The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
In the gaming market, it's fairly safe to say ROG is one of the largest brands on the planet, and further, it's incredible to think that this movement was started just ~14 years ago with the Crosshair platform on AM2. Since then, ASUS has shipped well over 500 million motherboards across eight generations on AMD chipsets and twelve on Intel chipsets.
On the bench today, ASUS continues its legacy sending over the ROG Strix B550i Gaming, an AMD B550 chipset solution, as the name would imply, born on the mITX form factor. This solution has already proven extremely popular with the SFF crowd, so let's dig in as see just why that is!
Specifications and Marketing
Starting at the top, the B550i Gaming currently supports Ryzen 3000 series, but ASUS does have plans to support Zen 3 with an upcoming BIOS update. As noted above, this motherboard is on the B550 chipset platform and, as such, supports DDR4 memory - 2133 JEDEC as a minimum with 5100+ speeds capable with overclocking.
The single PCIe x16 slot on this mITX motherboard supports Gen 4.0 via lanes from the CPU. These lanes are also expressed to storage via the M.2_1 slot. M.2 storage is expanded to the motherboard's rear via chipset lanes, operating at PCIe 3.0 with M.2_2 supporting NVMe and SATA solutions and SATA 6Gb/s branching off as well with four ports.
Networking is controlled by the increasingly popular Intel i225-V 2.5Gbe ethernet chip, while Wi-Fi is supported by the Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 module that also supports Bluetooth 5.1.
We wrap up with SupremeFX audio on the B550i Gaming powered by the S1220A CODEC,32Bit/192KHz with Dual OP Amps supporting impedance sense; 120dB SNR on playback and 113dB SNR for recording.
In this second image, we have information on the USB port arrangement. The B550i Gaming supports 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, one being USB-C, the others Type-A. Additionally, you will find a few USB 2.0 ports, one with an audio USB-C connection. As for Internal headers, the B550i supports five ports between its three headers; one USB-C with USB 3.2 Gen 2 behind it, two over USB 3.2 Gen 1, and one with USB 2.0.
The ASUS ROG Strix B550i Gaming carries an MSRP of $219.99 with a one-year warranty.
Packaging, Accessories, and Overview
Packaging and Accessories
Packaging lands in line with ROG branding. We have the logo top left and additional features listed along the bottom.
On the back, we have a full overview of the motherboard and its ports on top with special features listed below.
Included with the motherboard, we have a software guide and installation guide, and CDROM for drivers and utilities.
Included in the box, we have the Wi-Fi antenna, SATA cables, and I/O plate along with USB-C Audio DAC Cable and extensions for the ARGB lighting.
ROG Strix B550i Gaming
Our first look at the board front and back, we have the ROG logo in red with an overall matte black gray appearance otherwise. The backside handles the second m.2 slot with support from the chipset.
Starting at the board's bottom, we have the PCIe x16 slot, again powered from CPU lanes with Gen 4.0 support. Above, under the ROG heat sink is the m.2_1 slot that too gets Gen 4 lanes from the CPU. Moving around the corner, you will find four SATA 6Gbps ports along with internal headers for both USN 3.2 Gen 1 and Gen 2. We then move to the front panel connection, followed by the 24-pin and memory slots above.
You will find two RGB connections across the top of the motherboard, the first a standard RGB header and the second, missing a pin, the addressable RGB header. Three fan connections follow this up, the grey being CPU_FAN and 8Pin CPU power tucked above the I/O.
The I/O itself houses two video outputs with DP and HDMI, and moving to the right, we have USB 2.0 in black and USB 3.2 Gen 2 in red. The USB-C is also Gen 2 USB 3.2, and the port above is RJ45 for 2.5Gbe. The back panel rounds out with Wi-Fi antenna connections and SupremeFX audio 3.5mm jacks, and USB-C to the side.
PCB and Circuit Analysis
Diving in deeper, the ROG Strix B550i Gaming uses 10 Vishay SiC639 power stages, each supporting 50A. ASUS breaks this up with eight supporting core voltage and two supporting SoC. In this same area on the back of the board, you will find the ASP1106 VRM controller, this controller runs in a 4+2 configuration, and ASUS has paired two 50A power stages with each phase to handle the current needed on Vcore.
Hiding near the retention bracket's bottom, you will find the Winbond BIOS chip and Nuvoton I/O. Closer to the rear I/O, the ASMedia 1543.
Removing the large heat sink array and m.2 daughterboard, we reveal the B550 chipset.
Above, we have the entire heat sink array. This includes the chipset heat sink at the bottom and M.2 heat sink above. The VRM assembly consists of a small fan for cooling, all part of the rear I/O cover.
M.2_1 and SupremeFX audio live on a daughterboard that connects to the motherboard via the white multipin connection near the chipset.
UEFI, Software and Test System
Anyone who has used an ASUS motherboard in the last few generations will have no trouble with the B550i Gaming. The menu system has gone largely unchanged with a favorites section for your most commonly accessed items, followed by Ai Tweaker for overclocking, the advanced menu for changing storage options, among others.
