After the AMD Ryzen platform, the motherboards on the B350 chipsets have gained considerable popularity. Chipset B350 can be called a compromise option, and CPU Ryzen prices on the market today are quite acceptable. The B350-FCH chipset offers an ample set of interfaces, and also allows overclocking the CPU and memory. In our review, we will consider the motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus, which provides good equipment for their money.
The price of the motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus is from 94 euros in Europe, it allows you to build a modern, powerful and inexpensive system on one of the Ryzen processors for the AM4 socket. On the motherboard Asus Prime B350-Plus not only four DDR4 DIMM slots are available, but also two PCIe 3.0 x16, two PCIe 2.0 x1 and two PCI slots.
To connect the drives are available six SATA ports 6 Gb / s and one M.2. As for USB, ASUS has installed six USB 3.1 Gen1 interfaces and six USB 2.0 interfaces, as well as two high-speed USB 3.1 ports. There was a port Gigabit Ethernet and audio processor Realtek.
ASUS chose PCB with black textolite, but added a lot of red accents. ASUS continues to use passive radiators to cool components. ASUS Prime B350-Plus refers to the ATX format, so there will be no compatibility problems with the cases. Especially ASUS chose the format even a little bit of the usual ATX.
The table below shows the characteristics of the motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus:
A set of accessories in the delivery set can not be called extensive. In addition to the I / O stub, the buyer will receive a quick user guide, a DVD with drivers and a pair of SATA cables. Honestly, ASUS could add a screw to mount the M.2 drives.
The distribution of I / O interfaces from the AM4 platform is somewhat more complex than that of Intel Kaby Lake. At the Intel platform, SATA interfaces are provided only by PCH, AMD AM4 platforms share them between the processor and the chipset.
In addition to the 16 PCIe Gen3 lines that are designed for the video card, Ryzen processors give four more Gen3 lines, they are reserved for drives, but motherboard manufacturers can dispose of the lines at their discretion. The options are “2x SATA + 1x NVMe x2”, “2x SATA + 1x PCIe x2” and “1x NVMe x4”. In addition, Ryzen processors have built-in USB 3.1 Gen1 controller, which provides up to four ports.
The AMD B350-FCH chipset offers six Gen2 lines, up to four SATA 6 Gb / s ports, two first and second-generation USB 3.1 interfaces, and six USB 2.0 ports.
For additional CPU power, an 8-pin connector is provided. The power supply subsystem of the Socket AM4 processor is implemented on Prime B350 Plus in six phases. As you would expect from this price category, two passive radiators VRM and a radiator FCH are fixed with pins.
In the area of four DDR4 DIMM slots there is nothing remarkable. Slots allow you to set up to 64 GB of memory. The user can choose between ECC and non-ECC memory. In both cases, unbuffered modules are installed.
PCI slots can be found today, perhaps on the most budgetary motherboards. But ASUS decided to add a couple of slots to Asus Prime B350-Plus. They will allow you to install old expansion cards.
Two mechanical PCIe x16 slots are also available, the upper one receives 16 Gen3 lines from the CPU, the lower one – four Gen2 lines from the B350-FCH chipset. Finally, note two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots that share resources with a PCIe 2.0 x16 slot.
Four vertical ports SATA 6 Gb / s are connected to the chipset B350, two angled ports operate from CPU / APU. But the latter can not be used if an SSD module is installed in slot M.2 (M-Key). Depending on the Ryzen processor or the upcoming Raven Ridge APU, the M.2 interface works with four (Ryzen) or two (APU) Gen3 lines.
On the I / O panel, you can see a large number of USB ports. There are two USB 2.0, four USB 3.1 Gen1 and two USB 3.1 Gen2. There is also a PS / 2 interface, one Gigabit LAN port and three 3.5 mm audio jacks. In the case of APU, you can use the video outputs HDMI-1.4b, DVI-D and VGA.
On the right you can see the Realtek ALC887 sound processor with four audio capacitors. Centered – ITC’s IT8655E LPC controller. Finally, on the left – controller RTL8111H Gigabit LAN from Realtek.
Since PCI slots are not supported by the platform in native mode, the PCIe-to-PCI bridge can not be avoided. ASUS installed the corresponding chip ASMedia ASM1083.
In general, the layout can be called successful, although PCI slots in 2017 are not so relevant. But the exception only confirms the rule. It’s a pity that not all six SATA ports are deployed at an angle of 90 degrees. On the other hand, the four vertical SATA ports on the bottom of the motherboard will not interfere.
In addition to the CPU-FAN connector, two more fan connectors are available. For some users, this number may seem too small. However, do not forget about the low retail price of the motherboard.
