ASRock X670E PG Lightning Review

The Zen 4 hardware avalanche continues, and testing as many boards as we can will be important for users to know which is the best and worst option. After the Taichi model, it’s time to test this ASRock X670E PG Lightning , with a slightly simpler approach in design and features, but at a more accessible price for most.

It has 4 M.2 slots, 4 PCIe slots, 12 USB ports , one of them Gen2x2 and even a CNVi slot to install a Wi-Fi card. All this with a 14+2+1 phase VRM whose good temperatures with the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X have surprised us. Let’s start the analysis!

We thank ASRock for their trust in us by sending us this board for analysis.

ASRock X670E PG Lightning technical characteristics

Unboxing

ASRock X670E PG Lightning uses a rigid cardboard box with a case-like opening and vinyl-style outer faces with plate information. The manufacturer still uses a polyfoam mold to pack their board, while also coming inside an insulated bag. In a second bag are the accessories.

The contents of the box will be as follows:

  • Placa base ASRock X670E PG Lightning
  • Installation screws for SSD
  • High-profile heatsink for primary M.2 slot
  • 2x Cables SATA 3 a 6 Gbps
  • User’s manual

Exterior design

Aesthetically, the ASRock X670E PG Lightning is one step below the Taichi, for example, and its drop in level is noticeable when seeing the bare PCB in terms of heatsinks. In fact we can consider that they have cut too much , since two of four M.2 slots do not have a heatsink.

In the upper part of its standard ATX format we will have the aluminum dissipation blocks for the VRM , which are separated from each other. The larger block also doubles as a partial cover for the rear port panel , which itself already has the backplate pre-installed. This block could have been increased in size to completely cover the port area, and not be left halfway with part of them visible.

The fact of bringing a sticker on the DIMM slots explaining how to install the memories is striking. Sticker that is annoying to remove when it breaks and incidentally gets small fibers of paper between the contacts, they could have saved it. Next to the ATX power connector we have the Boot Post pan , but this time there is no Debug LED, much less interaction buttons.

We now move on to the bottom half of the board, where we have two aluminum heatsinks with thermal pads on top for the higher power slots. They are not big in size, but ASRock has met the need in case of using Gen5 SSDs by adding a high profile heatsink with fan for the main slot . It consists of an aluminum block provided with a small axial-type fan that does not make any noise. The other two slots are not compatible with these blocks as they do not have screw anchor after connection.

Being an X670E board, we have the chipset divided into two , although with a peculiar distribution. One of them sits just behind the Main M.2 slot cooled by a fairly simple aluminum block. The second is placed in the usual location, with another passive aluminum block. The board does not integrate RGB lighting, although it has 4 headers, 3 of the 5VDG type and 1 of the 12VRGB type .

VRM and phase configuration

The power configuration for this ASRock X670E PG Lightning consists of 12 phases for Vcore, 2 for VSoC and 1 for Vmem . Two EPS headers are used for its power supply, one of them complete with 8 pins and the other with 4.

The DC-DC conversion stage dedicated to Vcore and SoC has 16 MPS2219/MP86992 MOSFETS from Monolithic Power Systems , which will be managed by digital PWM signal through an MPS2221 controller from the same brand.

The block is completed by a Renesas ISL99360 MOSFET , and a second Renesas RAA 229621 driver sits right next to it. Finally another phase at the top right has a separate high and low side MOSFET . The signal smoothing stage consists of metal-encapsulated chokes and Chemi-con Black 5K electrolytic capacitors.

X690 chipset and RAM capacity

This ASRock X670E PG Lightning equips the new AM5 socket , with which AMD replaces the AM4 and its PGA matrix, to implement an LGA type with 1718 contacts . We see how the anchoring system is similar to that of LGA1700 for example, ensuring compatibility with AM4 heatsink mounts and even Stock AMD heatsinks. For now it is only compatible with AMD Ryzen 7000 Series processors with both ECC and Non-ECC memories, but the manufacturer assures that it will last for several generations.

As for its AMD X670E chipset , it will be divided into two 7W + 7W PROM21 twins to improve heat and power consumption efficiency. The set features 12 PCIe 4.0 lanes across three x4 interfaces and 8 PCIe 3.0 lanes with free allocation for motherboard manufacturers. However 4 PCIe 4.0 lanes will be consumed by PROM21-1 to connect to the CPU. In turn PROM21-2 connects to the first also with another 4x PCIe 4.0 lanes. The remaining distribution for connectivity will be 8x PCIe 4.0 + 8 PCIe 3.0.

It offers capacity for multiple M.2 PCIe 4.0 slots, up to 8 SATA 6 Gbps ports, 8 USB 3.2 Gen2 maximum, 2 USB 3.2 Gen2x2 maximum (or combinations between them), and up to 12 USB 2.0 . Connections such as 2.5 Gbps LAN, Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth, etc. can be implemented on the chipset. The north bridge adds no less than 24 PCIe 5.0 lanes of useful AMD CPUs, ignoring the 4 consumed by the SB – NB connection.

