Where does the AMD B450 and Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI stand?
One of the biggest news from the PC DIY scene of 2018 is AMD's announcement of their new AMD Ryzen APU with Radeon RX Vega Graphics. In our previous article on these APUs, we were particularly impressed with the performance Ryzen 5 2400G, as it was able to adequately handle games at 1080p resolution without the need for a dedicated graphics card. However, PC DIY builders wanted to get more out from the platform's chipset.Since then, the AMD X470 was released which also came with a bunch of new features such as AMD's StoreMi technology. There was a gap in the market for an affordable motherboard with the latest features, and is still compatible with the AMD's Ryzen based APUs. That is until when the AMD B450 was released.*Today, we are going to take a look at the different features of the B450 chipset with the brand-new Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WiFi.*
A quick look
The AMD B450 chipset is based on AMD's AM4 socket. This also means that it will technically work with any other Ryzen based processors in the market. AMD also promised that the socket will be supported until 2020. If you are in the market looking for a new motherboard, it will be a good time to get one as your current motherboard will still work with new CPUs and APUs from AMD in the future. This is also another reason why AMD could be a preferred platform over Intel.[caption id="attachment_11009" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Here's what you get in the box: SATA Cables, Wireless Antenna, Screws and spacers for your M.2 drives and an User Manual[/caption]In terms of market positioning, while the X470 chipset is targeted for a high-end market, the B450 aims to hit the sweet spot between price and features. Of course, it is expected that the motherboard from the B450 chipset will be more affordable than the X470s. Honestly speaking, a B450 chipset motherboard is the right way forward if you aren't planning to run a system with multiple graphics cards.Even though the*Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI is developed as a mainstream motherboard for adoption of the masses, do not belittle the technology and features that comes with it. Just based on the first look on the motherboard, we understood that Gigabyte has decided to focus only on what's important to bring the best value to the users. Therefore, we don't see any form of outrageous designs or excessive RGB lightings on the motherboard. The design strategy is to get the required specifications up and keep it simple so as to reduce the cost to ensure that it stays competitive. The question is... has it got what it takes to be motherboard of choice?*
Specifications
Let's get started into the specifications of the new*Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI.

specs.PNG

Interestingly, Gigabyte designed the I/O shield to be integrated into the motherboard. This should make the life for system builders a lot easier, as the step of installing the I/O shield can be skipped while reducing the chance of getting cuts. Well, such a design is in fact rather practical. Why would you separate the I/O shield from the motherboard?Just by looking at the specifications, it is hard to differentiate the Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI from any other AMD B450 chipset motherboard in the market. Let's go into the details to find out how the Gigabyte offering sets itself apart from competition.*
Core Features

