As you all pretty much know with each generation of Intel’s new CPU SKU’s we more often than not also get a new generation of chipsets and motherboards, usually accompanied by a different CPU socket. With that comes a new feature set, where they are sometimes more generous, and sometimes less, with just minor feature bumps. The jump from the previous generation to this one is a good example of just that, where they made minimal changes with added inconvenience to the existing users who were maybe planing to upgrade down the road.
In the context of the Comet Lake desktop series of CPU’s, we have six new chipsets, two of them used for the embedded solutions, the Q470 and W480, while for us, so to speak regular uses, we have a pretty common palette to choose from, with a bumped up the first number in naming scheme compared to the previous generation, ranging from the most equipped Z490 chipset, all the way down to the H410, with the H470 and B460 chipset in between, which are today’s topic of this video.
Since both of these chipsets, or for that matter any other chipset expect this one that I’m about to mention, lack two major features in comparison to the Z490 chipset, and that’s the ability to overclock the unlocked Intel’s K CPU’s and SLI support, it really doesn’t matter which one you choose – H470 or B460.
The actual difference between B460 and H470 chipsets
You would maybe think that there is a lot of discrepancies in features because they are different chipsets in question, especially since the B460 series is more oriented towards business users, but when you try to sum up the differences between them, it boils down two to major things between H470 and B460 – the amount of PCI-express lanes and native USB connections delivered by the chipset itself. Here the H470 has a small advantage over the B460, where it has 4 more PCI-express lanes and support for up to 4 USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, whereas B460 chipset doesn’t natively d support USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports at all. Intel was a bit cheeky with their specifications of the B460 chipset when it comes to its USB configurations, you can see they are mentioning the USB 3.2 Gen 2, so if you would glance over you would maybe think that it has it, but when you take a closer look you can see it says “up to ZERO USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports”.
W-what? If it’s 0, why would you even mentioned that, definitely a bit weird and before all unnecessary?
Anyhow, what does matter is what the actual motherboard manufacturer brings to the table, because although the chipset specifications are one thing, what’s actually found on a certain motherboard can differ from one model to another. For example, take a look at MSI’s MAG B460 Tomahawk model, they’ve decided to implement additional ASMedia ASM3241 controlled which enabled them to put a USB 3.2 Gen 2 20 Gbps Type C port on the back. So, even if you have a lower-tier chipset, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of those extra features.
Although, as I said, both of these chipsets don’t support Nvidia’s SLI multiGPU technology, they do support AMD’s CrossFireX as long as you have at least two physical x16 slots, so you’ll be able to configure such multiGPU setup since they are driver and/or API based and not limited by any other requirements.
If you’re interested in how CrossFireX works with two RX 5700 XT’s, or how AMD now calls it, multiGPU, be sure to hop over to my video of it, there will be a link in the right top corner.
ASRock B460 Pro4 – middleweight contender
One example of such motherboard based on the B460 is the ASRock B460 Pro4 model which I have here with me, and this is going to be on of their more budget-oriented contender since it carries the Pro4 naming, which is most often associated with those kinds of value models.
ASRock tried to overdress this model a bit for what it is, but that’s not to say it’s a bad thing, on the contrary. Since a lot of people go for more budget and value-oriented options, why shouldn’t they also enjoy a decent and clean looking motherboard design, which is exactly what the B460 Pro4 is. They have this very smooth metal brushed finish to their heat-sinks of the chipset and power design, as well as for the long cold plate for the M.2 slot on the bottom. That accompanied by mostly black PCB design with some hint of white graphics, resulted in this pretty appealing contrasty scheme.
Obviously, this model is not the most equipped one out there, but it will most certainly satisfy the needs of the majority of users who plan to use something like an Intel’s i5 10400 or other locked CPU’s, and pair it with a decent graphics card.
But, It’s a full-sized ATX motherboard, with a total of four PCI-express slots, two of them being x1 3.0, and as I hinted, another two 3.0 slots of x16 length, one having x16 and the other x4 electrical configuration. Besides the two regular M.2 slots that found placed between them, we have another M.2 Key E slot for WiFi/Bluetooth module, which is why you can see an antenna mount on the back I/O’s, although it’s a bit unpractical that they placed it on the left, so you’ll have to stretch their connection cables basically all across the motherboard.
