Motherboard ASUS ROG STRIX B450-F GAMING
August 1, 2018
Today, AMD introduced the mid-level chipset for the desktop platform Socket AM4 – AMD B450. Although motherboards based on the updated logic began to leak to the sites of online stores before the official start of sales, we waited for the NDA to complete its operation and are now ready to share our impressions after the test of the first motherboard based on the new chipset – ASUS ROG STRIX B450-F GAMING.  from 4 408 uah
Business offers: 7
Scope of delivery
The card is offered in a medium-sized cardboard box with a branded design.
The user manual, a driver and software CD, even re SATA cable, extension cable for RGB tape, mount for M.2-drives and a set of plastic ties for the accurate laying of power and interface conductors.
Also included is a set of branded stickers-identifiers, a sticker sticker on the radiator chipset and a sign on a door handle warning of the owner's heavy use.
Design and layout
The ASUS ROG STRIX B450-F GAMING has standard dimensions for ATX devices – 305 × 244 mm. From the name of the model, it is easy to determine that the motherboard is based on the AMD B450 chipset.
In the external design, designers follow the developed visual concept for the ROG STRIX line devices – dark colors with a minimum of color luridness and bright contrast elements. The black printed circuit board received a matte finish. But PCB surfaces are viewed with decorative signatures. The area of the interface panel covers the plastic cover. The elements of the cooling system have a dark gray color, which barely distinguishes them on the overall almost homogeneous background of the device. In general, there are no surprises here. We have already seen this design many times during acquaintance with other devices of the game series of the manufacturer.
ASUS ROG STRIX B450-F GAMING supports the entire range of processors for the Socket AM4 platform, from the most affordable Bristol Ridge to the top 8-core Pinnacle Ridge. One of the advantages of motherboards based on AMD 400 series chipsets is the initial support for Ryzen processors of the 2nd generation even without updating the firmware.
The power board of the motherboard has an 8-phase circuit with the controller controller Digi + ASP1106. To cool all MOSFET assemblies, additional medium sized radiators are used.
The board is equipped with four slots for installing RAM modules. The manufacturer claims support for sets up to DDR4-3200. This mode is indicated in the list of validated sets even for more productive sets.
The connectors for DIMM are expected to have a design with a one-way locking mechanism for modules.
The layout of expansion slots is generally typical of full-fledged ATX models. There are three full-size PCI Express x16 slots and the same amount of compact PCI Express x1 on the board.
Using the Ryzen 1st / 2nd generation chips, the available PCI Express lines are distributed between the two main slots in x16 + 0 or x8 + x4. The third full-size slot complies with the PCI-E 2.0 standard, is serviced by the chipset and operates in x4 mode, using shared resources with PCIe x1_2 and PCIe x1_3 slots.
Using Ryzen processors from the Summit Ridge / Pinnacle Ridge families, it is theoretically possible to create 3-Way configurations CrossFireX with three video cards based on AMD chips. The SLI mode is by definition not supported in this case – it is the prerogative of motherboards on top AMD X370 / X470, which can share processor lines in equal proportions.
Recall that Ryzen processors with Vega graphics have 8 lines of PCI Express 3.0, so when using Such chips are available one of two main PCI-E x16 slots, which will work in x8 mode. Of course, the chipset full-format slot can also be used in this case.
Note that the main slots have SafeSlot metal casing, which increase the mechanical strength of the connectors.
ASUS ROG STRIX B450-F GAMING received a good set possibilities for tuning the cooling system. The board has six 4-pin connectors for connecting fans and liquid cooling systems. Initially, two connectors with one control channel (PWM / DC) are allocated for the CPU cooler, three connectors for the case fans, one for the CBO pump connection.
The board supports the proprietary Fan Expert 4 technology for thin settings of control algorithms for each of the connected devices. Expected for the ASUS board, we have extended ranges of speed control.
Of the additional options, we can note the presence of one connector for connecting an external thermocouple.
Developers are already very reticent in the matter of additional illumination of elements motherboard. In the case of the ASUS ROG STRIX B450-F GAMING, multicolored RGB LEDs are installed just below the interface panel cover, creating a discreet glow of the ROG logo.
In case you want to illuminate the interior of the system unit, two 4-pin connectors for connecting RGB tapes with 5050 elements (12 V).
Checked, the tapes are working. Of course, the ability to synchronize the backlight of all AURA Sync devices is supported.
The accumulative history of the board begins with six SATA ports located at the right edge of the PCB. The ports are positioned parallel to the plane of the printed circuit board, so even the graphics card will not cause problems with access to the connectors.
ASUS ROG STRIX B450-F GAMING also offers two M.2 ports for connecting high-speed drives.
Located in the central part of the board, the M.2_1 port allows the use of devices up to 80 mm long with a SATA and PCI-E data interface. Regardless of the channel used, when installing the drive into this slot, two SATA ports (SATA6G_5 / 6) are deactivated.
The second slot – M.2_2 – can be used for PCI-E format M. 2 with length up to 110 mm. It should be noted that if this connector is used, the main full-size PCI Express x16 slot will work in x8 mode.