Hybrid Digital Power Design
All new AORUS 400-series motherboard are now equipped with their new Hybrid Digital PWM + Lower RDS (on) MOSFETs design. The idea of such a design is to better control the voltage across components and current flowing through the motherboard, while still remaining highly efficient. Of course, a good design on power circuitry will also directly mean better overclocks and stability.We will be dedicating an article on the*Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WiFi on its performance and overclocking capabilities. You can view it here!*
RAID Support on NVMe PCIe SSDs
Since there are 2 x M.2 slots on the*Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WiFi, you may be wondering if RAID is supported on these two drives. Thanks to the B450 chipset, this is actually possible! By pairing two NVMe based SSDs in RAID 0, users can expect unparalleled storage performance right out from their SSDs. However, do take note that since there is a bandwidth difference between the two M.2 slots, storage performance could be less than desirable when placed in RAID 0 mode.Moreover, understanding that M.2 SSDs can run hot and cause a throttle in storage performance, Gigabyte included heatsinks for these drives. These Thermal Guards should be able to direct the heat away from the drives effectively to prevent throttling.*
Intel Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi + BT 4.2
Gigabyte has also went with built in WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities with the*Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WiFi. This sets the*Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WiFi apart from other motherboard without such capabilities. It makes it a lot more convenient for system builders to have wireless capabilities right out of the box as well, as they will not need to think about adding an additional wireless card or Bluetooth dongle via USB.*
AORUS AMP-UP Audio
I always think that great audio is fundamental to the overall PC experience. Be it for games or media consumption, a small improvement in audio capabilities can vastly bring about a change in the satisfaction of a computer system.This is why, Gigabyte has also put extra thoughts and efforts in building the audio technology on the*Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WiFi. Of course, we do not expect the best, as this motherboard is still targeted for the mainstream segment, but let's see what they have got installed for users.Firstly, this motherboard uses the RealTek ALC1220-VB Audio Codec. This is coupled with a dedicated smartphone amplifier which can automatically detect the impedance of your headphones to provide adequate amplification to them.While many audio controllers only focuses on the output audio quality, the new ALC1220-VB deals with the input as well. This is why, the microphone jacks for both the front panel and I/O area can receive voice from the world in higher dynamic range and clarity as well.Of course, since audio signals are ultimately analogue signals which are prone to noise and other interference, good audio components must be used. The*Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WiFi is equipped with Hi-Fi grade WIMA FKP2 capacitors and high-end Chemicon audio capacitors to provide richer and more accurate sounds. The combination of all audio components and the audio controller changes the whole notion of "just another onboard audio chipset" on mainstream motherboards. You can actually get good audio quality from such a solution as well!*
AMD's focus on non-proprietary technology
The AMD B450 brings about a great value proposition for system builders. The chipset's focus on the latest technologies and high bandwidth ensures that all the latest hardware peripherals can be supported. Their focus on non-proprietary technologies also makes it a lot more affordable to adopt special enhancing technologies.Take for example the StoreMi technology which was first introduced to the B series AMD chipset. With StoreMi, users can simply use their RAM and SSD for caching to improve the overall storage performance of their whole system. This can be done without the need for dedicated hardware or purchase of any additional materials.Such a technology is already available right out of the box without any additional tinkering for users.*
Conclusion
Together with the new AMD B450 chipset, the*Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WiFi charges straight ahead into the market and is ready to dominate the mainstream segment with their unbeatable value. This motherboard's focus on great audio experience, reliability and wireless features should path its way as a successful product in the market, especially for gamers who are seeking for an affordable solution.Do look out for new article on the Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WiFi which covers the performance of the motherboard. We will see how much more value we can squeeze out from motherboard by pushing it to its limits by overclocking.

CONTINUED BELOW



We have first seen the Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI Motherboard that is equipped with the latest AMD B450 chipset at COMPUTEX 2018. Last week, we managed to get our hands on the actual unit, and learned more about the different features that sets this motherboard apart. But when it comes to the actual performance of a motherboard, we are going to figure out what actually matters.In this review, we finally put the Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI to the test with our AMD Ryzen 2 2700 CPU. Since we didn't have the chance to power up the motherboard in the previous articles, we can now take a look at the aesthetics when the RGB lighting comes into play. Next, we will focus our efforts on testing the baseline performance of the system and find out how much further we can push the processor and memory with this motherboard.*
Any Motherboard of 2018 can't go without RGB Lighting
Following the trend of having RGB on everything tech related, the B450 AORUS PRO WIFI also has its fair share of RGB lighting. Thankfully, Gigabyte decided to place RGB LED only at specific areas, thus allowing the motherboard to show off its "natural" beauty as well as the branding of the motherboard. We feel that this amount of lighting on the motherboard is just right. Any more than this, it would be too much.There are 3 main areas where RGB LEDs are found on the Gigabyte*B450 AORUS PRO WIFI.
1. On top of the VRM Heatsink

2. On top of the Chipset Heatsink

3. LED Trace at the Audio Chipset area and bottom of this area
Since there are also some RGB LEDs that are placed at the bottom of the motherboard, the*B450 AORUS PRO WIFI should fit well in cases with a black motherboard tray. These LEDs can add a certain background lighting to the whole motherboard, making it the focus within the case.The colours of the LEDs can also be adjusted directly from the BIOS of the motherboard, while supporting multiple effects and modes.[caption id="attachment_11318" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Changing of RGB colours and lighting effects can be done in the BIOS[/caption]*
System Configurations and Testing Methodologies

Specifications Hardware
CPU Ryzen 7 2700
RAM G.Skill Sniper X 2 x 8GB DDR4 KitStock @ 2133MHz*CL15-15-15-36XMP @ 3400MHz CL16-16-16-36
Storage Samsung 850 Evo M.2 SATA 250GB SSD
GPU GTX570
Motherboard Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI
CPU Cooler AMD Wraith Cooler (Stock)
OS Windows 10 Pro 64 bit
Drivers Radeon Software Adrenaline Edition 18.5.1*We will focus our efforts on running benchmarks that focuses on CPU performance and memory performance, as these are fundamental to the overall performance of the system. As such, our favourite Cinebench R15 benchmark and AIDA64 memory benchmarks are chosen.* The initial set of tests will be based on the settings above.

