Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX ITX Review
Imagine, dear reader, the reaction you had when you saw reviews for eight B550 motherboards appear today. Now imagine how much time and effort the OC3D team expended bringing you all those reviews for launch. If it all feels a little familiar as you read them, then for us it was almost overwhelming at times. It's why we love the B550I Aorus Pro AX so much. It's an ITX motherboard, and that makes it instantly stand out.
We've always been big fans of the ITX format here. It brings an awful lot of the performance you would hope to find on a larger form factor, but in a small footprint that has enabled creative modders to install them in some very unexpected chassis. Sure a fully RGB water-cooled ATX rig is impressive, but a system built inside an old ammo tin, or a fightstick, or mini fridge, is always going to get our attention.
So far we've looked at the two big models in the Gigabyte Aorus B550 range, the premium Master with a price tag just shy of £300, and the ATX Pro that, at £195, is just a tenner more expensive than the Aorus Pro AX we have here in ITX format. Small footprint doesn't mean small performance though, and without the need to have more slots just because they need to fill the PCB up, the majority of the B550I Aorus Pro AX is fully PCI Express 4.0. Which is what we all want. Can it handle our Ryzen 9 3900X? Read on.
Technical Specifications and Block Diagram
With fewer slots than we've seen on the ATX versions of the B550 chipset the Aorus Pro AX ITX actually ends up being, on average, more PCI Express 4.0 than the rest. The sole PCI Express slot is the 64Gb/s PCIe 4.0, whilst there is one PCIe 4.0 and one PCIe 3.0 M.2 slots for your storage needs. As you can see from the top left the reduction in PCB size hasn't adjusted Gigabytes determination to ensure you have plenty of power, with 8 90A power stages giving more than enough ampage for even our test CPU, the Ryzen 9 3900X.
It's always interesting to us how much of the workload has been placed upon the CPU in modern designs, particularly when compared to the Northbridge/Southbridge/CPU arrangements of our early years. With the AM4 socket so much of the control is on the CPU we think it wont be long before chipsets are dispensed with entirely.