Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
While many people have focused on H370 motherboards, people tend to overlook the lower cost B360 motherboards. Today we will look at GIGABYTE's top of the line B360 motherboard the B360 Aorus Gaming 3 WIFI, which is designed to provide basic features for gamers on a budget.
If you have a non-K SKU Intel Coffee Lake CPU, there is almost no reason (other than memory OC) to use a Z370 motherboard, and for many, the B360 chipset will provide all they need. Let's take a look at a high-end B360 motherboard.
The B360 AORUS GAMING 3 WIFI features two M.2 slots, USB 3.1, USB 3.0, Wireless-AC, SATA6Gb/s, and RGB LED support.
The price of the B360 AORUS GAMING 3 WIFI is $117.14
Packaging and B360 AORUS GAMING 3 WIFI Overview
Packaging and Overview
The box and packaging are basic, but they get the job done.
The accessory package includes IO shield, WIFI antenna, two SATA6Gb/s cables, Intel Wireless AC 1.733Gbps card, G-Connector, driver DVD, and manual.
There are a total of five fan headers on the motherboard; one is hidden near the 8-pin CPU power connector. All the fan headers support both PWM and DC operation modes. The header at the bottom of the motherboard is also a pump header, so it runs full speed by default. The motherboard's aesthetics are very similar to the H370 Aorus Gaming 3 WIFI, where you get a lot of black, but also silver and orange. The back of the motherboard is pretty bare.
The rear IO panel features four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, DVI, HDMI, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.0 type-C, 1Gbit LAN, and 7.1 audio outputs.
The PCI-E layout facilitates a single x16 slot (top one) that connects to the CPU and operates at x16 PCI-E 3.0. The second x16 slot is x4 PCI-E 3.0 connected to the chipset, while the third x16 slot is x1 connected to the PCH. The other two x1 slots are PCI-E 3.0 connected to the PCH. The top M.2 slot has a heat sink for your M.2 card, and it operates at PCI-E 3.0 x4 and also supports SATA drives.
The second M.2 slot is x2 PCI-E 3.0 and also supports M.2 drives. The CNVI card slot is where you install the WIFI card, and it shares all of its bandwidth with the USB 2.0 port right under the LAN port on the rear IO.
There are two 90-degree angled SATA6Gb/s ports, and four straight SATA6Gb/s ports. Near the ports are boot LEDs and the front panel header.
A USB 3.0 internal header is located below the 24-pin power connector, and a Thunderbolt 3 GPIO header can be found near it. At the top right corner of the motherboard, we find an RGBW LED header and a digital header with 5v/12v switch jumper.
At the bottom of the motherboard, we find another RGBW header and another digital RGB header with 5v/12v switch jumper. There is also a USB 2.0 header at the bottom, a TPM header, and a COM header. The heat sinks use a push-pin style mechanism to lock down to the motherboard.
GIGABYTE B360 AORUS GAMING 3 WIFI Circuit Analysis
B360 AORUS GAMING 3 WIFI Circuit Analysis
The B360 AORUS GAMING 3 WIFI reveals its secrets with the heat sinks removed.
The VRM is in a 4+3 phase configuration for the VCore and iGPU phases. The Intersil/Renesas ISL95866 offers 4+3 phase output and one integrated driver on the iGPU output and two on the VCore output. GIGABYTE adds four ISL6625A drivers to control the remaining phases. ON Semiconductor 4C06N are used for the low-side and 4C10N for the high-side. The CPU VCore phases use two low-side MOSFETs per phase and two high-side MOSFET, while the iGPU phases use one of each.
Minor rails like VCCSA and VCCIO are generated by more linear means. The memory VRM uses a Richtek RT8120D PWM with integrated driver and 4C06N in a single phase with two low-side MOSFETs and one high-side MOSFET.
GIGABYTE B360 AORUS GAMING 3 WIFI Circuit Analysis Continued
B360 AORUS GAMING 3 WIFI Circuit Analysis Continued
The Realtek ALC892 audio controller is used, and GIGABYTE added Nippon Chemicon audio capacitors and a physical PCB divide to improve audio quality.
Intel's i219v is the PHY that provides the GBit Intel NIC. We find a Pericom PI3EQX USB 3.1 re-driver that enhances the USB 3.1 chipset signal for the single USB 3.1 type-A port on the rear IO. The Texas Instruments HD3220 is used as the USB 3.0 type-C port's switch controller.
An ITE IT8295FN is used as the RGB LED controller. An ITE IT8686E is used as the SuperIO and provides the rear PS/2 port, system monitoring, and fan control.
Dual 128Mbit BIOS ROMs provide redundancy for safer firmware updates. An ASMedia ASM1442K is used to provide the DVI n the rear IO panel.
A Texas Instruments GD75232 is used as a drivers and receivers chip for the COM port. The single ASMedia ASM1480 you see here switches bandwidth between a single USB 2.0 port on the rear IO (under the LAN port) and the M.2 slot for the WIFI card.
