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ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming Motherboard Review

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.

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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.

In the USA it can be had for $155 at Amazon and $155 at Newegg and usually has a 3 year warranty.

Pros:

  • Dual M.2 with M.2 cooling
  • High-spec audio
  • Onboard WiFi, Bluetooth and Gigabit
  • Onboard RGB lighting and RGB headers
  • Good CPU VRMs

Cons:

  • 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.

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Rating: 8.5.

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