Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming Review

Written by Antony Leather

June 2, 2017 | 14:56

Tags: #am4 #b350 #best-am4-board #best-b350-board #best-ryzen-board #best-x370-board #ryzen #x370

Companies: #amd #asus

Overclocking

4GHZ is usually an easy target for AM4 boards with our in-house Ryzen 7 1700, although one small snag is that the ROG Strix B350-F Gaming lacks simple voltage input/fixed voltage, forcing you to use an offset. It takes a little longer to work out instead of slapping on the usual voltage of 1.425V we use to assess the maximum everyday overclock for AM4 boards, in this case dialling in an offset of 0.5V, but once it's done it's done. However, those wanting more flexibility should look to the Prime X370-Pro or Crosshair VI Hero for more overclocking options.

In terms of memory support, the board had no problems reaching our usual 2,933MHz with Corsair 3,000MHz Vengeance LPX RAM (Hynix-based), which is one of the least widely supported kits with AM4 boards at high frequencies - good news there. Even better news is that this £120 board went straight in at 3,200MHz with a Geil Evo X Samsung B-die kit, so if you're keen to squeeze every last megahertz out of your RAM to boost performance tied in with AMD's Infinity Fabric, then the ROG Strix B350-F Gaming appears to offer decent support.

In terms of EFI and software, things are nearly identical to the Crosshair VI Hero, albeit with some exceptions such as offset vcore input. However, you can get a better feel for this in our overview of the Crosshair's software and EFI.

Performance Analysis

Asus has clearly put some hard work into the brains behind its AM4 motherboards with the ROG Strix B350-F Gaming here and the Prime X370-Pro recently performing mostly on par with the competition, whereas the first AM4 board we looked at - the Crosshair VI Hero - was slower in some tests back in March. In fact, the ROG Strix B350-F Gaming topped a few tests such as Ashes of the Singularity, 3DMark Time Spy, and VRMark, with slightly better performance than the rest of the field, albeit by very small amounts.

Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming Review Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming Review - Performance Analysis and Conclusion
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It didn't overclock quite as far at this voltage as some of the other boards, but the difference between the Ryzen 7 1700's stock speed performance and overclocked was significant, and the performance from the extra few megahertz the other boards managed was marginal. One area that the ROG Strix B350-F Gaming really impressed was audio. We expected a basic Realtek audio ALC1220 codec score here, but it's clear that Asus has tweaked the dials and added some magic sauce, as the ROG Strix B350-F Gaming was the second best performing board on test, even better than the Asus Prime X370-Pro, so clearly drivers and/or BIOS versions are continuing to improve.

Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming Review Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming Review - Performance Analysis and Conclusion
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Storage performance was on the ball too, with maximum speeds in the SATA SSD tests, and while it was still a few MB/sec behind some of the fastest results in the M.2 SSD speed tests, 10-20MB/sec with a 3,300MB/sec SSD isn't much to be worried about - if you want to pair the ROG Strix B350-F Gaming with a Samsung 960 Evo, then go for it.

Conclusion

There really isn't a lot to dislike about this board, and as well as Asus' usual excellent software suite and EFI coupled with a generous amount of fan headers for a £120 motherboard, there's plenty of scope here for lots of tweaking and the ability to fine-tune a high-end Ryzen system. It's a capable overclocker, has excellent memory support at and above 3,000MHz, RGB lighting, good cooling, and a decent layout too.

We miss the days when you could pick up a decent, well-featured overclocking board for Intel systems for this money - the equivalent Intel offering here, the ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, costs £40 more, but thankfully Asus hasn't forgotten how to do things right on a budget either - the ROG Strix B350-F Gaming is fantastic value and nails it in pretty much every area.
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