BIOS and Software
The UEFI BIOS here is pretty decent; it has every setting you might need to change, except perhaps if you want to set cool RGB LED effects. It does have an RGB LED menu, but with only basic changes. You have two operation modes, an Easy Mode, and a Classic Mode, which is more towards advanced users. The motherboard's UEFI has great fan control in the form of a GUI.
Software includes App Center, 3D BIOS, @BIOS, AutoGreen, Cloud Station, EasyTune, Easy RAID, Fast Boot, Game Boost, ON/OFF Charge, Platform Power Management, RGB Fusion, Smart Backup, Smart Keyboard, Smart TimeLock, Smart HUD, System Information Viewer, USB Blocker, and V-Tuner.
Test System Setup
Steven's Motherboard Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE B360 AORUS GAMING 3 WIFI
- CPU: Intel i5-8400
- Cooler: Corsair H110i - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB (2x8GB) 3200MHz
- Video Card: GTX 1080 Ti - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - Boot Drive: Kingston KC1000 480GB
- Storage - USB Drive: Corsair Voyager GS 64GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 900D - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000i - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 - Buy from Amazon
- Monitor: ASUS PA328 ProArt 32" 4K - Buy from Amazon
- Keyboard: Corsair K70 LUX - Buy from Amazon
- Mouse: Corsair M65 PRO RGB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Headset: Corsair VOID RGB Wireless - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Network: ASUS XG-U2008 10Gbit Switch
- BIOS: F5c
The motherboard has a bunch of RGB LEDs integrated under the PCH and behind the PCB's audio division line. You can turn these LEDs off pretty easily, and there aren't too many LEDs, so it shouldn't bother you.
CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks
3DMark: Fire Strike
3DMark: Cloud Gate
After testing many H370 and B360 motherboards, we can see that their performance is all pretty much the same across the board, as long as you have the latest BIOS ROM. It's really how these charts should look with Z370 boards if vendors didn't try to increase speeds by small amounts by increasing BCLK a tiny bit or enabling MCE by default.
System IO Benchmarks
ixChariot Network Throughput:
Networking and storage performance are all solid.
Audio RMAA 5.5:
I disable all audio features, set the correct bitrates, and then test the audio with a loopback test.
Sound Judgment by Ear: Audio would be rated good to very good. There are five ratings for audio: 1. Problems, 2. Okay, 3. Acceptable, 4. Very good, 5. Excellent
Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption
System power is measured at the wall with an AC power meter.
Note on Thermal Images: In the temperature section, we use our Seek thermal imaging camera to capture the surface temperatures of major components on the board. I look at the VRM and then all other things that light up the screen. If there is something to worry about, then I will state it. Otherwise, I will just show the hotter running parts of the board for fun. Unless some component is over 80-90C, then there isn't anything to worry about.
All systems will act differently, so I will look for commonalities, such as how far from the VRM the heat spreads through the PCB and the difference in temperature between the front side and backside of the PCB. Keep in mind, the majority of the heat from the VRM goes into the PCB as it is a giant soldered on copper heat sink. A lower temperature on the front of the PCB points towards a more effective heat sink.
Thermal Testing at Stock Speeds:
The image on the left is always at idle, and the image on the right is at load. During ALL TESTS, fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (Corsair H110i) radiator are turned on to high (12v).
Up-close of the front of the VRM.
Up-close of the back of the VRM.
The VRM on this motherboard is quite good, and I don't see any issues with it, especially since you can't overclock the CPU. Anything under 60C is great, 60-80C is acceptable, and anything above 80C is a bit worrisome (if at stock).
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
Looks and feels High-end: The B360 AORUS GAMING 3 WIFI looks like a high-end motherboard, it has RGB LEDs built in, cover over the rear IO, and has a lot of ports and slots. While it's PCB is more brown than black, you won't really be able to tell the difference inside a case.
Intel's new WIFI: Intel's new Wireless-AC solution used here is rated for up to 1.733Gbps on the 160MHz band, and its performance is solid. We will wait and test the new Wireless-AC controller's full potential when we get a router capable of using the 160MHz band.
Dual BIOS: Dual BIOS is one of the first features to go on low-end motherboards as of late, but GIGABYTE made sure to keep it on here.
RGB Support: The motherboard has four RGB LED headers, two digital (addressable) and two typical RGB headers. The motherboard also has RGB LEDs built into it.
Things You Should Know: If you use the M.2 WIFI card, the USB 2.0 port under the LAN port. The second x16 slot is electrically x4 and will downgrade to x2 if you use two of the x1 slots. The last x16 slot is electrically x1. The type-C port is USB 3.0.
The B360 Aorus Gaming 6 WIFI is a pretty high-end B360 motherboard, and while most might think that's an oxymoron, it's really not. Although it doesn't support as much as the H370 chipset, it offers enough to be competitive. It still offers up a lot of PCI-E lanes for devices and new technologies like the new WIFI and USB 3.1.
GIGABYTE also made sure to implement Intel's NIC, which is a pro for many users who are die-hard Intel NIC fans. If you want a B360 motherboard with a bit more style and flair, definitely give the B360 Aorus Gaming 3 WIFI a look.
The Bottom Line: The GIGABYTE B360 Aorus Gaming 3 WIFI is equipped with premium features in a stylish package for gamers.
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