The B360 market must be a battleground for building a new PC: it offers almost all the features needed for everyone. There is a lot of scope for motherboard manufacturers to be creative in this space, and still offer products at affordable prices: ASUS takes here is the Strix B360-G Gaming, a microATX offering that dives deep into the ROG Strix brand. For users who want to build a single GPU game system, ASUS thinks they have a board that you should see.
Overview of the ASUS ROG Strix B360G-Gaming
In our ongoing series of Coffee Lake motherboards, we are again looking at B360-based offerings, but this time from ASUS in the form of B360-G Gaming. This board is one of the first MicroATX size boards that we have reviewed on this platform and promises a number of competitive game features with a low overall price. In this case, we see additional slots for up to 64GB of RAM capture capacity, as well as several PCIe slots for expansion, integrated rear panel, enhanced audio, and game related styles. There are two M.2 slots, six SATA ports, and the first PCIe slot enriched using Safeslot from ASUS. Between full-length slots are two x1 slots for expansion purposes. Compared to the Z370-F Gaming, which is a mini-ITX motherboard, we get an increase in size on the power delivery heatsink, which will help eliminate heat better than smaller implementations. The board also includes USB 3.1 ports (10 Gbps) as well.
Hardware highlights, one of the clearer design elements here are all writing motifs that cut their way to the PCB. We can see ROG-branded sayings in red and gray moving from the upper left corner of the board that extends and reaches the lower right corner of the board. Some users may like and want this branding, others may not. The design choices are quite polarizing - users will like it or move away from it. Other design features include a red LED (only) on the bottom side of the board that runs along the audio separation line. The LED style / action can be changed with the software, but the color cannot be changed. Overall, the black and red color scheme can go into many build themes in typical 'gaming' mode, but the lack of flexibility in LEDs and writing on the board can be a turn-off.
The overall performance for this motherboard is generally competitive. One standout performance was in Non-UEFI POST times with Strix B360-G Gaming past POST at 16.7 seconds which was the second fastest POST time we have seen. Beyond that, other results float around normally for the remaining tests and are done well without having to raise the power limit to do so - something we have seen on some other non-overclocking chipset boards that we have tested.
Because overclocking is not really an option on this chipset, the choice of boards really comes to features and ports, appearance, and price. The main difference between this and other ASUS B360-G Gaming in its price range includes the number of M.2 slots (GIGABYTE and SuperMicro boards have one, the remaining two), the number of SATA ports (MSI only has four, the rest, 6), audio codecs (boards this is the only one based on the latest and greatest Realtek solution), USB implementation, and video output to mention some differences. Other boards may be a little easier on the eyes without all the words / stencils in the middle, but the beauty is in the eyes of those who see them.
ASUS ROG Strix B360-G Gaming is currently priced at around $ 100 at Amazon.com, behind the Supermicro C7B360-CB-M and its Wi-Fi variant, C7B360-CB-MW, for $ 130 and $ 140 respectively . Other competitors include the Biostar B360GT3S at $ 93, the MSI B360M Mortar Titanium ($ 104), ASRock B360M Pro4 ($ 82), and the GIGABYTE B360M D3H at a lower price at $ 77.
ASUS' B360 Strategy
ASUS has a lot of options in varying sizes and types in their B360 motherboard lineup. There is a single Micro-ITX offering, six MicroATX boards, and six ATX size boards. We see boards from the TUF series and Prime series with many of the boards with the 'gaming' nomenclature in their titles. Prices range from $80-$140.
Information about Intel CPU-Lake Desktop CPU Processors
An important part of the information to note: technically this processor uses the LGA1151 socket, also used by the 6th and 7th Generation processors using the Z170 and Z270 chipsets. But due to some (albeit small) differences in pin layout of these two processor circuits, the 8th Generation Coffee Lake will only function on the Z370 board and not cross compatible. Back in October 2017, Ian Cutress reviewed several processors (i7-8700K and i5-8400) in the Coffee Lake range - details about the remaining product stacks are listed below.
The ASUS ROG Strix B360-G Gaming Review
In this review, we have the following pages:
- Visual Inspection
- BIOS and Software
- Board Features
- System Performance
- CPU Performance
- Gaming Performance