ASUS ROG Strix B550-F: Motherboard for Gamers

The Asus ROG Strix B550-F (AM4 Socket) is a high-performance motherboard that caters to the needs of gamers and enthusiasts. It is based on the B550 chipset, which is designed for AMD Ryzen processors, and supports PCIe 4.0, high-speed DDR4 memory, and advanced cooling solutions. In this review, we will explore the features and performance of the Asus ROG Strix B550-F, and see how it stacks up against other motherboards in its class.

Specifications:

  • Form factor: ATX
  • Chipset: AMD B550
  • CPU support: AMD AM4 socket (Ryzen 5000, 4000 G-Series, 3000, and 2000 series processors)
  • Memory support: 4 x DIMM, up to 128GB, DDR4 4400MHz (O.C.)
  • Expansion slots: 2 x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1
  • Storage: 2 x M.2 slots (PCIe 4.0/3.0 x4), 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports
  • Networking: 1 x Intel 2.5Gb Ethernet, 1 x Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200, Bluetooth 5.1
  • Audio: SupremeFX S1220A 8-channel high-definition audio CODEC
  • USB ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 2 x USB 2.0
  • RGB lighting: Aura Sync RGB

At first glance, what stands out with this board are the black PCB, heatsinks and slots. The only components that are not black are highlights on the chipset heatsink, along with the ROG Name and ROG symbol (LEDs) on the IO shroud. In addition, slogans such as “Game On” and others can also be seen in black on the IO shroud.

Like the other B550 boards we’ve looked at so far, the ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi does not have a fan on the chipset heatsink as the B550 chipset itself uses less power because it doesn’t have to support as many PCIe 4.0 lanes. Given the dark overall theme, this board should match most build themes.

Starting off at the top of the board, the IO shroud reaches out over the rear IO bits and partially covers the large VRM heatsink on the left. Above that are two EPS connectors, one 8-pin (required) and a 4-pin (optional). Moving right, across the top are two (of six) 4-pin PWM/DC fan/pump headers, along with the first RGB header (of three). There are two additional fan headers located to the right of the IO shroud and above the top M.2 slot. All fan headers are able to output up to 1A/12W, which is adequate for a majority of fans and AIOs.

The board sports four single-side latching DIMM slots capable of holding up to 128GB of DDR4 Memory. Memory speed is listed up to DDR 4400(OC), which is notably less than the B550 Aorus Master and MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk. That said, AMD’s self-proclaimed sweet spot for memory is in the DDR4 3600-3733 range, which also keeps the infinity fabric (IF) at a 1:1 ratio with the RAM speed. Once past that, the IF ratio isn’t 1:1 and latency increases dramatically. So most users should probably stick to memory speeds below 4000.

Located on the far right side of the board is a 24-pin ATX connector, along with a front-panel USB 3.2 Gen1 (5 Gbps) header. Just above these are four LED lights (Asus calls these Q-LEDs) that light up during the motherboard booting process, checking key components such as VGA, CPU, DRAM and Boot. If an error is found, the critical component’s LED stays lit until the problem is resolved. This is convenient when troubleshooting POST issues, especially when the board doesn’t have a debug LED screen to display specific codes.

The EPS power plugs feed a 14-phase (12+2) VRM controlled by Asus’s Digi+ 6 channel controller (ASP1106GGQW). This in turn sends power to the “Teamed” MOSFETs (Vishay SIC639 50A) that yields 600A capacity for the CPU/Vcore. This isn’t the most robust power delivery we’ve seen so far, but this setup was plenty capable of handling our Ryzen 9 3900X without causing issues or running too hot. That said, it did run roughly 10 degrees Celsius higher than the other boards, though it was still well within operating parameters at stock and overclocked.

Sliding down to the bottom half of the board, the audio section is found on the far left and is mostly uncovered, outside of the SupremeFX audio chip hidden under a shiny faraday cage to prevent EMI. Also visible are the Nicicon audio capacitors, along with two op-amps. Input sensitivity is automatic and ranges from 32-600 ohm-headphone impedance, allowing greater flexibility and proper output. The premium audio section will be adequate for most users.

In the middle of the board we see two full-length PCIe slots with the primary GPU slot reinforced (Asus calls this Safeslot) to prevent sagging and shearing from heavy video cards. The top slot is fed from the CPU, providing 16 PCIe 4.0 lanes. The second full-length slot is fed from the chipset, running at PCIe 3.0 x4 speeds. Two-Way CrossfireX is supported. In addition to the full-length slots, the B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi provides an additional three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots.

Also found in the middle of the board are two M.2 sockets. Both support M.2 modules up to 110mm in length, of both PCIe- and SATA-based variety. Additionally, both sockets have their own individual heatsinks to keep hot-running NVMe drives cool. The top slot is PCIe 4.0 x4, while the bottom slot is limited to PCIe 3.0 x4, since those lanes come from the chipset.

On the right edge of the board are six SATA3 6Gbps ports, all fed from the chipset. These ports support RAID 0, 1 and 10. Port sharing is inevitable on this chipset, and the ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi shuts down SATA ports 5/6 when any M.2 module is installed in M.2_2 (the lower socket).

Pros:

  1. High-speed connectivity: The Asus ROG Strix B550-F features Intel 2.5Gb Ethernet and Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200, which provide fast and reliable network connectivity. It also has Bluetooth 5.1 for wireless communication.
  2. Advanced cooling: The motherboard has a comprehensive cooling system that includes a VRM heatsink, a chipset heatsink, and multiple fan headers. This allows for efficient heat dissipation and improved stability during overclocking.
  3. PCIe 4.0 support: The B550 chipset supports PCIe 4.0, which provides twice the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0. This allows for faster data transfer and better performance with compatible devices.
  4. Aura Sync RGB: The Asus ROG Strix B550-F has customizable RGB lighting that can be synchronized with other Aura Sync-enabled components for a personalized gaming setup.

Cons:

  1. Price: The Asus ROG Strix B550-F is more expensive than some other B550 motherboards on the market, which may not be suitable for budget-conscious buyers.
  2. Limited USB connectivity: The motherboard has only two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, which may not be sufficient for users who need more high-speed USB connectivity.

Conclusion:

The Asus ROG Strix B550-F (AM4 Socket) is a solid choice for gamers and enthusiasts who want a high-performance motherboard with advanced features and connectivity options. Its support for PCIe 4.0, fast networking, and customizable RGB lighting make it an attractive option for those who want the best gaming experience. However, its higher price and limited USB connectivity may not be suitable for all users. Overall, the Asus ROG Strix B550-F is a well-designed motherboard that offers excellent performance and reliability for demanding applications.

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