The following system was used to test the motherboard:
– CPU: AMD Ryzen 1700X @ 3.6GHz
– RAM: Ballistix Tactical Tracer 16GB DDR4 @ 2666MHz
– GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Founder’s Edition
– HDD: WD 1TB Blue
– SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB
– PSU: Seasonic Snow Silent 750W Platinum
– CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L9x65 SE-AM4
– Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe
– OS: Windows 10 64-Bit (After April Update)
The processor was used with the stock turbo frequency of 3.6 GHz and overclocked to 4 GHz with a core voltage of 1.355. The overclocking starts at 3.8 GHz and with each motherboard I try to achieve the highest safe overclocking possible. The RAM memory was used at its default frequency
Software used for testing the motherboard:
– 3D Mark – FireStrike, CloudGate, IceStorm.
– CineBench r11.5
– SuperPi mod 1.5
– Grand Theft Auto V
– The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
SuperPi mod 1.5
Grand Theft Auto V
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The ASRock B450M Steel Legend is priced at around 90 US Dollars or Euro, 10 USD/Eur cheaper than the B450 Steel Legend, while offering the same features in a smaller form factor.
The main differences between the regular B450 Steel Legend and the Micro-ATX version featured in this review, are the number of regular SATA 6 ports, four instead of six, and the number of PCIe x1 slots available. All these differences are due to the space available on the motherboard.
In terms of storage options, apart from the four SATA6 ports available, the B450M Steel Legend is also equipped with two M.2 slots for high speed SSDs. Unlike the ATX version, there are no heatsinks offered for these slots and SSDs.
The Power delivery system is good and provides stable voltage for the CPU and memory, however the two metallic heatsinks are not enough to adequately cool the VRM components.
During gaming and with an ambient temperature of 26 degrees Celsius, the VRM reached a temperature of around 70 degrees Celsius. The only way to address this is by using a Top Flow CPU Cooler that will provide the necessary airflow for the VRM area. Overclocking the CPU will further increase the temperature, going well above 80 degrees Celsius.
In conclusion, the ASRock B450M Steel Legend is a good micro-ATX motherboard, with plenty of features, both functional and aesthetical. The motherboard offers plenty of useful features that add to the overall user experience. Two M.2 slots, PCIe slot reinforced with metal and two RGB systems, are a few of the features offered by the B450M Steel Legend. While the VRM temperatures are manageable under normal gaming conditions, if CPU overclocking is done, additional airflow is required to lower the VRM temperatures.