GIGABYTE B650 AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard Review Summary
At the end of the day, the B650 AORUS ELITE AX is almost a balanced feature set provider motherboard that the user can get for their daily driver need. The game is strong with the storage department of this motherboard and USB Type-C Gen 2×2 port provisions as well, though don’t expect to find PCIe Gen 5 X16 slot.
- Effective VRM Cooling
- 2 NVMe Gen 5 SSD
- Plethora of USB ports
- USB Type-C Gen 2
- Quick Flash Plus
- EZ-Latch on PCIe Slot
- EZ-Latch on M.2 Ports
- Overall good performance
- No X4 PCIe Slot
- No External Temperature Sensor Ports
- No Debug LED
Earlier we took a look at the X670E AORUS MASTER motherboard from the GIGABYTE. In this content, we are taking a spin on the B650 AORUS ELITE AX motherboard which is aimed more towards the upper-budget segment while still boasting some good features but without breaking the bank.
Let’s start with the salient features of the motherboard:
- AMD Socket AM5：Supports AMD Ryzen™ 7000 Series Processors
- Unparalleled Performance： Twin 14*+2+1 Phases Digital VRM Solution
- Dual Channel DDR5：4*SMD DIMMs with AMD EXPO™ & Intel® XMP Memory Module Support
- Next Generation Storage：1*PCIe 5.0 x4 and 2*PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 Connectors
- Fully Covered Heatpipe & M.2 Thermal Guard： To Ensure VRM Power Stability & 25110 PCIe 5.0 M.2 SSD Performance
- EZ-Latch： PCIe x16 Slot & M.2 Connectors with Quick Release & Screwless Design
- Fast Networks：2.5GbE LAN & Wi-Fi 6E 802.11ax
- Extended Connectivity：DP, HDMI, Rear USB-C® 10Gb/s, Front USB-C® 20Gb/s
- Smart Fan 6：Features Multiple Temperature Sensors, Hybrid Fan Headers with FAN STOP
- Q-Flash Plus： Update BIOS Without Installing the CPU, Memory, and Graphics Card
The twin above means 7 parallel phases.
The above picture shows the block diagram of the B650 AORUS ELITE AX motherboard. We can see that the CPU is providing native support for 1x PCIe x16 slot and 2x NVMe x4 ports but with a glaring difference. The M.2 port labeled as M2A_CPU is actually on Gen 5 bus whereas the PCIe x16 slot and M2B_CPU M.2 port are on the gen 4 bus. In simple words, this motherboard supports M.2 Gen 5 but there is no Gen 5-based PCIe slot.
The DDR5 support of up to 5200MHz is mentioned. This is with the help of a BIOS update. Since the new 7000 series CPUs will have iGPU, there is an HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 connectivity options from the CPU. There is one USB Type-C Gen 2 port and two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports along with a USB 2.0 hub which is driving up to 4x USB 2.0/1.1 ports.
The chipset is connected to the CPU socket using PCIe x4 bridging. The third M.2 port labeled as M2C_SB is on the Gen 4 bus. GIGABYTE has provided 3x M.2 ports in total with 2 being driven by Gen 4 bus and one on the Gen 5 bus. This is good news for storage lovers on a budget. There are two more PCIe slots that are on the Gen 3 bus and rated for X1 speed each. The very reason for being X1 speed is that they share the same bus with LAN and wireless connectivity. This also means that they are not related to the 4x SATA ports. We have ample USB connectivity with up to 13 connections including the front panel USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C port.
- Product: B650 AORUS ELITE AX
- Price: Price is TBD
Packaging and Unboxing
The motherboard is shipped inside a colorful box. The motherboard is PCIe 5.0 ready for the NVMe only. There is a colorful and stylish AORUS Falcon picture.
The backside of the box has the following 4 features highlighted:
- Fully covered MOSFET Covers
- 5GbE LAN
- 14+2+1 Power Phases
- Ei-Fi 6E
Take a glimpse of the motherboard with the box wide open.
- 1x Motherboard
- 1x WiFi Antenna
- 2x SATA Cables
- 1x Front Panel G Connector
- 1x M.2 Standoff
- 1x M.2 Screw
- 1x Paper Leaflet
There is no user manual provided in the box.
