ASRock B150M Pro4 Motherboard Review


Price / Where to Buy:

US – Approx. US$83.99 – ASROCK B150M Pro4
PH – Php4250

ASRock has been doing well trying to fight their way through the mainstream market once again despite the relatively strong performance from their competitors. For this review, we’re going to look at their mainstream offering not under the gaming product line of Fatal1ty motherboards but instead the Super Alloy-brandishing ASRock B150M Pro4 is in our labs for review.

ASRock B150M Pro4 Motherboard Review
ASRock B150M Pro4 Motherboard Review

ASRock’s core strength is its focus on bridging mainstream pricing with excellent build quality and this has worked for the company in recent years. The ASRock B150M Pro4 is a great example of the company still offering its more conservatively priced offerings an essentials-focus yet still have good build quality at the core of the product.

Features

  • ASRock Super Alloy
  • Supports 6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors (Socket 1151)
  • Digi Power
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR4 2133
  • 2 PCIe 3.0 x16, 2 PCIe 3.0 x1
  • AMD Quad CrossFireX™
  • Graphics Output Options: D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), ELNA Audio Caps
  • 6 SATA3
  • 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear)
  • Supports Full Spike Protection, ASRock Live Update & APP Shop

Intel Skylake CPU

Intel has opted to stagger the launch of the Skylake CPUs with the flagship Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K unlocked processors debuting at launch together with the Z170 chipset. Further SKUs were released after launch for the lower end of the product stack.

Intel Skylake CPUs presents a new microarchitecture using the 14nm process seen in Broadwell processors. Intel Skylake CPUs will feature improved efficiency numbers and IPC performance together with a new IGP. As with all launch CPUs, these top-end unlocked processors are aimed at enthusiasts and support multiplier overclocking.

Also in the platform is support for DDR4. The new processors fully supports dual-channel DDR4 memory with the new DDR4 modules supporting higher default memory of 2133MHz at only 1.2v. Some motherboard makers may also opt to use DDR3 still as the processor still retain support for that.

Closer Look – ASRock B150M Pro4

As part of ASRock’s mainstream offering, the ASROCK B150M Pro4 differs from the Gaming series with its black theme and bronze heatsinks. Other than that it still possesses the shroud on the I/O and a the matte black PCB.

This motherboard features a 7-phase VRM cooled by a relatively mid-sized heatsink. The board takes in up to four DDR4 memory sticks with support for up to full-length PCIe cards with the top 1 running at x16 and the bottom-most slot running in x4. The slots only supports AMD Crossfire. There’s a pair of PCIe x1 slots in-between for compatible expansion cards.

Rear I/O for the ASROCK Pro4 includes a single legacy PS/2 port with USB3.0 ports on the same lane, VGA, HDMI and DVI for video display options as well as another pair USB3.0 ports alongside the LAN port. Six audio ports allow 7.1 channel audio directly from the board output. ASRock uses ALC892 on the audio hardware here. For the storage there’s a total of six SATA ports here. Evidently, M.2 was removed from this board but the screw threads and socket area is left on the board.

Performance Testing

Test Setup

Processor: Intel Core i7 6700K
Motherboard: ASRock B150M Pro4
Memory: Kingston HyperX SAVAGE DDR4-3000
Storage: Kingston HyperX FURY 240GB
PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower 1000w
Cooling: Custom loop (XSPC Raystorm block, EK DCP 4.0, BlackIce Stealth GT 360 rad)
Monitor: LG 42UB820T UltraHD TV
VGAGIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti GAMING G1

For a full-hardware workout, visit http://www.futuremark.com for our benchmarks of choice.

Performance Testing – Synthetic

wpDataChart with provided ID not found! wpDataChart with provided ID not found! wpDataChart with provided ID not found! wpDataChart with provided ID not found!

Performance Testing – 3D Benchmark

3DMark Fire Strike

wpDataChart with provided ID not found!

Power & Temperatures

We check to see how motherboard makers tune their default BIOS settings and see how it impacts temperatures and power consumption. The system is left to idle for 30 minutes before readings are taken and load data is taken 30 minutes while AIDA64 stress test is running. Power readings are taken for the entire system from the socket. Power draw for the entire system is captured for this test via an outlet wattmeter and temperatures are recorded via Intel Extreme Tuning app.

wpDataChart with provided ID not found! wpDataChart with provided ID not found!

Conclusion

Let’s break it down for the ASRock B150M Pro4:

Performance. Despite the relatively low stance of the board on the charts, its because the OC results supplant the non-OC results and makes the board sink in the charts but overall results are very telling of its capability to hang with the more mainstream Z170 offerings from other brands and its relatively low power consumption makes a very ideal board for its design purpose which is for small builds.

Build Quality. ASRock’s key strength lies in this factor and with the very good build quality of the B150M Pro4, its definitely one of the most substantial board we’ve had in this price point for an mATX board this generation. While the feature set isn’t as packed as we’d like, it does bring the essentials which we’ll discuss in the next section.

Functionality. Feature-wise, the ASRock B150M Pro4 has all the basics covered: DDR4 support, USB3.0, PCI-e 3.0 slots, amplified 7.1 channel audio, etc. While they aren’t that high-end their enough for anyone looking for a basic system for entry-level to mainstream gaming.

Bundle. Basic bundle so we’ll keep it average here.

Value. At $84 or Php4250, its got some rather stiff competition from the more budget-oriented brands like BIOSTAR and ECS and it ultimately boils down to looks or brand preference. In the case of the ASROCK B150M Pro4, its got excellent build quality which substantially superior in terms of feel versus that of the brands I mentioned. Still, if there’s a feature you’re specifically looking at, then go with that.

Overall the ASRock B150M Pro4 sits in a position where its advantage is creating a budget-oriented micro-ATX motherboard for Skylake processors without sacrificing quality nor essential features. While the audio chip could use work, ASRock does work around that by amping up the audio but overall, its the quality of the board that really stands out.

The ASRock B150M Pro4 competes directly with MSI, ASUS and GIGABYTE in this price range and manages to edge out all microATX competition from them with its multi-GPU support, an option which should be welcome to budget builders. Like I always say, its always better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

In closing, ASRock has created a solid board with good scalability and is an excellent choice for microATX builders who want some potential room to grow without sacrificing budget.

Price / Where to Buy:

US – Approx. US$83.99 – ASROCK B150M Pro4
PH – Php4250

ASRock backs the ASRock B150M Pro4 with a 3-year warranty. We give it our B2G Silver Award!

B2G_Silver