And now for one thing totally different. Price range tier motherboards can look a bit same-same, with black on black or black with highlights being dominant. The ASRock B760M Sonic WiFi undoubtedly bucks this development. It is nonetheless a motherboard, however it’s a Sonic the Hedgehog motherboard! And I find it irresistible.
As a younger lad, my earliest gaming experiences included sitting in entrance of the TV enjoying video games on the Sega Mega Drive, or Genesis to our North American readers. The graphics and gameplay of the very first Sonic the Hedgehog game again in 1991 amazed me, and Sonic nostalgia holds a particular place in my coronary heart.
In latest occasions, ASRock hasn’t been afraid to step exterior of the field in terms of its motherboard designs. The Z790 Reside Mixer being a very good instance of this. However as everyone knows, seems are solely a small a part of what makes a very good motherboard. It may be plated in 24 carat gold but when it is acquired a junk BIOS it will be a gold-plated paperweight.
The B760M PG Sonic WiFi belongs to ASRock’s Phantom Gaming sub model. It is an reasonably priced B760 motherboard at $189 / £166 / AU$349. That places it up towards some sturdy competitors, together with well-regarded and in style choices together with the MSI B760 Tomahawk and B760M Aorus Elite. Notably, the B760M Sonic is priced beneath entry stage Z790 boards, except you could find one on particular.
For those who’re uncertain concerning the B760 chipset, why do you have to think about a B760 board over an entry stage Z790? Aside from Intel’s lock on CPU overclocking, the key distinction between the 2 is the CPU to chipset DMI hyperlink velocity. Within the case of Z790, this hyperlink is an x8 hyperlink, whereas B760 has an x4 hyperlink.
This implies B760 will usually have a lesser I/O with fewer SATA and USB ports or fewer M.2 slots. B760 lets you run quick reminiscence, which removes one of many traditionally main Z sequence promoting factors. For those who run a single GPU and an SSD or two, and do not want a dozen or extra USB ports, the probabilities are a very good high quality B760 board will go well with you simply advantageous.
ASRock B760M PG Sonic WiFi overview and specs
The Sonic branding is in all places. There’s a big blue Sonic stencil on the rear of the board and even the BIOS has a Sonic blue theme. The heatsinks have a brushed metallic look and also you get a line of RGBs beneath the underside M.2 heatsink. General, I actually prefer it. There is a undoubtedly retro vibe to it. Credit score to ASRock’s design staff.
Socket: Intel LGA 1700
CPU compatibility: Intel twelfth & thirteenth Gen desktop processors
Kind issue: Micro ATX
Reminiscence help: DDR5-7200+(OC), As much as 192GB
Storage: 3x M.2, 4x SATA
USB: As much as 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 6x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 6x USB 2.0
Show: 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x DP 1.4
Networking: Realtek 2.5G LAN, Wi-Fi 6E
Audio: Realtek ALC897
Worth: $189 / £166 / AU$349
The board has a wide variety of onboard ports and headers. There are 4 RGB headers, three of that are addressable, six fan/pump headers and a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-C header. The onboard WiFi is offered by an M.2 WiFi module. It seems a bit misplaced however in nearly all instances it will likely be lined by a graphics card, so it is not a difficulty actually.
On the again there’s an eDP connector that you simply’d use to hook up with an acceptable display. I might wish to know the share of those that use such a connector. I might assume it to be very low. eDP is extra related to embedded or signage techniques, not gaming techniques.
Being a Micro-ATX board, you may’t count on it to characteristic as many PCIe or M.2 slots as a full-sized board. You get a main PCIe 5.0 x16 slot and a PCIe 4.0 x1 slot. There are three PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots, all of that are cooled by easy heatsinks. They’re joined by 4 SATA ports. That’s a very good storage complement for an mATX B760 board.
Now that 24GB and 48GB DDR5 modules are hitting the market, ASRock says the B760M Sonic helps 4x48GB modules for as much as 192GB of reminiscence.