The B650 AORUS ELITE AX motherboard is a mid-range segment motherboard from the GIGABYTE. The motherboard has a standard ATX size and is still adequately feature-rich. GIGABYTE has retained the stenciling and design element from the previous generation however, at the same time, they have gone to another level in the design department of the motherboard to deliver a solid product for the enthusiasts. Let’s start exploring the motherboard.
The above picture illustrates the overview of the motherboard layout and features.
Taking a glance at the motherboard, we have a black color PCB. The heatsinks have black and gray color tone. The Chipset cover has RGB elements. So, the RGB Fusion 2.0 is somewhat in play for the user on this motherboard because the lighting is not that elaborative. GIGABYTE has given due consideration to the cooling requirement of the key components all around. The chipset area is covered in tandem with the M.2 ports cover giving one stylish outlook.
We have a new AM5 socket, 4x DIMM slots for DDR5 RAM, 3x PCIe slots at X16/X2/X2, 4x SATA ports, a plethora of USB ports, an on-board audio solution driven by Realtek ALC897, RealTek 2.5 GbE NIC, on-board WiFi 6E and nice handy I/O connectivity options. The 8-layered and 2x Copper PCB has a standard ATX form factor measuring 30.5cmX24.4cm and has support for Microsoft Windows 10 and 11.
Let’s dive in.
CPU Socket, Heatsink, VRM, and Power Delivery
The B650 AORUS ELITE AX motherboard features a new socket from AMD named AM5. It is named LGA 1718 as AMD has resorted to Land Grid Array (LGA). The previous generation of Ryzen series CPUs is not compatible with this socket. This is a flip-chip design supporting new 7000 series CPUs and DDR5 memory modules. There is a protective cover over the socket area.
The above picture shows the socket after removing the protective cover. The socket looks segmented into two. Take note of the brackets on the top and at the bottom of the socket. They are the same design as we have seen on the previous generation AM4 sockets. Since the socket size is the same, any cooler compatible with the socket AM4 (using stock AMD backplate or hook-style installation) can be installed on the AM5 as well. AMD in this way has provided a good solution for the customer as they would not need to upgrade or change the cooling solution for the new socket.
The motherboard has support for an Integrated Graphics Processor as follow:
- 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 3840×[email protected] Hz, Support for DisplayPort 1.4 version and HDR.
- 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×[email protected] Hz, Support for HDMI 2.1 version and HDCP 2.3.
The PS8209A is a low-power HDMI shifter and redriver which is compliant with HDMI 2.0 specifications up to 6.0Gbps.
From a cooling perspective, GIGABYTE has implemented an effective solution. There is a massive heatsink underneath the I/O cover. TMOS is a single-piece heatsink. Its one-piece design and larger surface drastically improve the cooling performance against competitors’ multi-piece designs. TMOS features several channels and inlets on the heatsink. This design allows for the airflow to go through which leads to a great improvement of the heat transfer performance.
The above picture shows the I/O cover from a different angle. The elegant design speaks for itself.
The above picture shows the beefy cooling solution for the provided MOSFETs and VRM.
Both heatsinks are connected using a 6mm thick copper heat pipe. The thermal pads are rated for up to 7W/mK.
Since we are at it, let’s take a look at the power delivery of the motherboard.
The B650 AORUS ELITE AX motherboard has adequate digital power phases. There are 14 phases in parallel (not direct) for the VCore using Infineon TDA21472 SPS 70A making it 980A which is quite low compared to the 1680A on the X670E AORUS MASTER. Then there are 2x MOSFETs for SOC using ON NCP303160 SPS 60A with a total of 120A for SOC for stable power delivery to the iGPU.
Lastly, we have 1x MOSFET for MISC using Renesas ISL99390 SPS 30A for stable power delivery to the PCIe lanes. In terms of power delivery, this motherboard seems adequate enough in this range though twin digital 14 phases sound like a doubler design to me.
The above picture shows the SOC MOSFET ON NCP303160.
The above picture shows the VCore MOSFET Infineon TDA21472.
GIGABYTE has employed Infineon VRM controller XDPE192C3B for integrated control of all three types of MOSFETs.
