Today we want to welcome our newest AMD B550 Chipset entrant from GIGABYTE. We have the GIGABYTE AORUS ELITE (rev 1.0) on our test bench in the lab for review. This board currently retails for $159.99 on Amazon, so we can figure this is not in the high-end price point which means it is kind of a budget to a mid-range price point. Within the GIGABYTE AORUS series of boards we found they have several to choose from ranging from $159.99 (board we are reviewing) up to $279.99 for the B550 AORUS MASTER.
Most everyone has known about or owned GIGABYTE products and everyone realizes they have been on the scene for many years. GIGABYTE has a large number of products including motherboards, video cards, laptops, monitors, keyboards, mice, and even mini-PC’s named BRIX which are well known. GIGABYTE originated in 1986 by Pei-Cheng Yeh in Taipei, Taiwan.
GIGABYTE has the AORUS series in many different sectors of their products. They have the AORUS in the motherboards, graphics cards, laptops, and monitors. The AORUS name is pretty much designated to be their “gaming” sector of sorts. It has been a name that has been fairly recently though. It was originated in 2014 so only for about the last 6 years or so has the name been used to designate their gaming sector.
AORUS is actually coined from an Egyptian god, Horus. Horus was known to be the god of sky and kingship, which is depicted as a falcon. Naturally, the falcon head is used for its AORUS brand logo. Some employees stated the first letter was changed to an “A” to represent the brand as “A team.”
The GIGABYTE B550 AORUS ELITE we have today is based on the AMD B550 chipset and like all others in this series of chipsets, this board features the design in terms of CPU, RAM, and PCI-Express support and reliability. It also supports AMD Ryzen 5000 Series CPUs. However, this board is a mid-level design so it may be lacking some of the features that are found in the higher-level motherboards. We were rather surprised to see the logo “(rev 1.0)” indicating they are planning a further revision of the same board.
Being a “gaming” type board, this board includes some RGB lighting along with the RGB headers to attach lights so that the user can make it their own, so to speak. The design is a black PCB which seems to be a normal design throughout the motherboard industry lately. Speaking from a personal perspective, I like the black design of motherboards and graphics cards.
Box Contents and Packaging
As can be seen from the images above, the top of the box is colorful and shows the falcon head. The colorful part of the box depicts the RGB color changing available on the motherboard. The front also shows that this chipset is 3rd Gen Ryzen ready. The back of the box gives the user the specs of the board, some of the advanced features, parts that are used that are exclusive to GIGABYTE, including the 12 + 2 phases digital VRM with DrMOS. The front edge of the box shows the label of what series and version the board is. It also shows that it includes 7.1 channel HD audio and the new 2.5 GbE LAN capability.
Being a mid-level motherboard, we did not expect the package to be bundled with very many accessories and we were correct. The box only included a user manual, driver and utility CD, two data cables, their G-connector, and an AORUS case badge.
GIGABYTE B550 AORUS ELITE Configuration
GIGABYTE also has its Smart Fan 5 thermal solution on this board. This includes 5 Hybrid fan headers and 6 Thermal temperature sensors. All of the fan headers have been upgraded to the Hybrid fan design. GIGABYTE also included an intuitive UI application for ease in fan control.
This design allows for creative cooling solutions including liquid cooling in either an AIO (all in one) type cooler or custom liquid cooling solutions and allows the user to control different fan speeds throughout the cooling solution.
Internally this motherboard has 2 standard USB ports and 1 USB 3.2 header that supports the standard USB 3.x header that is on most newer enclosures. GIGABYTE decided to include 5 Hybrid fan headers and 6 thermal temperature sensors on this AORUS ELITE board. It also includes the standard 24 pin main power connector along with the 8 pin CPU power connector. GIGABYTE has made all these power connector pins solid for better conductivity vs the hollow type power connectors found on many other brand motherboards.
Amazingly though, GIGABYTE has only included 4 internal SATA3 connectors. 2 of them or on the side of the motherboard and the other 2 are down on the bottom end close to the front panel connectors. This may be an issue for a lot of users who wish to add several hard drives to a system for possible large storage capacity.
The motherboard does include 2 NVMe M.2 ports. One is the newest 4.0 and the other is a gen 3. The NVMe M.2 port that’s the new 4.0 version also includes an extra cooling heatsink that can be installed on top of your NVMe M.2 SSD drive.
Other I/O features, of course, include the standard front panel header, front audio header, and RGB control headers. The RGB control headers include both styles and are at the top and the bottom of the motherboard to help with wire management.
The back I/O plate has a fairly feature-rich setup. It has 2 USB2 ports mainly for plugging in keyboards and mice, Display port, HDMI port, CMOS reset button, GIGABYTE’s Q-Flash BIOS USB port which allows for BIOS flashing without having a CPU installed, 5 USB 3.2 ports, a 2.5G LAN plug, SPDIF out, and 5 eighth inch audio ports.
Since we are discussing the internals of the GIGABYTE AORUS ELITE motherboard, let’s talk a little bit about the VRMs. GIGABYTE boasts about this board’s 14 Phases which they state is a “True 12+2 Phases Digital Power Design.” They state that this board has a digital PWM controller that allows the appropriate voltage to the CPU, true 12+2 phases DrMOS with PWM doublers that allows for the delivery of stable power and is able to handle up to 700 amps current in total. This also includes all-solid capacitors, which is fairly normal on mid to high-end boards. The CPU power header, discussed a little earlier, has solid pins to help with conductivity to ensure there is no power loss from the power supply.
Here is a statement from GIGABYTE: “ B550 AORUS ELITE motherboard uses a True 12+2 phases digital power design which includes PWM controller, doublers and DrMOS. These 100% digital controllers offer incredible precision in delivering power to the motherboard’s most power-hungry and energy-sensitive components, allowing enthusiasts to get the absolute maximum performance from 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ processors.”
The Phases are controlled by Intersil Digital PWM Controller and to also help with stability and cool operation, the GIGABYTE AORUS ELITE includes an advanced thermal solution with enlarged surface heatsinks and 5W/mK thermal conductivity pads. Spacing between all the VRMs seems adequate to allow good airflow around the chips.
Now let’s talk about what features the GIGABYTE AORUS ELITE includes. GIGABYTE has a few unique features with the AORU ELITE board. Their own Advanced Thermal Design to include the enlarged heatsinks surrounding the VRMs and the NVMe M.2 Thermal Guard, which we discussed earlier. Some of the other features include Smart Fan 5 + Fan Stop, Q-Flash Plus, Exclusive Ultra Durable PCIe metal shielding on the first PCIe 16 slot, Ultra Durable solid power connectors, 6 thermal temperature sensors, 5 Hybrid fan connectors, and their AMP-UP audio chip.
The GIGABYTE AORUS ELITE’s AMP-UP Audio is controlled with a Realtek ALC1200 audio chip and supports SPDIF and 7.1 channel audio. It seems that add-in sound cards are almost a thing of the past as newer onboard audio chips are getting so popular and have professional sound with new technology always making leaps and bounds in sound. The GIGABYTE AORUS ELITE is no exception to this technology.