*
Overclocking
With AMD graciously not locking their processors from overclocking, we were able to easily overclock our Ryzen 7 2700 just by increasing the CPU multiplier. As for memory, we applied the XMP profile to apply the overclock.Many people may face problems with their initial setup of their system if they intend to have their memory speeds to run at advertised rates. Thankfully, Gigabyte designed their motherboard to improve compatibility with XMP profiles (XMP is actually an Intel technology). In order for us to reach the DDR4 3400 speeds, we had to set the motherboard to accept our RAM's XMP profile. Then, without any hiccups at all, the system was ready to go! We really appreciated this feature, as it would make it a lot easier for novice system builders to get the expected memory performance from their motherboard.[caption id="attachment_11315" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Easily apply XMP settings for maximum RAM compatibility[/caption]We also wanted to find out the compute performance we can get just right out from the box. To achieve this, we used the stock cooler for our overclocking efforts. To our surprise, the AMD's Wraith Coolers performs quite well, and was able to tame the CPU even when all cores are running simultaneously at high clocks. We ended up with a speed of 3.925GHz with the*Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI.[caption id="attachment_11319" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Lack of more detailed voltage settings that can be applied with the motherboard[/caption]To be frank, we wished that the*Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI could have provided more advanced settings to allow for a better overclocked. Even their maximum amount of voltage increase are limited, which resulted in a limit to overclocking capabilities.*
Performance Results
[caption id="attachment_11320" align="aligncenter" width="543"] DDR2133[/caption][caption id="attachment_11321" align="aligncenter" width="540"] DDR3400[/caption]The performance gained from overclocking the system memory was extremely significant. Just by setting the XMP profile of the RAM, memory performance increased by about 60%. This really shows that the investment in faster memory for the computer system does make a difference.

Just by having the Ryzen 7 2700 run on stock settings, we achieved a score of 1556 points on Cinebench. Do take note that at times, with AMD XFR and Precision Boost technology, the CPU will boost beyond its base speed of 3.2GHz and to up to 4.1GHz. However, not all cores can reach such speeds depending on the thermal capabilities of the CPU cooler.By overclocking the Ryzen 7 2700 to 3.925GHz, we simply had all cores of the CPU to be fixed at this frequency for the benchmark. It was also apparent that the Ryzen 7 2700 was able to scale well with frequency, and that performance increase was definitely seen based on the Cinebench R15 benchmark. In the end, we managed a score of 1786 points. This is about a 15% increase in CPU performance.*
Conclusion
The Gigabyte*B450 AORUS PRO WIFI will be well-liked by many system builders because it is made to be simple. Allow me to clarify:[*]Simple in design - The motherboard does not come with an unbearable number of RGB LED lights. Its current LED configuration is just right, and it brings out the best of the branding and aesthetics of the motherboard.[*]Simple in Memory Configuration*- Gigabyte engineers have made it very easy for system builders to overclock their system with their support for XMP profiles. We saw that memory performance gained significantly once XMP is applied.[*]Simple in CPU Overclocking - Since the motherboard is targeted for the mainstream users, Gigabyte has reduced the number of settings for overclocking the CPU. To overclock, users simply had to increase the CPU multiplier. The easy-to-use settings makes it effortless for safe configurations on the motherboard, and does not overwhelm users with jargons that do not make sense.However, we would have much preferred it if Gigabyte allowed an additional toggle that opens up even more configurations for CPU overclocking. As a more advanced user, I wished that discrete settings on voltages and base clocks can be made available as well.Regardless, at just S$205, the Gigabyte*B450 AORUS PRO WIFI brings superb value to the table. If you are looking at a new AMD system, this motherboard is definitely worth looking out for. For that, we will be awarding the*Gigabyte*B450 AORUS PRO WIFI with our BEST VALUE award for August 2018.