The release of the new AMD Ryzen series processors was accompanied by the announcement of motherboards based on the older X470 hub. And now it’s time for a simpler version – B450. Perhaps, there are two key differences between them – the lack of the ability to organize bundles of several video cards and a smaller number of SATA ports in the new product. All innovations introduced by AMD are declared here as supported.
You can evaluate the difference with the previous generation of chips on the slide below. Overclocking needs to be emphasized separately – all system components (CPU, integrated GPU, RAM) can be overclocked equally, regardless of the use of a particular hub. We will verify these claims in our own tests.
The advantages of the X470 within the Mini-ITX standard remain unrealized, for boards of this level, the B450 is the best suited, one of which is the guest of our laboratory – ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming. The manufacturer did not use additional controllers (not counting the module for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks), relying entirely on the capabilities of the CPU (APU) and the soldered B450.
To assess the available capabilities of the device, I propose to study the table with its characteristics.
|Model||ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming|
|Official product page on the Web||asus.com|
|Processor socket||AMD AM4|
|Processors||AMD Series: Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7|
|Memory||2 DIMM DDR4 SDRAM 2133/2400/2666/2800*/2933*/3000*/3200*/3400*/3466*/3600*(OC), 32 GB maximum|
|PCI slots||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16) — CPU
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x8) — APU
|M.2||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4, SATA (Key M, 2242/2260/2280) — CPU/APU
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4 (Key M, 2242/2260/2280) — CPU
|Integrated video core (in APU)||Radeon Series: Vega|
|Video connectors||HDMI 2.0b|
|Number of connected fans||3x 4pin|
|The port is USB||2 x 3.1 Gen2 (2 connectors on the rear panel, B450)
4 x 3.1 Gen1 (4 connectors on the rear panel, CPU / APU)
2 x 3.1 Gen1 (no connectors on the rear panel, B450)
2 x 2.0 (no connectors on the rear panel, B450)
|Serial ATA||4 x SATA 6Gb/s (B450)|
|RAID||0, 1, 10 (SATA, B450)|
|Built-in sound||SupremeFX (7.1, HDA):
Codec — S1220A (Realtek ALC1220)
Op Amp — Texas Instruments RC4580 и OPA1688
|Networking||Intel I211-AT (Gigabit Ethernet)
Realtek RTL8822BE (Wi-Fi 2.4/5GHz (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2)
|Dimensions, mm||170 x 170|
|Additional features||Thermal sensor connector, Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED), Lighting Control Center (ROG Aura lighting system including Aura RGB Strip Header and Aura Addressable Strip Header)|
|Retail price, $||–|
Packaging and equipment
The product comes in a box that is typical for its size. The top cardboard tray is occupied by the board itself, and the bottom compartment is designed for accessories.
A photo of the device and a list of the main features are presented on the back of the package. A little lower is a collage of images highlighting the hardware features of the product. I will highlight the presence of an HDMI 2.0b port.
Sufficiently extensive set of delivery. There is:
- user manual, which illustrates and describes the UEFI sub-items in detail (in English);
- ROG device owner welcome brochure;
- disk with drivers and proprietary software;
- a set of stickers with various images of the ROG Strix series, including those for cables;
- extension plate with screw for mounting M.2 type 2242 devices;
- mounting screw and M.2 device stand — two sets;
- two SATA 6Gb / s cables, one of which has an L-shaped connector on one of the ends;
- extension cord for connecting a controlled LED strip;
- plug for the body, complete with a black sticker with the symbolic designation of all sockets. The reverse part is pasted over with noise-absorbing material;
- seven nylon ties;
- an adapter for convenient connection of ASUS Q-Connector case connectors;
- remote antenna with the possibility of fixing only one position.
The design is typical of the latest ROG Strix series boards. All elements of dark shades, on the surface there are inscriptions and symbols of different types. There are no buttons and switches here; the Q-LED complex, dialed with four multi-colored LEDs, can help in operation. They are soldered at the upper right corner.
The reverse side is saturated with all sorts of elements, the reinforcement plate for the processor cooling systems is iron and its area is ordinary, not affected by the small dimensions of the product.
And before, some compact motherboard models from ASUS were equipped with removable modules with a sound card. This time it was supplemented with an M.2 slot and provided with a cooler.
The hub is equipped with its own finned heatsink, secured with screws.
From above, the module is also fixed with three screws; for these purposes, supporting racks are used.
The length of the M.2 type product will be limited to 80mm. The radiator is supplied with thermal Velcro.
There is another M.2 slot on the back. Its resources are directly connected to the PCI-E lines of the processor, that is, using a drive in such a slot will lead to a decrease in the throughput of the graphics PCI-E x16.
There are also four transverse SATA sockets. For USB body cables, two pads are prepared – for the second and third generation, one each. Between them is: a pair of contacts – for resetting the settings and another pair – for the needs of an external thermal sensor (it is not included in the package).
All three cooler slots are located along the top edge. The type of deceleration of devices can be anything, the UEFI menu items will help in choosing. There are also two different types of pads for LED equipment.
Illumination by the board is made thanks to twelve LEDs directed to the side, soldered along the right side.
The sound system is built with the participation of the ALC1220 codec, it is assisted by two operational amplifiers. There is no separate DAC, like the older models of the manufacturer.
The power element cooler is moved to the area of the I/O ports, taking up part of the area there, but not rising above the rest of the board, which means that compatibility with most processor heatsinks should be excellent.
The voltage converter is based on the ASP1405I PWM controller. I did not notice external drivers on the board or doublers. Six Infineon Technologies IR3553 assemblies form a stabilizer for CPU Voltage and only one in the face of IR3555, which does without a heatsink, is needed for SOC Voltage, from where the integrated GPU is also powered.
The gasket for transistors occupies the entire area of the corresponding face, I note its unusually large thickness. The same one is located higher, providing partial contact with the accompanying chokes, apparently, they decided to do this in order to improve the stability of the entire structure.
The back panel has a very unusual look. It is difficult to call a set of ports all-encompassing – limitations in size and free space affect. But the same balanced USB Type C output would not hurt here. Just one digital video output is also not a reason to be proud, but it was not there in the last generation, when the market was divided between the 300 series hubs. The wireless network controller model used is the same as in the ROG Crosshair VII Hero (Wi-Fi).