ASRock Phantom Gaming 4/AC Cheap, good B550 motherboard

Despite being one of the cheapest B550 motherboards, the ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 / AC offers a true entry-level feature set. The motherboard comes with a PCIe 4.0 x4 M. 2 slot and augments it with four SATA ports, which is a lot of capacity for gaming storage. The upper full-length PCIe 4.0 slot works on x16, while the lower slot is locked on PCIe 3.0 x4, which is controlled by the chipset, along with two additional PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. For networking it uses a standard Gigabit Ethernet controller based on Realtek, along with an Intel Wi-Fi 5 interface. This is pretty standard for an entry-level model that focuses more on general support than adding an extra charge at the expense of premium drivers. The B550 Phantom Gaming 4 / AC also uses a Realtek ALC1200 HD audio codec, but with only three 3.5 mm audio connectors on the rear panel and a basic 8-phase power delivery.B550 Phantom Gaming 4acThe B550 Phantom Gaming 4 / ac motherboard offers several ways of connection, with 8 USB 3.2 Gen1 with two on the front and 6 on the back. In addition, it features the latest HDMI 4K 60Hz graphics output specifications. As the bandwidth increases and the frame rate increases, the movement on the screen becomes smoother and less blurred. Players have little patience or time for weak WiFi signals and slow Internet. That’s why the ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 / ac motherboard is equipped with an 802.11 ac WiFi module (2.4 G / 5G WiFi), which supports wireless network and Bluetooth v4.2.
The ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 / AC is currently available for the new $110 on Newegg and at a slightly more expensive price than the $117 on Amazon. Looking at the big picture, most of the PG4 / AC’s competition comes from the cheaper selection of A520 boards with most of these based on the smaller micro-ATX form factor, with limited expansion options. Meanwhile, the biggest competition in the x570 product stack is perhaps ASRock’s X570 Phantom Gaming 4s model, which is currently available on Newegg for $140. This offers better future readiness and eight SATA ports, but also includes a single m slot. 2 and it has no wireless functionality, so the b550 version gets our rating only on the price. The price of this model on both Newegg and Amazon fluctuates from month to month, and although it is a bit more expensive than last month’s price, it is still a solid purchase.  Photo:  ASRockB550 Phantom Gaming 4ac

The ASRock Phantom Gaming motherboard boasts a remarkably compact size, especially when compared to the X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX, which features a larger and bulkier heatsink. It offers a range of customizable options for the front panel I/O, ports, and rear I/O. The rear I/O shroud cover is a premium touch, crafted entirely from superalloy metal and directly connected to the VRM heatsink.

The design of the motherboard is excellent, particularly in terms of minimizing height and vertical interference, making it ideal for installations with large heatsinks and CPU fans. However, it is important to note that the height of the RAM may occasionally interfere with the heatsink and fan, so it is crucial to check the exact height of the RAM before purchasing. Careful measurements should be taken when selecting components.

ASRock has included an impressive cooling plate on the rear side of the MOSFET area, effectively drawing heat away from the PCB and the flat capacitors. The motherboard employs an 8-layer PCB, evident from its thickness.

The Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 card can be detached from the motherboard by removing screws on the opposite side. If you encounter any issues with either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, you can reseat this module.

The rear M.2 slot operates at PCIe Gen3 x4 directly from the B550 chipset. It has limited space for a cooled M.2 SSD, even with a thin heatsink like the WD Black SN750. Therefore, it is advisable to reserve this M.2 slot for SSD drives that do not rely heavily on prolonged lifespans, such as the main drive for the operating system or any other SSD that does not involve extensive data writing. This configuration ensures that the SSD does not generate excessive heat.

There is a row of LEDs positioned beneath the PCB, providing an impressive RGB glow to illuminate the bottom of your case. Additionally, there are RGB headers available if you wish to incorporate more vibrant lighting effects.

The motherboard features two 4-pin fan headers and two RGB headers conveniently located at the top edge. These headers are thoughtfully positioned for easy access.

The upper area of the motherboard is open and clear, minimizing any potential interference with thicker cables or chassis fans, particularly in compact ITX cases.

In terms of DIMM slots, the motherboard offers two slots that can support up to 64GB of DDR4 memory.

