The second coming of Ryzen happened early spring and the motherboards keep coming. With the introduction of the X470 chipset it was only a matter of time that the AM4 B450 would finally arrive. Engineered for mainstream desktops and scores of avid gamers looking for a uncomplicated powerplant.
Now we have it with the AORUS B450 PRO WiFi Motherboard, a desirable alternative from Gigabyte to the more expensive X470 and initial X370 models. The improvements are moderate but more than welcome if you’re after plenty of stock features. It’s not perfect if you’re pining for a X470 but it does hit a sweet spot among those who’ve been waiting to build a straightforward Ryzen setup.
Almost like a X470…
If you’re not familiar, then the latest B450 boards follow the same array of features like the B350, you’ll typically get a couple of USB 3.1 Gen 2 (split between Type-A and recent Type-C ports), some SATA ports, and the ability to run a lone graphics card via the PCIe x16 interface—with the AORUS PRO WiFi being able to support AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire and 2-Way AMD CrossFire technology. We like the latter perks but the B450 lineup is also future-proofed, more on that later.
I want to jump right into the exterior of the AORUS Pro WiFi because it should have everything you need to create a modern gaming PC. A lot of this stuff you’ve probably seen before because this motherboard is more evolutionary in scale, the integrated IO shield is one the first things you notice and love right off the bat—even if it is made of plastic and placed on top of the dual VRM-cooling heatsinks, it’s still a nice headturner.
The rest of the body exudes the hardcore gaming motif to a tee, although the look doesn’t equate to higher-spec X470 variants. The B450 is primed in other ways with reasonable compromises. Gigabyte did a good job balancing overall quality for the price: the four DIMM slots aren’t reinforced, RGB implementation—though superficial is reduced to a simpler three-zone arrangement, and there’s no extra USB other than what the chipset provides.
The effort went elsewhere with two M.2 slots that accommodate both 2280 and 22110 with heatsinks, decent audio with a ALC1220-VB codec, and Intel-powered LAN with onboard wireless 802.11ac/Bluetooth 4.2 module—hence the name of the board.
Cooling options are surprisingly robust with five headers that can handle both air and watercooling for the CPU, along with dual system and a pump. Additional LEDs are in the form of two strip headers and one RGBW. And yes, it’s not a X470 chipset but you get bang-for-buck imitation here.
- Chipset AMD B450
- Form factor ATX (305 x 244mm)
- CPU support AM4 Socket
- Memory support Dual-channel, four slots, DDR4-3200(O.C.)/64GB maximum
- Audio 7.1-channel Realtek ALC 1220-VB codec
- Networking 1 x Intel 100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 4.2
- Ports 1 x M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 32Gbps (PCIe/SATA 6Gbps up to 22110) 1 x PCIe 3.0 x2 (up to 2280), 4 x SATA 6Gbps, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 6 x USB 3.0 (2 via headers), 4 x USB 2.0 (4 via headers), 1 x LAN, audio out, line in, mic, Optical S/PDIF out
To complement the AORUS Pro WiFi we compiled a believable machine that other people would build themselves around this motherboard. Basic pieces incorporated for testing include a AMD Ryzen 5 2600X CPU, EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti graphics card, GeIL EVO X 16GB DDR4-3200 memory, EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G+ PSU, and a Crucial MX500 1TB SSD. Some of these parts were supplied by partners but the majority of them came out of our own dime.
We compared the AORUS against the MSi X470 GAMING M7 AC and the small-scale ASRock Fatal1ty B450 GAMING-ITX/AC motherboards. We wanted to see how each model would perform not only for chipset, but also in form factor using the same processor.
If you’re looking for discerning benchmark differences between the X470 and B450 they weren’t there. Performance is on par for individuals who don’t plan beefing up the stock speeds or require absurd expandability, we’d recommend the B450 platform. This went beyond the stress benchmark software as gaming figures were also equal to the X740, Intel models still hold the lead but not by much.
The similarities between the B450 and X470 are incidental. In fact, a bunch of the technical chipset features are shared, including storage lanes and overclocking potential if you’re trying to save a little cash on a versatile motherboard. The AORUS handled itself nicely in real-world applications and didn’t exhibit any major throttling issues.
But I wanted to touch on that aforementioned futureproofing from earlier. It appears that all B450 boards are prepped for enhancements, specifically the Precision Boost Overdrive which is supposed to act like a aggressive implementation of current Precision Boost, where you can alter frequency across the active core range depending on temperature and motherboard cooling capability, without having to manually tinker with individual clockspeeds. Therefore the fewer cores occupied. the higher the boost can go.
Granted, this is a feature reserved for future Ryzen processors, but you also don’t have to ditch your existing motherboard to benefit. Another is AMD’s StoreMI data management that moves normally used files onto faster storage drives to decrease access time, it works well enough for slight efficiency.
I can’t really talk about how good the Gigabyte AORUS B450 PRO WiFi Motherboard is without bringing up the AMD B450 in general. This is the one of better boards out there if want some power but reject the notion of paying more for the X470 or unwilling to try an older X370 chipset — that’s fair enough since this is a current midrange choice for the Ryzen population.
Fortunately, for the money you still get a lot gaming aesthetics and EFI BIOS to cut your modding teeth on. If you don’t need bleeding edge or now being introduced to Pinnacle Ridge, the AORUS PRO WiFi is pretty solid.