does the letter change everything? / Motherboards

In the ASUS ROG STRIX B550-E GAMING review, we have already found out that motherboards based on the AMD B550 chipset are suitable for the most sophisticated assemblies with Ryzen processors of any generation – including future ones. The model with the letter “E” in the name is a flagship and to some extent an uncompromising solution for the AM4 platform in general – and within the B550 chipset in particular. The heroine of this review looks simpler, but this does not mean at all that the model in question is not suitable for assembling expensive and fast gaming PCs. In general, let’s figure out together what the ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI) is.



⇡ # Specifications and packaging

I’ll start my story with the fact that on sale you will find two versions of the ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING: with and without a wireless module. This moment is reflected in the name of the device, and of course, the WI-FI modification will cost you more – on average, by 1,000 rubles. To save or not is up to you, fellow buyers. Below are the main characteristics of the devices.

Supported processors AMD Ryzen 3rd Generation
Chipset AMD B550
Memory subsystem 4 × DIMM, up to 128 GB DDR4-2133-5100 (OC)
Expansion slots 2 × PCI Express x16
3 × PCI Express x1
Storage interfaces 1 × M.2 (Socket 3, 2242/2260/2280/22110) with support for SATA 6 Gb / s and PCI Express x4 4.0
1 × M.2 (Socket 3, 2242/2260/2280/22110) with support for SATA 6 Gb / s and PCI Express x4 3.0
6 × SATA 6Gb / s
RAID 0, 1, 10
The local network Intel I225V 2.5Gbps
Wireless connection Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 (802.11 a / b / g / n / ac / ax + Bluetooth 5.1) – only in the WI-FI version
Audio subsystem Realtek ALC1220 7.1 HD
Rear panel interfaces 1 × HDMI 2.1
1 × DisplayPort 1.2
1 × RJ-45
2 × USB 2.0 Type-A
1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 Type A
4 × USB 3.2 Gen1 Type A
5 × 3.5mm audio
1 × S / PDIF
Form factor ATX
Price RUB 16,000 without Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
RUB 17,000 with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

The device is packed in a small, but colorful and recognizable cardboard box. In addition to the board itself, there are many accessories in the box – both useful and not so useful:

  • user manual, CD with software and drivers and various stickers for the case and cables of the system unit;
  • remote antenna of the wireless module;
  • four SATA cables;
  • screws for securing M.2 drives and additional adhesive spacers;
  • one extension cable for RGB tapes;
  • nylon ties.

In general, we have everything you need to immediately start assembling the system unit.

⇡ # Design and features

The F version looks very similar to the previously tested ASUS ROG STRIX B550-E GAMING model, but this is not surprising. In terms of price, these boards differ slightly from each other, and in positioning, too. The device is assembled on the basis of a full format ATX PCB. The PCB, according to the manufacturer, has six layers that “increases the overall stability of the computer and increases the overclocking potential of the processor.»Of the backlit elements, there is only the ROG logo integrated into the plastic cover of the I / O panel. The board supports the Aura Sync function and is equipped with three connectors for connecting RGB strips at once. Among them there is a port for addressable LED elements. The board itself determines the number of LEDs on the second generation strips, and this, in turn, allows the software to automatically adjust lighting effects for specific backlit devices.

The board has received five expansion slots out of seven possible. We are talking about two PCI Express x16 and three PCI Express x1. The main PEG port is wired in an ideal location. First, it is as far as possible from the processor socket, which allows even the largest processor coolers to be installed in the system. Secondly, closer to the socket is the M.2 slot, which is required for installing an SSD. Thirdly, installing a video card with a dual-slot cooler will not block other expansion slots on the motherboard. True, ASUS branded video cards of the ROG STRIX and Dual series, as a rule, have even larger cooling systems – when using, for example, the ASUS Dual Radeon RX 5700 XT EVO OC model, you will have to say goodbye to the PCI Express x1 soldered below.

The main PCI Express x16 is reinforced. A metal frame called SafeSlot, according to ASUS, increases the port’s durability by 1.8 times at fracture load and 1.6 times at pull-out load. 16 PCI Express 4.0 lanes are connected to it. The second PCI Express x16 has no additional protection, it works only in x4 mode and complies with the third PCIe standard and shares lines with the rest of the PCI Express x1 slots – these are the features of the chipset.