The last piece of the puzzle for the CPU socket is the EPS connector. GIGABYTE has provided 1x 8-pin+1×4-pin EPS connectors to ensure a buttery smooth power supply.
The B650 AORUS ELITE AX motherboard has 4x DDR5-based DIMM slots which are not SMD stainless-steel reinforced. There is no anti-plate bending support. The DDR5 up to 6600MHz is supported (with BIOS update). By default, the board supports 4400, 4800, and 5200MHz. A total of up to 128GB RAM capacity is supported with a single stick density of 32GB. This is Dual Channel architecture and supports un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules.
This board supports AMD EXPO and Intel XMP profiles. EXPO stands for Extended Profiles for Overclocking. GIGABYTE AM5 MB supports both AMD EXPO and Intel XMP overclocking memory modules for maximal compatibility. MB will automatically detect both profiles format in SPD, users can choose to enable one of the profiles from the BIOS menu and easily reach overclocked memory performance.
This board supports DDR5 Auto Booster to 5000MHz. This is a one-click operation that can be done in the UEFI/BIOS. The user can define and create their own SPD profile in Native, EXPO, and XMP 3.0 memory modules. One user-defined profile can be saved and loaded either locally or from/to an external storage device. This way the saved profile can be loaded on the other system and have that system configured in no time. The board also supports quick memory performance simulation based on user input clock and timing parameters.
By now, we know that some DDR5 modules come with locked PMIC (1.1V) whereas some high-end and high-performance kits come with unlocked PMIC. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The locked PMIC would hurt the overclocking of the kit only. One solution is to bypass the locking mechanism from the UEFI/BIOS and this is exactly what the X670E AORUS MASTER provides.
The user can take the advantage of the function and unlock the natively locked PMIC into a programmable one and push the kits beyond boundaries with a wide range of overclocking possibilities.
Another key feature is the PCB layering and how GIGABYTE has separated the DDR5 circuitry. All memory running is on the inner side or layer of the PCB or in other words, sandwiched between the layers of the PCB. This level of shielding coupled with daisy-chaining routing help in reducing noise or external interference and ensures stable memory operations even under high overclocking.
M.2 Ports and Thermal Guard
One of the salient features of AMD’s new platform is the support for upcoming Gen 5 base M.2 NVMe SSDs and we are seeing some jaw-dropping read/write speeds on those drives. The B650 chipset-based motherboard provides support for Gen 5 M.2 port.
This motherboard has a total of 3x M.2 ports. Two of these ports are wired directly to the CPU socket whereas the two are wired to the chipset. We have got some stylish M.2 covers for these ports.
The topmost slot has a single-layer heatsink with a thermal pad underneath for efficient heat transfer. M.2 SSD is written on the cover. This cover is separated from the other covers. It can be taken off by unscrewing a Philips screw and removing the cover from the slot.
The top port supports the new 25110/2280 form factor and is labeled M2A_CPU. This is a Gen 5 slot. This is the only slot on this motherboard featuring PCIe Gen 5 x4. This port features the EZ-Latch which is a tool-free way to install the M.2 SSD in the port. Say bye-bye to the screws!
The above picture shows the 2x M.2 ports. The top slot is wired to the CPU and is labeled as M2B_CPU. The second port is wired to the chipset and is labeled M2C_SB. Both ports are Gen 4 x4 slots. These support the 22110/2280 form factors. These ports also feature the EZ-Latch mechanism making life easy.
The above picture shows the installation of the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB Gen 4 SSD. Insert the SSD in the socket. Lift the locking tab/notch off the screw mount.
Press the SSD gently and push the locking notch on the mounting screw. That simple!
The above picture shows the M.2 NVMe port covers. They are made of aluminum material and have pre-applied thermal pads.
PCIe Slots and EZ-Latch Design
Now, let’s turn our attention to the PCIe slots on this motherboard. This motherboard has 3x PCIe slots.
The topmost PCIe slot is wired to the CPU socket and is a fully functional PCIe Gen 4 x4 slot with a theoretical bandwidth of 64GB/s. GIGABYTE has opted to provide a Gen 5-based M.2 port in line with AMD’s specifications of the B650 chipset. This slot is SMD stainless-steel reinforced. This Ultra Durable PCIe Armor Stainless steel provides reinforced tensile strength. As we have seen on the previous GIGABYTE motherboards, this motherboard is using double locking bracket for the topmost slot.
