For half a year everyone who wishes to acquire a system based on Intel Core 8-th generation processors needs to focus exclusively on models with the top-end Intel Z370. Most recently, Intel has expanded the range of Coffee Lake chips and finally offered manufacturers more affordable PCH. Intel B360 has a special role here. Today we have the first model based on Intel B360 - ASUS ROG STRIX B360-F GAMING.
The importance of new PCHs for manufacturers in general and Intel B360 in particular is the only evidenced by the fact that on one chipset ASUS offers more than fifteen motherboards in the PRIME, TUF GAMING and ROG STRIX series. In turn, ROG STRIX B360-F GAMING is the top model based on Intel B360.
The board includes a user's manual, a driver and software CD, four SATA interface cables, a set of screws for mounting M.2 drives, and an additional body kit printed on a 3D printer.
In addition, the package includes a set of plastic cable ties, an extension cable for an external LED strip. A set of branded stickers with logos will come in handy for lovers of decorations.
For new models of the ROG STRIX series, the manufacturer uses the well-proven neutral color scheme. Designers manage to provoke interest at the first visual contact without any contrasting flashy elements. Black printed circuit board with matte coating, black connectors and slots.
The board has a power unit with an ASP1400CTB controller. The VRM module of such a configuration is not equipped with all the boards based on the top Intel Z370.
For all power elements and the PWM controller, additional cooling is provided - a pair of mid-sized aluminum profiles securely fixed with screws. Additional power is connected using a single 8-pin EPS12V connector located at the top edge of the board.
ASUS ROG STRIX B360-F GAMING has four slots for memory modules. Unlike the basic Intel H310 chipset, the more functional Intel B360 allows two modules to be used per channel, that is, in general, apply up to 4 RAM slots in a two-channel mode. The maximum total size is 64 GB. The memory mode in this case depends solely on the processor used. For Celeron / Pentium / Core i3 - DDR4-2400, Core i5 / i7 - DDR4-2666. As with older boards, Memory uses the OptiMem mechanism and layout according to the T-topology, although without the need for overclocking RAM there is no need for them, the developers did not begin to reduce requirements.
Connectors for Q-DIMM slots have one-way locking of modules.
The board offers six expansion slots - two full-format PCI Express x16 and four compact PCI Express x1. The Intel B360 chipset does not allow the sharing of PCI Express 3.0 processor resources, so all 16 lines are used for the main slot. This connector should be used when installing the video card. The slot has a metal cover that increases the mechanical strength of the connector.
The second full-size connector is serviced by the chipset and initially works in the x4 mode. However, it also divides the dedicated lines with the PCIEX1_1 and PCIEX1_2 slots. If one or both connectors are occupied, the second full-length slot will use the x2 mode.
The inability to distribute the processor lines PCI Express automatically deprives the support of SLI configurations, whereas a pair of video cards with AMD chips can work in a CrossFireX connection.
SUS ROG STRIX B360-F GAMING has an extended set of options for tuning the cooling system. There are six 4-pin connectors on the board. Two of them are nominally provided for the air processor cooler, one is conditionally allocated for connecting the pump to the CBO with additional tuning capabilities, another is supposed for the fan that blows the M.2 format drive. A pair of the remaining connectors is made for the case fans.
The board has two built-in thermal sensors (CPU/Motherboard). The bottom edge also has a two-pin connector for connecting an external temperature sensor. Nearby is a connector for cleaning the CMOS memory.
Enthusiastic heritage of ROG manifests itself even in the case of a motherboard based on Intel B360. The model has an EXT_FAN connector that allows you to connect a proprietary FAN Extension Card module with three additional fan connectors and the same number of connectors for external thermocouples.
In case you want to "light up", the board has a connector for adding an external LED strip. A garland consisting of 5050 elements with a voltage of 12 V and a total recommended length of up to 3 meters is supposed to be used.
To customize the illuminations, use the proprietary AURA application. There is a whole set of different presets available. For many modes, you can choose the brightness and intensity of the glow, the sequence, and adjust the color schemes.
ASUS ROG STRIX B360-F GAMING is a full-format motherboard based on the Intel B360 chipset. The model is created according to the patterns of senior representatives of the game family ROG STRIX, having received a good power block and advanced functionality. A very interesting option for those who do not plan to overclock the platform, but is accustomed to a certain level of comfort and convenience of the accompanying software from ASUS, and also wants to get a well-equipped platform with good expansion capabilities. The qualitative element base has significantly increased the cost of ASUS ROG STRIX B360-F GAMING. This is painful for models based on Intel B360, but if the price is not very embarrassing, the rest of the board is difficult to make any claims.