What is The VRM List and it's purpose?
At Sin’s Hardware The VRM List is our attempt to level the playing field between manufactures and users, something we feel doesn’t happen as often as it should. We are going to show you exactly what your board uses (no BS just stats) as well as what all the other boards in that price range and chipset use. Please use it only for guidance and extended explanation. It isn’t meant to say one VRM is better than another as there are just so many factors involved it takes much more explanation of every VRM individually to determine its quality, something we aren’t doing here.
The VRM List is useful for:
- Discovering if your PWM is analog or digital
- Finding out how many true phases your VRM has
- Comparing different boards
- Discovering if your phases are virtual or real
- Finding out what kind of MOSFETs are used
- Discovering what is hiding under the heatsink
- Figuring out if you got ripped off
- Finding out how much your motherboard maker spent on your VRM
- Discovering if your motherboard can handle an overclock on air, H20, or LN2
- Finding out what kind of VRM you own
- As well as many other things!!!!
UPDATE 01/31/13 @ 6:37PM EST: Revision 2.1 of The VRM list has been uploaded.
Please either right-click and save The VRM List, or click it and expand. it is a very big image, and might hurt your monitor. Also please link to the VRM list picture instead of posting the image on other sites.
*A note about our cost rating system to our readers (manufactures and consumers alike)*:
The purpose of this list is to expose the VRM components of every motherboard that we can possibly find. So far the list is pretty extensive for boards released in the past year and a half. Back all the way through P67 launch, the list contains some of the best VRMs of the X58 era to be used for comparison. The ratings provided won’t give you the performance figures for every component, as the manufacturers of these components don’t have standardized testing methods, and thus it is very hard to judge the book by its cover. They will just throw around current and voltage figures as well as other parameters without giving you the whole picture. Thus it is unfair to judge different MOSFETs, inductors, and capacitors by their performance figures, as they aren’t readily available, nor are they standardized throughout.
Not even MOSFET current ratings are standardized, for instance you can see one MOSFET is rated 70A at 25C, you are thinking that is wonderful! However did you see the power dissipation? It is 68W! that means you have to be able to dissipate 68W of heat, and keep the MOSFET at 25C to get 70A of power output, that is even if that number is an actual number and not theoretical, as the copper in the PCB could limit that number. Then you have to think about what voltage that is rated for, is the input 12v and the output 1.2v? or is it 12v input and 3.3v output? What is even more is that MOSFETs usually operate at 70C-100C when they are working in a typical VRM. There are so many characteristics as well, which we just won’t get into, but I think you get the drift.
In the end you find out that certain MOSFETs such as all the D-PAK MOSFETs are just super crap and super cheap, and that DirectFETs and high current power stages like 60A PowIRstage are super nice and super expensive as well. Then you have a mixture of PowerPAKs and a lot of LF-PAK(TrenchMOS) and 35A DrMOS, which all seem to be interchanged by manufacturers throughout series. It seems that these are what the majority of overclockers will want and need. If you take the ratings on the PowerPAK, LF-PAK, and DrMOS and you normalize them on their scales you find that they all seem to fit within a 25-30A possible output current range and that is why they seem to be interchangeable and priced around each other. Thus if we only priced on performance of each component, the quantity of the component used would require its own score, as well as confuse everyone and enrage a lot of debate. Price becomes something that can represent cost as well as performance to a certain extent without bothering too many people.
When you get into things like this, every manufacturer which feels that this makes them look bad will try and contend it, but that is impossible as it is nothing but model numbers of components used and some of their general well known specifications. If however a manufacturer does not think it is the truth they are welcomed to contact us(with proof) at sin(at)sinhardware.com so that we can change it. The purpose of this list is to expose those that aren’t up to par, and to get them to improve their products!!!! The VRM is the easiest place to hide bad and cheap components as it is usually covered by heatsinks and the majority of reviewers wont remove heatsinks :( !
Revision 1.0: only GIGABYTE boards
Revision 2.0: added 60+ boards
Revision 2.1: Changed Z77 Extreme6 MOSFETs from (24)LF-PAK to (16)PowerPAK. Changed Z77 Extreme4 ISL6611 to ISL6612. Added: Z77 OC Formula, HiFi Z77, Z77 Pro3, Pure Platinum Z77K, Z77 Fatal1ty Performance, X79 Extreme11, Z77X-UD4H, Z77-HD4. Changed PoweIRstage to PowIRstage. Changed PowerBlock to NexFET for TI made powerblocks.