New generation AMD motherboards only support DDR5 modules up to a total of 128GB capacity with their 4 Dual Channel compatible DIMM slots . Like other X670E models, this board should support speeds up to 6400 MHz on Non-ECC modules compatible with AMD EXPO technology equivalent to XMP but open source. The manufacturer does not mention anything about compatibility with ECC memories, so we will assume that they cannot be installed.

Storage and PCIe slots

If you are users who need multiple expansion card slots, this ASRock X670E PG Lightning could be a good choice if the number of lanes allocated to them is enough. We have 4 PCIe slots in total , 3 of them in x16 format, although they will not work at full capacity. As with all AMD motherboards, there is support for MultiGPU AMD CrossFire.

The operating conditions of these slots are as follows:

  • PCIE1: It will be the main and only slot compatible with PCIe Gen5 by having its 16 lanes connected to the CU without shared bus.
  • PCIE2: The second slot is the one with a x1 format , which is connected to a single PCIe 4.0 lane of the PROM21-2 chip.
  • PCIE3– Third slot in terms of physical location on the board, which is connected to 4 CPU lanes , but limited to PCIe 4.0.
  • PCIE4– The last slot also operates with a single PCIe 4.0 lane being connected to the PROM21-2 chip without sharing the bus with anyone else.

As for the storage configuration, we have a total of 4 M.2 slots, which will undoubtedly be the general trend, at least on motherboards with the most powerful chipset for Zen 4. Of these, only 2 have a heatsink, being compatible with RAID 0, 1 and 10. It is accompanied by 4 SATA 6 Gbps ports , two of them placed on the right edge facing out, and another two in the lower right corner in normal format.

The operating conditions will be as follows:

  • 2_1: Although it does not appear on the block diagram, it should be connected to the 4 PCIe 5.0 lanes that are free on the CPU.
  • 2_2: This slot connects to 4 PCIe 3.0 of the PROM21-1 chipset without shared bus, also supporting SATA SSD.
  • 2_3: Next slot that also has no heatsink, which is connected to only 2 PCIe 4.0 lanes of the PROMN21-2 chipset.
  • 2_4: last slot that does have a heatsink, it takes the remaining 4 PCIe 4.0 lanes of the PROM21-1 chipset.

The distribution is a bit strange in relation to the PCIE3 slot, since its location and limitation of lanes to Gen4 is only explained by adjusting the price. We see how one of the M.2 slots only has 2 lanes available , so its performance will drop by half. In any case, the accounts on lane consumption add up as all the available ones are occupied with the advantage of not having shared bus connections.

Network connectivity and sound card

We now continue to analyze the peripheral connections of the ASRock X670E PG Lightning , and we have good news to see that a CNVi slot has been placed on the left edge to install a wireless network card if we wish. As a fixed connection available as standard, we have the usual RJ45 Ethernet port with a Realtek chip with 2.5 Gbps of bandwidth.

The sound card consists of a Realtek ALC897 codec , which is honestly a bit old and basic for 2022 boards, especially those with the more powerful chipset on the AMD platform. Its features maintain a good level by supporting 7.1 audio in high definition, but without reaching the quality levels of the new ALC4082 or even ALC1220 codecs. The rear panel only has 3 analog 3.5 mm jacks, without an S/PDIF port for advanced systems.

I/O ports and internal connections

We continue to analyze the external connections of the ASRock X670E PG Lightning , increasing the number of connections remarkably compared to previous generation modes.

On the rear panel we find:

  • BIOS Flashback Button
  • Holes to install external Wi-Fi antenna
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 (Celeste)
  • 6x USB 3.2 Gen1 (Blue and 2 Yellow)
  • 4x USB 2.0 (Negros)
  • HDMI 2.0
  • DisplayPort 1.4
  • 1x RJ-45 LAN 2,5 Gbps
  • 3x Jack de 3,5 mm

We continue with the internal ports of the motherboard:

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  • 6x Fan Heads (3x SYS_FAN, 1x CPU_FAN, 2x AIO_PUMP/FAN)
  • 4x cabeceras RGB (3x 5VDG A-RGB, 1x 12VRGB RGB)
  • AAFP audio connector for front panel
  • F_Panel Connections
  • TPM
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C Header
  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 (supports 4 ports)
  • 2x USB 2.0 (supports 4 ports)
  • Thunderbolt card header

We have an interface available for USB-C Gen2x2 at 20 Gbps and a total capacity of 8 SATA ports in addition to the previous 12. Although not all interfaces can deliver 10 Gbps speeds, the number and variety is more than enough for demanding users.

testing bench

It’s time to test the ASRock X670E PG Lightning on our test bench, in which we will be using the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X . We will use the following components:

TESTING BENCH
Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
Base plate : ASRock X670E PG Lightning
Memory: 32GB Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR5 6000 MHz
heatsink MSI Coreliquid S360
HDD ADATA Gammix S70
Graphic card Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti
Power supply Corsair RM1000

BIOS

ASRock BIOS has a very simple option layout same as previous generations. It would be appropriate to improve this interface and add simple and advanced modes to improve the user control experience. In fact, we do not have a fan control tool for the headers available on the board, and this is what all the competition boards have. On its main screen we only see information about CPU, BIOS version and RAM configuration.

