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Review of the Afox IH610D4-MA-V2 microATX motherboard based on the Intel H610 chipset

08.12.2023 08:13

Before we begin the review, it is important to note that here we are focusing solely on the features and capabilities of a specific motherboard. If you are interested in information about Intel processors for the LGA1700 socket generations 12/13/14, their comparison with previous versions or with competitors from AMD, we recommend that you refer to the materials on our website in the section dedicated to processors.

Today we will look at a motherboard from Afox, which belongs to the budget segment and uses the Intel H610 system chipset, available at a price of about 8.5 thousand rubles. The H610 chipset is the most affordable in the 6xx family for 12/13/14 generation processors from Intel. Despite the fact that the 13th generation of processors came out some time ago, among the 7xx generation chipsets such as the H710 were not found. Therefore, with the release of the 14th generation of processors, the most budget motherboards for the LGA1700 socket are those based on the H610 chipset.

Table of the main differences between the B660, H610 and Z690 chipsets.

PeculiaritiesB660H610Z690
Compatible with Intel processors12 th /13 rd Gen Core12 th /13 rd Gen Core12 th /13 rd Gen Core
PCIe version (CPU)4.0 & 5.03.0 & 4.04.0 & 5.0
Number of PCIe lanes (processor)202020
PCIe version (chipset)3.0 & 4.03.03.0 & 4.0
Number of PCIe lanes (chipset)14 (6 x 4.0 & 8 x 3.0)8 (8 x 3.0)28 (12 x 4.0 & 16 x 3.0)
DMI version4.04.04.0
Number of DMI linesx4x4x8
RAM generationDDR4 & DDR5DDR4 & DDR5DDR4 & DDR5
Number of RAM channels212
Maximum number of RAM slots424
Maximum RAM128 GB64 GB128 GB
Number of SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports up to448
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20Gbps) ports up to2No4
USB 3.2 Gen 2x1 ports (10Gbps) up to4210
USB 3.2 Gen 1x1 ports (5Gbps) up to6210
USB 2.0 ports up to121014
Built-in Wi-Fi supportWiFi 6ENoWiFi 6E
Possibility of overclocking bus frequencyNoNoYes

Here are the main points and differences of the H610 chipset:

1. Communication with the processor via DMI:
    The connection between the chipset and the processor via DMI is reduced by 2 times compared to more advanced chipsets.

2. Number of PCIe lanes:
    The total number of PCIe lanes is 8, and all of them support the PCIe 3.0 standard. This is significantly less than higher-end chipsets.

3. SATA ports:
    The H610 chipset has 4 SATA ports, which complement 8 PCIe lanes. Unlike the Z690, where 4 SATA ports are already included in 28 lanes.

4. USB port support:
    There is no support for built-in USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (up to 20 Gb/s) ports. Supports 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 (10 Gb/s) and 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 (5 Gb/s) ports. A total of 12 high-speed HSIO ports are available and support for up to 10 USB 2.0 ports.

5. PCIe lanes for 12/13/14 generation processors:
    Processors of these generations add 20 PCIe lanes to the set, of which 16 lanes are used for the PCIe x16 slot of version PCIe 4.0, and the remaining 4 lanes go to the M.2 slot.

6. Memory support:
    Processors of generations 12/13/14 support both DDR5 and DDR4 memory, which allows motherboard manufacturers to release products with both types of slots.

Thus, the Afox IH610D4-MA-V2 model in question from Afox is a motherboard that supports DDR4 memory.

Afox IH610D4-MA-V2 comes in a standard box with the series' signature design. The kit is located under the board in a separate compartment.

Afox IH610D4-MA-V2 comes in a standard box with the series' signature design. The kit is located under the board in a separate compartment.

The delivery set is minimal: in addition to the SATA cable, there is a drive with software and a rear panel. There is no printed user manual.The software is supplied on a CD-type drive, however, during the board’s journey to the buyer, it still manages to become outdated, so you will have to update it from the manufacturer’s website immediately after purchase.

The delivery set is minimal: in addition to the SATA cable, there is a drive with software and a rear panel. There is no printed user manual.

