B660M Gaming X AX review and comparison – performance issues

We did a round up of 12 gen DDR4 motherboards power and performance earlier this year on italian channel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKAe39WsieM + https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbW20l4c-QM

Back then, Z690M Plus D4 from asus had the best performance/power ratio (efficiency), and Gigabyte B660 Aorus Master was very close – but not cheaper. B660 DS3H AX was also good while being much cheaper – in fact, only the AsRock, wich was the wors by far in the test, was cheaper. Msi, Asus b660, Gigabyte z690 were in the middle of the pack.

Now, a new mAtx option from gigabyte is tested.

The B660M Gaming X AX seems to be an amazing option with proper heatsinks, secondary PCIE 4X wiring, dual NVMe, integrated WiFi and Thunderbolt header.
We were hoping for the VRM efficiency to be similar to the b660 Aorus, but performance out of the box was lacking. It all came down to insufficient voltage and related clock stretching.

Testing again these 3 boards to provide some context, we found the Z690 Gaming X was actually providing more power to the CPU than needed, while the Gaming X was delivering so little it actually initiated clock stretching with the default settings – thus providing lower bnchmark scores – and we had to overvolt slightly to compensate.

This is sure some weird behavior that is very alarming for customers, as you should not be overvolting to get the default performance.

In the end, we got the same ≈13450 R23 score on all boards at the same ≈180w with the following offsets

Z690 -0.030
B660 DS3H -0.015
B660M +0.010

We were not getting 100% stability with our 3200mhz kit on the B660M, but had no issue with a 3600 one running at 3400 (as alder lake locked VCCSA and high temps make it hard to reach full 3600 at gear1).

We threw in a quick comparison between CX450M, a very good bronze PSU, and a Seasonic Platinum PX450 fanless, wich had less than 10 watt advantage at peak load

In the end, we tried to cool down the 12600; being the highest clocked H0 die, it is very hard to extract almost 120w from it, similar to what happens with the AMD 5800x; it’s not a super power hungry CPU, but very power dense. Note – the last benchmark result is slightly lower because it’s made at early macos boot with power gadet monitoring realtime.

ERRATA: at 9:25 we also had started undervolting at -0.010
at 15:09 the first set of Geekbench scores was lower because of the default voltage being too low on the B660M, the ram cap at 3000 was not the main issue

#alderlake #b660 #motherboard #z690 #vrm #efficiency #undervolt #cinebench #i5 #stepping #H0 #gigabyte #hackintosh #noctua #lga1700