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The OC Tweaker section will have a large part of the overclocking options for CPU and RAM, and the rest as PBO are found in an AMD CPU-specific overclocking section in Advanced, which is common to all X670E motherboard BIOS. We will be able to manage the power supply and LLC curve , clock frequencies and the frequency relationship between Infinity Fabric, IOD and Memories .

Advanced has the manual PBO configuration as we have mentioned before, Resizable BAR that is activated by default, internal interfaces, how the TPM expansion slots operate, and other technical aspects of the connections such as the activation or deactivation of specific ports. In Tools we will have some extra functions such as Instant Flash or secure SSD deletion, while the rest of the section is practically common to other boards without relevant options.

VRM temperatures

We carry out a stress test on the CPU in its stock configuration, monitoring internal temperatures through HWiNFO and external temperatures of the VRM with a FLIR One thermal camera .

ASRock X670E PG Lightning
Rest Stock Full Stock
Board 37ºC 39ºC
Chipset (sensor) 55ºC 57ºC
VRM (exterior) 36ºC 49ºC

Repose

Stress

With the size of the heatsinks and the full Ryzen 9 7950X we expected higher VRM temperatures, so it’s a pleasant surprise to see extremely tight and even better numbers than the ASRock Taichi model.

Overclocking and voltages

We have overclocked directly from the BIOS by setting a frequency of 5.4 GHz on all cores, at a voltage of 1,270 V and using an LLC level 2. These are basically the same conditions that we have managed to stable this CPU in other CPUs. plates, allowing us to make a good voltage adjustment. Although in the stress tests we have noticed that stability is a little more critical than in high-end models such as ASRock Taichi itself, Asus Crosshair Hero or AORUS MASTER that we have previously tested.

The default voltages supplied by this board will be 1.25V at 5.2GHz on all cores , a minimum voltage of 0.99V and a maximum of 1.45V when the frequency goes up to 5.7GHz. The figures will be good. considering that in the mentioned plates the figures that are handled are similar or equal. Little by little the BIOS updates will polish the configuration more and more.

By the way, Ryzen Master freezes when we try to adjust frequencies and voltages on this board and the Taichi from Windows . Perhaps there is some option in BIOS that escapes us, but it has not happened to us in the rest of the boards.

Final words and conclusion about ASRock X670E PG Lightning

This board is presented to us as one of the affordable options with the X670E chipset , which implies giving up certain sections such as sophisticated aesthetics, RGB or even losing heatsink blocks for some M.2 slots . Even a board like this should have heatsinks for all slots or at least be interchangeable. Be careful, because a block with a fan for PCIe 5.0 SSD is included, that’s where it’s saved.

Instead, the level we see in internal connectivity will be very good to the point of staying close to high-end models. With 4 M.2 slots, and 4 PCIe slots almost any user will have plenty now and in future upgrades. The distribution of lanes means that, for example , an M.2 only works at x2, or that the secondary PCIe slots operate at x4 or x1, but for practical purposes we believe that it covers the needs with a note.

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We recommend reading our guide on the best motherboards on the market

It is added no less than 12 USB on the rear panel and capacity for 9 front , one of them Gen2x2. The VRM and especially its low temperatures are a very positive point for high-end CPUs, since even with the Ryzen 9 7950X it works perfectly . About the BIOS we can say that it is still too simple and concise in some sections of options such as cooling, but with well-adjusted voltages as standard. The Ryzen Master freezing problem on Windows needs to be fixed, but it’s purely anecdotal as these are boards fresh out of the oven.

We still do not know the price of this ASRock X670E PG Lightning , and therefore it will be difficult to know for sure if it is a more or less recommended model. Its section of rear, front and internal connections is the strongest point along with the VRM temperatures . For an advanced user, but not at the enthusiast level, we think the board meets expectations.

ADVANTAGE DISADVANTAGES
VERY COMPLETE INTERNAL CONNECTIVITY AND NO SHARED LANS TWO M.2 SLOTS WITHOUT HEATSINK
12 REAR USB + 9 FRONT, 2 GEN2X2 BASIC BIOS IN EXTRAS SUCH AS VENTILATION OR INTERFACE
INCLUDES ACTIVE HEATSINK FOR GEN5 SSD AND CNVi SLOT OLD SOUND CARD, DOES NOT INCLUDE WI-FI CARD
WELL ADJUSTED VOLTAGE AND EXCELLENT VRM TEMPERATURES

The Professional Review team awards him the gold medal:

ASRock X670E PG Lightning

COMPONENTS – 84%

COOLING – 87%

BIOS – 85%

EXTRAS – 81%

PRECIO – 84%

84%

Not all X670E boards have to cost more than €500, and this ASRock X670E PG Lightning is a solid choice even for the Ryzen 9 7950X for VRM power and connectivity.

 

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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