The software is supplied on a CD-type drive, however, during the board’s journey to the buyer, it still manages to become outdated, so you will have to update it from the manufacturer’s website immediately after purchase.

Form factor

The Mini-ITX form factor measures 170 x 170 mm, microATX up to 244 x 244 mm, ATX up to 305 x 244 mm, and E-ATX up to 305 x 330 mm. The Afox IH610D4-MA-V2 motherboard is made in the microATX form factor, measures 234x204 mm, and has 6 mounting holes for installation in the case.

The Mini-ITX form factor measures 170 x 170 mm, microATX up to 244 x 244 mm, ATX up to 305 x 244 mm, and E-ATX up to 305 x 330 mm. The Afox IH610D4-MA-V2 motherboard is made in the microATX form factor, measures 234x204 mm, and has 6 mounting holes for installation in the case.

The reverse side is almost empty. The textolite is processed well: at all soldering points the sharp ends are cut off. The “plug” on the rear panel with connectors is not installed and is included separately in the package.There is no protective plate (backplate).

The reverse side is almost empty. The textolite is processed well: at all soldering points the sharp ends are cut off. The “plug” on the rear panel with connectors is not installed and is included separately in the package.

There is no protective plate (backplate).

Specifications

Traditional table with a list of functional features.

Supported processorsIntel Core 12-/13- and 14th generations
CPU socketLGA 1700
ChipsetIntel H610
Memory2 × DDR4, up to 3200 MHz (XMP), up to 64 GB, two channels
Audio subsystem1 × Realtek ALC897 (5.1)
Network controllers1 × Realtek RTL8111H Ethernet 1 Gbps
Expansion slots1 × PCIe 4.0 x16 (x16 mode)
1 × PCIe 3.0 x1
Drive connectors4 × SATA 6 Gb/s (H610)
1 × M.2 (CPU, PCIe 4.0 x4/SATA for 2260/2280 format devices)
USB ports2 × USB 2.0: 1 x 2-port internal (H610)
2 × USB 2.0: 4 x Type-A (black) rear (H610)
2 × USB 3.2 Gen1: 1 x 2-port internal (H610)
2 × USB 3.2 Gen2: 2 Type-A ports (blue) on rear panel (H610)
Rear Connectors2 × USB 3.2 Gen2 (Type-A)
2 × USB 2.0 (Type-A)
1 × RJ-45
3 mini-jack audio connectors
1 HDMI out connector
1 d-Sub (VGA) out
connector 1 DP out
connector 2 PS/2 connectors
Other internal elements24-pin ATX power connector
1 8-pin EPS12V power connector
1 connector for connecting 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports
1 connector for connecting 2 USB 2.0 ports
2 connectors for connecting 4-pin fans and pumps
1 connector for connecting audio control from the front panel chassis
1 connector for connecting a control adapter from the front panel of the chassis
1 COM-port connector
1 CMOS reset connector
Form factormicroATX (234×204 mm)

Main functionality: chipset, processor, memory

Scheme of operation of the chipset + processor combination.

In fact, the board supports DDR4 RAM at speeds up to 3200 MHz, which matches the specified frequencies.

The 12th generation Intel Core processors, designed for the LGA1700 socket and compatible with the H610/B660/Z690 chipsets, have 20 I/O lanes. Of these, 16 lanes support PCIe 5.0, and 4 lanes support PCIe 4.0. They do not have built-in USB and SATA ports. The connection to the H610 occurs through a special Digital Media Interface 4.0 (DMI 4.0 x4) channel. All processor PCIe lanes are used for PCIe expansion slots and the M.2 port. Additionally, Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) is used for communication with the UEFI/BIOS system, and Low Pin Count (LPC) is used for I/O devices that do not require high bandwidth, such as fan controllers, TPMs, and legacy hardware.

The H610 chipset, downgrading the PCIe version from 5.0 to 4.0 from the processor, supports a total of 16 I/O lanes. These lines can be distributed as follows:

  • up to 10 USB ports (including up to 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, up to 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports and up to 10 USB 2.0 ports, USB 2.0 lines are also used to support 3.2 ports);
  • up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s ports;
  • up to 8 PCIe version 3.0 lanes.

