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MSI on AMD’s X570 chipset fan: “Of course nobody wants this, but it’s much needed”

MSI has spilled the beans on some of its AM4 X570 motherboard designs in a livestream

MSI X570 motherboard

MSI has jumped the gun on Computex by revealing some fresh details about its upcoming X570 motherboards on an MSI Insider livestream. The initial focus of the segment, towards the end of the looooooong insider show, is about the inclusion of the chipset fan on the upcoming X570 boards.

“Of course nobody wants this,” says Eric van Beurden, marketing director at MSI, “but it’s much needed for this platform, because there are a lot of speedy things inside and we need to make sure you can use them. So that’s why we need proper cooling.”

Every single one of the Ryzen 3000 X570 motherboards that have leaked out so far, from all the different manufacturers, has featured a chipset fan, something we haven’t seen on boards since the mobo dark ages. Those tiny, whiny fans can make for a horrible experience. Because of their small radius the noise they make can be much higher pitched than a CPU or case fan, and that can make it far more noticeable. But MSI has turned to its graphics card division to help on that score.

MSI has leveraged the work the VGA team has done on making the company’s graphics cards as quiet as possible and that means the motherboard division has been able to take the old TwinFrozr 4 fan design and apply it to the diminutive spinner on its motherboards. Not only has it got the detailed fan blades of an MSI GPU, but its X570 boards are also including a 0dB mode too.

On its graphics cards the ZeroFrozr feature acts like a semi-passive cooler, with the fan staying idle – and therefore silent – until the GPU hits a certain temperature. On its graphics cards that’s around the 60°C mark, but the presenters on the MSI stream wouldn’t divulge the temperature trigger that sparks the chipset fan into action.

They did mention, however, that during gaming and certain other applications it would spin up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will hear it.

“You will have probably a big CPU cooler,” says Peter Arts, product marketing officer at MSI, ”you will have a graphics card in there, your case will have fans. So one small fan… you probably won’t hear it, you won’t notice it.”

Fingers crossed he’s right, because the inclusion of a chipset fan on the X570 motherboards has been a cause for concern among tech enthusiasts since it was revealed by the early board leaks. Though I have to say I do like the stealth-looking version MSI has used for the high-end X570 ACE MEG board.

But just because there are other, larger fans spinning at the same time, doesn’t mean the small chipset fan won’t make itself known. On a straight decibel level it might genuinely be quieter than the GPU fan, but if it’s tone is higher pitched that will make it far more noticeable when you’re gaming.

Maybe it’ll be prescient to upgrade to a good noise-cancelling set of headphones along with an AMD Ryzen 3000 platform upgrade…

Socket AM4 with 3rd Gen Ryzen

Why do X570 motherboards have a fan?

This is the first time in a long time that a modern motherboard platform has shipped with a chipset fan, and that’s because we are looking at a completely different design for the X570 chipset than the previous 300- or 400- series versions. Those were all created by ASMedia, while the X570 chipset is the first in-house, AMD-designed motherboard silicon of the Zen era.

Compared with the previous chipsets the new X570 has the potential to use three times the power of the X470 or X370. Those were 5W designs, while the X570 is now a full 15W part. Why? Well, as the guys on the stream say, “there are a lot of speedy things inside,” most noticeably the inclusion of PCIe 4.0 support for both the GPU and M.2 slots.

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It’s also worth noting that the stream might also indicate the overclocking potential of the new 7nm Ryzen 3000 CPUs. Even the MSI X570 Gaming Plus, the company’s entry-level option, has an extra 4-pin socket for the CPU alongside the existing 8-pin socket. That’s there to deliver more power to enable smooth, high-speed overclocking support. And if that’s there on one of MSI’s cheaper motherboards that’s a good sign that it’s actually worth doing this time around.

But we don’t have long to wait for the full Ryzen 3000 / X570 reveal as Computex kicks off next week, with the Taipei tech show set to host Dr. Lisa Su, et al. unveiling all the details of the new motherboards and hopefully the new Zen 2 processors too. And our Jacob will be on the ground getting hands-on with everything AMD and its partners are showing off.