Just one month ago, Gigabyte unveiled its AORUS branded B450 AORUS Pro and B450 AORUS M motherboards based on the AMD B450 chipset for the AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen CPUs. Users who wanted to go for the 2nd Gen Ryzen CPU can now opt for a more budget friendly option instead of getting stuck with a higher-end X470 that packs with features which they don’t really need.
For this review, we’ll be taking a closer look at the first B450 chipset motherboard in our lab, the Gigabyte B450 AORUS M. Some of the notable mention of the motherboard includes the support for both AMD 1st and 2nd Gen Ryzen CPUs, as well as the Ryzen APU with Vega graphics, DDR4 memory support for up to 3200MHz and of course, not restricting the end-users from overclocking both the CPU and memory on a mid-end motherboard.
Starting off with the packaging, you’ll find the usual AORUS eagle at the front of the box, which is somewhat the current identity and branding for Gigabyte’s gaming lineup after various attempt which includes the previous ‘G1 Gaming’ brand.
That aside, you’ll also find other information i.e the chipset of the motherboard, proprietary features of the motherboard and the usual 3 years warranty from Gigabyte.
At the back of the box, you’ll find the basic specs for the motherboard, highlighted features of the motherboard i.e AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen CPU ready Hybrid Digital PWM design, RGB fusion support, bandwidth management, thermal guard for NVMe SSD, etc.
The included accessories is really, really basic. You’ll find a user’s manual, AORUS case badge / sticker, SATA III cables and the rear IO cover – and… that’s pretty much it.
The B450 AORUS M
As the M in the name suggests, the B450 AORUS M is a mATX form factor motherboard with very minimal aesthetics on it. While it might seems to have a 8+3 phase design – don’t get fooled by the chokes count, a closer look at it reveals that the VRM design is actually 4+3 phase instead of 8+3 phase. This pretty much explains why Gigabyte marketed it as ‘AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen CPU ready Hybrid Digital PWM design’ instead.
There’s barely any RGB lighting elements available on the B450 AORUS M, except for the LED trace nearby the audio jack, which is great for users who don’t really need any RGB for their system.
Despite being a mid-end motherboard, you’ll still find the 8-pin 12V CPU power socket which is meant to ensure sufficient power is supplied to the CPU for better performance, especially when it comes to overclocking.
Here’s something which we think most of you would have already noticed – why is this part exposed? While you do get one heatsink on the other end, we believe this particular section is left naked probably because of the limited space available to actually mount a reasonably working heatsink – bad idea, seriously.
While it’s not like the MOSFETs will burst into flames without a heatsink attached to it, but it does get warmer than the ones that has a heatsink attached to it, which is rather concerning. During our test, the recorded temperature for idle is around average of 41°C, which is around 3°C higher than the ones with heatsink attached.
Having 4 DIMM slots in total, this board supports dual-channel DDR4 memory up to 64GB and 3200MHz via overclock or DOCP. While AMD claimed to have better DDR4 memory support for its newer chipset, it’s still best for you to look up for DDR4 memory kit that is compatible for AMD Ryzen system.
Similar to most commonly seen motherboards nowadays, you’ll find the headers for the front panel IO and switches at the bottom right section of the motherboard. While it’s not entirely a surprise for us to still seeing USB 2.0 headers on the board, but majority of the PC chassis nowadays no longer comes with front USB 2.0 ports for its from IO.
Storage wise, you’ll have a M.2 slot for your high-speed NVMe SSD, 2 x SATA III port plus 4 x SATA III port for more SATA drives in case if you need more storage.
Located between the front panel pins and the 4 x SATA III port, you’ll find the debug LED and clear CMOS pin for troubleshooting purpose. You can’t accurately tell the exact kind of error you’re facing with just four LEDs, but at least you’ll have a basic idea on which component is causing the post error.
Moving on to the expansion slots, you’ll have 2 x PCIe X16 slot (one running at x16 and the other one at x4) and a PCIe X1 slot.Crossfire Multi-GPU setup is possible on the B450 AORUS M, but it’s limited to AMD Radeon graphics cards only. If you’re more of a green team guy, you’ll need to opt for the higher-end X470 chipset model for that SLI multi-GPU setup.
Apart from that, you’ll find these Japan made audio capacitors, Realtek ALC892 codec, and the isolation with a slight trace of RGB LED path for the audio section on the motherboard. As for the thermal guard, it’s basically a piece of heatsink for high-speed NVMe SSD which helps to dissipate heat better and minimize the chances of thermal throttling.
For the rear IO, you’ll have a total of 8 USB ports – 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 and 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2, DVI-D and HDMI output for Ryzen with Vega graphics, RJ45 Gigabit ethernet port and the audio jacks.
