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Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming: Review


Introduction:

AMD recently introduced their latest B550 chipset for the AM4 mainstream platform. B550 follows in the footsteps of it's elder brother, the X570 which is a higher tier chipset with much more features and full fledge PCIe Gen4 Support. B550 brings PCIe gen 4 support to mainstream albeit with a few caveats.

As you may be aware, B450 has been the go to chipset for almost 2 years now for the AM4 mainstream platform. B450 was launched with Ryzen 2nd Gen CPUs aka Pinnacle Ridge. Being a cost effective chipset, we saw some excellent solutions at different price points with different feature sets. B450 SKUs had something for everyone, be it entry level, mid range, Mini ITX, High End, Workstation, etc.

What B450 lacked for obvious reasons was PCIe Gen4 support. X570 Chipset was the world's first chipset to bring this functionality but was also quite a bit expensive. There was a need for a mid range chipset with this functionality. Many believed that B550 would be a successor to the outgoing hero, the B450 chipset. In some ways it is and in some ways it isn't. What this means is that, B550 brings PCIe Gen4 to the masses BUT not at the same price point of it's predecessor.

I must say that somewhat to my surprise, B550 boards are substantially more expensive than the outgoing B450 models. Yes I know that PCIe Gen 4 requires much higher PCB quality to maintain signal integrity and that newer,upcoming CPUs might generally have a higher core count and therefore it is only logical to include much stronger VRM designs ,etc. Even then the overall price hike is a bit hard to swallow. I am not saying that motherboard vendors are offering "Less" for more price. The Designs are top notch, filled with features, sometimes we may wonder as to what exactly differentiates these new models with X570 ones. They are that feature rich at times. Whether B550 solutions should be so expensive is a debatable topic.

Today we shall be taking a closer look and reviewing Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming Motherboard.

Unboxing:








Closer Look:
We like the simple colour scheme used by Asus, it is predominantly black with a few accents of pink on the VRM shroud and chipset heatsink.

Pretty busy Socket Area. VRM section looks beefy!

Solid aluminum heatsinks with cuts and fins,maybe to try and achieve a good balance of mass and surface area for heat dissipation.

8+4 EPS +12V CPU Power connectors. Almost in 90% of the cases, just the 8 Pin connector is absolutely fine.

AIO Pump,CPU Fan, CPU Optional Fan, RGB Header, ARGB Header on the side.

Colour coded Diagnostic LED. Colour coding makes life much easier. Just by looking at the lit LED, you can figure out what component is causing POST issues.

DIMM Slots are specifically highlighted to show the slot priority. Detail explanation of how the slots should be populated in mentioned in the User Manual.

USB 3.2 & USB 3 Gen 2 Headers

6 X SATA Ports. Some SATA Ports are shared by the M.2 Slot IF using SATA M.2 SSD. Therefore, kindly read the manual carefully before populating M.2 Drives and regular 2.5" SATA Drives.

Reinforced PCIE16X Slots. Note that PCIEX16_1 is wired for full 16X whereas the PCIEX16_2 is wired for 8X. If you populate 2 x GPUs, then both of then will work at 8x Bandwidth.

Fan header just near the First M.2 Slot. Very convenient to connect the rear Case Fan.

Front panel Audio ports header, POST CODE LED Display, very very useful. We vote to make this mandatory on all motherboards.

More Fan headers, RGB,ARGB Headers. No skimping on headers, good job Asus.

Thermal sensor header and USB 3.0 Headers.

USB 3.0 Headers

Clear CMOS Header. You need to short these 2 pins by using a jumper to clear the CMOS when you are troubleshooting or trying to get the system to post after a failed OC attempt. Front panel connectors.

Asus AURA Sync Controller. This chip is busy handling all the eye candy in your system with RGB Fans, Coolers,Memory and so on.

R1.04,Interesting. Looks like Asus went through a few revisions to get the final design ready for launch. Let's hope this version is spot on!

Slick looking VRM Heatsink shroud. Simple yet elegant. The pink accents may not appeal everyone though. Does it appeal to you ?

BIOS Flashback button. This feature has been seen on Asus ROG boards for almost a decade now maybe. Very useful feature. Let's say you have a newer gen CPU but the BIOS does not support it, worry not, you can flash the BIOS by putting the BIOS file on a USB pen Drive and pressing this button. All you need is PSU connected to the motherboard and powered on. No CPU,RAM,GPU,SSD,HDD is required for this process. Very smart and extremely useful in sticky situations. One more feature we feel should become standard on all boards.



Thermal pads for VRM MOSFETS as well as chokes. Good.

Simple Aluminum Heatsink for the chipset.

