Our laboratory has already managed to get acquainted with the best representatives of motherboard families based on the AMD B350 chip from Gigabyte and ASRock. Today it’s ASUS’s turn, which at the time of this writing has the same number of board models, namely five pieces. The oldest belongs to the ROG Strix line and therefore they ask for it noticeably more than the rest. We will focus on the Prime B350-Plus, the top model in the series of «regular» Prime products.
The participant of the review is made in the ATX format and has a group of radiators on the elements of the voltage regulator for the CPU. There are no bright «gaming» features here, that is, the network and sound subsystem do not use the best of the controller models. Almost all interfaces originate from AMD solutions.
The exception is a couple of PCI slots, they are almost never found on modern motherboards. To implement them, we used the ASM1083 controller.
|Model||ASUS Prime B350-Plus|
|Official product page on the Web||asus.com|
|Processor socket||AMD AM4|
|Processors||AMD Series: Athlon X4, A6, A8, A10, A12, Ryzen 3, Ryzen 3 Pro, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 5 Pro, Ryzen 7, Ryzen 7 Pro|
|Memory||4 DIMM DDR4 SDRAM 2133/2400/2666/2933*/3200*(OC), 64 GB maximum|
|PCI slots||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16) — CPU
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x8) — APU/Athlon
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (x4) — B350
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 — B350
|M.2||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4 (Key M, 2242/2260/2280/22110) — CPU
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x2 (Key M, 2242/2260/2280/22110) — APU/Athlon
|Integrated video core (in APU)||Radeon Series: R7, R5|
|Video connectors||HDMI 1.4b, DVI-D, D-Sub|
|Number of connected fans||3x 4pin|
|PS/2 ports||1 (keyboard/mouse)|
|The port is USB||2 x 3.1 Gen2 (2 connectors on the rear panel, B350)
4 x 3.1 Gen1 (4 connectors on the rear panel, CPU/APU/Athlon)
2 x 3.1 Gen1 (no connectors on the rear panel, B350)
6 x 2.0 (2 connectors on the rear panel, B350)
|Serial ATA||4 x SATA 6 Gb/s (B350)
2 x SATA 6Gb/s (CPU/APU/Athlon)
|RAID||0, 1, 10 (HOURS, B350)|
|Built-in sound||Codec — Realtek ALC887 (7.1, HDA)|
|S/PDIF||Connector on the board (output)|
|Networking||Realtek 8111H (Gigabit Ethernet)|
|Dimensions, mm||305 x 237|
|Additional features||Two PCI slots (ASMedia ASM1083), RGB LED cooler header, AMD 2-Way CrossFireX support|
|Retail price, $||111|
Packaging and equipment
The box is small. On the front side there is a photo of the product with an emphasis on the basic lighting system — it is one-color.
On the reverse side there is a small table with characteristics and a clearer photo of the board. Since the product does not have any features as such, a lot of attention went to basic things like for 2017, like the M.2 interface and USB 3.1. There is no mention of software maintenance.
Starter class delivery set:
- quick start guide (in English);
- DIY Guide QR code, leading to the page of the official website, which contains detailed instructions for assembling a PC;
- short multilingual user manual for PC assembly;
- an additional booklet with information on the need to comply with a number of safety measures when assembling and operating the system;
- disk with drivers and proprietary software;
- plug for the body, standard version — with embossed symbols and icons for designating sockets;
- two SATA 6Gb / s cables, one of which has an L-shaped connector on one of the ends;
- mounting screw and stand for M.2 devices.
The width of the product did not reach ATX standards, and therefore it has only six mounting holes in the case. The board completely lacks auxiliary buttons, switches or status indicators. There is only a backlight, it is used in the zone of the insulating gap of the audio codec, two paws from full-length PCI-E x16 slots are also highlighted.
There are almost no electronic components at the back, if you do not take into account the red LEDs.
The radiator on the hub is quite simple, but it turned out to be enough for a normal temperature regime. I did not record the heating of the back of the board in this place above 42 ° C.
Four transverse SATA sockets are moved to the lower right corner. Most likely, they are directly related to the B350 resources.
Two more — transverse type. These are noticeably higher and, most likely, belong to the CPU, although they are simply numbered in a row — the fifth and sixth.
The only footprint for M.2 format devices allows installation of any standard sizes. The resources of it and the previous two SATA texts are combined. The marking on the board indicates the direct purpose of the LED block for the cooler.
In total, there can be four and two USB jacks — the second and third generations, respectively. Cables will be connected to the pin sockets located at the bottom edge.
The gray PCI-E x16 socket is connected to the CPU, while the black one can be supported up to four lanes from the hub.
For the sound, they chose the simplest, by today’s standards, Realtek ALC887, in addition to it, an op-amp is not provided. The network controller is also from the simplest models of the same company. The multicontroller has a modest size, it is unlikely that the number of parameters monitored in real time will be large. The ASM1083 has the largest dimensions, providing a pair of PCI slots.
The location of the socket is somewhat unusual, it is slightly shifted to the center of the board, which can become a problem in case of using large cooling systems and a video card with a plate on the back side.
The PWM controller model is far from new, we saw it in the ASUS F2A85-M LE, this is ASP1106. You can find six external drivers on the board, that is, the work is formed according to the 4 + 2 phase scheme. Four channels are needed for the voltage of the CPU cores, two for NB (SOC) Voltage. Power cells manufactured by ON Semiconductor are NTMFS4C09B and NTMFS4C06B, often used by ASUS engineers. Two units of each type take part in each “phase” of SOC Voltage, but for CPU Voltage there is already one NTMFS4C09B less, three transistors are used in total.
Already from the snapshot of the VRM zone, it was noticeable how partial the contact between the thermal pad and transistors is. It is difficult to explain this approach of developers. All radiators are fastened with spring-loaded plastic nails.
Behind there is a sufficient number of USB sockets of various generations. There are also three video outputs. You can guess about the inexpensive status of the product by the lack of an optical output, and even three audio jacks may not be enough. Stuttering about symmetrical USB 3.1 Gen2 should not be at all.