The AMD B550 Motherboard Overview: ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI, ASRock, and Othersby Dr. Ian Cutress & Gavin Bonshor on June 16, 2020 11:00 AM EST
GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX
The GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX is the brands premium mini-ITX model, and has a strong feature set for an mITX B550 board. Interestingly, the B550I Aorus Pro AX supports up to DDR4-5330 which is impressive, while the larger ATX sized versions support up to DDR4-5200. Some of the boards notable features include two M.2 slots, one PCIe 4.0 x4 on the front. and one PCIe 3.0 x4 on the rear, with a Realtek 2.5 G Ethernet controller and an Intel Wi-Fi 6 interface.
Following a simple black and grey aesthetic, the GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX has a single full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slot. On the front of the board is a single PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slot which is cooled by an amalgamated chipset and M.2 heatsink, while a second M.2 slot is located on the rear which supports PCIe 3.0 x4 drives. There are also four SATA ports with support for RAID 0, 1, and 10 arrays. For memory, there are two memory slots with support for up to DDR4-5300, with a maximum capacity of up to 64 GB. The B550I Aorus Pro AX also boasts a direct 8-phase power delivery, with a large heatsink which moulds into the design of the rear panel cover. The power delivery consists of six Intersil ISL99390 90 A power stages for the CPU, and two ISL99390 90 A power stages for the SoC, which is controlled by an Intersil ISL229004 PWM controller.
Looking at what's on the rear panel, there is a pair of video outputs including an HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4, while the three 3.5 mm audio jacks are controlled by a Realtek ALC1220-VB HD audio codec. In regards to USB, there's a single USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and four USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. A Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5 GbE Ethernet controller provides wired networking, while an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 interface provides wireless as well as support for BT 5.0 devices. Finishing off the rear panel is a Q-Flash Plus button which allows users to update the firmware at the click of a button.
It feels as though the form factor has limited the board's rear panel USB, but it's still a good array and there are two video outputs for users looking to leverage AMD's Ryzen APUs. If that's not enough USB for users, there is a single USB 3.2 G1 Type-A header which adds two additional ports. while a single USB 2.0 header also adds two ports. It's the quintessential mini-ITX motherboard, with a solid feature set, a capable-looking power delivery, and GIGABYTE has a good record of late delivering a good price to features ratio.