Previously, we reviewed the least-expensive B550 MicroATX motherboards we could find using the Ryzen 9 3900X CPU. Though some couldn’t handle overclocking, we found that most of these boards had no issues dealing with the then-flagship Ryzen 9 3900X. So what if you want to use the newer Ryzen 9 5950X? For the most part, these boards can handle the new CPU at stock settings, but not PBO or overclocking. For that, you will need to step up a tier. To that end, we’re looking over the Gigabyte B550M Aorus Pro, which has better power delivery, more features, and a slightly higher price tag than entry-level B550 boards. Will it make our best B550 motherboards list?
The B550M Aorus Pro includes four SATA ports, a gigabit LAN port, two M.2 sockets (one with a heatsink), a solid audio section, and of course, a VRM said to be able to handle the 5950X. Compared to its little brother, the Gigabyte B550M DS3H, the Aorus Po has better audio, more USB ports and more robust power delivery, making this a well-rounded board for the latest AMD processors, especially if you plan on overclocking.
As far as appearance goes, the Aorus Pro is the first board in the company’s lineup that brings some premium aesthetics. It comes with a brushed-aluminum finish on the VRMs and a black PCB. The only integrated lighting on the board is a strip by the audio section. Any RGB lighting will have to be purchased separately and get plugged into the onboard headers. Still, it’s a step up compared to the bargain- basement B550 MicroATX boards we’ve looked at previously.
On the performance front, the Aorus Pro blended in well with the other results from our test pool. Our only anomalies come from the PCMark10 suite, where some of the benchmarks are a bit lower than expected. The board ran our processor up to 5 GHz, so we know boost was working correctly with this configuration. Overclocking was successful and happened without Issue. The N-channel MOSFETs ran extremely hot, but were within their operating parameters and did not throttle. Read on for details on the features and performance of the B550M Aorus Pro.
Specifications - Gigabyte B550M Aorus Pro
|Voltage Regulator||13 Phase (10+3)|
|Video Ports||HDMI (v2.1)|
|USB Ports||(2) USB 3.2 Gen 2, Type-A and Type-C (10 Gbps)|
|(4) USB 3.2 Gen 1, Type-A (5 Gbps)|
|(4) USB 2.0|
|Network Jacks||(1) 1 GbE|
|Audio Jacks||(5) Analog + SPDIF|
|PCIe x16||(1) v4.0 (x16)|
|(1) v3.0 (x4)|
|PCIe x1||(1) v3.0 (x1)|
|DIMM slots||(4) DDR4 4266+(OC), 128GB Capacity|
|M.2 slots||(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 / SATA + PCIe (up to 110mm)|
|(1) PCIe 3.0 x4 / SATA + PCIe (up to 80mm)|
|SATA Ports||(4) SATA3 6 Gbps (RAID 0, 1 and 10)|
|USB Headers||(1) USB v3.2 Gen 1|
|(2) USB v2.0|
|Fan/Pump Headers||(7) 4-Pin|
|RGB Headers||(2) aRGB (3-pin)|
|(2) RGB (4-pin)|
|(1) CPU cooler/RGB|
|Other Interfaces||FP-Audio, TPM|
|Ethernet Controller(s)||Realtek (1 GbE)|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||✗|
|HD Audio Codec||Realtek ALC1200|
|DDL/DTS Connect||✗ / ✗|
All motherboards include an accessory stack and our B550M Aorus Pro is no different. In this case, the low-priced board doesn’t offer much, but enough parts to cover the basics. Below is a complete list of the included accessories.
● (2) SATA cables
● User’s Manual
● Aorus sticker
As noted earlier, the Aorus Pro is a step above the budget DS3H we reviewed in our roundup in terms of looks. The black/grey PCB gives way to black connectors, slots and sockets. The large VRM heatsinks have a brushed-aluminum finish, while a plastic shroud surrounds the left VRM heatsink hides the unmentionables underneath. The board does not include integrated RGB lighting.although, the audio separation strip lights up in orange. If you want to add RGBs, you’ll need to buy the strips and plug them into the headers.