The monitoring page allows you to check temperatures along with the configuration of Q-Fan. While Tools let you secure erase your drives or flash their latest BIOS with EZ Flash.
Software support comes from Armoury Crate. This includes Aura Sync to set RGB functionality and a game library and profiles option allowing you to configure your system for scenarios. The wrench tab keeps you up to date with drivers and utilities from ASUS.
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG B550i Gaming (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X (buy from Amazon)
- GPU: ASUS ROG Strix RX 5700XT 8GB (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 3200MHz 2x8GB (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair H115i RGB Pro XT (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Thermaltake Core P3 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Sabrent Rocket NVMe 1TB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM750 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
WPrime, Cinebench, RealBench and AIDA64
WPrime, Cinebench,RealBench and AIDA64
WPrime is a leading multi-threaded benchmark. In our setup, we will manually set the number of cores for the CPU under test, for our 10900K, 20.
With the Phantom Gaming as our first B550, we have it for this review as a comparison. Starting with WPrime, the ROG comes out slightly ahead in both 32 and 1024M.
Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to showcase their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests, a single-core workload that will utilize one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test which uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU
Into Cinebench, we see pretty similar results with the B550i; 506 at 1T and 3790 at nT.
RealBench comes out almost two seconds quicker with image editing and half a second in encoding tasks. Multi-tasking was one second faster on the Strix.
Memory bandwidth reaches 46,25 and 44 GB/s with the Strix.
Into FP32/64, the Strix offers 6626 for FP64 and 11843 for FP32, both lower than the Phantom Gaming.
Unigine and UL Benchmarks
Superposition from Unigine is a DX12 based benchmark. We test with the 720p LOW preset as this removes all but the most basic GPU loading, with all of the FPS coming from the CPU.
For the Strix, we start with 206.99 FPS in Unigine.
PCMark is a benchmark from UL and tests various workload types to represent typical workloads for a PC. Everything from video conferencing, image import, and editing, along with 3D rendering, are tested.
The ROG Strix finishes PCMark10 with a score of 6896. At the highest, we have a digital content score of 10147 and productivity at the lowest;8702.
Moving to 3DMark, we find Timespy grabbing 9799 overall with 10367 in graphics and 7481 for the CPU.
Firestrike reins in 21394 from the Strix.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Doing some real gaming with Horizon Zero Dawn, 4K results peak at 42 FPS, followed by 75,98 and 126 for 1440p through 720p.
System I/O Benchmarks and Power Consumption
System I/O Benchmarks
Storage with CrystalDiskMark
Internal NVMe storage benchmarks are done with a Samsung 980 Pro as it's the highest performing single drive solution on the market. USB 3.2 benchmarks are done with the same Samsung 980 Pro and the Sabrent EC-TFNE Enclosure.
Using our 980 Pro, the B550i brought in 6467 MB/s read, a touch higher than the Phantom Gaming. 4KQ1 was also slightly higher at 89.14 MB/s.
External storage performance topped out at 1029 MB/s read and 957 MB/s write.
Networking with iPerf
Looking into Wi-Fi performance, the ROG Strix offered slightly better performance at 1319Mbps.
Power numbers start at 75 watts for the B550i. Ramping up our CPU load with Cinebench, we see a peak of 189 watts. Gaming with HZD, the GPU adds to the party, reaching a peak of 317 watts.
Overclocking, Thermals and Final Thoughts
As with many other AMD platforms, you will likely gain more performance by pushing the infinity fabric. That said, you can gain some by pushing the CPU clocks. For this, I set a max voltage of 1.35v, and we were able to reach 4.3GHz pretty easily with the B550i Gaming using Ryzen Master.
Using our thermal camera, we look at board temperatures during the end stages of testing. As you can see, we have peak temperatures near 40c around the VRM and chipset/m.2 slot.
The Strix B550i Gaming was a rather pleasing board to work with. In our build-up to testing, I found no issues installing into my NR200 chassis with thoughtful placement of the front panel, USB, and power connections. There are no oddball connectors you have to snake around the GPU on this motherboard, definitely a welcomed feature.
What We Like
USB 3.2 Gen 2: While the Strix isn't stacked with USB ports, it offers an amazing four 10Gbps ports on the rear I/O and another two through the internal header.
2.5GBe: Vendors are finally embracing 2.5Gbe and ASUS chose the extremely popular i225-V for its ROG B550i Gaming board.
SupremeFX: The S1220A brings 120dB SNR on playback and 113dB SNR for recording to the B550i Gaming.
What Could Be Better
Fans: This seems to be common on mITX platforms. Still, the lack of fan connections means you need to pay attention when putting things together, to either purchase an AIO that controls its own fans or, if on air cooling, possibly pick up a fan controller/splitter if your need more than three total fans.
It's incredibly easy to see why the B550i Gaming is so popular among the SFF crowd. Everything from the motherboard layout to the inclusion of top-end audio, networking, and storage support makes this a platform powerhouse for enthusiasts and gamers alike wanting to build with B550!
The Bottom Line
I struggled to find any issues with the ASUS ROG Strix B550i Gaming motherboard. And the simple fact is, it's about as perfect as a motherboard can come on the AMD B550 chipset.
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