Since Intel first launched their first generation Core-i processors, the TUF series motherboards from ASUS earns its reputation of being outstanding reliability and durability. as well as with the iconic thermal armor and a promising 5 year warranty that no other motherboard manufacturers offers. Throughout the years, the once Sabertooth only TUF series motherboards has diversified into a number of models i.e Sabertooth, Gryphon, and Vanguard to suit users with different needs.
In today’s review, we’ll be examining the latest member in the TUF Series motherboard, the TUF Trooper B85
. The Trooper B85 is a rugged, high-value motherboard designed to withstand all conditions and heavy loading, tested to exacting military standards for total protection to offer exceptional durability and long-term reliability and it comes with the 5 year warranty from ASUS.
(The B85 Trooper retails at RM365)
ASUS Trooper B85
Intel® Socket 1150 for 4th Generation Core™ i7/Core™ i5/Core™ i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x1 mode, black)
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1
2 x DIMM, Max. 16GB, DDR3 1600/1333 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Rear I/O Panel
1 x PS/2 keyboard (purple)
1 x PS/2 mouse (green)
1 x DVI
1 x D-Sub
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
2 x USB 3.0 (blue)
4 x USB 2.0
3 x Audio jack(s)
Internal I/O Connectors
1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin, beige)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
1 x TPM header
1 x COM port(s) connector(s)
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
2 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
2 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (2 x 4 -pin, [Black])
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s)
1 x Chassis Intrusion connector(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
The box of the Trooper B85 comes in the usual sleek design as the other TUF series motherboards, with the 5 years warranty badge visible at the bottom left corner of the box.
A preview of the motherboard and it’s prominent features such as TUF LANGoard, TUF ESD Guard 2, TUF Component etc is mentioned at the back of the box.
The accessories is pretty straight forward for the Trooper B85, a user’s guide, 2 x SATA cables, accessories guide, TUF certificate of reliability, TUF 5-year warranty notice, TUF inside sticker, drivers CD and a rear I/O shield.
Being an entry level TUF board, you won’t be getting any of the fancy accessories and thermal armor. Same goes for the back, there’s nothing much worth mentioning on back of the motherboard, no TUF fortifier of course.
A closer look shows that the components used on the Trooper B85 is somewhat beyond what we would normally see on a standard B85 chipset motherboard – Japanese-made 10K black metallic capacitors that offer 20%-better temperature endurance for a lifespan that’s up to five times (5X) longer, and TUF’s chokes are manufactured using high-grade anti-oxidization materials to provide better heat dissipation and unbeatable durability.
4+4Pin power for CPU, DIGI+ VRM for that extra reliability in terms of power delivery at the usual place.
TUF LANGuard socket has advanced signal-coupling technology and premium surface-mounted capacitors to improve throughput, protects the motherboard from lightning strikes and static electricity. Aside of that, the TUF Trooper B85 also features the upgraded TUF ESD Guard 2 to defend numerous ports against sudden electrostatic discharge which covers all USB sockets and audio connectors — an exclusive pin-level testing on specific rear input-output (I/O) connectors that is 30% higher than the previous TUF standard.
As B85 chipset wasn’t made for overclocking, the TUF Trooper B85 can only go as far to 1333 /1600MHz with a total 16GB DDR3 memory.
Nothing is particularly special with the connectors either, but you’ll still get the necessities such as USB 3.0 header, SATA ports, etc on the Trooper B85.
The expansion slots consists of 1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black), 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x1 mode, black), 2 x PCIe 2.0 x1. The positive side is that multiple GPU setup is made available on the Trooper B85, but it’s only limited for AMD Crossfire.
The usual Nuvoton NCT55350-A chip for monitoring of temperatures, voltage, fan speed, etc.
TUF Trooper B85 comes with audio design with ASUS boasts to feature physical shielding and premium components to ensure precise separation of analog and digital signals, as well as minimizing crosstalk interferences.
The rear I/O panel:
- 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
- 1 x PS/2 mouse port
- 1 x LAN (RJ45) port
- 2 x USB 3.0 (blue)
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 3 x Audio jack(s)
- 1 x VGA port
- 1 x DVI-D port
Accessing it the first time will lead you to the Ez Mode interface that has all the basic functions to allow quick and easy system optimization even to entry level users. Pressing F7 allows you to access more tweaking options to enhance your overall system performance. Though the interface somewhat reminded us the UEFI BIOS interface of the Sabertooth Z77, with the color scheme as the only notable different.
Pressing F7 allows you to access the Advanced Mode (pressing F7 again will revert you back to the Ez Mode) for more tweaking options. The main tab details the basics of your system and also the option to adjust your system date, time and language.
The Ai Tweaker is where advanced users usually spend most of their time tuning their system clock speed, voltage, strap, etc for the Z-series motherboards especially for overclocking. The only thing you can do with the AI Tweaker here is to change the XMP profile to push your memory frequency to 1600MHz at most.
At the Advance tab, users can further adjust the settings of CPU, storage devices, USB ports, On-board Devices, APM, Network Stack, Platform Misc and so on.
Monitor tab allow users to monitor components temperature and fan speed, adjust fan speed with profiles so the fans will behave accordingly.
The Boot tab allows you to adjust both boot options and POST options.
The Tool tab comes with some useful function such as the ASUS EZ Flash Utility for BIOS update via flash drive (similar to the BIOS flashback button) and the ASUS Overclocking Profile to backup your stable over-clocking profiles.
Software – ASUS AI Suite 3
Thermal Radar Core
Fan Control, a feature that allows you to optimize your overall system cooling with the help of the thermal tuning and CPU assessment that helps to evaluate how well is your cooling system.
Thermal tuning on progress, loading your system while intelligently tuning each fans attached to the Trooper B85 to effectively remove heat from your system.
After thermal tuning, CPU assessment helps to put these adjusted fans to the test!
Up next is the recorder, a function that allows you to monitor the temperature, voltage and fan speeds to see how your system reacts under idle and load. There is also an option to record the reading form the graph for your future reference.
DIGI+ VRMl here allows you to adjust the CPU Power Phase Control, CPU VRM Switching Frequency etc for a balanced thermal and power performance.
USB 3.0 Boost improves transfer speeds for UASP enabled devices so you’ll be able to notice the improvement in standard USB 3.0 device.
The EZ Update is a BIOS update utility that automatically checks for the latest BIOS updates from ASUS and can be done easily with a single click on the update button after the latest BIOS file is selected.
System information utility allow users to navigate the details of their motherboard, CPU and Memory – similar as the CPU-Z often used by advanced users during over-clocking session.
No function that affect any of the system performance, the version viewer only display the version of the programs in the AI Suite 3.
Let’s put it this way, the TUF series motherboards are like cars. Sabertooth stays on the higher tier while Vanguard and B85 Trooper B85 is basically something like the most basic car to own in the series that comes with the most basic features you need.
While it looks basically just like a normal entry level B85 chipset motherboard, the Trooper B85 is made to be tougher than most ordinary B85 chipset motherboards. Built with pretty much the same technology found of a TUF series boards (ESD protection, Solid capacitors, TUF chokes, etc), a good alternative for those who are looking for an affordable TUF board but doesn’t need those fancy features, besides it comes with a considerably long warranty period. The only problem is, it comes with only 2 memory slots and for those who require more than 16GB of memory might want to opt for the Vanguard B85 instead.
- 5 year warranty
- Uses high quality components – Japanese-made 10K black metallic capacitors, TUF chokes, etc
- Easy thermal management with Thermal Radar Core
- ASUS AI Suite III has many useful features gathered in a single piece of software
- Limited memory slot (only 2)
- Very limited features for a TUF series