Tom's Hardware Verdict
Priced around $220, the Asus ROG Strix B660-I gaming WIFI is one of the best B660 ITX motherboard options. Despite its size, it packs two PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 sockets, four SATA ports, integrated Wi-Fi 6, and a premium audio solution. Although it lacks RGBs, it will still look good as the centerpiece of your compact build.
Two M.2 sockets
PCIe 5.0 slot
Only six USB Type-A ports on Rear IO
Hot VRMs during stress testing
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The Asus ROG Strix B660-I Gaming WIFI may be the first Mini-ITX B660 board to land on our test bed, but it doesn’t disappoint. While the name may be a lot to get out, the price (for an ITX board) isn’t. Priced just under $220, it sits in the middle of other similar ITX boards and presents users with a well-rounded option in this space. The board comes loaded with features, including a PCIe 5.0 slot, dual M.2 sockets, last-gen flagship-class audio, integrated Wi-Fi 6 and the Asus ROG appearance that many love. In all, it’s a feature-rich ITX board at a reasonable price.
Performance in our test suite was average overall, with above-average results in the Procyon test suite. The rest of the results were close to the mean, and in most cases, you wouldn’t notice a performance difference between competing boards. Gaming performance was also spot on, easily mixing it up with the other boards. We saw some throttling of the CPU during stress testing, as most Alder-Lake B660 boards do at stock, but it did well even with heavily multi-threaded loads. Performance is not a concern.
Before we get into the details and see if this is a good board to build your Alder Lake-based system on (or even good enough to be on the best motherboards), here are the detailed specifications from Asus.
Specifications: Asus ROG Strix B660-I Gaming WIFI
|Voltage Regulator||9 Phase (8+1, 60A SPS MOSFETs for Vcore)|
|Video Ports||(1) HDMI (v2.1)|
|Row 5 - Cell 0||(1) DisplayPort (v1.4)|
|USB Ports||(1) USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C (20 Gbps)|
|Row 7 - Cell 0||(1) USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (10 Gbps)|
|Row 8 - Cell 0||(3) USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)|
|Row 9 - Cell 0||(3) USB 2.0 (480 Mbps)|
|Network Jacks||(1) 2.5 GbE|
|Audio Jacks||(5) Analog + SPDIF|
|PCIe x16||(1) v5.0 (x16)|
|DIMM Slots||(2) DDR5 6200+(OC), 64GB Capacity|
|M.2 Sockets||(2) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps) / PCIe (up to 80mm)|
|SATA Ports||(4) SATA3 6 Gbps (Supports RAID 0/1/5/10)|
|USB Headers||(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2, Type-C (10 Gbps)|
|Row 24 - Cell 0||(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2, Type-C (10 Gbps)|
|Row 25 - Cell 0||(1) USB v2.0 (480 Mbps)|
|Fan/Pump Headers||(3) 4-Pin (CPU, CPU_OPT, AIO Pump)|
|RGB Headers||(2) aRGB (3-pin)|
|Row 28 - Cell 0||(1) AURA RGB (4-pin)|
|Diagnostics Panel||Q-LEDs (Boot, VGA, DRAM, CPU)|
|Ethernet Controller(s)||Intel I225-V (2.5 Gbps)|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 (2x2 ax, MU-MIMO, 2.4/5/6 GHz, 160 MHz, BT 5.2)|
|USB Controllers||ASMedia1074, ASMedia1543|
|HD Audio Codec||ROG Supreme FX (Realtek) ALC1220A|
|DDL/DTS||✗ / DTS Sound Unbound|
Inside the Box of the Asus ROG Strix B660-I Gaming WIFI
Asus tosses in several accessories along with the Strix B660-I Gaming WIFI itself. While it isn’t the most complete set of accessories we’ve seen, the board does come with the basics to get you started, including a driver disk, SATA cables, Wi-Fi antenna, and even a USB 2.0 splitter cable for additional USB ports. Below is a complete list of the included extras.
- (2) SATA 6Gb/s cables
- ROG USB2.0 splitter cable
- Panel cable
- ASUS Wi-Fi moving antennas
- Cable tie
- (2) M.2 SSD screw packages
- M.2 bracket
- ROG key chain
- ROG STRIX stickers
- ROG STRIX thank you card
- Support DVD
- User manual
Design of the Asus Strix B660-I Gaming WIFI
Asus’ B660-I Gaming WIFI sports an eight-layer matte-black PCB with ROG Strix branding on the VRM and M.2 heatsinks. The left VRM heatsink blends in with the Rear IO cover, and is big enough with plenty of surface area to keep the MOSFETs below running cool. If you want RGBs, you’ll have to procure your own and attach them RGB/ARGB headers, as the B660-I Gaming is devoid of them otherwise, which seems to be a growing trend. Overall, we like the ROG Strix look on this tiny board, and it makes for a lovely centerpiece for your Alder Lake build.