GIGABYTE has provided an extended PCIe locker which is implemented on top of the standard locker. This is what they refer to EZ-Latch which makes it convenient to remove the graphics card from the slot. Since this extended locker arm is extending the top NVMe slot, it is easier to access in otherwise the space-constrained area.
There are two non-stainless steel PCIe slots. These are PCIe Gen 3 slots and both are rated at X1 speed. I am wondering about this implementation though. There should have at least been one X4-rated PCIe slot for add-in card support. Anyhow, the main reason for rating these at X1 is that they shared the single PCIe Gen 3 bus with the wireless and wired connectivity provision. I would have preferred a bit lower USB count in favor of one fully X4 PCIe slot.
Now, it is time to take a look at the B650 chipset area.
There is a slotted pattern stylish cover on the chipset area. There is a gray color stenciling on the top with AORUS SERIES printed over it. Team Up, Fight On tagline is printed at the bottom. The size of this cover is enough to tell that we have a single chipset underneath unlike the X670E. There are 4x screws on the backside of the PCB. Removing them will release the cover.
Behold the B650 chipset! We have a simple layout with a power delivery circuit on the right. I am guessing this chipset would draw near 7W or so hence we have a passive cooling for it.
The power delivery to the chipset is being managed by AS358 and a couple of PDC3908X N-channel MOSFETs. These are 30V MOSFETs which I think are rated for 46 A.
The above picture shows the lower section of the motherboard with all covers removed.
This is the only area on the motherboard with RGB lighting.
The audio solution on this motherboard is pretty ordinary, using RealTek ALC897 codec to drive the audio solution. This is just an ok solution which could have been better in my opinion.
The above picture shows the well-shielded Audio circuitry. This motherboard is not using high-end WIMA capacitors. We only have Fine-Gold capacitors to drive the power of the circuit. This is not a Hi-Res Audio solution. AORUS motherboards feature an audio noise guard that essentially separates the board’s sensitive analog audio components from potential noise pollution at the PCB level.
The above picture shows the ALC897-VB controller from Realtek. The onboard sound solution is not capable of delivering the DTS:X Ultrasound experience.
We have two main areas here:
- Wireless connectivity
- Wired connectivity
GIGABYTE has provided a single 2.5GbE LAN chip using RealTek RTL8125BG on this motherboard. There is a single RJ-45 port on the back panel for the wired network connectivity. The 2.5GbE provide roughly double the speed of that 1GbE connectivity for a better online gaming experience. The Ethernet port supports 10/100/1000/2500Mbps.
The Intel Wi-Fi module is implemented on the mSATA NGGF port on the rear I/O panel. The main driving force is the MediaTek MT7922 (RZ616) chip capable of Wi-Fi 6E connectivity. The latest Wireless solution 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6E with a new dedicated 6GHz band enables gigabit wireless performance providing smooth video streaming, a better gaming experience, lesser dropped connections, and speeds up to 2.4Gbps. The motherboard features Bluetooth 5.3 protocol.
Some of the key benefits of Wi-Fi 6E compared to Wi-Fi 5 are:
- 40% faster speed for a smoother gaming/streaming experience
- 50% higher resolution for video game-related content
- Better battery life for VR devices
GIGABYTE has provided a Wi-Fi antenna in the box with a magnetic base for convenient mounting.
First, we take a look at USB connectivity from the CPU socket:
- 1 x USB Type-C® port on the back panel, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support
- 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red) on the back panel
- CPU + USB 2.0 Hub: 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports on the back panel
RTS5411 is an advanced USB3.0 4-port HUB controller, which integrates USB3.0 and USB2.0 Transceivers, MCU, SIE, regulator, and charger circuits into a single chip. RTS5411 is fully backward compatible with USB2.0 and USB1.1 specifications which can be operated in Super-Speed, High-Speed, Full-Speed, and Low-Speed.
Now, we take a look at the USB connectivity from the chipsets:
- 1 x USB Type-C® port with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support, available through the internal USB header
- 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (1 port on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
- 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB headers
- Chipset+USB 3.2 Gen 1 Hub: 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports on the back panel
We can see the plethora of USB connectivity options on this motherboard.
