There is a lot of confusion in general about the differences between AMD chipsets, but in short, the main differences are how many PCIe lanes are there, how fast they are, and what they can be used for. There is actually a surprising amount of freedom for manufacturers to choose what to include and what to leave out, but with the B650 chipset you have at least PCIe 5.0×4 for one of your NVMe drives. You can’t vouch for your GPU, but since a PCIe 4.0×16 connection is enough to pull even an RTX 4090, and the next generation PCIe 4.0 standard won’t increase (PCIe 3.0×16 was used until the latest generation of graphics cards weren’t really fully utilized), it’s Actually a very reasonable place to save.
Saving money actually became more important, because while prices for AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series motherboards were pretty expensive when they launched, it didn’t exactly help to get “maximum” motherboards, something meant for the hardcore – overclocking was out of the way. . However, a lucky few try to sell more expensive.
The TUF Gaming B650-Plus WIFI costs something else entirely, the £220 I was able to find for cheaper is well done as AMD has now switched to LGA – meaning the small screws that connect the processor and motherboard are now on the motherboard, making Production is more expensive.
The panel is all black with orange accents and TUF decals – it looks good in my book, some might find it a little ’00 inspired, but that’s the aesthetic the TUF series has had for many years. It is subtle enough that I don’t care. However, I would recommend going with a black radiator to complete the look. Even many VRM heatsinks are all black and there are a lot of them and they are relatively big but you don’t notice. And it’s good if you have a clear maximum. Even the NVMe heatsinks are almost comically tall, but at least you’re sure to keep things cool. It is not a 2×8 pin CPU, but 1x8pin + 1x4pin. But it is there and it is enough.
On the back of the motherboard itself is USB-C, which I expected to be spared. There’s WIFI 6E and then 12 + 2 and 60A power levels, which is more than enough to pull even a 230W TDP like the Ryzen 9 7950X, which is listed at 170W – but in our testing it can pull a lot more. There is also 2.5G Lan. Additionally, there’s room for a dedicated AIO fan header and three temperature sensors. There is also a hidden Thunderbolt USB 4 connector if you look closely. Not exactly what I would expect on a cheap entry-level motherboard.
There are two HDMI ports, a Displayport, and then two USB-C ports, one Gen 1 and the other Gen 2×2, two USB 3.2 ports, and four USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a full take out for the audio ports, the only thing I’m missing is an optical port, and there’s a BIOS Flashback button. Again, a CMOS button would have been nice, but at least that’s out of the way. Unlike what we are used to, there are not two, but four slots for RAM, as is the case with DDR5.
Internally, there’s everything you need, two USB front headers + one USB-C front header, three ARGB headers, a dedicated RGB strip header, four SATA ports, four front USB 2.0 ports, then three PCIe to NVMe drives, two of them 4.0 x4, the last one 5.0. x4. Personally, I think it will be a while before we get games that can take full advantage of the user interface, but it’s nice to have access to the latest technology. And then, very wisely, they chose to use reinforced metal frames around the graphics card connector and anti-static materials on most of the inputs.
It comes with some cables, M.2 spacers, and screws, as well as a WIFI antenna and stickers. Everyone packs these stickers but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone use them, but then again I’m probably 10-15 years older than my target audience.
Asus has always designed great BIOS menus that are easy to understand and use, and this one is no exception. Getting basic overclocking is critical, and all important settings are neatly placed. There is even a dedicated power saving mode. If you don’t want to use BIOS, you can also use Asus Armory Crate. It might be more aesthetically pleasing, but it works and you can access some of your settings through it. In fact, I don’t see any reason why you would need to get into BIOS in 2023, you should be able to get to everything via Windows apps, reboot and fly away. There are some other features like AI Noise Cancellation for the audio part, safety circuits for the individual fan heads and other little things that are only in the package. Then there are all the other little things like the power pins fixed to the motherboard and the metal reinforcements for all the PCIe connectors.
The underside of the board is very easy to work with, not that the cooling fins are sharp, but rather solid and tapered. There’s plenty of room between the different ports and it almost feels like someone really tried to build a PC, because the cooling fins drop toward the CPU in a cone shape, which makes carrying the CPU and cooler for installation nice and easy. . As an exception, the back is fitted with round solder joints, so they don’t stick as they do with many high-end motherboards.
For normal use, two NVMe drives and two SSDs, a new graphics card and a new AMD 7000 CPU, it can be hard to see what you’re missing in terms of options and inputs. People who just want to play games will certainly not lack for anything. It’s affordable too, because paired with a Ryzen 7600X CPU, you get a very powerful and efficient package for under 4000 kronor that can be the heart of your system for years to come.
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