Since we’re already here, we can check out the back I/O connections. It’s pretty modest, we have a total of just six USB ports, two of them being USB 2.0 ports, and four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, so basically your regular 5 Gbps USB 3.0 port, with one of them as Type-C port. Other than that there is an HDMI and VGA output
Yeah, a VGA output, it’s a business-oriented chipset and in business circles, VGA is still a thing
Gigabyte LAN and basic setup of audio connections, although it does carry Realtake’s ALC 1200 audio chipset, which supports 7.1 audio, you actually don’t have any connection on the motherboard itself that could take advantage of it. Yeah, the back I/O does feel a bit empty, it’s more than obvious that they did some cost-cutting here, you can actually see empty spots for components with solder pad points, they probably use this layout and PCB design for a couple of their other models, but in the end, it’s a 100$ motherboard after all.
A bit underwhelmed power delivery system for B460 Pro
Right next to that we have an LGA 1200 CPU socket, surrounded by two big passive heat-sinks making contact with the power delivery system, and here we have a combination of Potens DEC3908X as the high side and DEC3906X as the low side MOSFET’s, which are known to get hot, so they’re not on top of anyone’s wish list. Those are then combined with 50A power chokes, UP9521R PWM controller and UP1962 doublers on the backside of the PCB, forming a 9 phase power design. That’s nothing that you would consider beefy, but having in mind what kind of CPU’s are probably going to be used on, it will probably be more than enough, although I was a bit worried when I saw Hardware Unboxed latest video on budget Z490 models, where one model was using almost the same VRM components and power design, and it turned out to be far from impressive in that field, feel free to check that out later on.
There’s a total of four DDR4 DIMM slots which supports speeds up to 2933 MHz with Core i7 and Core i9 CPU’s, and 2666 MHz with Core i5, i3, Pentium and Celeron CPU’s, which is another limitation surrounding this chipset, but not a major one for most of the builds which plan to use this chipset. In terms of other memory, storage in particular, I’ve already mentioned the two M.2 slots that support PCI-express Gen 3 x4 and SATAIII speeds, one of which supports both, and the second one only PCI-express, while you’ll get six regular SATAIII ports, 4 of them right-angled on the right edge of the motherboard, and two placed vertically in the bottom right corner. For that, you will get two SATA cables from the bundle,
Despite being a B460 chipset based motherboard, ASRock didn’t miss a chance to… Well, put some RGB’s onto this model. We have a subtle line of RGB goodness which is made out of few LED’s put underneath the right side of the motherboard, while they also put two regular 12V RGB and two 5V addressable RGB headers.
Who said you can’t have fun on the job?
In terms of other headers on the motherboard, we have your most common USB 2.0 and 3.0 headers, two of each, Thunderbolt AIC connector, front panel audio connector and a total of 7 fan headers, which is actually impressive, a couple of boot LED indicators, which comes in handy when trying to troubleshoot potential problems.
All in all, when you draw the line, the B460 motherboards can also be decently equipped considering what their chipset is meant for, just like this one. In its baseline, you won’t lose a lot compared to the H470 chipset, that’s for sure, but it all comes down to what exact model are you looking at and what’s your budget.
For example, comparing this model with its H470 counterpart, which is the microATX H470M Pro4 model, as they don’t have an ATX version of it, they still do have a lot of similarities feature-wise, expect the USB 3.2 Gen2 ports and a tad more PCI-express lanes, both of those things coming natively, and of course the boards, but other than the, they are really comparable. The difference in price is around 5$, which is minimal, so it makes you think a bit. Again, it all comes down to what extra features are you looking at because in their core they will do the same job. It’s not like you’re in search of overclocking capabilities and you have to go down the Z490 road.
Of course, you can also double down to H410 chipset series with a motherboard based on it, get just the bare-bone necessitates, and channel the rest of the budget towards other components. That’s a more than an OK route to go for, just bear in mind that models with those chipsets usually carry very simple power delivery solutions, meaning not suitable higher-end CPU’s when it comes to high sustained load, as well as only two RAM slots.
That’s it for this time, thanks for checking out my ASRock B460 Pro4 preview, as well as exploring the H470 vs B460 differences, and if you have any question feel free to hit me in the comments section of my YouTube video listed above, you can contact me via my social media channels!