MSI X470 GAMING PLUS ARRIVED

Now that the studio has an MSI X470 Gaming Plus motherboard at least now the pair of PCEe cards can be put to use.

The Wi-Fi card is easier to use than to run cat-8 cable all over the place. The Intel 9260 is their flagship wave 2 802.11ac 2T2R Wi-Fi card and it generally works very well. The IEEE 1394 card is for video editing use.

The MSI X470 Gaming Plus is fairly basic with 3 PCIe x1 slots and dual x8 slots for peripherals. Slot 2 is a lost cause as the video card covers it. Slot 3 is a crap shot now that some video cards use more than 2 slots. Slot 4 is PCIe x8 when a CPU is installed. Slot 5 is PCIe 2.0 x1 slot that is easily available. Slot 6 is PCIe 2.0 x4 and it can handle many peripherals.

The primary M.2 is PCIe 3.0 while the secondary M.2 is PCIe 2.0 speed. Slot 6 switches with the secondary M.2 slot. If slot 6 is unused then dual M.2 SSD setups are possible. There is always the Micron 15 TB beast with room for all games.

The Corsair SPEC-01 has 4 hard disk bays so a DVD/BD drive can be installed and SATA1 is not needed. Very few large capacity SATA SSD drives were sold. The secondary M.2 slot can allow easy copying of files from an old SSD or it can be used for cloning an operating system etc.

Slot 6 can handle a faster disk controller for use in a larger chassis where the user wants to have more than basic storage installed. While low cost SATA cards are widely available there are also server cards with a high performance chip on them. Controllers for 4, 8 and even 16 SATA devices are widely available.

The existence of the parallel port and serial port are very obsolete. USB cables to support these old standards have long been available. Cables are less than $10 and plug into any USB port.

  • C2G 16899 USB to DB25 Parallel Printer Adapter Cable, Beige (6 Feet, 1.82 Meters)
  • USB to Serial Adapter, Benfei USB to RS-232 Male (9-pin) DB9 Serial Cable

The dual USB 3.0 headers are handy for front panel use. The HX1000i has 25A of 5V current available which is enough to handle everyone’s mobile device.

The USB 2.0 hub will likely be quite some time before it is available. It is coming from China so the postal service will take a few weeks at best.

Also ordered a 120mm fan for the rear of the SPEC-01 to help improve air flow. The chassis does have good passive air flow with the mesh top and rear panels. Adding a fan is as much cosmetic as functional.

An additional fan in the front would help the disks stay cool as well as increase the air entering the chassis. The X470 has more fan PWM headers so adding more fans is easy.

The more expensive Obsidian 750D has a lot more room inside to work with. It comes with three fans making so motherboards need lot of fan headers. When the SPEC-01 can make do for now, unless Seagate can come up with larger capacity hard disks the 4 drive bays well have a slightly heavier workload.

A low cost 4 port SATA card would make installing more disks possible in the larger 750D which has a pair of 3 disk cages in addition to some 2½” disk cages under the back panel. Addition disk cages are readily available.

16 port SATA cards are more expensive and recent cards need an PCIe 2.0 x4 slot. Avoid the PCIe x8 variants as they are obsolete. Heavy discounting has made these cards much more attractive for gamers who can install a full monty of disks is a large chassis. The SAS to 4x SATA cables are very low cost and widely available.

At present there is a 2TB and a 4TB hard disk but the 8TB has come down a lot making it a solid choice. The 8TB is large enough to eliminate the smaller disks. The smaller disks can be used in another machine.

Wi-Fi is faster than Ethernet which makes the case for more of them for the studio. Once 802.11ax becomes ready the move to 10 gigabit speeds will finally become practical.

Right now a pair of 4GB and a pair of 8GB memory sticks provide abundant main memory. Recent 16GB prices have come down considerably with the slow introduction of 32GB sticks. Right now DDR4-3200 is the best speed for the Ryzen AMD 3000 platform but the older processors are slower at DDR4-2933. Prices for 32GB sticks have tumbled making the smaller sticks less profitable.

While the MSI X470 Gaming Plus is a top tier 6 layer motherboard, the power consumption is not very high. The X470 uses 6.5 W of power. LED headers are present for custom lighting effects.

ASSEMBLY

The old CPU, RAM and SSD all were migrated. Had to reset the BIOS as the machine did not POST immediately. Once it was reset the machine was still unstable before better settings were enabled. The motherboard reset switch is very helpful.

The OEM thermal material was already damaged so I cleaned up the CPU and the cooler and placed a small 1/2 of a BB worth of Arctic MX-4 which I have used for a long time. The CPU seems to run better now with lower temperatures at idle and when playing games. Saturated the R5 2400G was a modest 53°C but with the OEM thermal material the processor was much closer to 90°C. Results like this is why there is a large tube of MX-4 in the tool box.

The Intel 9260 card and the VIA IEEE 1394 cards were immediately recognized and now the studio is better equipped for television editing purposes. Remember many channels are 720p and some are 1080i. The Blu Ray 1080p is not available over the air.

All devices on the motherboard were also recognized which mean no need to find drivers for anything.

Windows activated fine but a key change for Microsoft Office was needed. Apple had more problems activating devices than Windows or Office.

The abundance of fan headers means all fans can be monitored. The front fan on the SPEC-01 was close to fan4 so the hardware monitor shows the fan operating properly.

USB 2.0 AMD USB 3.0

The 4 port USB 2.0 header came with double sided tape on it. The best place in the Corsair SPEC-01 was on top of the hard disk cage. This was close to the front USB cables and the Wi-Fi card barely can reach it so it is connected to the motherboard.

With 4 headers available for USB 2.0 the Wi-Fi card can provide Bluetooth 5 support. The chassis USB 2.0 port needs a header. The card reader needs a USB 2.0 port. The Corsair HX1000i needs a USB 2.0 port. That means 4 headers are needed for peripherals.

The X470 has two USB 3.0 headers. The SPEC-01 front panel probably should have used a pair of USB 3.0 ports instead. This would reduce the waste of resources on the motherboard.

The USB 3.0 and card reader box uses both a USB 2.0 port and a USB 3.0 port. There are 3 type A connectors and one type C connector. The eSATA was obsolete before it every was implemented as USB is much more mature.

The back of the X470 has a six USB 3.1 ports which are fast when the speed needed. More recent boards are increasing the ports on the IO shield as USB 3.2 offers 10 gigabit speeds.

The fast speeds of USB 3.2 are help for a range of uses. USB 3.2 is fast enough to stream high resolution video.

USB type C is likely to be slow to be adopted only due to the huge installed base of type A connection. USB type A cables for type C devices are widely available but straight type C cables are uncommon. Type C is gaining in the mobile phone area which needs more power for charging devices.

BCC 1.2 affords up to 5A of current for devices that can take advantage of it.

CPUID VALID

MSI X570-A PRO

The MSI X570-A PRO is now mothballed pending a CPU replacement. After AMD reneged on promise that the APUs R3 2200G and R5 2400G would work, I feel as though I was stabbed in the back.

The Ryzen 3000 processors will run on the X470 following a BIOS update. It is known that AMD is blocking PCIe 4.0 support with X470 so there is no advantage at all buying a 3000 series processor. The GPU and SSD are directly connected to the CPU which is all the more reason for concern.