • Support RAID 0/1/10

Audio

  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1200 Audio Codec)
  • Premium Blu-ray Audio support
  • Supports Surge Protection
  • ELNA Audio Caps
  • PCB Isolate Shielding
  • Individual PCB Layers for R/L Audio Channel

LAN

  • Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
  • Giga PHY Intel I211AT
  • Supports Wake-On-LAN
  • Supports Lightning/ESD Protection
  • Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
  • Supports PXE

Connectors

  • 1 x COM Port Header
  • 1 x SPI TPM Header
  • 1 x Power LED and Speaker Header
  • 1 x AMD Fan LED Header (compatible with a regular RGB LED stripe, supports LED strips of maximum load of 3A, 36W and length up to 2.5M)
  • 1 x RGB LED Header (supports in total up to 12V/3A, 36W LED strip)
  • 1 x Addressable LED Header (supports in total up to 5V/3A, 15W LED strip)
  • 1 x CPU Fan Connector, 4-pin (supports the CPU fan of maximum 1A, 12W fan power)
  • 1 x CPU/Water Pump Fan Connector, 4-pin, Smart Fan Speed Control (supports the water cooler fan of maximum 2A, 24W fan power)
  • 3 x Chassis/Water Pump Fan Connectors, 4-pin, Smart Fan Speed Control (supports the water cooler fan of maximum 2A, 24W fan power)
    • CPU_FAN2/WP, CHA_FAN1/WP, CHA_FAN2/WP and CHA_FAN3/WP can auto detect if 3-pin or 4-pin fan is in use
  • 1 x 24 pin ATX Power Connector
  • 1 x 8 pin 12V Power Connector
  • 1 x Front Panel 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)
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Header (Supports 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports) (Supports ESD Protection)

Rear Panel I/O

  • 3 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 USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A Port (10 Gb/s) (ReDriver) (Supports ESD Protection)
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C Port (10 Gb/s) (ReDriver) (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: Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone

BIOS

  • 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 VCORE, CPU VDDCR_SOC, DRAM, VPPM, PREM VDD_CLDO, PERM VDDCR_SOC, +1.8V, VDDP Voltage Multi-adjustment

Hardware Monitor

  • 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, PREM VDDCR_SOC, +1.8V, VDDP

Software and UEFI

  • Software
    • ASRock A-Tuning
    • ASRock Polychrome SYNC
    • ASRock XFast LAN
  • UEFI
    • ASRock Full HD UEFI
    • ASRock Instant Flash

Accessories

  • Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
  • 2 x SATA Data Cables
  • 3 x Screws for M.2 Sockets
  • 1 x Standoff for M.2 Socket

OS

  • Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit
Manufacturer Description
  • Supports AMD AM4 Socket Ryzen 2000 and 3000 Series processors
  • 10 Power Phase Design
  • Supports DDR4 4200+ (OC)
  • 2 PCIe 4.0 x16, 1 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 ALC1200 Audio Codec), ELNA 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), 8 USB 3.2 Gen1 (2 Front, 6 Rear)
  • Intel Gigabit LAN
  • ASRock Polychrome SYNC

Motherboard Layout

The ASRock X570M Pro4 is a full width (9.6 inch) Micro-ATX form factor board. It has a black PCB which ASRock calls ‘Sapphire Black’. The PCB itself is 2oz copper layered, but doesn’t feel quite as heavy as some premium boards.

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The VRM heatsink and the first M.2 slot have bright aluminum heatsinks, and the X570 chipset is actively cooled by a 40mm fan. The design of the VRM heatsink leaves a bit to be desired; it’s basically just a shaped piece of aluminum with a few grooves. Function seems to have taken a backseat to form on this, as ASRock apparently wanted a certain appearance, and for it to double as the rear I/O cover.

This design does not have appear to offer sufficient surface area of the heatsink to help it dissipate the heat being generated by the 10 power phases. The X570M Pro4 also has only a single 8 pin ATX12V CPU power connector which, in combination with the VRM heatsink design, makes me wonder if it would be up to overclocking either the Ryzen 9 3900 or 3950x.

Speaking of the heat generating components on this motherboard, that brings us to the X570 chipset. The thin 40mm fan is situated in the center of yet another aluminum block that doesn’t do much in the way of design to increase surface area, and the fan is covered by a pretty restrictive grill.

