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Question VRM: How to identify GOOD and BAD mobo's?

Sphiral

Member
Jun 24, 2020
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Hellouu!!

Everytime I upgrade my system I come for online wisdom when I have to choose a good non-expensive mobo.

My point now would be like: how can I identify and discard a bad mobo from a good one? I know VRM is the way to go on this matter, but that's not a thing that comes specified on the manufactured site, so even though that I know a bit about it I'd like to know tips to dive deeper into this matter.

Thanks in advance! <3
 

charlietee

Golden Member
Jul 27, 2001
1,274
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81
Little information would be helpful...Intel or AMD...Do you plan on overclocking...maybe even specific upgrade path...what is it's intended purpose.

How much you have in your motherboard budget...If it is a existing computer list all components.
 

DeathReborn

Platinum Member
Oct 11, 2005
2,276
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For AMD at least there are some resources you can check.

&
 
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Soulkeeper

Diamond Member
Nov 23, 2001
6,588
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These days, if you get a motherboard that's not lowend then you're going to typically have a very good vrm.
Unless you are a hardcore overclocker, subzero cooling possibly, then I doubt anything midrange would be considered bad.
 
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gorobei

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2007
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gamersnexus hardwareunboxed techpowerup will generally list the vrm controller and some of the components: inductor mosfet powerstages. but if you want an actual breakdown of the routing and phases and heatsinks you go to buildzoid. buildzoid has some vid on basics like buck converters, component longevity, but no real guide that will breakdown criteria.

while most mb are good for a cpu at stock, if you are the type to hang on to a system for years and want the best chance at longevity you need to know what kind of vrm and cooling it has.
 
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mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,718
561
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Generally you just pick a board that supports CPU models with the highest TDP, that has more 12V CPU connector pins. If overclocking then a model with a heatsink on the VRM 'fets is nice too, as well as a CPU 'sink that blows across it or a very nearby rear case exhaust fan.

If the board does not have fet 'sinking, you can take a very flat object (like a mirror glass), put sandpaper over it, and lap the fets to be perfectly level on top, then use arctic silver or another HQ thermal epoxy and put your own custom sized 'sink on. Some boards have holes for springed pins to add a sink but frankly it can be as much trouble to hunt down or fabricate a sink with the holes in the correct locations while it is quite easy to just cover the fets with the thermal epoxy and slap the heatsink on with some weight pressure till the epoxy sets. Note this voids your warranty.
 
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alexruiz

Platinum Member
Sep 21, 2001
2,750
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At least on AM4, IRRELEVANT, despite what some youtubers claim.

An entry level A320 board will run a Ryzen 9 3900X fine at stock, and overclocking on Ryzen is pointless.
Focus on other features, like audio, m.2 slots, ethernet, etc
 
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Rigg

Member
May 6, 2020
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At least on AM4, IRRELEVANT, despite what some youtubers claim.

An entry level A320 board will run a Ryzen 9 3900X fine at stock, and overclocking on Ryzen is pointless.
Focus on other features, like audio, m.2 slots, ethernet, etc
No it's not irrelevant. Whether or not power delivery is relevant is entirely dependent on what you are doing with your PC. The same goes for whether or not it makes sense to overclock. It may be pointless to you but you don't speak for everyone.
 
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alexruiz

Platinum Member
Sep 21, 2001
2,750
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No it's not irrelevant. Whether or not power delivery is relevant is entirely dependent on what you are doing with your PC. The same goes for whether or not it makes sense to overclock. It may be pointless to you but you don't speak for everyone.
Let me ask you:
How many AM4 systems have you built?
I don't know the exact number you are going to tell me, but I can be certain that your number will be less than me... by a lot.

Since Zen+, the boost algorithm is more efficient than a human at extracting the best performance, while running cooler and hence, quieter, so overclocking is a waste of time.
The power delivery even in most A320 boards will boost the CPU just fine.
People tend to forget than on AM3+, most boards were OK powering the 125W nominal of most FX CPUs, with only the ultra cheap boards being capable of only 95W CPUs. Those 125W nominal were in reality 160W socket, and the 95W nominal were 120W socket.

VRMs make a difference only in cases of a liquid cooled CPU with miserable system airflow where the MOSFETs and chokes of the power delivery are drown in their own heat.
That condition is academic, and if someone is experiencing it, then that person has bigger problems than the VRMs.

A lot of people got more obsessed with VRMs since a youtuber posted a video praising the AM4 boards of a specific brand.
That youtuber went as far as claiming "well, our board of choice doesn't have intel LAN, or alc1220 audio, or 2 m.2 slots, so if you are into those sort of things, maybe another board will work..."
That is not too different than claiming "our choice for race car has heavier duty suspension, but it is not faster than the others, so if you are into than sort of things like speed, maybe another car will work for you"
 

Rigg

Member
May 6, 2020
156
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Let me ask you:
How many AM4 systems have you built?
I don't know the exact number you are going to tell me, but I can be certain that your number will be less than me... by a lot.

Since Zen+, the boost algorithm is more efficient than a human at extracting the best performance, while running cooler and hence, quieter, so overclocking is a waste of time.
The power delivery even in most A320 boards will boost the CPU just fine.
People tend to forget than on AM3+, most boards were OK powering the 125W nominal of most FX CPUs, with only the ultra cheap boards being capable of only 95W CPUs. Those 125W nominal were in reality 160W socket, and the 95W nominal were 120W socket.

VRMs make a difference only in cases of a liquid cooled CPU with miserable system airflow where the MOSFETs and chokes of the power delivery are drown in their own heat.
That condition is academic, and if someone is experiencing it, then that person has bigger problems than the VRMs.

A lot of people got more obsessed with VRMs since a youtuber posted a video praising the AM4 boards of a specific brand.
That youtuber went as far as claiming "well, our board of choice doesn't have intel LAN, or alc1220 audio, or 2 m.2 slots, so if you are into those sort of things, maybe another board will work..."
That is not too different than claiming "our choice for race car has heavier duty suspension, but it is not faster than the others, so if you are into than sort of things like speed, maybe another car will work for you"
You picked the wrong guy to use your argument from authority fallacy on. Up until covid hit I was building and reselling several PC's a month over about an 18 month period. I lost count a while ago of how many AM4 systems I've built. My best guess is somewhere around 30.

Whether the boost algo is capable of more performance or not depends on the work loads and the specific CPU being discussed. I have a place holder 3600 running at 4.5 ghz in my daily right now. The stock boost algorithm can't touch that.

Sure, for your average user it's probably better to leave it stock since there can often be compromises for general computing when OCing on AM4. It's also probably true that power delivery is more of consideration to the average user than it should be. That doesn't change the fact that there are plenty of heavy workloads that benefit from all core and/or per ccx overclocks and therefore require good power delivery. I thought this was an enthusiast forum. I'd question the credibility of anyone claiming to be an experienced AM4 builder that would use A320 for anything.
 
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Leeea

Senior member
Apr 3, 2020
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I have no idea how to select a good inexpensive mainboard.

I just buy my favorite brand. Said brand has a price premium associated with it. The way I figure it I am paying more for peace of mind. I hate debugging my own computer. Just loath it. I expect it to just work and never fail. When it comes to my own stuff I have a very short temper these days.

I am sure said brand is making a bit extra profit off of me. I am ok with that to.


Besides, I have discovered more expensive boards come with RGBs! I never thought I would like that, but two/three years ago I discovered I love them! I did not like the first ones I saw online. But then I installed a board I recommended that had the leds right on the mainboard, with sync headers so every led in the case showed the same color. It converted me.
 
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guidryp

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2006
1,073
1,138
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At least on AM4, IRRELEVANT, despite what some youtubers claim.

An entry level A320 board will run a Ryzen 9 3900X fine at stock, and overclocking on Ryzen is pointless.
Focus on other features, like audio, m.2 slots, ethernet, etc
Even some much higher quality B550 board aren't doing what I would call "running it fine".

Just because it's not crashing, doesn't mean everything is fine. Heating up the board to over 100C at stock speeds is NOT fine.

It's a great idea to gather the board round up info, and avoid boards that run that hot, when you can get one that is running 20-30C cooler in the same price range.

I would bet on the cooler running board to have a longer lifespan.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
18,516
1,148
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I would bet on the cooler running board to have a longer lifespan.
Electrical Engineering states, every 10C u lower temps, you effectively double the life span of said component.
Also every 10C u lower temps, the more efficient the IC runs, which is why we are desperate for high temp superconductors.

So yeah, heat plays a lot, and how well the board cooling can take it away, which is also why a lot more people watercool now then back when i started in 2005.
 

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