ASUS MITX Motherboard Roundup
Published: 15th April 2016 | Source: ASUS | Price: £66 £135 £190 |
ASUS B150I Pro Gaming Aura
Having looked at two Z170 based motherboards it's time to look at the B150I. By moving away from the top range Z170 chipset towards the more affordable B150 model, the B150I Pro Gaming Aura is even better value than the Z170I Pro Gaming. Around half the price of the Maximus VIII Impact.
Of course with such a change in hardware and price it's understandable that there are a few concessions to be made. Perhaps the most obvious is the move from overclockable - upto 3400MHz - DDR4 to a simple 2133MHz DDR4 setup. Given that you're unlikely to be buying the B150I only to put in 150 quids worth of blazing RAM then this makes a lot of sense. We've previously tested the difference that high speed RAM makes to frame rates and it's negligible. The lack of a USB 3.1 port is also something which makes sense when you consider the price, and thus target audience, of the B150I Pro Gaming.
If you've seen our recent reviews of the motherboards with the Aura technology in place you'll know that we love it very much. Anything which adds customisation is always a positive. In keeping with the low price nature of the B150I Pro Gaming it does come with Aura, but just along the bottom edge of the motherboard.
Worth noting that the M.2 port on the B150I is there, but on the underside of the PCB. If ever a motherboard required a bootup outside the case, just to make sure everything works, then this is it. Imagine building your system, getting all the cables neatly tidied away only to discover your M.2 drive was faulty! Annoying to the extreme. It is, however, a fact of life when you're dealing with such limited PCB space. The other obvious change from the Z170I Pro Gaming to the B150I is how little power phase stuff there is. The Maximus VIII Impact had it on a daughter board, the Z170I had them beneath heatsinks, here there are a few and the top side ones are exposed.
With such a cut-down chipset it's not surprising to find the IO portion of it largely full of space. We have the outputs for the ALC1150 sound, a couple of USB 3.0 ports, combined PS2 etc. Good enough for a stripped down gaming system though, as are the 4 SATA 6 Gb/s ports enough to cover most needs.