The tiny fan, grill, and heatsink design made me a bit leery, but the chipset temps are actually well managed, and I was able to program a custom fan profile in the bios that keeps the noise to a minimum.

At system boot however, before the profiles go active, this little fan spins up to 5800 rpm, and emits a pretty intense, shrill, whine until the profile loads, then it’s fine. Once the profile is active, and under even intense usage, I have not noticed any noise from this fan.

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The PCIe x 16 GPU slot is nicely spaced away from the CPU socket, and reinforced with steel to help support large GPUs. It was a pleasant surprise to see a Micro-ATX board with Three M.2 slots, two of which are full PCIe Gen 4×4 M.2 slots, the third is reserved for an M.2 wi-fi card.

Sadly, there is no USB 3.2 Gen 2 internal header present on the motherboard, although the rear I/O has both 3.2 Gen 2 Type A and C ports. The board also has five fan headers, in addition to the plug for the chipset fan. Each of these can be set in the UEFI to be controlled with either PWM or DC, and use either the CPU, or Motherboard temperature.

There are eight SATA 3 ports and, like most modern boards, there are both RGB and ARGB headers to control your various RGB accessories.

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The audio choices ASRock made on this motherboard seem a bit odd to me. It uses PCB shielding for the chipset and ELNA caps, and the Realtek ALC1200 Audio codec pack, and supports 7.1 channel HD audio. Some real effort was made to insure good quality audio here, but the rear I/O only supports analog line in, microphone in, and stereo out.

There is also no SPDIF out, which was a bit puzzling. The audio controller supports 7.1 channel HD audio, but the board only supports stereo output. Honestly though, most people buying this, or almost any motherboard are only hooking up to stereo out, or they’re going to use an external audio solution through USB.

Despite the lack of an internal USB 3.2 Gen 2 header, and the odd choices in audio output, the ASRock X570M Pro4 is a pretty feature-packed motherboard, especially for a Micro-ATX form factor. The end user is really giving up very few features, if any, to a similarly priced ATX model.

UEFI

While I may have had some issues with a few of the hardware choices with this motherboard, I’m pretty content with the newest ASRock UEFI interface. The interface is really easy and intuitive to navigate. The main screen gives you the relevant data you might need on initial entry into the UEFI before you start digging deeper.

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The OC Tweaker page is also pretty straightforward with all the settings you’ll need for setting XMP and a basic overclock. If you want to get a little more advanced, the DRAM timing and Voltage and Load Line calibration are in clearly labeled sub menus.

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The Advanced Menu page gives you access to your more in depth configuration settings, including some really deep dives into advanced overclocking.

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If you go to the AMD Overclocking sub menu from the Advanced tab, you will be presented with a user agreement that you can agree to if you want to tweak the processors power management, duration, and limits beyond what is intended by AMD. Honestly, unless you’re competitively overclocking, using LN2, or some other extreme cooler, I don’t see the need for most people to delve into this.

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The UEFI boot menu is also very intuitive and clear:

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I don’t see why anyone who had spent much time in other UEFIs or even older BIOS’s should have much trouble navigating the ASRock interface.

Performance

Test Platform
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
CPU Cooler be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
Memory 16 GB (2×8) G-Skill Trident DDR4 3333
GPU Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti AMP Extreme
Storage WD Black Edition 256 GB NVMe SSD

After getting the test bench configured, I set to getting some performance numbers. First, I ran Cinebench R20 at stock, then overclocked. The first thing I noticed in my stock testing was the extremely high temps of the processor. During the Cinebench R20 run, the processor reached 96 C at stock. With all voltage and clock settings at default in the UEFI, the board is pumping 1.44 volts to the CPU, and despite the fact that the load line calibration is at its lowest setting by default (the largest amount of V droop), temps were at the edge of safe.

This is not the first I’ve heard of X570 boards feeding too much voltage at stock settings with 3000 series processors, but I didn’t expect it to be this extreme. I immediately set to overclocking and never looked back. At my 4.4 ghz, 1.34 volt settings, the CPU never topped 84 C in any test, and the Cinebench scores show that there was a substantial performance gain as well as better managed temps.

