ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming Review
Published: 31st July 2018 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
Blimey that's better.
Whenever a new product is launched it always comes with a premium chipset and accompanying premium model motherboards and we all get used to the looks and capabilities of that. After all, early adopters are usually those people who are flush with cash and therefore would expect to spend a little extra.
For those of us on more meagre budgets we look lustfully at the premium models whilst awaiting the affordable option. Our first two experiences with the B450 chipset produced a very mixed set of results. On the one hand we understand that a cut down chipset necessitates a cut down feature set, but we have never felt that those people who have other claims upon their limited finances should be punished for that. The Strix ITX had decent performance but wouldn't set the world alight with its looks, whilst the Prime Plus is probably the weakest Prime model we can recall both in looks and consistency terms.
We were hoping that the full ATX size Strix B450-F Gaming would be able to get closer to the X470 and it most certainly did. Even the feature set is richer than that on the ITX and Prime models. Perhaps best of all though is ASUS commitment to the aesthetics. Whatever you think about the importance of the looks of your motherboard as the world of RGB lighting means the internals of our cases are brighter than ever, you will admit that having something which looks cheap isn't a desirable state of affairs. Fortunately the Strix B450-F neither looks cheap nor betrays its relative affordability. At a glance you'd think it's any one of a number of high end Strix models.
That is all well and good but the performance is perhaps even more startling. We know that not everyone who runs a B450 chipset will be looking to put a Ryzen 7 2700X in it, but it is nice knowing that if you do so and therefore push the motherboard to its absolute limits you will be rewarded with performance which, stock or overclocked, is a good match for any mid-range X470 option on the market. It regularly bettered some of our favourite X470 models and those times when it was found wanting were not related to the particular setup but rather something which afflicted all B450 chipsets in comparison to their big brother. If you are planning to overclock we recommend paying close attention to ASUS support pages to get the latest BIOS with the Loadline calibration fixes, but even until then everything works well and doesn't get too hot or too much voltage.
If you've been looking with envious eyes at the 2nd Generation of AMD Zen products then the ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming manages to combine the performance and feature set that we desire with great looks and all wrapped up in an affordable package. It might not quite best the full fat X470 models but it gets a damn sight closer than anyone expected and for that reason it wins our OC3D Enthusiast Award.