A while ago we received a brand new Gigabyte B550 AORUS Master Gaming Motherboard in all its majesty to check out for review. We've been a little delayed in getting this one out because we didn't want to just toss this into our current tower and see how it meshed with tech we were already working with, we wanted to do it on a totally brand new tower to see how well it held up with current tech across the board. It took a while, but we finally installed this board and gave it as hardcore a gaming test we could for a proper review.
So to be very clear about this, we basically plugged the board in and used a standard version of Windows 10. Since we're focusing on AORUS today we won't talk about the other company parts used to make this tower, just be aware it has a nice compliment of parts that were all either released or about to be released within the past six months. As you can see from the image below, aesthetically speaking, the board itself goes with the standard look that the company has for many of their products, especially in this line. There are people who prefer something brighter that will pop with whatever lighting kit they have, but this black tone makes it looks like something specifically made for the Death Star. It is sleek, it is to the point, aside from what little lighting it comes with it isn't super flashy. If anything, the look of this makes everything else inside stand out. So if you're one of those super specific people who are paranoid about the look of things through the glass, you might get a kick out of it when it's all hooked up and lit up.
The board itself has a number of amazing features to look over, starting Dual Channel ECC/ Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs. You got Direct 16 Phases Digital VRM Solution with 70A Power Stage, along with an advanced thermal design with Fins-Array Heatsink, Direct Touch Heatpipe, and Thermal Baseplate. The plate is a bit of an oddity, depending on the model you're hooking it into, it can make thermal contact with parts of the PCB, so something to keep an eye on when installing. You get a durable PCIe 4.0 Ready x16 Slot, as well as a Triple Ultra-Fast NVMe PCIe 4.0/3.0 x4 M.2 with Thermal Guards. A great wi-fi setup with an onboard Intel WiFi 6 802.11ax 2T2R & BT5 with AORUS Antenna. It comes with USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C & HDMI Support, 2.5GbE LAN with bandwidth management, and ALC1220-VB and WIMA Capacitors for Rear 120dB SNR for your audio needs. Some of the other odds and ends include a pre-installed IO Shield, Q-Flash Plus updated BIOS, Smart Fan 5, and RGB Fusion 2.0. For those who are not into tech specs and just want the TL/DL version, this is a powerful board that while it has some new features, feels like an upgrade from previous models.
As far s testing the system out goes, everything about this ran about as smooth as we could expect. There were zero problems with the OS or any of the tasks we ran it through. I had a programmer friend take it to task with some coding and encrypting and it managed the workload just fine. As far as gaming and performance go, this thing played Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War on PC without any issues. Yes, you can chalk that up to the graphics card and the memory as well, but never once did I think this thing was being overpowered or having issues trying to keep up. When playing video both online and digitally, it performed just as well without any issues. All of the spec tests we did showed it performed better than some of the expectations we had read about. The overall performance was superb and if we had any issues we'd be ranting and raving about them right now trying to stop you, but everything about this went off without a hitch from installation all the way to making it sweat in one of the latest games to hit the market.
Overall, this is an amazing motherboard that we had a lot of fun testing out. It is actually one of the cheaper versions the company sells within this line, but they don't cheapen you on what it can do. That being said, it is going to run you a pretty penny as you're looking at about $270 as of the time we're writing this. We can say it's well worth the cash, especially if you're looking to basically treat yourself this holiday season by building your own tower. If you're looking at individual parts from across the board, this is a great place to start.