Unlike ROG STRIX B550-E GAMING, ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING does not support the combined operation of NVIDIA SLI video cards – only AMD CrossFire X is available here, but, as you can see, in a very truncated format. The inability to properly combine GeForce and Radeon gaming video cards into arrays, I personally consider an insignificant loss – I have already shared my thoughts on this matter many times.

The board has six connectors for connecting fans. All connectors received four pins, but the system is able to regulate the rotational speed of not only “Carlsons” with PWM – you can control the fans simply by changing the voltage. It turns out that there is no need to buy additional equipment for assembly – the same reobass, for example.

The fan connectors are arranged in pairs and divided into three sections. The AIO_PUMP connector, in my opinion, is not very well located, since it is separated from the CPU_FAN, to which the impeller of the processor cooler is connected. Here in my booth is used “dropsy” NZXT KRAKEN X62. One 3-pin wiring comes out of its water block from above, which is responsible for the operation of the pump. It easily reaches the AIO_PUMP port, but outwardly such an assembly does not look very neat. Nevertheless, buying components of the ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING class, you want to assemble not only a productive, but also a beautiful system. If I were ASUS engineers, I would place CPU_FAN and AIO_PUMP in one place – as it is done in ROG STRIX B550-E GAMING, for example.

Otherwise, I have no complaints about the location of the connectors for connecting the fans. Six of them in total will be enough to assemble a well-ventilated powerful PC: we will connect the case fan located on the rear wall to the connector located next to the I / O panel casing, and the case “carlsons” mounted on the front panel to the bottom connectors. panels. The main thing is that their wires are long enough.

Continuing to compare the ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING with the E version, we see that the board has “lost” the internal USB 3.2 Gen2 port. But there were USB 2.0, USB 3.2 Gen1 (in common people – USB 3.0), Thunderbolt and AAFP.

In general, the pads for connecting cables are located in convenient and familiar places on the PCB. I note the presence of a very useful T_SENSOR connector, to which a thermocouple is connected. Unfortunately, it does not come with the board.

Next to the 24-pin connector for powering the motherboard, a set of four Q-LEDs is provided, showing at what stage (CPU, DRAM, VGA, BOOT) the system unit hardware is initialized – also a simple, but very useful thing for those who often delves into his assembly.

The motherboard’s two M.2 ports support solid state drives up to 110mm in length, with the landing strips equipped with removable aluminum heatsinks. They are in contact with the SSD using rather thick thermal pads.

The drive installed in the upper (main) slot will be additionally blown when using an air cooling system – four PCI Express 4.0 processor lines are connected to this port. The drive installed in the lower (additional) M.2 port will not be blocked by a video card; four PCI Express 3.0 chipset lanes are connected to it. This slot simultaneously shares the bandwidth with the SATA6G_5 / 6 connectors, and therefore either it or SATA connectors work.

I think it’s right to remind you that all M.2 slots for motherboards based on the X570 chipset support PCI Express 4.0, since this is perhaps the only noticeable difference between the 500 series logic sets in terms of functionality.

What’s nice is that ASUS engineers (or marketers) did not cut the F-version in terms of sound and network. So, LAN connection is provided using a 2.5-gigabit Intel I225-V controller, and wireless – due to Wi-Fi 6 AX200, which, in addition to Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac / ax standards with bandwidth up to 2.4 Gbps, also supports Bluetooth 5.1. “Regular” ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING has no wireless communication module.

The well-known Supreme FX audio codec, based on the Realtek ALC1220A, is responsible for the sound in the board. The manufacturer claims that it gets “exclusive versions” of this microcircuit, so the name contains the second letter “A”. Compared to the “standard” Realtek ALC1220, the signal-to-noise ratio of the “elite” ones is higher: 113 versus 108 dB. Traditionally, for expensive motherboards, the audio path includes high-quality Nichicon capacitors and operational amplifiers RC4580 and OPA1688 from Texas Instruments. The audio chip itself is shielded, and all elements of the sound system are separated from the rest of the board by a PCB strip that does not conduct current.

The ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING I / O panel has a button for updating the motherboard firmware. To download a new BIOS version, you need to install a USB flash drive with the new firmware into a special USB port (highlighted in the frame on the panel), connect the power cables and hold down the corresponding key on the interface panel. The BIOS will update even if no processor or RAM modules are installed in the board.

The list of connectors wired on the I / O panel was given in the table at the beginning of the article.

The CPU power subsystem is cooled by two large aluminum heatsinks. Moreover, the metal surfaces of the radiators are in contact not only with the power assemblies, but also with the chokes.

The ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING power converter has 14 phases – so the manufacturer says. In fact, the PWM controller DIGI + ASP 1106GGQW is used – we previously saw it in other ASUS motherboards, for example, in the ROG STRIX B350-F GAMING. Well, we have before us a re-labeled 6-channel Richtek RT8877C chip – this means that the actual VRM operation of the test board corresponds to the 4×3 + 2×1 formula. It’s just that each phase for the CPU VCC includes three SiC639 power stages and three chokes at once, and each phase for the CPU SoC contains one inductor and one SiC639 assembly.

Effective cooling of the B550 chipset does not require a small fan. In this regard, motherboards such as ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING compare favorably with their counterparts based on the X570 chiplet.

⇡ # BIOS Features

The firmware of the motherboard in question does not differ from the BIOS of the previously tested ASUS ROG STRIX B550-E GAMING model – the review deals with the latest version at the time of this writing, number 1004.

The main options required for overclocking the processor and memory are located in the Ai Tweaker menu. Most importantly, the UEFI BIOS of the reviewed board has everything you need to manually overclock the CPU and RAM. The table below shows all the possible voltages available for manual adjustment.

Min / max value, V Step, B
VDDCR CPU Voltage Override 0.75 / 2 0.00625
VDDCR CPU Voltage Offset -0.5 / + 0.5 0.00625
VDDCR SOC Voltage Override 0.75 / 1.8 0.00625
VDDCR SOC Voltage Offset -0.4 / + 0.5 0.00625
DRAM Voltage 1.2 / 1.8 0.005
VDDG CCD Voltage Control 0.7 / 1.8 0.001
VDDG IOD Voltage Control 0.7 / 1.8 0.001
CLDO VDDP Voltage 0.7 / 1.8 0.001
1.05V SB Voltage 1.05 / 1.1 0.05
VTTDDR Voltage 0.6 / 0.8 0.005
VPP_MEM Voltage 2.5 / 2.8 0.005
CPU 1.80V Voltage 1.8 / 2.2 0.005
2.5V SB Voltage 2.5 / 2.55 0.05
VDDP Standby Voltage 0.9 / 1.05 0.005
CPU Load-line Calibration (levels) five 1
VDDSOC Load-line Calibration (levels) five 1

The voltage of the CPU cores changes in two modes: explicit and in Offset mode. In the second case, we can change the potential difference in the range from -0.5 to +0.5 V with a step of 0.00625 V. The SOC Voltage parameter is adjusted in the same way. What’s nice is that the BIOS has five Load-Line Calibration levels for the CPU component and the same number of steps for the SOC.

The board has two temperature sensors, that is, in the BIOS and using ASUS proprietary software, we can control the temperatures of the processor, motherboard and PCH. Plus it is possible to connect a thermocouple to the T_SENSOR connector located at the bottom of the PCB.

The Advanced page is responsible for configuring the hardware resources of the board. The Monitoring page displays the readings of temperature and voltage sensors, as well as all fans connected to the motherboard. The Boot tab allows you to configure boot devices and set other parameters related to system startup. Finally, the Tool menu gives access to the saved user profiles of the UEFI BIOS settings, the Secure Erase function, which erases all information from the SSD, as well as tabs with detailed information about the RAM modules installed in the board and about the operating modes of the available video cards.

Traditionally, ASUS motherboard UEFI BIOS is packed with useful features such as EZ Flash 3 Update and Qfan Control. Using the first mini-application, we can update the BIOS firmware in just a couple of minutes, and with the second, we can configure the operation of the fans connected to the motherboard.

When you activate the Flexkey function, the reset button on the case of the system unit significantly increases its functionality. With it, you can control the AURA Sync backlight effects or activate the DirectKey option – fast entry of the UEFI BIOS immediately after restarting the PC.

More screenshots of the UEFI BIOS of the ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI) motherboard are located in the gallery. In general, there are no complaints about the device firmware.

⇡ # Overclocking and stability

Below in the table is a list of all components that were used during testing ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI).

