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::>Motherboards > 2015 > 02 > GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

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Republish review

17-02-2015


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Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix: review and testing

This review will be devoted to the new product from the company GIGABYTE, namely motherboard GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix. As you might guess by its title, it is made based on chipset Intel B85. Thanks to this new product has the support of technology package Intel Small Business Advantage, which will be useful primarily for the office system.

As for the traditional home use, for about $ 100 you’ll get an original design with LED-backlit of printed circuit board, implemented using soldered LEDs on the back side, Gigabit LAN controller of Intel, support for ports USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s, and HDMI video output to output image resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K Ultra HD).

As we face with Mini-ITX model, which is great for the building of compact multimedia systems, many will like the availability of slots, wireless interfaces, as well as the port mSATA for the compact SSDs.

But let's move on to the review of new item. And let’s learn detailed description of its characteristics.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

 

The specs:

Producer

GIGABYTE

Model

GA-B85N Phoenix (rev 1.1)

Chipset

Intel B85

SPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron of 4th gen

Memory frequency

1333 / 1600 MHz

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM-slot with memory support up to 16 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

1 x mini-PCI Express

Disk subsystem

Intel B85 chipset supports:

3 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA 3 Gb/s

1 x mSATA 6 Gb/s

LAN

1 x Intel WGI217V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Realtek ALC898 codec

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

24-pin ATX main power connector

8-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

1 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x DVI-I

1 х PS/2 (for mouse or  keyboard connection)

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

5 x USB 2.0

5 x audio jacks

1 х optical S/PDIF Out

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

1 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

1 х S/PDIF Out

1 х socket COM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS

BIOS

AMI UEFI BIOS

2 x 64 Mb

PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver and utility disc

2 x SATA cables

2 x adapters to connect antenna of wireless interfaces

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

Mini-ITX

170 х 170 mm

Producer website

GIGABYTE
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page  

Package and content

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Package of motherboard GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix is executed in the best traditions of the Taiwanese company that does not save on materials even for affordable solutions. Therefore, regardless of the cost, the box is made from high quality cardboard and decorated with color printing (in this case in dark tones). The front side in addition to the usual name of the manufacturer and model of the device contains to the logo of the support forechnology package Intel Small Business Advantage logo and brand concept Ultra Durable 4 Plus, which includes the following features:

  • Ultra Cool - new sample of heatsink that demonstrates improved performance is used for cooling the chipset.
  • Ultra Performance – circuitry is designed exclusively from high quality components such as solid capacitors and FETs with low on-resistance (Low RDS (on)). They are distinguished by an increased level of efficiency, stability and reliability.
  • Ultra Safe - this model is equipped with two chips with firmware BIOS (main and reserve), which will allow you to avoid a visit to the service center in case of damage to the main chip, for example, when update the BIOS. Also here is a presence of additional protection of USB ports and LAN ESD. Each LAN and USB-port works in conjunction with a special protective filter that is able to withstand severe electrostatic discharge, which protects the system against power surges, even during a thunderstorm.

Do note the presence of the above-mentioned LED-backlight, which can operate in two modes (permanently or flashes) and has two degrees of brightness.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Looking at the back of the box, the user will be able to familiarize with a schematic representation of the motherboard, its interface panel configuration, as well as a brief technical specification. Here are several interesting features of new item:

  • Additional protection of circuit board against moisture and heat.
  • The interface board has HDMI video output to output image resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K Ultra HD).
  • The interface the contains soldered special port USB 2.0 with gold-plated connectors, which is designed to connect an external sound card or amplifier. It is powered not by the controller integrated into the chipset USB 2.0, but through a special converter directly from power lines. Therefore it provides a more stable and less noisy output voltage.
  • Use of a separate fuse for each USB port on the interface panel.

Useful are technologies like GIGABYTE ON / OFF Charge and 3x USB Power, the description of which we have already introduced in one of our previous articles.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Scope of delivery of this model includes interface panel plug, two SATA cables, CD with software and user's guide, as well as two adapters to connect remote antennas of wireless interfaces. Recall that the module is not supplied.

Design and features

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix is based on the dark brown printed circuit board in format Mini-ITX (170 x 170 mm). The manufacturer decided to use not only the traditional dark colors, but also add splashes of orange, which gives recognition of the novelty.

On-board elements layout is quite standard for the format of devices and has a very thoughtful arrangement of key ports and connectors closer to the edges of the PCB. So, DIMM-Slots are equipped with latches on one side only, and in order to extract the memory modules you don’t have a disable the graphics card.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Looking at the back side you can see the traditional base plate of processor socket, plastic clips securing the radiator and several electrical components.

Do note LEDs soldered on the circuit PCB, which are responsible for the work of technology GIGABYTE Pulse LED.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

At the top there is sufficiently large number of elements. There are two 4-pin fan connectors, front panel connection module, S/PDIF Out, as well as a port COM and CMOS.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Front panel audio connector module is in the lower left corner of the interface panel. Also here is the port mSATA 6 Gb/s, which is implemented by the chipset.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

The organization of disk subsystem is presented by three ports SATA 6 Gb/s and one SATA 3 Gb/s. All of them are located on the right side, and for their correct operation is provided by chip.

