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NZXT N7 B550 Review: NZXT Meets AMD

NZXT delivers its first B550 motherboard for AMD Ryzen.

NZXT N7 B550
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Software

On the software side, NZXT uses an all-in-one utility named CAM. The CAM utility controls RGB lighting, overclocking, power, audio, fan speed and more. On the left side of the software are menus/sections, while the right side displays information and is where adjustments happen. Overall, the software worked well in our limited use during testing.

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Firmware

To give you a sense of the Firmware, we’ve gathered screenshots showing most of the BIOS screens.

NZXT worked with ASRock to help develop this board, and it shows a bit with the overall setup of the BIOS. Across the top are several headers, including Main, Overclocking, Advanced, Tool, PC Monitoring, and more. Editable fields are on the left, while descriptions of each selection are on the right. For those who enjoy working in EZ-Mode, you’ll have to do without as this board doesn’t have one.

The BIOS is black, white and purple, matching NZXT’s brand colors while also being easy to read. Most options are found just under the sub-heading(s), and you do not have to dig down to find commonly used features. Additionally, the BIOS is ergonomic for the user, with most of what you need easily accessible. We didn’t have any issues.

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Test System / Comparison Products

As of late November 2020, we’ve updated our test system to Windows 10 64-bit OS (20H2) with all threat mitigations applied. We also upgraded our video card driver to 457.30 and reran all the game tests moving to the new 5000 series CPU. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted. The hardware used is as follows:

CPUAMD Ryzen R9 5950X
MemoryGSkill Trident Z Neo 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (F4-3600C16Q-32GTZN)
GPUAsus ROG Strix RTX 2070
CPU Cooler Corsair H150i
PSUCorsair AX1200i
SoftwareWindows 10 64-bit 20H2
Graphics DriverNVIDIA Driver 457.30
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 10Version 2.1.2177 64
Essentials, Productivity, Digital Content Creation, MS Office
3DMarkVersion 2.11.6866 64
Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R20Version RBBENCHMARK271150
Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX)
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 19.00
Integrated benchmark
Game Tests and Settings
The Division 2Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080
Forza Horizon 4Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080

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  • Co BIY
    With this much shroud why do I need a case ?

    Both NZXT boards have been released at the same price point.

    Are intel boards still more expensive in general ? or has that gone away now that AMD CPUs are in the lead ?

    Do we need to rethink the assumption that choosing intel means a more expensive motherboard ?
    Reply
  • w_o_t_q
    strange choice top notch mb on B550, need x570 and drop 2.5gb lan or go to 10gb. a 2.5 g lan equipment is as expensive as 10gb so nobody will bother with it.
    Reply
  • coolestcarl
    While I like the look a lot, I do not think this board would have longevity. Heat is the enemy of electronics and I wonder if this board would fail sooner than other similar non shrouded boards. All that heat buildup would be trapped under those shrouds and have a higher equilibrium temperature since there is no passive airflow from the nearby components to cool them off. Even in an air-conditioned room, trapped air would get quite a bit warm (even if it takes longer to initially heat up).
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    w_o_t_q said:
    strange choice top notch mb on B550, need x570 and drop 2.5gb lan or go to 10gb. a 2.5 g lan equipment is as expensive as 10gb so nobody will bother with it.

    While I understand your sentiment, 10Gb has some high requirements. Power requirements are extreme for the signaling, and it runs hot with cat 6/7 ethernet. Unless you do your cabling properly, you're going to fall back on speed. A lot of cabling online labeled Cat 6/7 is junk. And there's only a very few select 10Gb switches that are reasonably priced (ie: Microtik) None of the cheap ones support SFP/SIP so you can't mix and match
    Reply
  • HTMLSpinnr
    w_o_t_q said:
    strange choice top notch mb on B550, need x570 and drop 2.5gb lan or go to 10gb. a 2.5 g lan equipment is as expensive as 10gb so nobody will bother with it.

    For homes that are pre-wired w/ Cat5e, 2.5G is all we can support w/o rewiring w/ Cat6A or only supporting 10G in a single room w/ 1G, bonding, or 2.5G uplinks to your wiring panel.
    Reply
  • w_o_t_q
    Cat6 is cheap and if length of cable did not exceed 70 m will work with the 10G
    Reply