ASUS ROG STRIX B660-F Gaming Motherboard Review

Best Midrange Motherboard for 12/13Th Gen

What happens if you are an ASUS ROG fan but don’t have the cash to upgrade to their top-of-the-line Z690 line of motherboards? Enter their ASUS ROG STRIX B660-F Gaming Motherboard, a more budget-friendly 12/13th Gen Intel board that gives you more bang for your buck!

The first time I heard that we are getting the B660-F, my mind went directly to thinking of the Late Douglas B-66 Destroyer (it just needed another 0). But I digress, the B660 chipset from Intel (and even the newer B670 chipset) is a stripped-down version of their respective Z range of chipsets. Gone are the 4th M.2 slot (and your last M.2 slot is only PCIe 3.0 compared to the first and second which is PCIe 4.0) and the two extra SATA ports (4 instead of 6 ports). PCI Slot-wise, you do gain a PCI 3.0 x1 slot compared to the Z690 range (that only has one). Another thing that I do love that ASUS has brought in is the new M.2 Q-Latch! No more trying to screw in a teeny tiny screw to lock your M.2 drive and the shield on top of it!

Another thing that is different between the STRIX B660-F and its bigger brother the Z690-F is that your WiFi is only 6 (its big bro has WiFi 6E). But they do at least share the same Bluetooth 5.2 type connection, a great feature to have when adding Xbox controller to play fighter games or some racing games. You also get an Intel 2.5Gb Ethernet connection (for when your PC is right next to your router) just remember to use CAT5e or CAT 6 cable to get the full benefit of the 2.5Gb connection (and hopefully you have a router that supports these speeds as well). I have found that the 2.5Gb connection does help when using it with my Plex server. One thing that I was not expecting from the WiFi antenna is that it has a magnetic base! Gone are the days when you need to bring out your trusty friend Sir Double-Sided Tape!

The other thing about the B660 chipset is that it is not made for overclocking, a sort of staple that one gets used to or expects to get when buying ROG Strix motherboards. This is not a problem if you like running your CPU stock (my personal preference….parts are expensive these days).

 

A nice feature that I love on the back IO shield is the clear CMOS feature (had a few times that I broke my PC with a BIOS upgrade).

I have always loved the design aesthetics that ROG put into their STRIX line of products and the B660-F Gaming is no exception to the rule. Featuring a nice matt black design with just a hint of onboard RGB on top of the IO Shield and a small Pacman Ghost (there is even one on the back of the motherboard!) near the second PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (was not expecting that).

The B660-F Gaming does feature USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type C (you have two Types C’s on the back IO Panel and an internal Header for your front panel). This brings your USB count up to 13 ports (this is including the internal port connectors).

Thanks to the board being part of the ROG STRIX line you won’t have any problems with power on this board. ASUS used their tried and true 16+1 power stage for this board design coupled with a 6-layer PCB design. This is good for keeping noise out of your critical areas of the board.

I did notice that ASUS has moved over to the new ALC4080 Codec compared to the slightly older (but still widely used ALC1200), spec wise the two chipsets are very similar. They also have included (in Armory Crate) an AI-based Two-way noise cancelling technology and it does help a bit when using a mechanical keyboard (especially if it has red keys in them, maybe need to test it with a Typewriter as well….). As is standard these days your audio signal has a dedicated lane (again thanks to the 6-layer PCB this helps a lot in bringing down digital noise).

This is not the only AI that ASUS has implemented into Armory Crate. Their AI Cooling tech is also top shelf and I prefer it to my current motherboards software, as I do find that it controls the fans in my case better.

Overall I am really happy with the ASUS ROG STRIX B660-F Gaming motherboard. As a STRIX fan, this does allow me to get a Strix without paying almost R10,000 for a motherboard (the B660-F retails for about R5899 at Wootware). The B660 chips are aimed towards Mid-tier budget builds, I would even go so far as suggest it to anybody that wants to upgrade now from an older 9/10th gen system. It has all the features to make your machine at least future-proof for the next 4-6 years. It has PCIe 5 for when we do finally get a 4060/4050 card series or even a 5 series (we all know they are coming). It supports DDR5 as well and it should be compatible with the next gen (think it would be Gen 14 next year?). The ROG STRIX B660-F does come with the AIDA64 Extreme edition (so that you can check out your build) and has a built-in MEMTest64 in the BIOS. The new Armory Crate has come a long way and does wonders for keeping your machine cool when playing.

Good

  • Love the PacMan and dark theme
  • Has everything to future proof

Bad

  • Nothing Really to complain about
8.3

Great

Value for Money - 8
Features - 8
Aesthetics - 9

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