Here are two blocks for activation of external USB ports: one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0. Total number of USB 2.0 ports is seven (two internal and five external) and four USB 3.0 (two internal and two on the interface panel).

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

The tested model is equipped by two DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR3 standard. Modules operating at frequencies from 1333 to 1600 MHz in the nominal mode are supported. Maximum memory capacity can reach 16 GB, which is sufficient for almost all tasks.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Cooling system of the product includes one radiator that provides heat removal from chipset Intel B85. In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 42.5°C;
  • power subsystem chocks – 80.5°C;
  • power subsystem support elements – 81.9°C.  

The obtained results are sufficiently high, but not critical. Also don’t forget that they have achieved during the stress test, which means that when the daily operation overheating problems should not arise.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Processor power supply is performed via 4-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Chip ISL9582 is applied as PWM controller.

As we’ve mentioned, the circuitry of motherboard GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix is designed using high-quality components in accordance with the company's concept Ultra Durable 4 Plus. It is composed of solid capacitors and FETs with low on-resistance (Low RDS (on)). Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

In addition to the single slot mini-PCI Express, which serves to connect the module of wireless interface, the ability to extend the functionality of the motherboard is presented by a single slot PCI Express x16. It is connected to the processor and always uses the available sixteen lines of the standard PCI Express 3.0.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

To realize the opportunities of integrated graphics core there are two video outputs: HDMI and DVI-I, switching between them is realized by two chips: PTN3360DBS and ASMedia ASM1442.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Multi I/O capabilities are based on ITE IT8620E chip. 

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

To support network connections there is a GB LAN-controller Intel WGI217V. The utility GIGABYTE cFos SPEED will help to configure the network resources.    

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Sound subsystem of model is based on the 8-channel codec Realtek ALC898which supports 2/4/5.1/7.1 audio systems. 

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Interface panel of the model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 2 x USB 3.0;
  • 5 х USB 2.0;
  • 1 х PS/2 (mouse or keyboard);
  • 1 х optical S/PDIF out;
  • 5 x audio jacks.

Thanks to a good set of video outputs including HDMI with the ability to output image resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K Ultra HD), the presence of a sufficient number of ports USB, as well as easy connection of multi-channel speakers, this configuration of interface panel deserves our very high praise. Additionally we would like to note a specific port USB 2.0, intended for connection of an external sound card thanks to the implementation of the technology USB DAC-UP. Don’t forget that you can set COM port to the rear panel using the appropriate pads on the PCB.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

The means of organizing the cooling system inside the case of GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix are quite standard. There are two 4-pin fan connectors, one of which is used for CPU cooling system, while the second is designed for system fans. 

UEFI BIOS

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Motherboard is equipped with modern UEFI firmware based on microcode AMI with nice graphics interface, ability to control by mouse and support for drives with capacity at least of 3 TB. Also it has two BIOS chips (technology DualBIOS) that allows to keep the system efficiency in case of main chip damage.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Most of the settings related to changes in frequency of the clock (BCLK), CPU, integrated graphics core and memory are grouped in section «MB Intelligent Tweaker» («MIT»), where they are conveniently separated in thematic subsections.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Frequency multiplier allows to set module connection speed within 800-2933MHz.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

If necessary, the section “V\Advanced Memory Setting” can provide the access the settings of memory latency.

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

Also there is the ability of fine tune of voltage on main system components.

Adjustments required to optimize the system:

Parameter

Menu name

Range

Step

CPU multiplier

CPU Clock Ratio

8 – MAX

1

RAM frequency

System Memory Multiplier

800 – 1600

 

CPU voltage

CPU Vcore

0,900 – 1,200

0,001

RAM voltage

DRAM Voltage

1,160 – 1,700

0,020

Automatic overclocking profiles

CPU Upgrade

Auto; 4,3; 4,4; 4,5; 4,6; 4,7

 

Graphics core frequency

Processor Graphics Clock

400 – 4000

50

 

Turbo Power Limit (Watts)

1 – 4096

1

 

Core Current Limit (Amps)

10 – 1000

1

 

CPU VRIN

1,700 – 1,900

0,010

Graphics core voltage

CPU Graphics Voltage (VAXG)

0,900 – 1,100

0,001

 

CPU RING Voltage

0,900 – 1,149

0,001

System sgent voltage

CPU System Agent Voltage

-0,100 – +0,100

0,001

 

CPU I/O Analog Voltage

-0,100 – +0,100

0,001

 

CPU I/O Digital Voltage

-0,100 – +0,100

0,001

Chipset voltage

PCH Core

0,950 – 1,150

0,005

 

PCH IO

1,400 – 1,600

0,000

Capacity of memory required for CPU graphics core

Intel Processor Graphics Memory

 

32, 64, 96, 128, 192, 224, 256, 320, 384, 448, 512, 1024

 

RAM timing

Timing Control

CAS, tRCD, tRP, tRAS, tRRD, tWTR, tWR, tWTP, tWL. tRFC, tRTP, tFAW

 

GIGABYTE GA-B85N Phoenix

The section «PC Health Status» opens access for monitoring the temperature of the processor and chipset, as well as speed of installed fans.

Additionally you can monitor the voltage at the processor core, memory modules and power supply on lines +12V, +5V and +3.3V.


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