On the ASUS Prime B350-Plus motherboard, an early BIOS version was installed, we immediately requested the latest BIOS 0803 available, in which there is an AGESA 220.127.116.11 microcode, even in the beta version. Previous BIOS versions released by ASUS also contained a number of improvements for the Ryzen platform.
In general, the appearance of UEFI was borrowed from ASUS motherboards. Individual menu items are highlighted in turquoise, the rest are white. Let’s start with the upper left corner. Time and date are displayed there. You can change the UEFI language next to it.
The next field provides information about the model of the motherboard, the installed BIOS version, the CPU model, the clock frequencies and memory capacity. To the right you can see the temperature of the CPU and the motherboard. The CPU voltage is also displayed. Below, in the left field, information is displayed on installed memory modules, occupied slots, capacities and frequencies. You can also select the DOCP profile, if any. The information about the connected drives is displayed to the right. Finally, the lower field allows you to adjust the fan speed, using the “Manual Fan Tuning” function you can set the speed individually.
In the right part of the window, the basic mode of operation is set. The default mode is Normal. But you can activate the modes “ASUS Optimal” and “Power Saving”. In “ASUS Optimal” mode, the system increases performance, in “Power Saving” mode it starts to work more efficiently. Also you can easily change the boot order. You can switch to the advanced mode by clicking “Advanced Mode” or pressing the “F7” key, we’ll cover it below.
The Advanced Mode is visually similar to EZ Mode, but has a more traditional structure. The first tab “My Favorites” contains a set of the most used BIOS functions, which the user can change at his discretion. To add, click on the “My Favorite (F3)” function from the top or use the “F3” key. A separate window opens in which you can select the functions.
The main page of “Main” contains basic information: BIOS version, installed processor model and memory specifications. Here you can change the menu language if required. Next is the tab “Ai Tweaker”. It contains all the overclocking functions, implemented a large number of new functions, which will be sufficient for experienced overclockers. You can set CPU or memory clock speeds, as well as individual voltages. The following is a description of what each function does.
Numerous integrated components can be customized on the next tab. Some monitoring information is constantly displayed in the right field, but ASUS added a separate tab “Monitor”, where it is possible, among other things, to set fan speeds. You can also see the temperature and voltage.
All settings that affect the boot process are located on the “Boot” tab. If you are concerned about the boot image, you can turn it off here. There are also Boot Override options, which are usually rendered on the last page. ASUS also added several utilities. Via “ASUS EZ Flash 3 Utility” you can update the UEFI via a connected drive or directly via the Internet. All UEFI settings can be stored in eight profiles, which can be saved to a USB keychain or imported via the “ASUS Overclocking Profile” function. The “ASUS SPD Information” option reads the SPD (Serial Presence Detect) values from the DIMMs. In the “Exit” item, you can save the settings or load the default settings. Before saving the UEFI settings, a small window is displayed, which lists all the settings that can be changed. In addition, if you want to add notes, you no longer need paper and pen – you can simply activate the “Quick Note” function.
We appreciate the convenience of the UEFI interface. As we found out, when using the keyboard, the interface after a while starts to “slow down”. But after reboot everything works fine. Otherwise, all settings work well. As for the stability of the work of complaints, we also did not arise.
In our AMD Ryzen 7 1700 test, we already complained about the overclocking of AMD Ryzen processors, although we were able to overclock it to 4 GHz. UEFI supports the Down Core function, which allows you to disable the CPU cores or the CCX (CPU Core Complex) module. In addition to the “Auto” mode (4 + 4) for 8-core CPUs, the following modes are available: 1 + 1, 2 + 0, 3 + 0, 2 + 2, 4 + 0 and 3 + 3.
On the motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus, the ability to change the base frequency is not provided. As for the CPU voltage, only the offset mode is available to the user. It can change the CPU voltage from -0.35875 V to +0.35875 V in steps of 0.00625 V. All other overclocking functions are listed in the table.
We did not expect anything special from the CPU overclocking tests, but the motherboard proved to be good. On ASUS Prime B350-Plus with six power phases, our Ryzen 7 1700X was accelerated to a stable 3.9 GHz frequency. We raised the voltage by 0.0375 V in the bias mode.
The theme of overclocking the memory is no less interesting, so we continued our overclocking tests. With the update of the microcode AGESA to version 18.104.22.168 in UEFI, new memory parameters have appeared. However, the settings were still displayed only in certain groups. For our tests, we used two 4 GB DIMM slots of each type “G.Skill RipJaws4 DDR4-3000”. In the first test, we checked the operation of XMP, in the second we set the settings manually.
The XMP profile settings resulted in a DDR4-2933 frequency, and the delays did not match the claimed ones. In the manual mode, nothing has changed.
The motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus supports the AI Suite software package, which allows changing various settings for Windows.
The AI Suite 3 package includes four other functions. The TPU is responsible for the clock frequencies, the updated Fan Xpert 3 provides fan speed control. The Digi + function ensures stable operation of the power subsystem. Maximum efficiency is provided by the function “EPU”, in which there are four modes: automatic, productive, economical and inactivity. In the bottom panel, you can view information about CPU and memory frequencies, voltages, temperatures and fan speeds at any time. If you click on the gear icon, then the settings for individual categories will open.
After integrating the memory controller into the CPU, the performance difference between the motherboards became negligible. This is not surprising, as the motherboard manufacturers have disappeared almost all the optimization mechanisms. In the past, they could optimize the parameters of the chipset to squeeze one to two percent of the performance from the motherboard, but this option also disappeared. We conducted our tests with memory modules in 2.666 MHz mode and 16-16-16-35 2T delays, and all motherboards that allowed adjusting memory latencies showed similar performance.
Although comparative tests of the performance of motherboards and can not give the same difference as before, they are still interesting. The fact is that the tests allow you to quickly assess how different vendors implement support for functions like Turbo, or rely on the trick of background overclocking. With the motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus, everything worked as expected: the Turbo modes were set correctly, we did not find a hidden overclocking.
But for tests we limited ourselves to only four applications, namely 3DMark 2013, SuperPi 8M, Cinebench 11.5 and SiSoft Sandra 2014 Memory Benchmark:
Thanks to the latest BIOS version, the ASUS Prime B350-Plus motherboard showed slightly higher performance. However, the difference with the other two motherboards is not great.
We conducted load time tests. We measured the time in seconds that the motherboard required to initialize all components before Windows booted.
Updating the microcode AGESA 22.214.171.124 provided a number of advantages over the time of initialization of components. Passing the POST test took only 14.68 seconds.
Today, the issue of PC power consumption is quite relevant, and the difference in power consumption between motherboards is much more common than the difference in performance. On the one hand, it can be connected to the BIOS, where the Intel power saving functions can be implemented incompletely or incorrectly. Or simply disabled by default. Or inactive integrated components, when they are replaced by additional chips or simply not used, do not shut down and continue to consume energy. The power plan also contributes to overall energy consumption, since it can give more power than required by the components. And the efficiency (efficiency) of the power system is also very important. If the efficiency is low, the system consumes more power from the power supply. The role of program management should not be underestimated, the entire food system must be balanced and coordinated to ensure acceptable efficiency.
On the motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus additional controllers are not so many. It may be noted LAN-controller and audio codec, which contribute to the overall system power consumption.
We measured the power consumption of the system in idle mode under Windows, as well as a full 2D-load Cinebench 15 and Prime95 (torture test, full load). The following shows the power consumption for the entire system.
In the first test run, we left the default settings when the motherboard most of the integrated components are active. We used the graphics card Radeon R9 380. As we have noted above, all power-saving features have been included, we did not make any optimizations manually.
Motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus together with our system consumes 44.1 watts in idle mode, which can be called a good level.
Update AGESA 126.96.36.199 led to some changes, energy consumption increased slightly. Our wattmeter load Cinebench showed 161.1 watts.
Under load, power consumption Prime95 was even a little less – 160.7 watts.
Voltage CPU motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus exhibited the level of 1,188, which corresponds to Gigabyte GA-AX370-Gaming 7.
Since most people are all embedded controllers are not required, we conducted another test run, during which the components of the integrated LAN controller is only activated and sound chip. All additional controllers USB 3.0 and SATA we disconnected. The motherboard is still exhibited voltage levels automatically, but we have to manually set up all power-saving features. We continued to use the graphics card Radeon R9 380.
In the BIOS, we were able to turn off the LED-backlighting and USB 3.1. As a result, idle, we have saved 1.3 watts.
Platform ASUS Prime B350-Plus appeared quite effective in the sleep mode, but power consumption is increased under load. Compared with the previously tested motherboards on the X370, we have received a higher level of energy that can be associated with microcode AGESA 188.8.131.52, which ASUS presented with the 0803 version of the BIOS.
Motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus provides a two-port USB 3.1 Gen2 format Type A, both connected to the chipset FCH. They provide a theoretical bandwidth of 10 Gbit / s, so it would be difficult to find a drive that is able to load a similar level of capacity. The theory will be fast enough M.2 solid-state disk, but as long as we limit ourselves to two SSD SATA 6 Gb / s in RAID 0, which will allow to load the new interface.
For the test we have external snap Akitio NT2-U3.1, into which installed two 2,5 “SSD OCZ Vector 150 480 GB capacity each. SSD worked with reading speeds up to 550 Mb / s and the speed of recording up to 530 Mb / s. Both SSD have been combined into a RAID 0 array, which made it possible to load the USB 3.1 Gen2 interface.
Chipset AMD B350 was able to squeeze out of our drive RAID 0 to 876 MB / s read and up to 870 MB / s write. Of course, the controller ASMedia ASM2142 / 3142 results would have been higher, but this level can be called quite decent.
ASUS Prime B350-Plus offers six USB 3.1 Gen1 ports. On the I / O panel Four ports are available, two more can be derived through the brush. The two ports on the I / O panel are connected directly to the processor, and two ports of the comb – a chipset B350-FCH. To test USB 3.1 Gen1, we used the same solution as for USB 3.1 Gen2.
As can be seen from the results of performance USB 3.1 Gen1, B350-FCH chipset gives you a little more important than the CPU controller. In the latter case we have a maximum capacity of 405 or 429 MB / s read and write. The chipset also provides read rate to 436 Mb / s and the recording rate to 465 MB / s.
Motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus provides six SATA ports 6 Gbit / s. The two are connected to the CPU, the remaining four – to the chipset B350. For the tests we took SanDisk Extreme 120 drive that connects directly to the SATA ports.
Processor and chipset showed a high reading speed 555 MB / s. But write performance results differ. The controller in the CPU shown to 510 MB / s, B350-FCH controller could issue up to 525 Mb / s.
On the platform, we continued Ryzen M.2 tests. With processors Ryzen slot must demonstrate a high level of performance thanks to four lines PCIe 3.0 with a theoretical bandwidth of 32 Gbit / s. M.2 slot for the test, we used a Samsung SSD SM961 capacity of 256 GB and 8 cm long. The Samsung points for your drive read speed of 3,100 MB / s and write speed of 1,400 MB / s. NVMe SSD supports version 1.2 of the protocol, the connection is made to the AM4 processor Gen3 on four lines.
M.2 test results were very high. In reading we got up to 3.363 Mb / s, recording – up to 1,522 MB / s. Excellent level of performance.
At the beginning of this article we mentioned that the motherboard on a more accessible B350 chipset from AMD are an excellent starting point for exploring the Ryzen processors. Motherboard provide a good set of features, all of the interfaces are represented in sufficient numbers. Nice and that B350-FCH chipset supports overclocking.
Motherboard ASUS B350-Plus line of Prime, tested in this article are available at a price of 6.9 thousand. Rubles in Russia and 94 euros in Europe. On the ATX format model is equipped with two mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, two PCIe 2.0 x1 and two PCI for system expansion. The processor installed in a socket AM4. Four DDR4 DIMM memory banks allow you to install up to 64 GB, optional supported ECC UDIMM. CPU power is provided by six phases, their was enough for a stable operation of our processor Ryzen 7 1700X 3.9 GHz.
SSD and other storage devices can be connected via SATA 6 Gb / s to the CPU (two ports) and chipset (four ports). The board has the appropriate interface for high-speed M.2 modules with M-Key key, but it uses the shared resources with two SATA 6 Gb / s ports processor. For connecting peripherals are six USB 3.1 ports and six first-generation USB 2.0, but ASUS Prime B350-Plus also offers two-port USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A. The last connected directly to the chipset B350 in native mode.
For a network connection responds 1-Gbit / s controller Realtek RTL8111H. There is also a sound processor Realtek ALC887 and three 3.5mm audio jacks. If the socket is mounted APU Raven Ridge, you can use the video output DVI-D, HDMI 1.4b and VGA.
For fans of the backlight ASUS added a few by red LED. If you like the lighting effects, it is possible to connect additional LED-RGB strip to the comb on the board. Energy consumption in idle motherboard ASUS showed very modest results. Under load, power consumption predictably increased thanks to the powerful processor Ryzen 7 1700X. In general, the platform can be called effective. The UEFI, we have not received significant innovations, except that ASUS has added to BIOS version 0803 new firmware AGESA 184.108.40.206, which reduces download time and to increase the number of available memory parameters. But the chosen delay does not always work, the parameters are set in groups.
The motherboard is sold in Russia by 6.9 thousand. Rubles , in Europe it can be found from 94 euros . Paired with the processor Ryzen you will get an excellent platform with all the modern interface and support acceleration for reasonable money. Therefore, we award our prize motherboard price / performance.
With a retail price of 6.9 thousand. Rubles motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus can be recommended to users Ryzen platform assembly with a limited budget. Equipment for the majority of users will be quite sufficient.