While each brands has its own design of UEFI, you’ll still be able to access the rest of the functions after going through the menu for some time. Now, we’re not really a fan of Gigabyte’s current UEFI design, but that’s just something personal.
Other than the usual functions you’ll find on most UEFI, here’s some extras that might come in handy for users who wants to adjust the fan speed for each 4-pin fan header on the motherboard, or the basic RGB lighting settings for the motherboard.
Test System Setup
For our test, we are using 3 different CPU (Intel CPU, AMD CPU, AMD APU) to see what kind of impact it has to gaming performance with different memory speed – base frequency of 2133MHz against tested frequency of 3200MHz.
|CPU||Intel i7 8700K / AMD Ryzen 5 2400G / AMD Ryzen 7 2700X|
|CPU Cooler||Raijintek Orcus 240 / AMD Wraith Max RGB|
|Motherboard||ROG Maximus X Apex / Gigabyte B450 AORUS M|
|Memory Kit||Patriot Viper RGB DDR4|
|GPU||GALAX GeForce GTX 1070 Ti HOF|
|Chassis||Cooler Master Test Bench V1.0|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master V1200 Platinum|
|Storage||Apacer AS340 Panther 240GB|
Unlike Intel, AMD allows you to overclock both your CPU and memory on their mid-end motherboards. However, the options available for adjustments will definitely be lesser than the higher-end X470 motherboards.
Unlike most of the motherboards we’ve used in the past, Gigabyte somewhat separated the settings for frequencies, voltages and memory timings into different categories. While it’ll still get the job done, this is slightly inconvenient to those who are used to the layout from other commonly used motherboard’s UEFI.
CPU overclocking wise, we managed to overclock the AMD Ryzen 2700X to 4.2GHz with minimal effort. Going for 4.3GHz is rather difficult for some reason and with the limited options you have, 4.2GHz will probably be the one you can go for. Now, the numbers might seem to be okay at this point. If you were to measure the the temperature for the VRMs, we’are looking at an average 60°C on that exposed part. So, you might not want to go too high with the CPU frequency there – just in case.
As for memory overclocking, it’s definitely doing better than the result we have from the 1st gen AMD Ryzen. Although both the 1st and 2nd gen Ryzen are known to be rather picky when it comes to memory, we managed to get an easy 3000MHz on the B450 AORUS M with the DDR4 kit that we didn’t manage to get past 2933MHz while using the 1st gen Ryzen R5 1600 on a X370 motherboard.
The Patriot Viper RGB DDR4 3200MHz kit too, can achieve 3200MHz with ease via DOCP without having to increase the DRAM voltage. Going higher than the rated 3200MHz is possible, as we managed to reach a stable 3333MHz with the same memory kit after a few attempts, which doesn’t requires adjustment to both the voltage and memory timings. We did pushed our luck for 3466MHz, but we only manage to boot into the OS for very lightweight tasks.
We’re using a GTX 1070 Ti for both of our Intel and AMD test system with different memory frequencies to see how with it perform in the selected AAA titles as shown below.
Based on the result, you can actually see that the GTX 1070 Ti is performing better on the B450 AORUS M in some games, and some actually yields better result with higher memory speed. So it’s safe for us to say that you can still game on a B450 motherboard with a pretty decent result if you don’t really need those extra fancy features on the higher-end X470 motherboard.
Based on our experience with the B450 AORUS M throughout the review, we’d say that it’s definitely not the kind of motherboard you would want to get your hands on if you’re really planning on overclocking your system above the average. The design and exposed MOSFETs alone is really a concern that is enough for you to turn your focus to higher-end X470. For those of you who wanted to go for a more budget friendly board for Ryzen CPU which still allows you to overclock the CPU, the B450 AORUS M is okay if you don’t plan to go really high with the clocks.
Gaming wise, the B450 AORUS M definitely okay for it. As there will always be those who don’t really need those extra features – RGB especially which will affect the cost of the motherboard, the B450 AORUS M is one of the choice to go for. We’ve compared the gaming performance with a high-end Intel CPU and motherboard using the same graphics card and same DDR4 memory kit during our test, and the AMD test system did outperform the Intel test system on few occasions. Priced at RM429, we’d say it’s still somewhat acceptable for what the B450 AORUS M has to offer.
- Support the latest AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen CPU
- Support up to 3200MHz DDR4 memory or more
- Support AMD Crossfire
- M.2 SSD heatsink included
- Still come with a PS/2 keyboard mouse combo port
- Lack of proper cooling on part of the MOSFETs, potential thermal throttle issue
- Limited overclocking headroom
- Doesn’t support NVIDIA SLI