The ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI) Socket AM4 motherboard arrived at the lab today. When most of us think of budget or pricey motherboards, Asus usually doesn’t come to mind. However, this motherboard is priced at $189.99 MSRP. It’s definitely not at the top or bottom of the scale.
We wouldn’t call this mid-range, but it’s certainly not the highest price for AMD’s big B550 motherboard series either. As a mid to high-end B550 motherboard, we can expect some high-end B550 options to be implemented on this board. So let’s see what Asus has to offer with this card.
First of all, unless you’ve been living under a rock or doing DIY, you’ve all heard of ASUS, as the company has been around for years. ASUS has a wide range of products and has probably made millions of motherboards for enthusiasts.
Asus offers many motherboard series to choose from. Their newest lines are ROG CROSSHAIR, ROG MAXIMUS, ROG STRIX, ROG ZENITH and ROG RAMPAGE. Today I’m taking a look at the ROG STRIX series of gamer motherboards. ROG STRIX series boards offer a wide selection of Intel and AMD platforms. ASUS sent us the AMD version, the ROG STRIX B550-F WI-FI, to test.
The ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING WI-FI card I have in my hands today is based on the AMD B550 chipset, and like all others in this series of chipsets, this card stands out in terms of CPU, RAM, and PCI Express support and reliability. The AMD B550 chipset supports PCIe 4.0 and the new AMD Ryzen 5000 processors.
As you can see in the images above, the top part of the window shows the motherboard series, the general image of the board, and the bottom part shows various logos showing what the board offers and supports. On the back of the box, the user will find the specifications of the card, some additional features and details exclusive to ASUS. The edge of the box shows the exact specifications, including the part number and serial number.
Of course, when I opened the box, I was greeted by the motherboard. When I removed the card from the pouch, the left side contained the radio antenna folded into the package and the M.2 screws. After examining them, I was able to remove the top half of the box and found some interesting items in the bottom of the box. There is a card with a bunch of stickers you can put on your game case if you want, a manual, a driver CD, cable ties, an RGB cable and 4 SATA cables. Of the 4 SATA cables, 2 are rectangular cables. This is a good idea, as many do-it-yourselfers want to use rectangular cables for easy cable management.
This is a Full-ATX motherboard with dimensions of 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm (L x W). One thing we found interesting about this card is that ASUS added a solid heatsink to both NVME slots. Some of the first motherboards we tested did not have a heatsink for the secondary NVME slot. One thing we would like to see is a metal protective cover for the secondary PCIe graphics card slot. We found that this was the case with some other boards that were cheaper than this motherboard.
Another thing to consider: ASUS has integrated a Thunderbolt connector on this card. ASUS also provides a USB 3.2 (gen1) connector for your new case. They also have the latest 2.5 GHz LAN port and USB 3.2 (gen2) ports, one of which is the new Type-C. Both are located on the rear I/O panel. There is no USB 3.2 (gen2) header on the motherboard for use in the case.
As already mentioned, there are 2 NVME slots. The closest thing to the first PCIe x16 is the new NVME 4.0 and includes a nice heatsink design. The NVME slot on the bottom of the card is standard PCIe 3.0 NVME, but also includes a heat sink to cool the SSD.
Internally, this motherboard has one of the new USB 3.2 (gen1) connectors and two standard USB 2 connectors. The fan connection strips include the CPU, pump and 3 system fans. With the 4 included main fans, users should have a decent amount to add some cooling to their system. The motherboard also has two RGB connectors. There is also an RGB connector on the bottom of the motherboard. It’s nice to touch the ASUS part.
ASUS has equipped this card with 6 SATA ports. So, if you use a nice NVME 4.0 SSD, you should have enough SATA ports for multiple drives. In my previous 3 B550 tests, one of which was an mITX motherboard and the other a full-ATX motherboard, there were only 4 SATA ports, except for the last B550 motherboard tested. I liked that the ASUS part had 2 more ports.
The rear input/output panel has a pretty solid layout. First of all, it has a BIOS FlashBack button, as well as a USB port designed specifically for this ASUS FlashBack feature. This particular USB port, like the one above, is a 2.0 port. At the bottom there are 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports. Next, we have 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, including a Type-C port. On top is a 2.5 GB Intel I225-V Ethernet port. Next we see the HDMI 2.1 connector and the Display 1.2 connector. Next we see the connections for the Intel AX200 Wi-Fi antenna. Finally, we see the audio jacks, including 5 standard 1/8 jacks and an optical S/PDIF jack. The audio connections are the high resolution audio codec ROG SupremeFX7.1 channel S1220A.
VRM of the motherboard 1D 9
Let’s talk about the ASUS VRM on this card. MSI claims that this motherboard has 12+2 power levels. Despite the claims, there’s not really any documentation other than Digital Power Management and multiple power levels to ensure the ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) has the power to handle AMD’s latest processors. They further state: ASUS DIGI+ Power Control is an innovative set of controllers for digital VRM and DRAM voltages. These controllers provide ultra-precise memory and voltage adjustment for optimal system efficiency, stability and performance. They also talked about EQUIPPED POWER STAGES and explained that the 12+2 power stag3 combines high and low power MOSFETs and drivers in one package to deliver the power and efficiency needed by AMD’s latest processors.
To cool the VRM, ASUS has provided large heat sinks that have a large contact area for the MOSFETs and inductors. ASUS didn’t talk about the thermal pads, except to say that they are high quality. However, they claim to use alloy coils and capacitors to ensure durability at extreme temperatures. They also claim that it offers up to 110% more power than the industry standard.
Let’s take a look at some of the exclusive features of the ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI) motherboard. One of the first things I want to discuss is the ProCool power connector. Some high-end motherboards have this feature, but it’s rare to see it on a motherboard with an AMD B550 chipset. It consists of two CPU power connectors, which include a standard 8-pin connector and allow for an additional 4-pin power connector. As mentioned earlier, this board also includes two M.2 heatsinks. Many B550 series boards only have a heatsink for the PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVME slot.
The ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI) also features the SupremeFX S1220A audio codec. ASUS also offers a Sonic Studio III + Sonic Studio Virtual Mixer. It also includes Sonic Radar III and DTS Sound Unbound.
ASUS has also included a BIOS FlashBack button on the rear I/O panel and a dedicated USB 2.0 port for this option.
ASUS also advertised and claimed the ASUS OptiMem II: To allow AMD’s latest processors free access to memory bandwidth, the motherboard routing has been redesigned on the ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi). Built-in OptiMem II technology carefully maps memory signal paths between layers of the board to reduce gaps between layers, and adds shielding zones that significantly reduce crosstalk. To extend overclocking capabilities for fully stacked memory configurations, the highly tuned daisy chain circuit provides timed signaling.
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