There is a cut in the heatsink so that the RGB LED on the PCB can glow and illuminate the Strix logo on the heatsink, smart!

Solid, chunky, finned VRM Heatsink. We shall see if this can manage to keep the VRM Temps in check.




VRM section in it's full glory. Asus has employed "Teamed" power phases design on this board. What this means is that the VRM Controller itself is 7+1 phase but there twice the components per phase. That's how it is 14+2 phases. Our testing shall reveal how this design works.


MPS MP869902 Power Stages.

MPS MP869902 Power Stages.

Digi+ ASP2006C60920A 7+1 PWM Controller

BIOS Chip

The motherboard stripped down to the bare PCB with all the shrouds, heatsinks removed.

AMD B550 Chipset

Thunderbolt 3 Header! Asus has finally done it. Thunderbolt connectivity implemented on AMD Ryzen platform. Thank You Asus!

Intel 2.5G Lan Controller
Test System:
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3950X (16Core/32Thread) Processor

  • Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming Motherboard

  • Galax HOF RGB 4000MHz 8GBx2 Dual Channel Memory Kit / Teamgroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB 3600MHz 8GBx2 Dual Channel Memory Kit

  • Custom Water Cooling for CPU

  • Galax Low Profile Twin Fan Geforce GTX1650 4GB Graphics Card

  • Super Flower Leadex Gold 1600W Full Modular PSU

Benchmarks:






VRM Testing:
PWM Controller - Digi+ ASP2006C60920A 7+1 PWM Controller (This board uses Teamed Power Stages,Hence 14+2 Phases) Power Stages = MPS MP869902 Power Stages


  • K-Type Thermocouple stuck to the PCB backside just under the VRM Section + Infrared Thermometer to monitor VRM Heatsink, Chokes, Capacitors.

  • These temperatures are after running Full load Aida64 Stress test with AVX Workload with the CPU running @ 4.3 GHz on all cores for the entire duration of the test.

  • The test was run for a period of 1 Hr.

  • Since the test was performed on an open test bench, there was no airflow over the VRM heatsink.


  • K-Type Thermocouple stuck to the PCB backside just under the VRM Section + Infrared Thermometer to monitor VRM Heatsink, Chokes, Capacitors.

  • These temperatures are after running Full load Aida64 Stress test with AVX Workload with the CPU running @ 4.4 GHz on all cores for the entire duration of the test.

  • The test was run for a period of 1 Hr.

  • 120mm fan running at full RPM was placed directly over the VRM heatsink.


Overclocking : 4.4 GHz @ 1.3V (Set in BIOS) on all Cores completely stable under full load.



Memory OC : For Memory OC, we used 2 different kits of Memory,namely Galax HOF RGB 4000MHz 8GBx2 Dual Channel Memory Kit &Teamgroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB 3600MHz 8GBx2 Dual Channel Memory Kit.

The reason for doing so is that the T-Force kit had Hynix CJR Memory IC which although not bad, aren't capable of achieving higher frequencies or tighter timings. For this purpose, we used the Galax HOF Kit which has highly binned Samsung B-Die IC. This kit has managed to achieve 5000MHz on Intel platform and also capable of running at insanely low timings which makes it a perfect candidate to test the Memory OC potential of this motherboard. 3733MHz 12-11-11-24 @ 1.8V

4400MHz 14-14-14-58 @ 1.8V

Closing Thoughts:
  • Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is the top of the line B550 boards from Asus

  • Although based on the B550 Chipset, the feature set and design is equivalent to any top tier X570 board.

  • The board employs an extremely powerful and efficient VRM design which can easily handle HCC CPUs like the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X & 3950X. We used the 3950X Model for this review. The VRM Temperatures observed in our testing just blew us away! Truly Impressive.

  • Intel WIFI 6, Bluetooth 5, Intel 2.5G LAN, USB Type C are few of the cutting edge features found on top tier boards these days. Not only does this board have all of these but Asus has implemented Thunderbolt 3 header on an AMD Ryzen motherboard! This is actually a big deal. Kudos Asus.

  • It is a universally known fact that Asus boards are superior when it comes to their OC potential. This board is no different. The Memory OC achieved on release BIOS is mind blowing. Just shows how much effort Asus engineers put in while designing the board and fine tuning the bios to ensure that the board performs brilliantly right from the word go.

  • Price of this board is expected to be around 25,000/- (Including GST). Although this price is not cheap by any stretch of imagination, considering the feature set and overall features and design, it is ok. We would have liked it to be a bit cheaper but sadly no B550 boards are cheap currently.

We did get to spend sumptuous amount of time with this board and after testing it thoroughly, there isn't much to fault with here. There hardly are any cons. The board deserves a solid Gold! Thanks!


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