ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming + Wi-Fi

The B550-F Gaming is a cheaper variant of the B550-E Gaming – significantly cheaper in fact, almost $90 if we consider the non-Wi-Fi version of the B550-F ($190). For that cost difference, the PCIe configuration is a simple PCIe 4.0 x16 rather than a bifurcated design, we lose a USB 3.2 Gen 2 port on the rear panel, and it uses 12 phases for the CPU rather than 14. There’s still the same 2.5 gigabit Ethernet, still the same SupremeFX audio with dual amps. It just goes to show how much adding bifurcation to the B550-E ($280) ends up on the final cost of the board.

The difference between the B550-F ($190) and B550-F Wi-Fi ($210) is $20, with the only difference being the use of the ASUS AX200 CNVi module and bundled antenna.

As mentioned, this board has a 12+2 phase design, with the power delivery heatsinks coming in two parts without a connecting heatpipe. The heatsink on the left is part of the rear panel cover, which has additional LEDs inside. The CPU is powered through an 8-pin and 4-pin, and the socket has four 4-pin fan headers within easy reach.

The board uses single sided latch memory slots, and to the right of these we get the 24-pin ATX power connector and the USB 3.0 header. Below this is a set of 6 SATA ports.

On the PCIe front, we start with a PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slot which comes with its own heatsink, followed by the PCIe 4.0 x16 slot from the CPU that has additional reinforcement. The chipset heatsink is to the right, which sort of connects to the bottom M.2 slot, which is a PCIe 3.0 x4 design from the chipset. The final full-length PCIe slot is a PCIe 3.0 x4 from the chipset.

The audio on the board is ASUS’ custom S1200A audio codec, with SupremeFX trimmings and dual amps. Along the bottom of the board we have a Thunderbolt header, two RGB LED headers, a Clear CMOS header, a thermocouple header, two 4-pin fan headers, and two USB 2.0 headers.

On the rear IO there is a clear CMOS button, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, a Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, a 2.5 gigabit Ethernet port (Intel I225-V), a DisplayPort, an HDMI video output, Wi-Fi antenna (on the Wi-Fi version), and audio jacks.

ASUS ROG Strix B550-E Gaming ASUS ROG Strix B550-I Gaming
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  • kpb321 - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    I'm kinda disappointed they ended up missing the opportunity to go PCI-E 4 for the CPU to GPU link. With 2 10gbs USB ports, 2 5gbs USB ports, 10 flexible PCI-E lanes that can be NVME/ Sata ports or add on controllers on the chipset there's plenty of bandwidth there to be bottlenecked by a 4x PCI-E 3 link to the CPU. Going PCI-E 4 would make this somewhat less of a bottleneck and could support for example 2 NVME PCI-E 3.0 4X drives at full speed. The B350 more balanced in this way but sadly it was because the PCI-E off the chipset was only PCI-E 2. Hanging 16x lanes worth of things off a 4x link isn't great when they could have doubled that link bandwidth pretty easily.
  • kpb321 - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Edit 'm kinda disappointed they ended up missing the opportunity to go PCI-E 4 for the CPU to chipset link
  • Irata - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    That‘s X570. If you need the additional storage bandwidth, this is what you should go for.

    Alternatively there is the Aorus board that offers the 8x CPU plus 2x 4x PCIe 4 lanes for nVMe drives plus the PCIe 3 lanes from the chipset. That could be an alternative and eight PCIe 4 lanes for the GPU should be fine with the next gen GPU, except perhaps for the top of the line models.

    On the plus side, with Ryzen you have four dedicated PCIe lanes from the CPU for nVMe (16+4+4 vs. 16+4 on Intel).
  • kpb321 - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    The X570 goes whole hog on PCI-E 4 with PCI-4 hanging off the chipset too and it supports more PCI-E and SATA and USB devices hanging off the chipset so while the CPU to Chipset bandwidth is higher it's actually even more imbalanced between the combine possible bandwidth of devices possible off the chipset and the CPU to Chipset bandwidth.

    Going PCI-E 4 for just the CPU to Chipset on the B550 would have given the option to decrease that imbalance and one PCI-E 4x link shouldn't have driven the power up too high.
  • romrunning - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    Then most people wouldn't buy X570 and get B550 instead as there wouldn't be much of a difference. That, and having less PCIe 4.0 stuff lowers the power requirements a bit.

    I personally held off on X570 because I knew I basically only needed the GPU and NVMe drive to be PCIe 4.0 for the most future-proof setup. I figure I'll buy new again when the new AM5 socket is released with Zen 4. Plus, some of the B550 boards have a Type-C front connector, which will go with the new ITX case I'm getting that has one on the front.
  • PixyMisa - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - link

    Yes, but then you need to add a separate PCIe controller on the chipset to handle just those 4 lanes. The market probably isn't big enough to make it worthwhile.
  • Irata - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    The CPU to GPU link is 16x PCIe 4.0 - that has nothing to do with the chipset.

    Or did you mean something else?
  • a5cent - Friday, June 19, 2020 - link

    True, but would that not have brought back the requirement for an actively cooled chipset? That definitely contributes to cost, so it makes sense to cut that from the package.

    Personally, I'm happy that we've finally left PCIe 2.0 behind. Such chipsets still being sold in 2020 is horrific.
  • Lucky Stripes 99 - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    I was hoping to build several B550 APU mITX systems this week, but the lack of a compatible APU has stopped those plans. AMD's decision regarding to use a prior generation micro-architecture for its APUs in addition to their decision regarding AM4 firmware size limits are really colliding to create a missed opportunity here. If the iGPU in the Comet Lake processors was better, I'd be picking up H460 or Q470 boards right now instead.
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - link

    My understanding is that the firmware size limit wasn't created by AMD. The motherboard makers could always use firmware chips with a larger capacity. Intel doesn't have this problem since they only support one or two CPU generations per motherboard :-)

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