Test bench configuration
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 3800X, 3.9 (4.5) GHz
Motherboard ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (BIOS 1004)
RAM Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO CMW32GX4M4K4400C18, DDR4-4400, 2 × 8GB
Storage device Western Digital WDS100T1B0A, 1 TB
Video card ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, 11 GB GDDR6
Power Supply Corsair AX1000, 1 kW
CPU cooler Noctua NH-D15
NZXT Kraken X62
Housing Open test bench
Monitor Acer S277HK, 27 “, Ultra HD
operating system Windows 10 Pro x64 2004
Software for video cards
NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready Driver 452.06
Additional software
Removing drivers Display Driver Uninstaller
FPS measurement Fraps 3.5.99
FRAFS Bench Viewer
Overclocking and monitoring GPU-Z 2.30.0
MSI Afterburner 4.6.3
Optional equipment
Thermal imager Fluke Ti400
Sound level meter Mastech MS6708
Wattmeter watts up? PRO

For a more visual demonstration of the positive effect of overclocking the central processor and RAM, the following programs were launched on the test bench:

  • Blender 2.90. Determining the speed of the final rendering in one of the popular free packages for creating 3D graphics. The time taken to build the final Barcelona Pavilion model is measured.
  • World of Tanks enCore. DirectX 11. Benchmark. Ultra Mode, TSSAA HQ.
  • The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. DirectX 11. Novigrad and surroundings. Maximum quality.
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider. DirectX 12. Secret city. Maximum quality, DXR – off, TAA.
  • GTA V. DirectX 11. City. Maximum quality, FXAA + 2x MSAA, advanced quality settings – on, 16x AF, image resolution scaling – off.
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. DirectX 11. Kefalonia Island. “Highest” mode.
  • Metro: Exodus. DirectX 12. Taiga. High Mode, HairWorks – On, DXR – Off, Tessellation – On, 16x AF, PhysX – On.
  • Battlefield V. DirectX 12. The Last Tiger Mission. Ultra mode, TAA, DXR – off.
  • A Total War Saga: TROY. DirectX 11. Built-in benchmark. Max. Mode, TAA.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2. Vulkan. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality (advanced settings – off), TAA.
  • Gears 5. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality.
  • DOOM Eternal. Vulkan. Beginning of the game. Ultra mode.

System gaming performance was measured using the well-known MSI Afterburner software. It calculates not only the average FPS, but also the 99th percentile. The use of the 99th percentile instead of the indicators of the minimum number of frames per second is due to the desire to clean the results of random spikes in performance, which were provoked by reasons not directly related to the operation of the main components of the platform.

Nominal mode

Nominal mode

Heating ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (nominal mode)

Having been engaged in computer equipment and assembling gaming computers for more than 10 years, I have long understood that only a few users pay attention to overclocking and fine tuning of system unit components. Most expect from the purchased motherboard stable and long-term operation, as they say, out of the box. What would such a user do? Maximum – this will update the BIOS firmware and activate the XMP profile of the RAM kit.

We see that in default mode, the Ryzen 7 3800X does not put any overwhelming tasks for the ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI). Yes, an 8-core was used in the stand, but even such testing clearly shows that the board will perfectly cope with 12- and 16-core Ryzen – both released and not yet announced. The power converter of the test board can easily be called cold and to some extent even redundant.


Heating ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (overclocking)

When testing motherboards, I always use a maintenance-free liquid cooling system. As a result, the space around the socket is not blown in any way – the device works in difficult conditions. And if the board withstands such a stress test without losing stability, it means that we can not worry about our PC, even if it operates 24/7.

To overclock the Ryzen 7 3800X to 4.4 GHz across all cores, we had to seriously increase the voltage – up to 1.4125 V, and at the same time set the third level of Load-Line Calibration. With exactly the same settings, the 8-core was overclocked on the ROG STRIX B550-E GAMING board. Further overclocking of the chip turned out to be difficult due to the strong heating of the chip. Under these conditions, the ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI) power converter did an excellent job, although the power consumption of the Ryzen 7 3800X exceeded 150 watts. И все же перегрева нет, а система на протяжении всех тестов держала стабильную высокую частоту для всех ядер процессора и работала без сбоев.

ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING, как и другие матплаты ASUS для платформы AM4, поддерживает технологию D.O.C.P. Standard — она не просто загружает XMP-профиль набора оперативной памяти, но подстраивает вторичные и третичные тайминги самостоятельно. Для чипов Ryzen третьего поколения заявлена поддержка модулей ОЗУ, работающих на эффективной частоте вплоть до 4600 МГц. Для процессоров Ryzen PRO заявлена поддержка стандарта DDR4-5100.

Что ж, материнские платы ASUS имеют высокую стабильность при работе с высокочастотной памятью. В случае с ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING без каких-либо дополнительных манипуляций на своей штатной частоте запустился комплект Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO CMW32GX4M4K4400C18, который, кстати, не входит в список поддерживаемых матплатой комплектов ОЗУ. Совместив эти факты, делаю вывод, что с совместимостью у тестовой модели все просто замечательно.


