In the mini-ITX niche it is often the flagship motherboards that prove the most popular because the target market is more technically minded and DIY-inclined. ASUS knows this and has long tailored its mini-ITX offerings for an enthusiast-stroke-gamer audience.
The ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming is an interesting proposition since ASUS is able to effectively deliver a near-identical motherboard to its flagship X470 equivalent, with a slightly reduced cost from the lesser chipset. There’s an element of the best of both worlds in hitting a reasonable price point whilst still delivering a high-end feature-set.
That said this B450-I is by no means a low-cost solution, value-conscious buyers who are dead set on using AMD Ryzen CPUs could consider alternative cheaper options from rival motherboard vendors or even previous generation B350 mini-ITX motherboards where stocks remain.
However, as a mini-ITX solution with minimal compromises it is hard to not be impressed by the ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming. The ability for ASUS to cram in; dual M.2 slots, onboard WiFi, excellent RGB lighting options, a potent CPU power delivery system, M.2 cooling and high-end audio, is truly impressive.
There are only a few minor downsides to an otherwise excellent offering. Notably, the single SOC phase without heatsink cooling makes this motherboard a less than ideal choice for any APU builds. The quality of the single phase is good but the lack of cooling represents a concern, albeit only when using APUs. Additionally, we experienced compatibility and performance issues with the onboard USB 3.1 ports which were not possible to resolve. This isn’t a major issue but anyone looking to take advantage of USB 3.1 bandwidth might struggle to do so depending on the device used.
On the whole the ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming represents an excellent choice for AMD Ryzen small form factor builds and will make most consumers question the value of more expensive X470 alternatives.
The ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming has a retail price of £158.99 in the UK and is usually sold with a 3 year warranty.
- Dual M.2 with M.2 cooling
- High-spec audio
- Onboard WiFi, Bluetooth and Gigabit
- Onboard RGB lighting and RGB headers
- Good CPU VRMs
- USB 3.1 compatibility problems
- Single phase SOC VRM with no heatsink – not ideal for APUs
- Less desirable Realtek Bluetooth and WiFi module used instead of Intel or Qualcomm
- High overclocked idle CPU power consumption
- LED strips not independently controllable of onboard RGB lighting
KitGuru says: The ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming is a surprisingly affordable yet feature-rich mini-ITX motherboard with minimal compromises.