Afox IH610D4-MA-V2 supports 12/13/14th generation Intel Core processors made for the LGA1700 socket.

The Afox board has 2 DIMM slots for installing memory modules. The board supports unbuffered DDR4 memory (non-ECC), and the maximum memory capacity is 64 GB.

DIMM slots do not have metal surrounds.

Peripheral functionality: PCIe, SATA, various “baubles”

After analyzing the motherboard associated with the H610 chipset, we found that it has 8 PCIe lanes and 4 SATA ports. Below is information on how these lanes are used to connect various components (all PCIe version 3.0 lanes):

  • PCIe x1 slot (1 lane);
  • M.2 slot (WiFi) (1 line);
  • 4 SATA ports (4 lines);
  • Realtek RTL8111H (Ethernet 1 Gb/s) (1 line).

So, 7 PCIe lanes and all SATA1/2/3/4 ports were used, which totals 7 High Speed Input-Output (HSIO). The HDA channel is used to communicate with the audio codec.

As for 12/13/14th generation processors, they have a total of 20 PCIe lanes, of which 4 PCIe 4.0 lanes are dedicated to the M.2_1 port. The remaining 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes (downgraded to version 4.0) are directed to a single PCIe x16 slot, which eliminates the possibility of switching and the lack of multiplexers for these purposes.

The board has two PCIe slots: one PCIe x16 (for video cards or other devices) and one PCIe x1. The CPU-bound PCIe x16_1 slot is connected to the CPU, while PCIe x1 is connected to the H610.

The PCIe x16_1 slot associated with the processor does not have metal reinforcement.

This motherboard supports the installation of cooling systems of any size.

The next step is to consider storage options.

In total, the board has 4 Serial ATA 6 Gb/s connectors + 1 slot for drives in the M.2 form factor. SATA ports are implemented via the H610 chipset and do NOT support RAID creation.

The motherboard has 1 slot of the M.2 form factor, which receives data from the CPU, works with modules with any interface (in the case of low-budget processors — only SATA), and also supports module sizes of 2260/2280.

There is no cooling for the M.2 slot.

Other features (“baubles”) on the board

Let's talk about other bells and whistles on the board. There are not many of them here due to the simpler series to which the product belongs. Of course, there are no start or reboot buttons. There are also no sockets for thermal sensors or the motherboard’s ability to connect RGB lighting.

The traditional set of FPanel pins for connecting wires to the front (and now often the top or side or all at once) panel of the case is also available.

The board is also equipped with a COM port for connecting older, highly specialized devices.

The board is also equipped with a COM port for connecting older, highly specialized devices.

There is also a jumper to reset the CMOS settings.

There is also a jumper to reset the CMOS settings.

Peripheral functionality: USB ports, network interfaces, I/O

Now comes USB ports and other I/O. And let's start with the back panel, where most of them are located.

So, the H610 chipset is capable of implementing no more than 10 USB ports, including up to 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports, up to 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports and/or up to 10 USB 2.0 ports.

Let us explain the presence of USB ports on this motherboard:

  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen2: Implemented via the H610 and available on the rear panel as 2x Type-A ports (blue).
  • 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 Ports: Implemented via the H610 and available inside the motherboard case as internal headers, providing 2 ports.
  • 4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports: also implemented via the H610 chipset. 2 of them are provided on the back panel in the form of 2 Type-A ports (black) and another 2 ports are presented inside the motherboard case via internal headers, providing 2 more USB ports.

In total, this motherboard has 8 USB ports.

So, the H610 chipset implements 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports and 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports, for a total of 4 high-speed ports. Each of these USB 3.2 Gen2/Gen1 ports is provided with a backwards compatible USB 2.0 port, resulting in 4 USB 2.0 ports being occupied. In addition, there are 4 more USB 2.0 ports on the motherboard and 1 port is dedicated to supporting BT/WiFi wireless connections (if there is an M.2 slot (Key E)), the total number of USB ports is 9.

Additionally, the H610 chipset distributes 7 HSIOs (PCIe lanes and SATA ports), which are used to support various peripherals.

Thus, the H610 chipset in this case implements 11 high-speed USB ports out of 16 possible.

Now let's move on to networking capabilities.

The motherboard is equipped with very modest communications equipment. There is a Realtek RTL8111H Ethernet controller capable of operating according to the 1 Gbit/s standard.

It is equipped with an amplifier (re-driver) and an E-Con anti-interference device.

There is no wireless connection, but there is an M.2 (E-key) slot for such modules.

The plug, traditionally placed on the back panel, is included in the kit in this case.

I/O block, fans, etc.

Now about the I/O unit, connectors for connecting fans, etc. There are 2 connectors for connecting fans and pumps on the board. Everything is controlled via software or BIOS.

The Nuvoton NCT5585D controller is responsible for monitoring the state of the board and also controls the operation of all CO sockets (as well as Multi I/O in general — the motherboard has two PS/2 sockets).

Since Intel processors can have integrated graphics, the board has three output sockets:

  • HDMI 2.0b
  • DP 1.4a (it works if d-Sub is not used)
  • d-Sub (VGA, it works if DP is not used), there is also a controller to convert the DP signal to VGA

Audio subsystem

We know that in almost all modern motherboards the audio codec is a product from Realtek, providing audio output at circuits up to 7.1, most recently this has become the ALC4080 with 32-bit / 384 kHz characteristics. However, in this case, a very old Realtek ALC897 is used and the circuit is downgraded to 5.1.

The audio subsystem is very simple: there are no operational amplifiers, no DACs, not even “audiophile” capacitors.

The audio path is located on the corner part of the board and does not intersect with other elements. All audio connectors on the rear panel have the usual color scheme. No S/PDIF.

Power, cooling

To power the board, it has 2 connectors: in addition to the 24-pin ATX, there is also an 8-pin EPS12V.

The processor power supply circuit is made according to a 6+1+1 scheme (8 phases in total, 6 on VCore, 1 on iGPU and 1 on VCCIO).

Each phase channel has a superferrite choke and a set of Vishay SIRA14DP/SIRA12DP field-effect transistors (20 A).

The power circuit is controlled by the RT3628 PWM controller from Richtek.

The VCCSA power supply has a much simpler circuit, just as the power supply for RAM modules also has a single-phase circuit.

Now about cooling.

Only the system chipset has cooling.

The M.2 slot has no cooling.

Backlight

The motherboard itself is devoid of backlighting; there are no connectors for connecting external lighting.

Windows software

Afox does not have its own software.

BIOS Settings

Typical low-budget motherboards from the company usually use simple-to-use BIOS/UEFI versions that do not provide screenshot saving functionality, so it is impossible to clearly demonstrate all the settings.

To access BIOS settings when booting your PC, you need to press the Del or F2 key. After this, you will be taken to the main menu, which contains a basic set of options for managing peripheral devices (settings for PCIe, SATA, M.2 slots, USB ports), as well as system chipset parameters and other functions.

Monitoring settings and boot options are usually found in the BIOS section. In the monitoring section you can configure the operation of the fan connectors.

However, due to budget restrictions, support for processor overclocking options is usually not available.

Performance (and overclocking)

We start everything in default mode. Then we load it with stress tests.

Well, what miracles can you expect from a chipset of this level and from a very modest power system? — Of course, auto acceleration is minimal. But it’s good too. All system parameters during stress tests were normal.

Conclusions

The Afox IH610D4-MA-V2 motherboard is designed for building low-cost computers and supports DDR4 memory. This microATX form factor model is designed to work stably with mid-range processors, providing enough power for basic overclocking in Intel Turbo Boost mode. Its cost at the time of publication of the review started from 8 thousand rubles.

The board has 8 USB ports, including 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports and 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports. There is a “long” PCIe x16 slot, which receives 16 PCIe 4.0 lanes from the processor. There is also one PCIe x1 slot. For storage, there is 1 M.2 slot (connected to the processor via PCIe 4.0 lines) and 4 SATA ports for connecting hard drives. Network capabilities are limited to the presence of one wired 1 Gbps controller and a slot for installing a wireless communication module (the module is purchased separately). There is no backlight on the board, and there are also no connectors for connecting external backlight devices.