The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Today we look at a very budget friendly mATX B450 motherboard from Biostar.
It is designed to keep costs down and pass those savings along to the consumer while still maintaining a decent feature set through platform based features. It's also part of Biostar's Racing series, so it should pack some other features as well. Let's take a look!
The B450GT3 features an M.2 slot, DVI, VGA, HDMI, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, and SATA6Gb/s.
The B450GT3 costs around $100
Packaging and B450GT3 Overview
The box and packaging are basic, but it gets the job done.
The accessory package includes four SATA6Gb/s, IO shield, driver DVD, and manuals.
BIOSTAR put in three PWM mode fan headers circled in red, but we are not sure if they will support DC fan (3pin) control. The aesthetics are straightforward black on black with the important VRM parts covered by a heat sink. The back of the motherboard is pretty bare, but that's a good thing. We do see some solder strips around the VRM area, these should help cool down the VRMs.
The rear IO panel features PS/2 keyboard, two USB 3.0 ports, VGA port, DVI port, HDMI port, USB 3.1 type-A port, USB 3.1 type-C port, two USB 2.0 ports, Gbit LAN, and 7.1 audio jacks.
Here we find the PCI-E slot arrangement, the first slot is wired directly to the CPU. The second x16 is electrically x4 and will go down to x2 when using the x1 PCI-E slots. The M.2 slot is x4 wired to the CPU, so 32Gbps, and when it is in use, two of the SATA ports are disabled.
Four of the six SATA6Gb/s ports are right-angled. In the bottom right corner we find a USB 3.0 internal header, front case connector headers, and two USB 2.0 internal headers.
At the top right corner, we find two RGB LED headers. At the bottom of the motherboard, we find two SATA6Gb/s ports, a COM header, and a dual BIOS selection switch.
The motherboard features an 8-pin power connector at the top of the motherboard. The heat sinks use push pins, but pressure looks good.
BIOSTAR B450GT3 Circuit Analysis
The B450GT3 shows us the goods with the heat sinks removed!
The VRM is in an 4+2 phase configuration and utilizes the Intersil ISL95712 in 4+2 phase mode. It seems that the PWM controller offers two integrated drivers for the main rail and one for the SoC rail, so they added three ISL6625A drivers to facilitate the VRM. Each power stage is in a two-low one-high MOSFET configuration. The low-side MOSFETs are the SM4364A and the high side are SM4377.
The memory VRM is a single phase controlled by the Anpec APW7120 and two SM4377 MOSFETs.
BIOSTAR B450GT3 Circuit Analysis Continued
Audio hardware includes a Realtek ALC1150 with some audio grade capacitors and a physical PCB divide.
The wired NIC comes from a Realtek RTL8118AS controller. The Realtek RTD2168 is what provides the VGA output capability.
Two ASMedia ASM1562 re-drivers re-drive the chipset USB 3.1 signals and one ASMedia ASM1543 is the type-C port controller. An eKTF5832 microcontroller is what controls the RGB LED features of the motherboard.
The main SuperIO controller is the IT8625E. The motherboard features two 128Mbit BIOS ROMs. A BCD AZ75232 provides COM port functionality.
BIOS and Software
The UEFI on this motherboard is slightly different than BIOSTAR's other motherboards, it's a bit better in regards to look and feel. Fan control is present in a GUI form, and there is full RGB LED control, perhaps the most advanced I have seen inside a UEFI, even when compared to the bigger players like ASUS. Overclocking controls are pretty straight forward; you can set XMP, change a handful of voltages, and set your CPU ratio, but you probably wont need more than that.
BIOSTAR's software package includes Racing GT Utility, FLY.NET, BullGuard, BIO-Remote2, and Smart Speed LAN.
Test System Setup
Steven's Motherboard Test System Specifications
- MotHeroboard: Biostar B450GT3
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
- Cooler: Coolermaster MasterLiquid ML240R RGB - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB x2 3466MHz
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - Boot Drive: Kingston KC1000 480GB
- Storage - SATA6G Drive: Corsair Force 240GB / Read our review
- 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 RM1000 - 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
The motherboard has RGB LEDs built into it, and the ones under the PCI-E area have no cover, so expect your GPU to diffuse that light.
You can't expect too much when it comes to overclocking on a $100 motherboard. That being said the motherboard was capable of taking out 2700X to 4.2Ghz with 1.35v and our memory to 3200MHz with XMP. Now, we did detect some throttling, but that's under a synthetic load, so keep an eye out. The 2700X is a pretty power hungry CPU compared to the rest of the Ryzen lineup, so if you are using a lower core count CPU, you should do better.
CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks
3DMark: Fire Strike
3DMark: Cloud Gate
The B450GT3 has solid performance all around, we didn't find any issues.
System IO Benchmarks
ixChariot Network Throughput:
The B450GT3 offers solid SATA, M.2, and networking performance.
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: Very Good. I expected worse because of what we have seen with this codec on other motherboards, but it was able to score a 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 back side 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 larger difference in temperature between the back and 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 B450GT3 has a pretty basic VRM, so we weren't expecting too much from it, but it actually did okay. It has acceptable VRM performance, and it actually looks like its heat sink is working. We highly recommend active airflow over the VRM area if you can, especially if you will OC. 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
Affordable: We found varying prices for this motherboard online, ranging from under $100 to just above $100, and we think that's a very fair price of this motherboard. The motherboard has a lot of the features that are from the chipset, and while it doesn't add many extras, you can't expect more at this price range.
Video Output Variety: I was recently consulting a small business on upgrading their hardware, and we ran into a predicament. The client wanted to keep their monitors, but they all use the traditional VGA (D-SUB), and the issue then became, where can we find systems with VGA or at least DVI, as active adapters cost money. Biostar provides not only DVI and VGA, but also HDMI, so if you use one of AMD's APUs you will have no problem getting it to work with your monitor.
Dual BIOS: I wouldn't have expected dual BIOS ROMs on a $100 motherboard, but this motherboard has it.
Power Limits in BIOS: When we tried overclocking we saw our CPU pulled no more than 130W, which is way below where it should be. We figured it's one of two things, VRM temperature safety mechanism or current throttling, both of which are used to protect the VRMs when people mismatch a powerful CPU and low-cost motherboards. However, we would have liked to at least see current level control in the UEFI, as many people can actively cool the VRMs (as we did).
Sitting here, thinking about how to rate and what to say about this motherboard leaves us with a slight conflict. Yea, it's definitely not high-end, but it also offers everything you might want in an affordable low-cost AM4 motherboard.
While our 2700X proved to be a bit much for the motherboard, something like an APU like a 2400G or 2200G would be excellent for this product, plus motherboards like this aren't meant to be great overclockers. We liked how BIOSTAR included all of the platform features, including USB 3.1 Gen 2, as well as good expansion options for down the road.
The audio performed slightly better than expected, and we found the other connectivity options were well implemented. If you are looking for an affordable entry-level B450 mATX motherboard with a lot of value, give the Biostar B450GT3 a look.
The Bottom Line: If you are looking for an affordable entry-level B450 mATX motherboard with a lot of value, give the Biostar B450GT3 a look.
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