And now for one thing totally different. Finances tier motherboards can look a bit same-same, with black on black or black with highlights being dominant. The ASRock B760M Sonic WiFi (opens in new tab) positively bucks this development. It is nonetheless a motherboard, nevertheless 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 taking part in 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 sport again in 1991 amazed me, and Sonic nostalgia holds a particular place in my coronary heart.
In current occasions, ASRock hasn’t been afraid to step exterior of the field with regards to its motherboard designs. The Z790 Live Mixer (opens in new tab) being a great instance of this. However as everyone knows, appears are solely a small a part of what makes a great motherboard. It may be plated in 24 carat gold but when it is acquired a junk BIOS it’s going to be a gold-plated paperweight.
The B760M PG Sonic WiFi belongs to ASRock’s Phantom Gaming sub model. It is an inexpensive B760 motherboard at $189 (opens in new tab) / £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’ll find one on particular.
For those who’re uncertain in regards to the B760 chipset, why do you have to take into account a B760 board over an entry stage Z790? Other than Intel’s lock on CPU overclocking, the main 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 typically have a lesser I/O with fewer SATA and USB ports or fewer M.2 slots. B760 permits you to 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 great high quality B760 board will swimsuit you simply wonderful.
ASRock B760M PG Sonic WiFi overview and specs
The Sonic branding is all over the place. 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 steel look and also you get a line of RGBs beneath the underside M.2 heatsink. Total, I actually prefer it. There is a positively retro vibe to it. Credit score to ASRock’s design workforce.
B760M PG Sonic WiFi specs
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 (opens in new tab) / £166 (opens in new tab)/ AU$349 (opens in new tab)
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 Kind-C header. The onboard WiFi is supplied by an M.2 WiFi module. It appears a bit misplaced however in nearly all circumstances it is going to be lined by a graphics card, so it is not a difficulty actually.
On the again there’s an eDP connector that you just’d use to hook up with an acceptable display. I would wish to know the proportion of those that use such a connector. I’d assume it to be very low. eDP is extra related to embedded or signage programs, not gaming programs.
Being a Micro-ATX board, you’ll be able to’t count on it to function as many PCIe or M.2 slots as a full-sized board. You get a major 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 great 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.
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The VRM is an honest 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’d assume one thing within the decrease finish. My Core i9 13900K (opens in new tab) carried out completely, and if it could actually deal with that, it’s going to 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 typically impressed with the I/O of the board. There are 4 USB 2.0 ports and 4 10GB/s Gen 2 ports, one in all which is Kind-C. I wish to see a 20GB/s port however we will’t have the whole lot 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’s going to 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 frequent with their twelfth Gen and 600-series predecessors, it is unlikely there can be any present 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.Ability 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 working a Okay SKU at excessive energy, even when most who play with these sorts of settings will in all probability gravitate in direction of an overclockable Z790 board.
The B760M PG Sonic’s BIOS can be acquainted to ASRock customers, even when its funky blue Sonic the Hedgehog coloration scheme is not! I’ve all the time appreciated the format of ASRock’s BIOS screens; grouping the CPU, DRAM and voltage settings into sub menus makes issues simple to search out.
You will not discover the sheer variety of esoteric settings of an overclocking centered Z790 board, however the whole lot you might moderately need is right here. I significantly 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 sometimes bland, lacked reminiscence overclocking capabilities and had weak VRMs. Although there’ll all the time 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 an honest, 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 in search of an inexpensive motherboard. I wish to see a 20GB/s USB port and an up to date audio codec, however I could be anticipating an excessive amount of at this worth level.
Though appears shouldn’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 steel heatsinks and Sonic logos give it a extremely cool nostalgic look.
Maybe the most important downside the B760M Sonic faces is its robust competitors. All the main 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 by way of options… although it is no Sonic.
Wanting on the huge image, in the event 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 great function set, it could actually run any thirteenth Gen CPU you wish to throw in it and it is effectively priced for mainstream avid gamers.