This board has USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 over Type-C interface providing a theoretical bandwidth of 20Gbps. The rear USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C® is capable of a 10Gbps transfer rate.
Now that we have covered the main features, functions, and design of the motherboard, let’s take a look at the internal connectors.
On the top of the motherboard we have:
- 4-Pin PWM CPU FAN Header
- 4-Pin PWM CPU OPT Header
- 4-Pin System Fan Header
- 2x Standard 12V 4-pin RGB Connectors
- 1x Standard 5V 3-pinA-RGB Connector
All fan headers including pump headers are rated for 2A, 24W power.
GIGABYTE is using nuvoton 3947S controller for the PWM fan headers.
We have a solid pin 24-pin ATX connector here which is not stainless-steel reinforced.
Top right conn
We have the following:
- 1x 2-pin BIOS Reset Jumper
- 1x Reset Button
- 1x 4-pin PWM System Fan Header
RST_SW button is programmable in three configurations:
- RGB Switch: Turn off all lighting effects on the motherboard.
- Direct-To-BIOS: Boot into the BIOS menu directly without pressing any keyboard button.
- Safe Mode: Boot into BIOS safe mode to change specific options without losing other BIOS settings.
The button can be programmed in the UEFI/BIOS.
There are LED indicators above. These are for the VGA, CPU, BOOT, and DRAM. They provide additional troubleshooting aid to the user above the debug LED. In case of an issue, the corresponding LED will remain lit until the issue is resolved.
Next, we have a Front Panel USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C header.
Next, we have 4x S-ATA 6Gbps ports followed by a USB 3.2 Gen 1 header.
Starting from the right side, we have:
- System Panel Connector
- 1x 4-pin PWM System Fan Header
- 2x USB 2.0 Headers
- LED Demo Button
- 1x 4-pin PWM System Fan Header
- TPM Header
- ESPI_DB Header
- 3-pin 5V RGB Header
- 4-pin 12V RGB Header
- Front Panel Audio Header
This is a Rev 1.0 version of the motherboard. There will also be a Rev1.1 motherboard that
The following options are provided:
- 1 x Q-Flash Plus button
- 2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x HDMI port
- 1 x USB Type-C® port, with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support
- 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red)
- 5 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
- 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
- 1 x RJ-45 port
- 3 x audio jacks
The Q-Flash Plus allows the user to update the BIOS of the motherboard without installing the CPU/RAM etc. There is a Q-Flash LED Indicator on the top of the button. A USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port is dedicated to the Q-Flash Plus BIOS update. There is a BIOS word written on its label for easy identification. The user would need to download the BIOS file from the GIGABYTE website.
Rename it to GIGABYTE.BIN and copy it to a FAT 32 formatted USB flash drive. Connect the USB to the above-mentioned port. Connect the 12V and 24V connectors from the PSU to the motherboard. Turn the PSU on and press the Q-Flash Plus button.
The LED will start blinking fast indicating that it is searching for the BIOS file. Once the BIOS flashback is completed the LED will turn off and the PSU will shut down and restart. The BIOS is updated.
The above picture shows the backside view of the motherboard. There is a non-removable AMD backplate over the top. The chipset screws have rubber washers between them and the PCB.
The above picture shows the PCB with all heatsink covers removed.
We have an iTE8689E chip for I/O control.
This motherboard is using 1 x 256 Mbit flash chip from winband which supports PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, and ACPI 5.0.
There are 2x NIKOS P2003ED coupled with 4C10N MOSFETs which are N-Channel rated at 30V, 46A. Then there is a PDC3908AX MOSFET in what seems to be a 3-high, 1-low configuration.
The last page is the Save and Exit options. The user can define the profiles and load them later on. The optimized Defaults can also be loaded from here.
GIGABYTE Control Center
Now that we have covered the UEFI/BIOS and GIGABYTE Control Center, let us turn to the testing of the motherboard.
