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ANSWERED! Can anyone Answer how many VRMs are for the CPU Cores on this MSI X370 Gaming M7 ACK?

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Posted February 7, 2018 by Josh Jackson in CPU & Motherboards

Update: Not only did MSI get me an answer, but the answer was also the one I was hoping for.Based on this, we can make a pretty good assumption on which VRMs are for the CPU core and which ones are for the SOC. Remember, what we see as the objects that are being circled are just the capacitors. Each phase of a VRM involves multiple pieces, only some of which are visible from above. Counting the capacitors is an easy way to get a close idea what a board has to offer.

Needless to say there are some points I can’t say with 100% certainty are correct, but this is a much closer picture of where each VRM is at and what their role is. Thank you MSI for your help in answering this!

Let’s get the two obvious answers (that I already know) out of the way before all the “smart” people try show off their superiority. We can easily count the chokes on the board and see there is 12. If we do a bit of digging, which I did, we can find out that some say it’s a 10+2 power phase design. Neither of these figures completely answer my question. Let me explain the exact information I’m hoping to find, while I also gloat about how great this MSI X370 Gaming M7 ACK motherboard looks on the surface.

Zen+ is coming soon and for builders who want a long term motherboard solution, I like to help them find X370 boards that look like they can handle a few iterations of Ryzen. When it comes to overclocking, finding a good strong VRM is important, but AMD has more to the numbers than a straight choke count. It looks like VRMs are used for CPU cores, the SOC, and the memory. It’s the ones for the cores though, that seem to be the most important. A board can have an impressive 10 phase VRM system, but when you dig into the specifics, only 6 of them are for the cores. That could be enough, but it sounds less impressive for the upcoming releases. The reality could be that for good overclocking, a board would best serve the CPU by having 8 VRMs for the cores, 4 for the SOC, and 2 for the memory. 8+4+2. The memory VRMs may not need to be part of that number, so a good 12 VRM design might be ideal in that case.

Let’s get back to the MSI X370 Gaming M7 ACK. This could be one of the best boards on the market for X370, if price isn’t a factor. We have a total of 12 chokes around the CPU and what looks like 2 chokes by the RAM slots. I’ve circled them with question marks in the diagram above because I hope some of you can help clarify this with me. If it’s right, then that likely means we have 10 phases for the CPU cores and 2 for the SOC. On the level of core importance for overclocking, then the Gaming M7 has all the markings of a great board. On the other hand, the +2 could be for the memory controller. In this is the case (image below), we may still have 6 phases for the cores, 4 phases for the SOC and the last two going to the memory controller. That would admittedly make it less impressive for overclocking, but still be a pretty strong offering regardless. So after getting an answer as to whether either diagram is correct, the next question would be if there’s a way to tell from visual appearance on the front or back side of the board. Anyone?

Getting back to the MSI X370 Gaming M7 ACK though, this is certainly an incredibly impressive board. I think the company made a right decision delaying the release. This allowed some of the Ryzen bugs to get worked out before working on a flagship product like this. The design on the lighting and M.2 shielding is great, and the inclusion of a full wireless adapter can be incredibly helpful for a lot of builders. Perhaps the big reason that many boards had less VRMs dedicated to the CPU cores is the limited overclocking room Ryzen had. Unfortunately, it could leave many overclockers feeling like they need to upgrade to X470 for Zen+ or Zen 2. Don’t forget to check the link below for more info on the Gaming M7 and leave your comments below or in the forums once the thread is posted.


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