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We’ve spoken a lot in recent weeks about the difference between the Intel Z590 chipset and the Intel B560 chipset.,The majority of changes between the full fat Z590 and the slightly cut down B560 are largely to be found in the amount of PCI Express 4.0 slots and the changes in bandwidth to the USB ports. The other, more obvious, difference is in the cost it takes to get one of these motherboards as the foundation of your system.,Many of you will have noticed that the aesthetic considerations are also a more attention grabbing difference between the two Rocket Lake chipsets, so we’ve had a good hunt around and found that the ASUS Z590-A Prime and the ASUS ROG Strix B560-A are so similar in their looks that if you like one then you’ll like them both. They’re almost twins and remembering which is which when we were collating the photographs we wanted to use for this review was an exercise in attention to detail.,For the purposes of this let’s assume you have a tight budget but want to know if it’s worth spending the extra to grab the full Z590 or whether the B560 will be enough to bring home the high FPS, quick crunching numberfest that we all demand.,

Technical Specifications,

It’s crazy how close the two motherboards are in specification terms. As far as we can tell the big differences between the B560 Strix and Z590 Prime are that the Prime has all its slots as PCI Express 4.0, whereas the Strix has just the one, whilst the Prime has 4 USB 3.2G2 ports (3 A and one C) whilst the Strix has two 3.2G2 (one A, one C) and two 3.2G1 (both A). Both have a PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 slot, whilst the Prime has two PCIe 3.0 M.2 slots and the Strix only has the one. The Strix gains WiFi that the Prime hasn’t though.,Not exactly £90s worth of changes, especially as we all run a single GPU these days.

,ASUS Strix B560-A

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ASUS Z590-A Prime,
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Side by Side,

We come out of the gates with our first slight surprise of the day. As you are probably aware the ROG branding went from being a red box with silver text and black accents to the inverse of that – black box with red accents – some time ago now. Similarly the Strix box has been resolutely black with the multi-hued ROG eye for as long as we care to remember. Not here. The Prime is in the black box with a clear product image, whilst the Strix goes for a white box with a drawing out of a textbook as the product shot and no ROG eye.,unnamed file 2549
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This is the money shot, the photo that shows why we’re pairing these two motherboards together. The differences are slight at best, with the extra PCI Express slot and armor along with a slightly different heatsink being the only really obvious changes. The keen eyed will spot other minor alterations between the Z590 and B560, but they both pass the “at a glance” test in the same way non-identical twins do.,
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Thankfully the Strix has a brand you can see when viewing it from the side, otherwise it would be tough to tell which is which. We’ll be banging this drum for a while, so get used to it.,
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,Around the back is always where the majority of differences can be found when it comes to the retail price of two motherboards. However, you could be forgiven for thinking the Strix – on the right – is the more expensive of the two. It has WiFi and one extra button for the BIOS Flashback which are missing from the Prime. The Prime does have one more Type-C port, and a slight change between USB 3.2 Gen2 vs USB 3.2 Gen1 largely present on the Strix. Lastly the Prime has an SPDIF connector whilst the Strix has the ASUS Type-C audio header.,
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Close-Up Comparison,

Just in case you’re not as keen eyed as some, the Strix is going to be the top image of the pair, with the Prime beneath. Straight away we have a way to tell the two apart. The Strix B560-A runs with a single 8pin ATX 12V, whilst the Prime not only has an 8+4 12V arrangement but also has a fan header tucked away in this corner.,unnamed file 2563
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The top right has the Z590 Prime being arranged much more in a way that we’re used to, with the CPU fan headers above the DIMM slots instead of above the top heatsink as they are on the Strix. Otherwise with the same placement of the AURA headers it’s clear the main notes are the same.,
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Front panel USB are the same on both the Strix and Prime. One Type-C and one Type-A. Worth noting that this isn’t an arrangement unique to these two motherboards of course, just when we’re checking out similarities they stand out a bit more than normal.,
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We know that some of you might be slightly disbelieving of the identikit nature of the two designs, but this pair of photographs more than any other should give you pause. Normally SATA ports are stacked in pairs so the arrangement of six would be 3×2. Here both the Prime and Strix have 6×1. Remember this is a Z590 and B560 – already different chipsets – whilst one is the plain ASUS Prime and the other part of the Republic of Gamers Strix brand.,
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Still with the Strix photo first and the Prime second, the B560 has two system fan headers whilst the Prime has a dedicated Pump header. Both have two USB 2.0 front panel connectors though.,unnamed file 2572
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A closer

look at the USB headers on the right, and then a change with the arrangement of the AURA headers, side by side on the Strix and stacked on the Prime. The Z590-A Prime also squeezes another system fan header in here which is absent on the Strix.,
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,Lastly our final clear difference between the boards, other than their ninety pound price gap in favour of the Strix, has the Strix having one PCIe 4 M.2 and one PCIe 3, whilst the Prime has an extra PCI Express 3.0 M.2 slot you can just see at the top of the photo.,
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Wrap Up,

From our testing of the newest Rocket Lake chipsets it was clear that the Z590 didn’t really offer much beyond PCI Express 4.0 over it’s 10th Gen counterparts, and as soon as the B560 motherboards landed it almost rendered the Z590 obsolete for all but the most well-heeled, demanding enthusiast.,This pair of motherboards were so clearly based upon the same design that it was the perfect opportunity to show how little difference there is between the two newest Intel Chipsets, even from the same manufacturer, and flag up what little you would be missing out on should you go for the more affordable setup.,With a retail price difference of ninety pounds if you wanted to get the B560 Strix you would have enough cash to pay for half of the Core i5-11400. Or a 500GB Corsair MP600 PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive for “free”. Suddenly what might be a difficult choice becomes clear as day. Who wouldn’t want a 5GB/s M.2 to power their system and take advantage of the PCI Express 4.0 bandwidth? Especially when, as you saw throughout this, the main difference is that the Z590 Prime has full PCI Express 4.0 slots whilst the Strix only has the one PCIe 4.0 GPU slot and all the rest are PCI Express 3.0. We don’t know about you but most of our other slots below the GPU are dustier than the back of the fridge, so it’s not a loss at all.,Yes you have a single USB port fewer, and they aren’t all the full speed options you get on the Prime, but unless you’re dealing with external storage then any port is strong enough for what you plug into it. No point in bemoaning that you’ve only got a USB 3.2 Gen1 port if all you’re putting in it is your keyboard or mouse. Lastly the Z590-A Prime has an extra PCIe 3.0 M.2 slot, should you be on a very tight budget but also have three NVMe drives on hand. It’s not very likely is it.,With identical looks, identical hardware in all the key places, and a massive price drop if you go for the B560 then we think the end result is a clear one. What do you think?,

作者 frank