The following test bench setup is used to test the performance of the motherboard:
- AMD Ryzen 7 7700X [Auto, Stock]
- DeepCool LS720 [Fans and Pump at full speed]
- Sabrent Rocket 32GB DDR5 @ 4800MHz
- MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio
- be quiet! Straight Power 11 1000W Platinum
- Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB PCIe 4 NVMe SSD
- Samsung 840 EVO 1 TB SSD for the Games
- Praxis Wetbench
- 2x SilverStone Air Penetrator 120SK A-RGB fans
Microsoft Windows 11 x64 Pro version 22H2 was used for all the testing. Nvidia 517.48 drivers were used for graphics card testing.
Following is the test suite: –
Storage Drive Tests
- Crystal Disk Mark
- 3DMARK Storage Test
- Cinebench R23
- CPU Profile
- GeekBench 5
- Hyper Pi
- AIDA64 Engineer
- AIDA64 Engineer
Overall System Tests
- Performance Test
- User Benchmark
For gaming and synthetic bench are used:
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- DOOM Eternal
- Battlefield V
- Far Cry 5
The above picture shows the CPU-Z values of the platform.
Overall System Performance
This section will show the results of the various test suites and gaming benchmarks that we have run on this motherboard.
Overall, we have got ourselves a workstation-grade powerful PC that is adequate enough to handle any given task.
3DMark CPU Profile
The overall CPU performance is good.
We have got some read and write speeds but they come at the cost of high latency.
We were able to push the Sabrent Rocket DDR5 kit from 4800MHz to 6200MHz and tighten the timings from 40-40-40-77 to 36-36-36-76. We have a good boost in the Write and Copy operations but the read speeds have a marginal gain. The same is the case with the Latency with a marginal improvement. This does not give any significant performance enhancement when tested in the games and the synthetic benchmarks.
Next, we installed the XPG Lancer RGB 32GB kit which is rated at 6000MHz using 40-40-40-76 timing. We ran the AIDA64 memory benchmark with Low Latency Support and XMP/EXPO High Bandwidth Support disabled and then rerun the test with both settings enabled. We saw good improvement in the transfer rate as well as the latencies.
Storage and USB Performance
We have included Sabrent Rocket Nano 2TB drive in the testing as it is a USB Type-C Gen 2 interface drive capable of 10Gbps transfer rate (theoretically). Since we have a USB Type-C Gen 2 port on the back panel, hence its testing is included.
CrystalDiskMark NVMe SSD
CrystalDisMark Rocket Nano 2TB
ATTO NVMe SSD
ATTO Rocket Nano 2TB
3DMARK Storage NVMe SSD
The storage performance is good as well. This motherboard is not holding anything back.
3DMark Time Spy Extreme
Red Dead Redemption 2
Far Cry 5
Power Consumption and Thermals
We have left all the settings in the UEFI/BIOS on auto and stock. We only set the Fans and pump speed to run at 100% all the time. The motherboard picked the Memory timing and frequency correctly since the Sabrent Rocket DDR5 kits are running at JEDEC default. The power mode was Balanced in the Windows. The system was left idle for 30 minutes with HWInfo64 running in the background recording the values.
|CPU||RAM||NVMe SSD||Graphics Card|
|Idle Power Draw||12.448W [Package]||0.125W||N/A||82.551 (Rail)|
The frequencies on the cores were in the range of 3000MHz+
Next, the Cinebench R23 System Stability test was run for 30 minutes to record the thermals, power, and frequency behavior.
- The temperature of the CPU was 95.4°C with a VCore value of 1.404V. The frequencies were in the range of 5000MHz. The package power draw was 123.187W.
- The graphics card under gaming load was drawing near 395W power with a maximum temperature of 75° We used a custom fan curve for the graphics card so the fans were running at high speed.
- The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus NVMe SSD was doing 60°C under load.
The SilverStone Air Penetrator 120SK A-RGB was blowing focused air toward the graphics card and NVMe ports at its full speed.
We have used the Hti HT18 Thermal camera to record the thermals of the VRM area of the motherboard under load using Cinebench R23.
The MOSFETs were operating at around 42.2°C at an ambient of 31°C. The onboard sensor reported 41°C. So, we can say that the error margin is reduced and the temperature is near accurate though we did not use the external temperature sensor on the back of the motherboard. The SilverStone Air Penetrator 120SK A-RGB was blowing focused air at its full speed towards the CPU socket area.
