Since we are considering exclusively gaming assemblies, we will choose among mini-ITX form factor motherboards. Mini-DTX, thin mini-ITX standards do not suit us — some of these devices simply do not have a PCI Express x16 slot for installing a video card. In addition, some boards support SO-DIMM laptop RAM. In turn, the mATX form factor has noticeably large dimensions. So, in fact, we don’t have much choice, unless we assemble the system in a Mini-Tower case.
Let’s look at the offers available on market, distinguishing between their classes: from entry-level boards to the real High-end.
|Entry level (for Core i3, Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5 and below)|
|ASRock H510M-ITX/ac||GIGABYTE H610I DDR4||ASRock A320M-ITX||There are no suitable devices for sale|
|ASUS PRIME H410I-PLUS||ASUS PRIME H610I-PLUS D4-CSM||ASUS PRIME A320I-K|
|ASROCK H610M-ITX/AC||GIGABYTE A520I AC|
|ASRock H670M-ITX/ax||Biostar B450NH|
|Medium (for Core i5, Ryzen 7 and below)|
|MSI H510I PRO WIFI||GIGABYTE B660I AORUS PRO DDR4||ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ax||There are no suitable devices for sale|
|Biostar Racing B660GTN|
|Top Tier (for Core i7, Core i9, Ryzen 9 and below)|
|ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-I GAMING||GIGABYTE B760I AORUS PRO DDR4||ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3||MSI MPG B650I EDGE WIFI|
|MSI MPG B560I GAMING EDGE WIFI||ASUS ROG STRIX B760-I GAMING WIFI||MSI MPG B550I GAMING EDGE WIFI|
|ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-I GAMING WIFI||GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS ULTRA|
|MSI MPG B760I EDGE WIFI DDR4|
|MSI MEG Z690I UNIFY|
|MSI MPG Z790I EDGE WIFI|
|ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-I GAMING WIFI|
|ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4|
The statistics I have collected allow us to draw several quite obvious conclusions. So, judging by the amount of goods on store shelves, Intel platforms look preferable for assembling a compact PC.
For example, for AMD AM5 at the time of this writing, only one model was sold (albeit in all major chain stores) — we are talking about the MSI MPG B650I EDGE WIFI. This is an excellent board, I will talk about it later, but it turns out that there is no choice here, and the board is expensive. Another interesting observation: only MSI motherboards are presented for all four mainstream platforms that are relevant in 2023 at once.
The division of boards into levels is done on purpose, although it is generally conditional. For entry-level devices, the Core i3, Ryzen 3, and Ryzen 5 series processors are suitable. For the mid-range, Core i5 and Ryzen 7; for the upper category, Core i7 / i9 and Ryzen 9. Yes, the features of each device must be considered individually. But in this article, we will not do that. Otherwise, I’m afraid, the only person who will read this article in full will be our production editor — and that’s not a fact.
The MPG Z790I EDGE WIFI model is a similar level solution. In the case of mini-ITX-boards, there is no big reason to chase top-end chipsets, however, for the LGA1700 platform, the flagship chipset opens up the possibility of overclocking K-processors and their flexible settings — someone will be interested in this.
The MPG Z790I EDGE WIFI power subsystem operates according to the 10 + 1 + 1 scheme (VCore + VCCAUX + VCCGT). The cooling system consists of two aluminum radiators connected by a copper heat pipe. As you can see, MSI engineers do not use plastic shrouds — the VRM heatsink is that shroud. And the cooling system is equipped with a built-in fan — it works silently and most of the time it does not turn on at all.
The MPG Z790I EDGE WIFI also uses a 2.5 Gigabit network controller, but only from Intel. The I/O panel has two USB 3.2 Gen2 A-type ports and one Type-C port with double the bandwidth of 20 Gbps. Of the interesting, I note the presence of a BIOS reset button.
A feature of the MPG Z790I EDGE WIFI is the presence of three M.2 ports at once — two connectors supporting PCI Express 4.0 and one PCI Express 3.0. To do this, the device is equipped with a discrete printed circuit board installed in a special slot. This is the first time I meet such SSD management in mini-ITX motherboards. And this is a great solution, I tell you!