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NZXT N7 B550: A Closer Look at the VRM and What We Like the Most

NZXT just launched its N7 B550 motherboard for AMD systems. While the board looks more or less identical to the existing N7 boards, the VRM and the internals have undergone a makeover. Before we begin, it’s important to note that this board is essentially an ASRock B550 with NZXT’s build design and label. The VRM design of the N7 B550 is essentially the same as the one used by the ASRock B550 Steel Legend:

The board uses a twelve-phase, but in hindsight, it’s just a 6-phase paired with (ISL6617A) doublers. The VRM controller is a digital Renesas RAA 229004 which can support a maximum of 6+2 power phases while the MOSFETs are 50A Vishay SiC654s.

Note the black doublers (ISL6617A)


One of the things I really liked about the design is the easily removable M.2 covers which stick to the board using a magnet, making changes to your drive config pretty simply:

The N7 B550 comes in two colors: black and white, no surprise there. There are two heatsinks (and radiators): One on the top, for the VRMs and one on the bottom right for the chipset. Both are relatively simple with two sets of thermal pads per component. Unfortunately, there are no heatsinks for any of the M.2 drive placements.

N7 B550 Technical Specifications

CPU & SocketSupports AMD Socket AM4 Ryzen™ Processors (3000, 4000, and 5000 Series Processors) ** Not compatible with AMD Ryzen™ 5 3400G and Ryzen™ 3200G
ChipsetAMD® B550
Memory4 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 Dual-channel memory architecture
AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Vermeer) support DDR4 4666+(O.C.)/ 4600(O.C.)/ 4533(O.C.) /4466(O.C.)/ 4400(O.C.)/ 4333(O.C.)/ 4266(O.C.)/ 4200(O.C.)/ 4133(O.C.)/ 4000(O.C.)/ 3866(O.C.)/ 3800(O.C.)/ 3733(O.C.)/ 3600(O.C.)/ 3466(O.C.)/ 3200/ 2933/ 2667/ 2400/ 2133ECC & non-ECC, un-buffered memory
AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Matisse) support DDR4 4666+(O.C.)/ 4600(O.C.)/ 4533(O.C.) /4466(O.C.)/ 4400(O.C.)/ 4333(O.C.)/ 4266(O.C.)/ 4200(O.C.)/ 4133(O.C.)/ 4000(O.C.)/ 3866(O.C.)/ 3800(O.C.)/ 3733(O.C.)/ 3600(O.C.)/ 3466(O.C.)/ 3200/ 2933/ 2667/ 2400/ 2133 ECC & non-ECC, un-buffered memory
AMD Ryzen series APUs (Renoir) support DDR4 4733+(O.C.)/ 4666(O.C.)/ 4600(O.C.)/ 4533(O.C.) /4466(O.C.)/ 4400(O.C.)/ 4333(O.C.)/ 4266(O.C.)/ 4200(O.C.)/ 4133(O.C.)/ 4000(O.C.)/ 3866(O.C.)/ 3800(O.C.)/ 3733(O.C.)/ 3600(O.C.)/ 3466(O.C.)/ 3200/ 2933/ 2667/ 2400/ 2133 ECC & non-ECC
Expansion SlotsAMD Ryzen Series CPUs (Vermeer): 2 x PCIe x16 Slots (PCIe1: Gen4x16 mode; PCIe3: Gen3 x4 mode)
AMD Ryzen Series CPUs (Matisse): 2 x PCIe x16 Slots (PCIe1: Gen4x16 mode; PCIe3: Gen3 x4 mode)
AMD Ryzen Series CPUs (Renoir): 2 x PCIe x16 Slots (PCIe1: Gen3x16 mode; PCIe3: Gen3 x4 mode)- Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™- Supports NVMe SSD as boot disks2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 Slots1 x M.2 Socket (Key E), supports type 2230 WiFi/BT module
StorageAMD® B550 Chipset: 1 x M2_1: M.2 type 2242/2260/2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 mode (with Mastisse & Vermeer) or PCIe 3.0 x4 (with Renoir)
1 x M2_2: M.2 type 2242/2260/2280 (PCIe 3.0 x2 & SATA mode)
6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports*  – Support RAID 0/1/5/10, NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug* M2_2 and SATA3_5_6 share lanes.
LANRealtek® RTL8125BG 2.5G LAN
WirelessIntel Tri Band Wireless-AX210 Wi-Fi 6EWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ax-
Support for tri-band frequency 2.4/5GHz/6GHz- Support MU-MIMO
BluetoothBluetooth V5.2
AudioRealtek® ALC1220 Codec- 8-Channel High Definition Audio, 32-bit /192KHz DAC- 120dB SNR DAC with Differential Amplifier
NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier for Front Panel Audio Connector (Supports up to 600 Ohm impedance headsets)
Nichicon Fine Gold Series Audio Capacitors- 15μ Gold Audio Connector and Gold Audio Jacks
USB Ports3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (3 at back panel)
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (at back panel)
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 front panel port (For USB Type-C)
8 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (4 at back panel, 4 at mid-board)8 x USB 2.0 ports (2 at back panel, 6 at mid-board)
Rear I/O2 x USB 2.0 ports
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 port
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port
4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports1 x HDMI™ port
2 x Wireless antenna SMA connectors
1 x Clear CMOS button
1 x BIOS Flashback button
1 x LAN (RJ45) port
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out port
1 x 5.1-Channel audio jacks
Internal I/O       1 x 24-pin ATX power connector
1 x 8+4-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x 4-pin CPU_FAN connector
11 x 4-pin AIO_PUMP connector
25 x 4-pin SYS_FAN connectors
22 x NZXT RGB LED connectors
31 x 5V ARGB LED connector
41 x 12V RGB LED connector
53 x USB 2.0 header (Up to 6 USB 2.0 ports)
2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 header (Up to 4 USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports)
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 front panel header (For USB Type-C)
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280, storage device support (PCIe 4.0 x4 mode with Matisse & Vermeer/PCIe 3.0 x4 with Renoir)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280, storage device support (PCIe 3.0 x2 & SATA mode)
1 x M.2 Socket 1 with E Key (For wireless cards)
1 x Front panel audio connector
1 x Power button
1 x Reset button
4 x POST LEDs
Form FactorATX
Dimensions305 x 244 x 43mm
CertificationsFCC, CE, KCC, BSMI, ErP/EuP Ready

