Benchmark Results & Final Analysis
We ran our basic benchmarks and power tests with XMP disabled and CPU-based power-saving technologies enabled in firmware.
The B450 Gaming-ITX/ac started out with a noticeable lead in our least-stressful 3DMark settings, but the lead diminished as the test settings were made increasingly more stressful. Clicking through to SiSoftware’s Sandra, we found marginal differences in CPU performance that can’t account for any noticeable changes in 3DMark, along with increased DRAM bandwidth that might have helped.
Cinebench and Compubench finish our synthetic series by again showing no appreciable difference in GPU-heavy workloads.
If we’re to credit improved memory bandwidth for the B450 Gaming-ITX/ac’s gains in certain synthetics, those same advantages should be visible in our lower Ashes of the Singularity settings, as well as both F1 2015 results. And that was indeed the case.
Metro LL Redux rarely improves with memory bandwidth, primarily reflecting losses for severe bandwidth deficits, yet the B450 Gaming-ITX/ac still achieved the highest number of frames per second (fps) at our lower game settings. It even had a slight lead in Talos.
The B450 Gaming-ITX/ac started out slightly slower than comparison boards in our mixed workloads, but somehow burst through Adobe Illustrator with an illustratable lead.
The B450 board also led in Microsoft Word (yawn) but then fell behind in PowerPoint.
Power, Heat & Efficiency
Our power tests aren’t so powerful any longer since the top three boards throttle down under full CPU load: the B450 Gaming-ITX/ac to 3,975MHz at 199W; the X370 Gaming ITX/ac to 3,875MHz at 184W; and the Racing X470GT8 to 3,825MHz at 186W. Fortunately, the B450 Gaming-ITX/ac held up to load long enough for us to get a somewhat-accurate maximum continuous (over several seconds) power reading of 208W at full clock speed.
Unfortunately, efficiency ratings need to be taken with two grains of salt since the two boards in the middle of our charts throttled so severely. The only definitive result is the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi’s win.
Setting an overclock is a great way to get rid of default power throttling, though small boards with small heat sinks require an additional fan over the voltage regulator when pushing clocks extra high. The killer stat is that the B450 Gaming-ITX/ac achieved the second highest overclock in spite of a core voltage that sagged from our 1.40V setting to a mere 1.344V under full load. The board also had very comparable numbers to its top rivals in DRAM overclocking, despite the 1.319V vDIMM that we had to use to keep its voltage from exceeding our test ceiling.
Though all three top boards reached DDR4-3600 (give or take a small difference in reference clock), the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi showed a clear advantage in bandwidth.
Cheapskates should love that our Performance Per Dollar chart—aka Bang-for-Your-Buck graph—only reflects performance and dollars. The B450 Gaming-ITX/ac is clearly 'less board' than its ATX rivals and also has a lower-cost chipset than its X370 sibling.
The actual price savings compared to the previous-generation X370 Gaming-ITX/ac of $30 is large enough for us to write off the older board in favor of the B450 version. There simply isn’t enough space on a Mini-ITX board to flesh out the extra features of an X-series chipset.
As for the comparison with ATX boards, thus was really just an attempt at proving the little board could keep up with the big guys when overclocking. Big boards usually have more features because they have more space for those features. The Biostar Racing X470GT8, for example, has far more interfaces and even overclocks the CPU better…but it’s only an option if you’re in the full-ATX market.
Apart from a couple missing USB 3.0 ports, the B450 Gaming-ITX/ac makes great use of the B450 chipset’s capabilities in a form factor that can’t support much more, while keeping up with the X470 boards, the Biostar and Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi, on both performance and overclocking. It does all of these things at a lower cost, making it a performance bargain for those who can live with the confines of Mini-ITX.
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