Normally, we split the motherboard into top and bottom halves, but since there isn’t a lot of real estate to cover, we’ll go around it clockwise. To the left of the socket, there’s a large (for ITX) heatsink covering the left VRM bank, along with a tall heatsink covering the top set of VRMs. A single 8-pin EPS connector (required) to power the processor is along the top edge.
Just above the top heatsink, there are three 4-pin fan headers (CPU_FAN, CHA_FAN and AIO_PUMP) along with an ARGB (3-pin) and RGB (4-pin) headers. The CPU and Chassis fans default to Q-Fan control (via software or the BIOS) and output up to 1A/12W. The AIO_PUMP header runs full-speed by default and puts out up to 1A/12W. This should be enough for a small chassis and the few fans they generally need. However, I would like to see the AIO_PUMP able to output more (2A/24W) as that can be limiting to some custom loops/pumps.
Speaking of power delivery, Asus implements a nine-phase configuration, with eight phases dedicated to Vcore. Power comes from the 8-pin EPS connector and onto the Digi+ EPU chip (ASP2100) controller using a Teamed setup (one signal to two MOSFETs without a phase doubler) to the 8x 60A Sic643 MOSFETs. The 480A available to the CPU is a bit light compared to others but still did the job. Since you can’t overclock, I wouldn’t put too much stock in that value, but make sure there’s adequate airflow to keep these running within specification.
Just off to the right, we run into two unreinforced DRAM sockets. Asus lists support for up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM at speeds up to DDR5-6200+(OC). You’re limited in capacity compared to the larger boards with four slots, but few need more than the 64 GB provides in the first place. If you need more and still want to use a smaller form factor, Micro ATX and its four slots are your only option. We had no issues running either of our DDR5 kits. Typically ITX boards are better for memory overclocking (shorter traces, more stability), so I’d imagine there’s some still headroom available. How much more depends on your memory kit, processor, and overclocking skills.
Along the right edge of the board are several headers and connectors. From the top-down, we run into the 24-pin ATX connector to power the board, the system panel header, a front-panel USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Type-C connector and a USB 3.2 Gen1 (5 Gbps) header. Just below that are four vertically oriented SATA ports that support RAID0/1/5/10 modes.
Along the bottom edge is the full-length PCIe 5.0 slot. Assuming you’re using a dedicated graphics card, you have no other slots for expansion. So be sure these tiny boards have what you need before buying. Above the PCIe slot is the first (of two) M.2 sockets, with the other on the back. Both sockets support drives up to PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps) speeds and PCIe modules up to 80mm long. Note that the board supports PCIe-based M.2 modules but not SATA. Additionally, you can run all SATA ports and M.2 sockets concurrently and without reducing bandwidth.
Wedged between the PCIe slot and M.2 socket are a few headers. On the left are front panel audio, a clear CMOS jumper, SPDIF header, and USB 2.0 header. Also located in this area is the SupremeFX (Realtek ALC1220) codec, a couple of Nichicon Gold audio capacitors, and a Savitech SV3H712 amplifier to drive higher-end gaming headsets and Hi-Fi headphones. Of the B660 Mini ITX motherboards, this one uses the best audio codec (the others use a lower model in the ALC897 codec).
The rear IO area holds a pre-installed IO plate that matches the Asus ROG theme (black) and a small ROG symbol above the video outputs. Each port is labeled in white, which makes identifying them easy.
In total, there are seven USB ports around back. You get one USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20 Gbps) Type-C, One USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) Type-C, three USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) ports, and three USB 2.0 (480 Mbps) ports. Some may find the Type-A port count a bit low at six, so make sure you know how many you need from the rear IO area. Video outputs for your CPU’s integrated graphics consist of one HDMI and one DisplayPort. You’ll find the Intel-based 2.5 GbE port and the Wi-Fi 6 antenna mounts here as well. Last is the audio stack, consisting of 5 analog plugs and an optical SPDIF port.
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Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.
Nice review. I have this board and am very happy with it. Just one minor correction on page 1: there is no optical SPDIF port. However, there is a header for it on the board.Reply
I hope there is a similarly capable counterpart for AM5 / Ryzen 7000 platform. Would love to build a 64GB DDR5-6000, Ryzen 7950 5Ghz 16 core, Radeon RX 7950XT, Dual 4GB PCI4 m.2 system on an ITX board like this... It would work nicely in my modified SUGO-05BB mini-itx case w/ Corsair 750SFX.Reply
Would be the last custom PC I would build of my professional career... (my current one is an I7-3770K built in 2012 ..I'm not kidding... w/ it's original SSDs in use)
Better deal imo.Reply
https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16813145397GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS ULTRA LITE $149.99