Looking at the specifications, the board has all the features you’d expect from a midrange B550 board, although the lack of 7.1 Surround audio is rather glaring. Memory overclocking support is quite decent although we had some issues with our default G.Skill kit. The number of expansion slots and other I/O connectors is sufficient, in line with any other $200 board.

NZXT has opted for a lot of USB 3 ports, with only two 2.0 ports and one type C port. There’s a button for BIOS flashing, apparently similar to Gigabyte’s Q-Flash and a clear CMOS button as well.

One of the primary reasons for opting for an NZXT N7 B550 (other than the aesthetics and form factor) would be the CAM software and the diverse range of lighting and other customization available:

Each fan, light strip, case light, and power supply can be individually configured to run as per the user’s choice, making the board an ideal match for someone with an NZXT case and/or PSU.

The closest competitor to the N7 B550 would be the GIGABYTE B550 AORUS PRO AC which also costs roughly the same, and packs nearly identical internals. The primary difference is in terms of the build quality and the aesthetics. If I had to choose between the two, I’d actually go for the NZXT board especially if already had a matching case to boot. Considering how well the latter has performed in the market, it’s pretty neat that NZXT is actually competing with a board of this caliber.

Areej

Computer Engineering dropout (3 years), writer, journalist, and amateur poet. I started my first technology blog, Techquila while in college to address my hardware passion. Although largely successful, it was a classic example of too many people trying out multiple different things but getting nothing done. Left in late 2019 and been working on Hardware Times ever since.
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