The VRM is a good 12+1+1 section design. ASRock doesn’t specify an amperage ranking however given we’re coping with a B760 board that does not must drive overclocked Okay-series processors, I might assume one thing within the decrease finish. My Core i9 13900K carried out completely, and if it could possibly deal with that, it will deal with something.
Twin 8-pin energy connectors present greater than sufficient juice. The heatsinks are a transparent step up from these of cheaper boards and are merely heat to the contact when the CPU is loaded.
I’m usually impressed with the I/O of the board. There are 4 USB 2.0 ports and 4 10GB/s Gen 2 ports, one among which is Sort-C. I wish to see a 20GB/s port however we are able to’t have every part that boards at twice the worth have.
Intel WiFi 6E and Realtek 2.5G LAN controllers deal with networking duties, whereas Realtek ALC897 offers audio. It can do a job, however you would not use it to ship a flawless sign to a $10,000 pre/energy amp combo.
I additionally wish to see HDMI 2.1 and DP 1.4a ports. These add a little bit of flexibility for non-gaming functions.
ASRock B760M PG Sonic WiFi efficiency
ASRock B760M PG Sonic WiFi evaluation
Intel’s thirteenth Gen CPUs and 700-series chipsets have been in the marketplace for a while, and because the underlying structure and microcode shares a lot in widespread with their twelfth Gen and 600-series predecessors, it is unlikely there will probably be any show stopper bugs or vital efficiency points to complain about, and that is once more the case with the ASRock B760M PG Sonic.
CPU: Intel Core i9 13900K
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Version
RAM: 2x 16GB G.Talent Trident Z5 DDR5-6000 C30
Storage: 2TB Seagate FireCuda 530
Cooling: Cooler Grasp PL360 Flux 360mm AIO
PSU: Corsair AX1000
At Intel’s default Core i9 13900K energy settings, the Sonic carried out inside a margin of error of the opposite examined boards. And though you can not overclock with a B sequence board, you’re free to unlock your chip’s energy limits. The heatsinks of the Sonic, its succesful VRM, and twin 8-pin energy connectors imply you will not have a difficulty operating a Okay SKU at excessive energy, even when most who play with these sorts of settings will most likely gravitate in the direction of an overclockable Z790 board.
The B760M PG Sonic’s BIOS will probably be acquainted to ASRock customers, even when its funky blue Sonic the Hedgehog shade scheme is not! I’ve at all times appreciated the structure of ASRock’s BIOS screens; grouping the CPU, DRAM and voltage settings into sub menus makes issues simple to seek out.
You will not discover the sheer variety of esoteric settings of an overclocking centered Z790 board, however every part you might fairly need is right here. I notably like Asrock’s no nonsense monitoring and fan management settings.
ASRock B760M PG Sonic WiFi verdict
If we return to B460 motherboards, they have been usually bland, lacked reminiscence overclocking capabilities and had weak VRMs. Although there’ll at all times be low-cost B sequence boards, a typical mid-range B760 board just like the ASRock B760M PG Sonic is a dramatic enchancment over what you’ll get in years previous (although admittedly it’s dearer).
It is acquired a good, although not excessive VRM, twin 8-pin energy connectors, triple M.2 slots with heatsinks, 2.5G LAN and WiFi 6E with a wide variety of USB ports. It is just about what the physician ordered for many avid gamers on the lookout for an reasonably priced motherboard. I wish to see a 20GB/s USB port and an up to date audio codec, however I is perhaps anticipating an excessive amount of at this worth level.
Though seems mustn’t price too extremely when analyzing a motherboard, I am a giant fan of the general design. In case your case has a transparent aspect panel, the metallic heatsinks and Sonic logos give it a very cool nostalgic look.
Maybe the most important downside the B760M Sonic faces is its robust competitors. All the key distributors provide boards on this worth vary and although a number of are DDR4 choices, the Gigabyte B760M Aorus Elite is a very aggressive providing when it comes to options… although it is no Sonic.
Wanting on the massive image, should you’re a Sonic the Hedgehog fan and you like the look of the board, you will not have any purchaser’s regret. It is acquired a very good characteristic set, it could possibly run any thirteenth Gen CPU you need to throw in it and it is effectively priced for mainstream avid gamers.