Last year, AMD released the Ryzen 3000 series desktop processors in one of the most monumental hardware launches of the modern era. This final step completed the Red brand's ascent back into the forefront of the desktop processor market that began with the launch of the first generation of Ryzen CPUs.
With the Ryzen 3000 launch came the AMD X570 chipset. Featuring PCIe 4.0 support, X570 was an impressive leap from generations past. It was also hot, with motherboards often including chipset cooling fans, and, more significantly, expensive. The high cost of the chipset increased the average cost of X570 motherboards considerably over previous generations.
While AMD has done a great job of maintaining motherboard compatibility with new generation processors, none of the previous-generation AM4 motherboards featured official PCIe 4.0 support, not even from the storage and PCIe controlled by PCIe 4.0 compatible CPUs. Enter B550, the more value-oriented little brother of X570. While the B550 chipset is PCIe 3.0 only, B550 motherboards support PCIe 4.0 from the CPU to the primary PCIe slot as well as the primary M.2 slot (dependent on a PCIe 4.0 ready CPU).
The ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming features a robust VRM cooling solution and a 12+2 power stage design utilizing 50 A stages from Vishay Semiconductor. BIOS flashback has also been included, as well as ASUS's excellent BIOS designed to provide an optimal, stress-free overclocking experience. The ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming even includes 2.5 Gb/s Ethernet using Intel's new I225-V controller. All of this performance is bundled into a sleek, modern package with excellent RGB options for those who want more flare in their final build.
Let's take a closer look at what the ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming has to offer.
2x Antenna ports 1x Bios Flashback button 1x HDMI 2.1 port 1x DisplayPort 1.4 1x Optical SPDIF out port 1x LAN (RJ45) port 1x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-C port 4x USB 3.2 (Gen1) ports 1x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-A ports 2x USB 2.0 ports 5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
1x Realtek ALC1220 Codec
ATX Form Factor: 12.0 in x 9.6 in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm
The front of the ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming box features a black background with a nice shot of the board on the right and a stylized, multicolored ROG logo on the left. "ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming motherboard" is in the center-left, with the ROG logo in the top-left corner. The ASUS logo and all the certification badges have been put along the bottom edge. The back of the box has all the highlights: a top-down shot of the board, several panels detailing prominent features, a shot of the rear I/O, and the specifications list. The box design is well executed and matches the board perfectly.
The accessories are mostly standard. Notable extras include an RPG extension cable and a small bag of zip-ties to help with cable management. Notably absent is any kind of rear I/O shield because the shield is integrated into the board.
The full list of accessories includes:
Manual and support DVD
ROG "thank you" card and sticker sheet
4x SATA 6 Gb/s cables
RGB extension cable
2x M.2 mounting hardware
The ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming uses a classic ASUS design, a black PCB matched with black heat sinks and red and white accents over the chipset and the rear I/O cover.
The CPU socket is open enough for most air coolers.
There are two M.2 slots on the ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming; one above the first PCIe x16 slot that supports PCIe 4.0 connectivity and another below the second PCIe x16 slot. Both slots feature full-coverage heatsinks.
The ASUS B550 PG ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming offers two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, with the top being steel-reinforced, as well as three PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots. The board has a total of six SATA 6 Gb/s ports on the side, angled 90 degrees from the board.
The ASUS B550 PG ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming has a good I/O offering that includes an optical S/PDIF out port, Wi-Fi, and a fair amount of USB connectivity.
2x Antenna ports
HDMI 2.1 port
4x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports
BIOS flashback button
2x USB 2.0 ports
USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A port
USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port
RJ-45 LAN port
Optical SPDIF out port
5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
Networking on the ASUS B550 PG ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming is handled by Intel's new I225V 2.5 Gb/s controller. For wireless connectivity, there is an 802.11 AX WiFi module.