Как всегда, напоминаю, что в случае с платформой AM4 и процессорами Matisse (Refresh) использование памяти с эффективной частотой больше 3600 МГц не приводит к увеличению быстродействия и даже оказывает негативное влияние в некоторых случаях. Давно известно, что использовать вместе с Ryzen 3000 более быструю оперативную память нет никакого смысла, хотя мы только что убедились, что ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING стабильно работает с комплектами DDR4-4400. Создание новых процессоров при помощи чиплетов привело к тому, что ядра процессора и контроллер памяти теперь разделены. При этом связь чиплетов друг с другом обеспечивает хорошо знакомая нам шина Infinity Fabric — ее частота для Ryzen 3000 по умолчанию составляет 1800 МГц (у недавно вышедших Matisse Refresh в этом аспекте никаких изменений не наблюдается). Частоты Infinity Fabric и ОЗУ не привязаны друг к другу, однако частота шины должна быть либо равна реальной частоте оперативной памяти, либо больше нее. Вот и получается, что при использовании комплектов ОЗУ, работающих на эффективной частоте выше 3600 МГц, тактовый генератор контроллера памяти начинает работать в режиме 2:1, то есть его частота уменьшается вдвое. Как итог, более быстрая (по частоте) оперативная память работает неэффективно — и это хорошо видно на приведенных скриншотах, если сравнить DDR4-4400 с DDR4-3600.

Мой образец Ryzen 7 3800X гонится по Infinity Fabric до 1900 МГц, и тестовая плата никак не повлияла на этот момент. В результате стенд с ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING адекватно заработал с памятью, настроенной согласно стандарту DDR4-3800, используя ранее упомянутый комплект памяти Corsair. Cначала я протестировал систему с Ryzen 7 3800X, работающим по умолчанию, и памятью DDR4-3600 с таймингами, выставленными согласно D.O.C.P. Standard; затем я разогнал Ryzen 7 3800X до 4,4 ГГц, а все ту же память разогнал до эффективной частоты 3800 МГц и настроил все основные тайминги (первичные, вторичные, третичные) вручную. Везде использовалась самая производительная на момент написания статьи игровая видеокарта — GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.

Номинальный режим

Номинальный режим

Настройка памяти и разгон

Настройка памяти и разгон

Номинальный режим

Номинальный режим

Настройка памяти и разгон

Настройка памяти и разгон

Абсолютное большинство протестированных лабораторией 3DNews материнских плат относится к классу игровых. «Игровая материнская плата» — понятие довольно расплывчатое, и применить его, по сути, можно к любому устройству, оснащенному слотами для установки быстрых центрального процессора и видеокарты. И все же тестирование ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING я провел в большом числе популярных игр — результаты приятно впечатляют. Так, сборка после разгона Ryzen 7 3800X и настройки памяти стала быстрее на 10 % — во многом такой прирост был обеспечен именно настройкой оперативной памяти. При этом есть игры, в которых прибавка FPS составила более внушительные 30 %.

Результаты тестирования стенда в играх, Full HD, FPS (больше — лучше)
Работа по умолчанию Разгон и настройка
World of Tanks enCore 241 149 258 167
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt 135 96 153 106
Metro exodus 127 79 136 79
Battlefield v 151 83 163 97
Shadow of the tomb raider 121 61 135 72
Gears 5 121 92 126 99
Assassin’s Creed Odysssey 85 59 95 67
DOOM Eternal 319 249 319 256
GTA V 104 71 117 81
Red dead redemption 2 103 78 103 78
A Total War Saga: TROY 101 67 119 88
Усредненное соотношение результатов во всех играх, % +7 % +10 %


Для таких плат, как ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI), неимоверно легко писать заключение. Перед вами далеко не самый дорогой представитель B550-матринок, который, тем не менее, обладает всем необходимым для сборки игрового системного блока, по сути, любой мощности при использовании одной видеокарты. С надежностью у ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI) все хорошо — плата стабильно работает с любым Ryzen, в том числе и в разгоне. С функциональностью у тестовой модели тоже все в порядке.

В общем, 3DNews рекомендует ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING (WI-FI) к покупке в игровые системы и рабочие станции, использующие 8-, 12- и 16-ядерные процессоры Ryzen.

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