As we should expect from a pair of £200+ B550 offerings, ASUS’ ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming (WiFi) and B550-E Gaming both provided stellar performance with our Ryzen 9 3950X processor.
The boards were happy to trade blows with similarly priced X570 offerings and their gaming performance beat Gigabyte’s B550 Aorus Master thanks to the dedicated PCIe x16 graphics card link on the ASUS boards.
Overclocking proved perfectly successful, with our chip hitting its usual 4.25GHz value and the components staying well cooled. However, ASUS’ loadline calibration approach is unclear and makes voltage tuning a more lengthy process than it needs to be.
The core set of features and connectivity is positive. Both motherboards have high-speed WiFi adapters and Intel-based 2.5GbE NICs. The B550-E Gaming also goes a step further and deploys a second PCIe Gen 4 slot fed by the CPU. This makes it capable of SLI/CrossFire, or some high-bandwidth add-in-card setups, if you prefer.
Power delivery solutions on both motherboards proved adequately capable for handling the overclocked Ryzen 9 3950X.
The B550-F Gaming (WiFi) uses a modest 4+2 control phase design but runs with twelve power stages for the CPU. This is basically identical to the ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus and proves capable from a power perspective. The biggest annoyance is the lack of VRM temperature sensor data which is disappointing as ASUS has nothing negative to hide.
The B550-E Gaming uses a sixteen total stage design with a new Digi+ PWM controller and DrMOS power stages from an uncommon vendor – MPS. While this initially rang alarm bells, our temperature testing proved that the MPS MP86992 power stages are capable of running the overclocked 16-core Ryzen whilst maintaining cool running temperatures.
Focussing on the £209.99 B550-F Gaming (WiFi), this motherboard is £10 more expensive than its non-WiFi sibling. £10 for an Intel WiFi 6 AX200 is well worth the upgrade, in our opinion.
At £210, though, the B550-F Gaming (WiFi) is thrown into a particularly tough segment of the AM4 market. It must compete against the ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus and Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite. The biggest challenge, however, comes from MSI’s £10 more expensive X570 MEG Tomahawk.
Versus the £220 MSI offering, ASUS’ £210 board is simply out-featured. There are some ASUS-specific inclusions that may sway potential buyers, but on balance, the MSI X570 MEG Tomahawk is a better choice.
With that said, the ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming (WiFi) certainly puts up a stronger fight against Gigabyte’s similarly priced B550 Aorus Pro/AC.
At £239.99, we think the B550-E Gaming is enough of an upgrade in terms of features and onboard devices to justify its £30 increase versus the B550-F Gaming (WiFi).
The board manages to narrowly undercut the ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus (WiFi) and Gigabyte X570 Aorus Pro. We also feel that there are sufficient features offered by the B550-E Gaming to justify its price increase versus the competitive MSI X570 MEG Tomahawk.
Despite £240 being expensive for a B550 offering, the B550-E Gaming’s overall package and feature set looks to be a good option for an AM4 motherboard at this price point.
The ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming (WiFi) is priced at £209.99 and will be available from e-tailers such as Overclockers UK.
The ASUS ROG STRIX B550-E Gaming is priced at £239.99 and will be available from e-tailers such as Overclockers UK.
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- Good power delivery solutions on both motherboard.
- Perfectly good overclocking the Ryzen 9 3950X.
- Solid set of fan headers.
- 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C header for the B550-E Gaming.
- Two well-cooled M.2 ports.
- Intel 2.5GbE and WiFi 6 networking.
- Displayport and HDMI for APU users.
- Second Gen 4 PCIe connector on the B550-E Gaming is smart.
- B550-F Gaming (WiFi) is priced too closely to the strong MSI X570 MEG Tomahawk.
- No VRM temperature sensor on the B550-F Gaming (WiFi).
- Unclear loadline calibration options with no explanation.
- Onboard buttons and rear clear CMOS would have been good for the B550-E Gaming.
KitGuru says: A pair of well-built, competitive ROG STRIX B550 motherboards from ASUS. We are fond of what the ROG STRIX B550-E Gaming offers at its £240 price point.
ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F Gaming (WiFi) score:
ASUS ROG STRIX B550-E Gaming score: