Asus ROG Strix B360-F Gaming
ROG ON A BUDGET
Only a couple of years ago, an Asus Republic of Gamers motherboard with a budget chipset would have been unheard of. The market has spoken though, with users increasingly seeking a better balance of high end features and value. There will always be a place for $500+ motherboards, but they will always be halo products. The real volume comes from the mid-range and lower end market. The ROG Strix B360-F Gaming is likely to be one of the biggest selling ROG motherboards boards ever and we always have high expectations from every ROG board, so how does this one do?
The B360-F Gaming is one of the most expensive B360 motherboards. One glance at it and it looks very much worth it. Casting an eye of the board reveals a few noteworthy things. Firstly, the SATA ports are not the typical double stacked connectors; they are single. The adjacent chipset heatsink is a hollow design that promotes airflow coming in from the front of the case that would otherwise be blocked by double ports. It’s a quite clever way of increasing the surface area of the heatsink by a big margin. There’s a screw in metal heatsink for one of the two M.2 connectors as well. The PWM cooling and power delivery system is more like what you’d expect to see on overclocking capable Z370 motherboards. Perhaps it’s even overkill. Still, it’s better to overkill than… underkill.
Any gaming oriented motherboard has some form of RGB lighting present, and so does the B360-F Gaming. It’s quite subtle though, with just the ROG logo and a strip adjacent to the rear I/O ports featuring RGB lighting. It looks really nice when combined with the grey on black board colouring. If you placed this board next to one at twice the price, it wouldn’t look out of place. The whole board really does ooze premium quality.
The I/O area has an integrated shield (unique in this roundup) and has all the ports you’d expect from a board at this price. There’s three USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, one of which is a Type-C. The video ports cater for almost all conceivable scenarios, with DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI-D ports all present. VGA has no place on all but the most budget motherboards these days. The single Gigabit LAN port is provided courtesy of an Intel I219V controller which will handle your pings nicely. There’s the standard five analogue audio jacks complemented by an S/PDIF optical output and finally a PS/2 combo port. All in all it’s a good set of ports, though there is no Wi-Fi present, which is the case with all the motherboards in this roundup.
Asus’ ROG UEFI BIOS is typically feature filled and will be instantly familiar to ROG users. One of the curious things we spotted were options for memory speeds above DDR4-2666. This is of course not possible on a B360 board. We didn’t expect DDR42800+ to work, and it didn’t, so we wonder why these options are present at all.
The B360-F Gaming performs typically well as we’d expect, particularly with multi-threaded applications where it was at the head of the pack. It was also the best performer in our storage test and was right there in every other test. Though the differences are small, every little bit counts. Of course, like every other B360 motherboard, it’s not possible to overclock the CPU, but that’s ok. When some Coffee Lake CPUs can boost to 4.5GHz and higher, do you really need to OC?
Asus has produced an excellent budget minded motherboard that impresses with its design, refinement and performance. Though it’s priced a bit high when compared to other B360 motherboards, we feel it’s worth it in this case. If you don’t care about overclocking and want to spend a few extra dollars on a better CPU or GPU, you can skip Z370 and give this Asus a serious look.
“It’s a quite clever way of increasing the surface area of the heatsink”
Intel B360 Chipset • Socket 1151 Support for 8th Generation Intel Core Processors • 2x M.2; 6x SATA; 3x USB 3.1 Gen 2, up to 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1, up to 6x USB 2.0 • Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN • 7.1 Channel ALC-1220 Audio • ATX Form Factor
$229 • www.asus.com.au