Ryzen 3000 CPU overclocking and stability are very dependent upon temperature, and once you try to go past 1.35-1.4 volts, the temps rise too much with little additional return in clock speeds, and a large drop in reliability. I was able to take a Ryzen 7 3800x to 4.4ghz stable on all cores at 1.34 volts using only the basic OC Tweaker and standard voltage control within the UEFI. I could not get any more out of the chip.

I have previously seen other 3800x processors get close to 4.5ghz all core, but from my understanding, most hit a wall around 4.3 GHz. Unfortunately, not having access to either another X570 board, or another Ryzen 3000 processor on hand, I can’t say if this CPU or this motherboards power delivery was the limiting factor. Still, 4.4 GHz all core is quite good for Ryzen 3000. As mentioned before, I just don’t know that I’d be comfortable with this board trying that with a 12 or 16 core processor.

ASRock X570M Pro4, AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
PCMark 10 Score Essentials 10553
Productivity 9627
Content Creation 9065
Cinebench R20 Score Multi-Core 5297
Blender BMW Render (seconds) 160.82
SiSoft Sandra 2020 CPU Arithmetic, Dhrystone ALU (GIPS) 409.24
CPU Arithmetic, Whetstone FPU (GFlops) 232.78
Memory Bandwidth, Float 33.72
Memory Bandwidth, Integer 33.62

The system basically went out and put down impressive numbers in all the standard system benchmarks. Again, not having another X570 board to do a direct comparison with did complicate things, but judging by the memory bandwidth numbers from SiSoft Sandra 2020, it performs right in line with the X570 motherboards that my fellow PC Perspective reviewer Morry has tested (ASRock X570 Steel Legend, ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming, ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus).

Conclusion

Despite some of the questionable design choices ASRock made with the X570M Pro4 motherboard, the board is laid out very well, has a nice UEFI, and performs at least on par with its reasonable (for X570) price point. MSRP is $185.99, but I’ve monitored the actual selling price to fluctuate between $155 and $180 USD (current price is down to $149 – Ed.). The lack of an internal USB 3.2 Gen 2 is disappointing, and the VRM heatsink is just a poor design. The audio I/O choices are a bit odd, but certainly no deal breaker.

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ASRock X570M Pro4: $149.99, Amazon.com

In the end, if you have a Micro-ATX enclosure that you love, and you want the benefits that X570 offers, you have few choices. But if you’re planning on 8 cores or less, you could certainly choose the ASRock X570M Pro4 and not have to worry. With the dwindling popularity of Micro-ATX, it is a bit of a niche product, and the questions regarding the power delivery and VRM cooling remain on the top tier Ryzen 9 Processors.

But with anything from a Ryzen 3600 up to 3800x, in combination with fast storage, a good GPU, and a nice Micro-ATX case, the X570M Pro4 would serve as an excellent base for a gaming or production PC. If that’s your use case, then it’s an excellent board, but I just have a difficult time recommending it considering the unknowns of the power delivery with the 12 and 16 core Ryzen 9 CPUs.

Review Disclosures

This disclosure statement covers the way the product being reviewed was obtained and the relationship between the product's manufacturer and PC Perspective.

How Product Was Obtained

This motherboard was purchased by the author for personal use.

What Happens To Product After Review

Personal item, future use at the discretion of the author.

Company Involvement

ASRock had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.

PC Perspective Compensation

Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by ASRock for this review.

Advertising Disclosure

ASRock has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.

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This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases made through those links.

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2 Comments

  1. Operandi

    I really don’t get why mATX isn’t more popular; ATX is is a useless waste of space and ITX offers no real expansion options, mATX is the sweet spot. Maybe when the industry is over the gaudy AF light show and giant panes of glass the form factor will see some love….

    FYI, an 8 pin EPS connector is good for 300+ watts so thats not a realistic limiting factor on a mainstream platform. Also generally speaking the more phases the better (to a point) when it comes to efficiency so the fact that this board uses 10 phases should help compesate for the heatsinks lack of surface area.

    Reply
  2. Chaitanya

    Really wondering why motherboard makers are being lazy and putting solid chunks of aluminium as heatsinks? Older motherboards(early 2000s) which had heatsinks with proper fins(Asus A8N Sli) cut in them which would be better than these slabs.

    Reply

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