ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming ITX - use of thunderbolt?

echn111

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jan 30, 2007
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Looking to get a new AMD motherboard for my ITX build that I plan on using for light gaming, work and movies. Was looking at different options and noticed that the ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming ITX has thunderbolt 3 support.

I don't have an apple, am not doing video capture and my only external peripherals are a number of harddrive connected via an icybox. My monitor does support thunderbolt, but my RTX 2070 super only has displayport, so that goes unused... So the thunderbolt 3 port on this motherboard doesn't seem especially useful to me. But I haven't been involved in tech for a long time so perhaps I'm missing something....

I'm fine to spend some money, but there has to be a reason. Given my situation, is there ANY benefit to having thunderbolt on my new motherboard? If not, I'll just get a cheaper motherboard with better m.2 support....
 

jeremyshaw

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If you need really high speed data links off the MB, need mITX size, and also need to go AMD (and not Intel), then ASRock's X570 mITX is about the only choice.

It all hinges on that first one, really. The TB3 port on the MB can only support what DP1.4 can support, since it only has a single DP input (it still needs your dGPU to feed it using an external cable). Maybe that is different with an AMD APU, but I don't know. TB3 on a more integrated product usually muxes two DP 1.2/1.4 connections together to reach the 40Gbps bandwidth, and this board doesn't seem setup to do that. I haven't read much into this board, however.

For data, TB3 provides ~22Gbps of usable PCIe data bandwidth which allows for 10GbE networking, fast external SSDs (though the advantage is lessened, nowadays), and external dGPUs (of questionable benefit on most desktops).

So, I suppose it really comes down to if you foresee yourself needing TB3 in the future, since ASRock's X570 mITX is otherwise a pretty low end board, save for TB3. If it had another M.2 slot, a few more USB ports on the back I/O, and something other than the same old GbE NIC, I'd probably have that board. As it stands, it's a lot of compromises for getting TB3 in mITX for AM4. I just don't see it as being worthwhile.
 

echn111

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Thanks. I had a feeling thunderbolt wouldn't help me with a desktop build, but figured I'd ask anyway in case I missed something. And not keen on the compromises it means. In that case I'm back to looking for a decent motherboard...
 

jeremyshaw

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You don't have many choices for X570 AM4 mITX/mDTX. The ASUS mDTX is ludicrously expensive, but has most of what I want (I/O, two M.2, Type-C header, only missing a better Ethernet NIC).

The ASRock seems to have compromised everything to squeeze a single TB3 port onto the board.

The Gigabyte and ASUS mITX are the two I looked at the hardest. Neither have a Type-C header (something that is widely available on Intel mITX boards...). Both still have regular old GbE and just cost too much vs my ASRock Z270 Fatal1ty miTX (with TB3). The ASUS mITX strangely drops the S/PDIF port, which the ASUS mDTX has.

Save for the ASUS mDTX, all of them waste back I/O space on useless HDMI/DP ports. I suppose, despite the likelihood that AM4 APUs will never, ever get PCIe4, some people gots to have the latest PCIe4 certified boards for their dual core + IGP setups. Those 8 power phases will "certainly" be put to good use powering a 35W APU. It's not as if USB-C DP-Alt mode couldn't already service the people who had to have X570 mITX. It's not like AMD even puts IGPs on their higher end chips.


Uhhhh... I swear I didn't make a reply just to rant.

Either way, you have 4 realistic choices from 3 vendors. Also a joke from Biostar and a spattering of server boards (basically no back I/O). A few okay 300/400 series boards, too, but all with their own compromises.
 

Epos7

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Aug 31, 2015
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I was trying to make the same decision last year and ended up picking the Gigabyte for its dual m.2 slots. I really wanted the USB-C header on the Asus mDTX board, but I wasn't prepared to pay an extra $200 for it. Nice thing about the Gigabyte is it has PCIE bifurcation options in the BIOS so you've got some options for what you do with the second m.2 slot.
 
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