Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) Review

The Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) is one of the new mid-range motherboards with the B550 chipset. We use the features to explain in the test report whether it is the hoped-for price-performance alternative to the X570.

 

Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) Test

The Asus ROG Strix B550-F (Wi-Fi) has been available in Germany since the beginning of June. With a price of around 200 euros, it is one of the more expensive B550 mainboards, because the B450 predecessor started at around 160 euros. There is still a significant price difference to the X570 variant of 60 euros. The B550-F is also optionally available without Wi-Fi for just under 10 euros less.

With the B550 chipset, AMD has introduced a slightly slimmed-down counterpart to the X570, which brings most of the features into a lower price range. The 500 series ensures compatibility with upcoming Ryzen processors with Zen 3 architecture. While the new chipset only offers PCIe 3.0 lanes, B550 mainboards support PCIe 4.0 via the CPU. However, this only applies to the primary PCIe and M.2 slot. Compared to the B450, there are also faster USB ports.

Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) scope of delivery

  • Mainboard
  • SATA cable (4x)
  • User manual and driver DVD
  • Sticker
  • Cable ties
  • Extension cable for addressable LED
  • WiFi antenna
  • M.2 screws

Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) Design & features

Asus relies on a deep black mainboard design for the ROG Strix B550-F, which only has red accent strips with white lettering on the chipset cooler and the I / O cover. The I / O cover also has a rather eye-catching ROG logo with RGB lighting.

 

Black ROG style motherboard

On closer inspection, inscriptions of the ROG slogan “Join the Republic” in different languages ​​catch the eye. The cover is made of plastic, but there are still two metal VRM heat sinks. The chipset also has a passive heat sink and therefore obviously no longer needs to be actively cooled, as was the case with X570 mainboards.

Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) CPU & memory

There is a voltage regulator with 12 + 2 phases, the individual VRMs deliver up to 50 amps and the processor is supplied with power by an 8-pin and an additional 4-pin connection. The latter is of course optional for operation, but could be useful for overclocking in upcoming upper-class Ryzen CPUs.

The mainboard supports AMD processors based on Zen 2 and Zen 3. Accordingly, it is currently compatible with the Ryzen 3000 series, the Ryzen 3000XT series and the Ryzen 4000 series expected for the end of 2020. APUs, i.e. processors with an additional graphics unit, are initially left out, but will probably work on the B550-F from Ryzen 4000 onwards. Corresponding interfaces are already available in the I / O panel.

Four DIMM banks are available for DDR4 memory. The mainboard supports a maximum of 128 gigabytes of RAM. Unfortunately, Asus does not specify concrete information on RAM support when using one or more modules in the manual or on the product page. When used with Ryzen 3000 processors, a maximum RAM speed of 4,600 megahertz via XMP overclocking is specified, probably with only one module. With Ryzen CPUs of the next generation, a maximum of 5,100 megahertz should be possible. In the test with four 4000 RAM bars from Corsair, the system on the Asus B550-F “only” ran stably with a maximum of 3,600 megahertz.

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Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) Connections

There are two PCIe x16 slots and three PCIe x1 slots. The top one is reinforced with metal and offers PCIe 4.0 bandwidth , as the slot is connected with 16 lanes via the CPU. The second of the full-fledged PCIe slots runs on the chipset with PCIe 3.0 and four lanes. The x1 slots are also limited to PCIe 3.0.

In terms of storage interfaces, the B550-F Gaming has two M.2 slots with passive coolers that support corresponding SSDs with a length of up to 110 millimeters. The upper M.2 slot uses PCIe 4.0 and the lower PCIe 3.0. Six SATA connections with six Gbit / s each are also available. They share the chipset lanes with the secondary M.2 slot, which is why the fifth and sixth SATA ports are deactivated when an SSD is in the second M.2 slot.

The mainboard offers a total of 14 USB ports , eight of which are on the rear. The I / O panel has two USB 3.1 (10 Gbit/s), one of which has a Type-C connection, four USB 3.0 (five Gbit / s) and two USB 2.0. On the board there are two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports for front connections or any accessories. Unfortunately, Asus did not include a header for a USB-C port on the front of the case.

Furthermore, on the I / O panel, there is also Ethernet with up to 2.5 Gbit / s, one DisplayPort 1.2, one HDMI 2.1, two antenna connections and a BIOS flash button. Wi-Fi 6 (2 × 2) and Bluetooth 5.1 are also integrated. The mainboard also offers five analog and one digital audio output. For this, the manufacturer relies on a SupremeFX audio chip (S1220A) that is shielded against interference and supports up to 32-bit / 192 KHz. It can operate headphones with an impedance between 32 and 600 ohms, also via the front panel connections.

There are also five fan connections and an AiO pump connection on the board. For fans of illuminated systems, there are two Aura RGB headers and one addressable RGB header available. Another special feature is the Thunderbolt 3 header. With the corresponding PCIe expansion card from Asus, the particularly fast and versatile interface can be retrofitted. The module called ThunderboltEX3 costs around 60 euros at the time of the mainboard test.

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Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) Power

In order to determine possible differences in performance, we compared the B550 mainboard with an X570 mainboard under identical conditions. The system configuration used and the results can be seen below.

Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) Test system

  1. Processor: Ryzen 7 3800X
  2. Mainboard: MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk, MSI MEG X570 Unify
  3. Cooler: comfortable! Dark Rock Pro 4
  4. RAM: 32 GB (4x 8 GB) Corsair LPX DDR4-4000
  5. SSD: Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB
  6. Graphics card: MSI RTX 2080 Super Gaming X Trio
  7. Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  8. Power supply: ASUS Thor 1200W

Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) Benchmarks and settings used

  1. Cinebench R20
  2. 3DMark Time Spy Extreme
  3. PCMark 10 Enhanced
  4. Prime95 and Furmark for stress tests
  5. System power consumption measured with Voltcraft Energy Monitor 3000
  6. Power consumption of the CPU (Core Package Power) and temperatures measured with HWiNFO

Games and settings used

  1. Anno 1800 (DX11 benchmark @ 1,440p)
  2. Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DX12 benchmark @ 1,080p, high, TAA)
  3. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (DX12 benchmark @ 1,080p, high)

There are no significant differences in performance compared to the X570 with the B550. In the benchmarks and games, the Asus mainboard only performed slightly better because the latest AGESA firmware for the X570 board was not yet available at the time of the test.

The Asus B550-F stayed an average of eight degrees cooler with automatic fan setting and a maximum of nine degrees cooler with full fan power while idling. The B550 motherboard consumed an average of 25 watts less power when idling. There were no noticeable differences in terms of temperature development and power consumption under full load.

Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) BIOS

The UEFI BIOS used is no different from most other Asus mainboards. It offers a variety of functions, including extensive overclocking menus, a customizable fan curve, and more. The Asus AISuite comes as desktop software and there is also the Armory Crate program specifically for RGB control with Aura Sync.

The Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) is a good price-performance option for the majority of those interested in buying an AMD system between the Zen 2 and the Zen 3. It offers an above-average number of features in the mid-range motherboard that are otherwise only available in more expensive X570 models.

Full compatibility with Ryzen 4000 and possibly other Zen 3 processors is given and the most important components can be connected via PCIe 4.0. The integrated Wi-Fi 6 module and the ability to retrofit Thunderbolt 3 are also worth mentioning. Overall, X570 motherboards hardly offer any more functions, but the price difference is not particularly large either. We would have liked to see a front header for USB-C on the B550-F.

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