GIGABYTE B650 AORUS ELITE AX is the third-highest motherboard in the B650 lineup. Don’t expect the price to be that low on this mid-range, budget-segment motherboard. This motherboard is powered by an AMD B650 chipset coupled with the AM5 socket. It has adequate features though some hit-and-miss design elements are observed. GIGABYTE has focused on durability and high-performance in this motherboard. The motherboard features an AM5 socket compatible with AMD 7000 series CPUs and DDR5 slots. The DIMM slots are not SMD reinforced as we have seen in the X670E AORUS MASTER and but they are implemented on another PCB layer with multiple shielding to ensure maximum and stable performance.
We have a total of 3x PCIe slots. There is no Gen PCIe slot on this motherboard instead we have a Gen 5-based M.2 NVMe SSD port wired to the CPU. The top PCIe slot is Gen 4 x16 and wired to the CPU. The other two PCIe slots are wired to the chipset on the Gen 3 bus and both are rated at X1 speed (my complaint here). At least one should have been X4! The very reason is the chipset implementation. Both slots shared the bus with the M.2 Wi-Fi 6E module, and 2.5GbE LAN.
When it comes to the M.2 ports, this motherboard features 1x M.2 NVMe Gen 5 port at x4 speed whereas there are two more ports. One of them is wired to the CPU socket and it is Gen 4 port at X4 speed. The last port is connected to the chipset and is still Gen 4 X4.
There are tons of USB ports and hubs on this motherboard including the 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C port (on the mid-board for the front panel) and 1x USB Type-C Gen port on the Rear I/O. GIGABYTE has provided Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 wireless connectivity in addition to the Intel 2.5GbE LAN port. The WiFi module is from MediaTek and the 2.5GbE LAN is from RealTek. Not sure why but one clue would be expensive Intel equivalent chips. However, GIGABYTE has mentioned that the Rev 1.1 of this motherboard will have Intel chips for wireless and wired connectivity. For troubleshooting, there are LED indicators. There is a button that is programmable from the UEFI/BIOS.
GIGABYTE has employed TMOS-based massive heatsinks for effective cooling of the VRM/MOSFETs. It is a one-piece design and a larger surface improves the cooling performance. TMOS features several channels and inlets on the heatsink. This design allows for the airflow to go through which leads to a great improvement in the heat transfer performance. Both heatsinks are connected with a 6mm nickel-plated copper heat pipe. The thermal pads are rated at 7 W/mK. The Thermal Guard helps to keep the temperature of M.2 SSDs in check. GIGABYTE has provided single-sided thermal pads for the SSDs.
There is an EZ-Latch on the top PCIe slot which is actually an extender of the locker and it makes it easier to access the locker in a space-constrained area and makes a low-profile locker latch to a high profile. The M.2 SSD ports have EZ-Latch which is a tool-free mechanism to install the SSDs.
The Audio solution is ordinary as it is driven by RealTek ALC897. SuperIO chip is from iTE 8689E. There are 6 fans/pump headers each rated for 24W using 2A. These are powered and controlled by nuvoton 3947S. There are 5 onboard thermal sensors. There is no external sensor.
The CPU power delivery includes twin digital 14 phases governed by Infineon XDPE192C3B PWM controller with Infineon TDA21472 SPS 70A MOSFET. These are for the VCore. There are 2x ON NCP303160 SPS 60A MOSFET for SOC (iGPU) and 1x Renesas ISL99390 SPS 30A MOSFET for MISC (PCIe Lanes).
One should take full advantage of the XMP/EXPO High Bandwidth and Low Latency Support settings. Enable both settings in the UEFI/BIOS and you will see improvement in the overall transfer rates and more importantly the latency. We saw latency dropping from 73.5 to 61.7ns and the read/write/copy speeds were improved as well.
The latest BIOS f2b was used for the testing. For some reason, we saw and downloaded the f2c BIOS from their site but later on it was removed. The overall performance of the motherboard is quite good as it has chewed whatever we have thrown at it. The B650 would be the main-stream selling boards based on the balanced feature set and pricing since the high-end boards particularly in the X670E/X670 are quite high priced-tag. The MOSFET cooling is quite good. The storage and the gaming performance is good as well. The network connectivity is fine as well. The audio solution is just ok but still covers the majority of the need. GIGABYTE is offering 1+2 warranty on this motherboard.
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