Integrated graphics
The HDMI 2.1 port supports 4K monitors, allowing you to leverage AMD Ryzen CPUs with integrated graphics.
Fast network connectivity
Gigabit Ethernet connectivity provides high-speed connections to compatible wired devices.
802.11 ac Wi-Fi connects wirelessly with compatible networks.
Bluetooth 4.2 technology allows you to pair your system with compatible wireless devices, such as keyboards, mice, headphones, and more.
Immersive Audio
The Integrated Realtek ALC1200 audio technology is designed to provide detailed sound with 7.1-channel playback. Nahimic’s audio enhancements are designed to deliver rich and engaging listening experiences through external headphones and speakers.
RGB polychrome lighting
ASRock’s polychrome technology allows you to connect, customize and control lighting equipment such as RGB LED light strips on the integrated RGB headers. You can choose from a variety of lighting presets, which can be synchronized with capable peripherals such as keyboards, mice, CPU coolers and more. Addressable RGB header can detect the number of LEDs on a compatible device to further customize lighting effects.
Good gaming motherboard as it was recommended for a gaming PC build. It could use few areas of improvement:
1. The included manual is printed so light and small that it can hardly be read. We had to go to the online manual.
2. When loading Windows 10 and wanting to boot from USB, it would be nice if they told you which USB port to use. Apparently, it only reads from 1 or 2 of the 6 included USB ports and will not read from the front USB ports of the box. We had to spend some time trying to figure it out.

The ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ax Motherboard is equipped with heatsinks made of super alloys, allowing them to withstand higher temperatures. These super alloys also enhance durability, resist thermal creep deformation, and provide excellent resistance to corrosion and oxidation.

Overclocking is a breeze with this motherboard, thanks to ASRock’s user-friendly UEFI and outstanding power delivery solution. We were particularly impressed by the passively cooled VRM heatsink, which effectively keeps everything adequately cooled.

The storage connectivity of this ITX motherboard is robust. However, it’s important to avoid placing a heat-sensitive SSD on the rear side. For optimal cooling, it makes more sense to use the rear M.2 slot for a slower or less frequently used drive.

Should you purchase the ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ax Motherboard? Absolutely! In our opinion, it’s a superior choice compared to the more expensive X570 variant, offering similar performance. This motherboard is highly attractive in terms of its price, performance, and feature set.

We are extremely satisfied with the ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ax Motherboard. We highly recommend it to everyone, particularly those who are new to ITX builds.

Core Specifications
Edition B550 Phantom Gaming 4/ac
Form Factor ATX
CPU Socket AM4
Chipset AMD B550
RAM Memory Support
Memory Type DDR4
Memory Channel Dual (2)
Memory Type (ECC) ECC/Non-ECC
Memory Type (R/U) UDIMM (Unbuffered)
Memory Speed (Mhz)
DDR4 – 2133
DDR4 – 2400
DDR4 – 2667
DDR4 – 2933
DDR4 – 3200
DDR4 – 3466(OC)
DDR4 – 3600(OC)
DDR4 – 3733(OC)
DDR4 – 3800(OC)
DDR4 – 3866(OC)
DDR4 – 4000(OC)
DDR4 – 4133(OC)
DDR4 – 4200(OC)
DDR4 – 4266(OC)
DDR4 – 4333(OC)
DDR4 – 4466(OC)
DDR4 – 4533(OC)
DDR4 – 4533+(OC)
DDR4 – 4600(OC)
DDR4 – 4666(OC)
DDR4 – 4733+(OC)
Max. Memory Capacity 128GB
Audio Realtek ALC1200 7.1 HD Audio
Graphics Support
Primary GPU Interface PCIe 4.0 (x16)
NVIDIA SLI Support Not Supported
AMD CrossFire Support 2-Way CrossFire
Integrated Graphics Requires Processor Graphics or Discrete GPU
On-Board Graphics Connectors HDMI 2.1
Internal Connectivity
Expansion Slots
1 x M.2 Key E (Occupied by Wi-Fi Module)
1 x M.2, 22-42/60/80, PCIe Gen3/SATA3
1 x M.2, 22-60/80/110 PCIe Gen 4×4
2 x PCIe 3.0 x1
2 x PCIe 4.0 x16
SATA Support SATA3
RAID Support via
Storage Mode Support
Internal I/O
1 x 24-pin (Power)
1 x 4-pin (Power)
4 x 4-pin CHA_FAN connector
1 x 4-pin CPU Fan Connector
1 x 4-pin CPU OPT Fan Connector
1 x 8-pin (Power)
2 x Addressable Digital RGB Header
1 x Front Panel Audio Header
1 x Power LED / Speaker Header
2 x RGB Header
4 x SATA III – 6Gb/s (In Use)
1 x Serial (COM) Header
1 x TPM (SPI_TPM) header
2 x USB 2.0 Header
1 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Header
External Connectivity
Network Interface Type
802.11ac WiFi LAN
Wired Gigabit LAN (10/100/1000)
Network Chip/Modules
1 x Intel 802.11ac WiFi/ BT4.2 Module (433Mbps)
1 x Realtek RTL8111H (Gigabit LAN)
Rear I/O Connectors
2 x Antenna Ports
1 x Front Speaker Out
1 x HDMI
1 x Line In
1 x Mic-In
1 x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Combo
1 x RJ-45 with LED
6 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
Additional Specifications
Water Cooled No
Cooling Passive Heatsinks
QPI Speed N/A
Board Dimensions 305 x 244 mm

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