Both M.2 ports can be used if the system is equipped with Ryzen processors from the Summit Ridge / Pinnacle Ridge families. Ryzen chips with integrated Vega graphics have fewer free PCI Express lines, therefore only the first M.2_1 (PCI-E x4 or SATA) port will be available when installing the APU.
Like the motherboards on the top AMD X470, the devices on the new AMD B450 supports AMD StoreMI technology, which allows use of hybrid bundles of drives that combine SSDs and hard drives.
The manufacturer used a Gigabit controller Intel i211-AT to connect to a wired network. A reliable proven solution, which can often be found on devices in a class higher. The board also provides an additional LANGuard harness to protect the circuit from static and high-voltage breakdowns.
From the internal connectors, note the presence of a USB 3.1 Gen1 (USB 3.0) connector on the board on two ports, a pair of USB 2.0, COM and TPM.
Additionally, developers have worked on the SupremeFX audio subsystem, based on the modified 8-channel Realtek S1220A codec, which is hidden under a metal casing. In addition to the top controller, it is worth noting the partial isolation of the area to reduce interference, the use of Japanese capacitors and a pair of operational amplifiers – Texas Instruments R4580i and OPA O1688A. The latter provide a good headroom for increasing headphones with increased input impedance.
The overall sound quality is generally good for a set with an element base of this class, although without any revelations.
When you can play sliders in the supported Sonic Studio III. It must be acknowledged that such fun is not meaningless if you want to give impetus to the sound scene in games.
Evaluating the composition of the interface panel, we immediately note the presence of a fixed stub that covers the connectors. Relatively recently, the manufacturer began to use this technique for top models, now, as you can see, the protective panel is also used for simpler devices. In this case, you definitely will not forget to install the appropriate bracket on the back panel of the case at the time of system assembly.
As for the set of interface connectors itself, there is a combined PS / 2, a pair of USB 2.0 and four USB 3.1 Gen1 (USB 3.0) one of which has a compact symmetric format Type-C. Next are two USB 3.1 Gen2, both in Type-A format, and you can distinguish them from lower-speed ports by red internal inserts.
Two digital video outputs – HDMI 2.0a and DysplayPort 1.2 with maximum modes of 4096 × 2160 @ 60Hz. Of course, both ports will be available only with hybrid APU chips with integrated graphics.
An Ethernet socket is available for network connection, and a set of five 3.5 mm connectors and optical S / PDIF are provided for acoustics
There are no surface mounted components on the back of the PCB. Designers did not ignore this surface of the printed circuit board, decorating it with catchy appeals and slogans in various languages. If suddenly the system is assembled in a case with both transparent walls, then such design refinements will not be unnoticed.
The graphics shell of the motherboard BIOS conceptually does not differ from that of its predecessors. The available options are enough for scrupulous tuning of the platform, although some parameters can be adjusted in limited ranges.
For example, the processor supply voltage can be changed only by the increment in the range of + -0.5 V in steps of 0.00625 V (> 0.2 B – yellow indicator,> 0.3 V – purple,> 0.4 V – red). The voltage of the memory modules is 1.2-1.8 V in increments of 0.005 V.
The available arsenal of overclocking tools is not amazing, but it is sufficient for a good dense build-up of the gaming platform.
The board has a TPU overclocking mechanism, however
When selecting TPU I, the Ryzen 7 2700 processor worked at 3400 MHz instead of 3375 MHz in the normal mode for the load on all the computational units. The frequency increase is minimal, as is the increase in performance.
When using the TPU II mode, the processor clock speed in similar conditions increased to 3500 MHz with the supply voltage unchanged for such conditions – 1,134 V.
The increase in productivity is very modest in this case. Yes, it actually gets for free and does not overload the power subsystem of the motherboard, but still when it comes to even basic overclocking, I want to see more tangible results. Fortunately, manual settings can be used for this.
As we have already mentioned, the board will not be the choice of an experienced overclocker, but this does not mean that it does not allow accelerating the processor. In the casual express mode, we managed to bring the working frequency of the chip to symbolic 4000 MHz under the load on all the blocks. In this case, the supply voltage was increased by +0.325V (the BIOS parameter is colored violet), and the CPU Load Line Calibration parameter was used in the High mode. The actual value of the voltage in this case, obtained in CPU-Z, was 1.373 V.
After such overclocking, the performance gain is already noticeable.
We also checked the board performance with a high-speed a set of DDR4-3400 (G.Skill Sniper X F4-3400C16D-16GSXW) and did not find any problems with the functioning of this set. Therefore, the specified limitation of DDR4-3200 is not the limit of the board. If there are good modules, you can go beyond the indicated frames.
Expected retail price ASUS ROG STRIX B450-F GAMING – 4100 UAH (~ $ 150). This is somewhat more than how much I would like to pay for a motherboard based on a mid-range chipset. In this case, the model will have to compete with the basic devices on the top PCH, but if you evaluate the equipment of specific models, that is, understanding where the price tag comes from. We hope that after the start-up period the cost of this model will still decrease.
from 4 408 UAH
Business offers: 7