On the top portionof the board, we’ll cover the heatsink/shrouds, socket and the DRAM slot area. The large VRM heatsinks look like they do a good job, but as we see later on, these things get hot, especially when overclocking more power-hungry chips like our Ryzen 9 5950X. Outside of that, we find a single 8-pin EPS plug for CPU power on the top edge. Next to it (also below this heatsink and above the top M.2 socket) are the first two (of five) fan headers. The manual doesn’t specify these headers’ output, so it is best to assume 1A/12W. Regardless of what class the motherboard is, we would like to see at least one with more output.
To the right of the socket are the four DRAM slots. Gigabyte lists capacity up to 128GB with supported speeds up to DDR4 4266. This value is a bit lower than most other boards but is still over AMD’s ‘sweet spot’ of DDR4 3600/3733 with the Infinity Fabric 1:1. Just above these slots are two more fan headers and two (of four) RGB headers. In total, we find two 3-pin ARGB headers and two 4-pin RGB headers. Last here is another 4-pin fan header and the 24-pin ATX power connector on the right edge.
Checking out the VRM, Gigabyte chose N-channel MOSFETs instead of the combined DrMOS MOSFETs where the high and low sides use one IC. To that end, the Aorus Pro uses OnSemiconducter bits. 4C10N on the high side and 4C06 parts on the low side. Controlling the MOSFETs is a Renesas RAA229004 controller (X+Y=8) in a 5+3 configuration. This means doublers (ISL6617A) are used to reach the 10+3 phase count. Overall, the VRMs held their own in testing using this monster CPU. However, they ran very hot, especially when overclocking, where temperatures reached over 100 degrees Celsius. These values are still in spec for the ICs, but nobody wants things running that hot. I’d stick with 65W processors on this board or run anything higher at stock speeds.
Moving down to the bottom third, the audio section on the left is in plain sight, not using any shrouds or faraday cages for the Realtek ALC1200 codec. We also see four gold Nippon audio capacitors. We don’t find any fancy op amps or the like here. However, the audio solution should still be fine for most users.
In the middle of the board, we spot three PCIe slots: two full-length and one single x1 size slot. The primary GPU slot uses Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable PCIe armor for additional shearing protection and retention strength for heavy video cards. The top slot is fed from the CPU and runs at PCIe 4.0 x16 speeds. The second full-length slot is fed from the chipset and runs at PCIe 3.0 x4 speeds. Meanwhile, the x1 slot, also sourced from the chipset, runs at PCIe 3.0 x1 speeds. The only concern I have with this configuration is the x1 slot’s location. If you use anything more than a single-slot video card, it will cover the x1 slot, making it unusable. That said, it’s a MicroATX board, so there isn’t a lot of room and many similarly-sized boards run into the same issue.
Located just above and below the primary GPU slot are the two M.2 sockets. The socket, M2A_CPU, supports both SATA- and PCIe 4.0 x4-based modules up to 110mm in length. The first socket also has a heatsink available to help keep some of these hot drives running cooler. The bottom socket does not have a heatsink and supports both SATA- and PCIe 3.0 x4-based modules. Continuing to the right, we spy a push-pin connected chipset heatsink and the four SATA ports on the right edge. The SATA ports support RAID0, 1 and 10 modes, which is pretty standard.
Across the bottom are a bunch of buttons and headers, including multiple USB ports and RGB headers. Here’s the full list, from left to right:
● Front panel audio
● 3-pin aRGB and 4-pin RGB headers
● Thunderbolt AIC header
● COM port
● TPM header
● System Fan 3
● (2) USB 2.0 headers
● USB 3.2 Gen1 header
● Front panel header
Moving around to the rear IO, we find an integrated IO plate, which is a nice value add to an inexpensive board. There are a total of 10 USB ports on the back: four USB 2.0 and four USB 3.2 Gen1, plus two USB 3.2 Gen2 ports (one type-C). This should be plenty for most users. On the video side, we see the DisplayPort and HDMI connectors that only work with an APU. Above the 3.2 Gen2 ports is the Realtek GbE LAN port and to the right of those is the 5-plug audio stack, plus SPDIF. Last but not least is the Q-Flash Plus button used for flashing the BIOS without a CPU installed, another great value add for those who plan to drop a 5000 series processor in the socket out of the gate.
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