Asus provide a wide range of socket 1151 boards, often packing them with features and the ability to maximise performance though extreme overclocking… but that isn’t what everyone needs, or wants. Sometimes our purchasing choices are based on price, or aesthetics and that is where todays review product is aimed. With a compact form factor, wide range of lighting effects and a mainstream chipset ASUS are out to give those of us who just want a fast, stable, stock speed product something special. Welcome to our ASUS B150i Pro Gaming Aura Review.
ASUS B150i Pro Gaming Aura Review – Packaging and Bundle
The B150i arrives in a very compact box, as we would expect, and on it Asus provide us with a little info on the board features. Inside we find product documentation, software disc, case sticker, drive cables, front panel wiring cable, I/O shield and CPU installation bracket. That final item is designed to make adding our CPU to the socket as easy as possible.
ASUS B150i Pro Gaming Aura Review – The Motherboard
Asus go for a black and red design for this mini-ITX board. Things do get a little more colourful as this PCB has various LEDs built in which can be set to a wide range of colours and then have effects such as breathing, wave and reaction to music applied. We’ve also got separation of the audio area from the main PCB to reduce interference and enhanced build quality with the likes of surge protected LAN port and memory overcurrent protection. Other key features include Crash Free BIOS which allows us to potentially recover from a situation where the board wont even POST. Status LEDs are also present to assist us with fault finding and high quality capacitors, chokes etc are used throughout.
As far as CPU support goes, this socket 1151 board allow us to use all processors designed for that platform, including the high end I7-6700K and our two memory slots support up to 32GB of DDR4 at speeds up to 2133MHz.
Asus go with a PCIe 3.0 16x slot for discrete GPUs and on the drive front we get four SATA 3.0 ports. A front panel USB 3.0 header sits beside those drive sockets and further up the side of the PCB is a 24pin power connector which combines with the 8pin on the top edge.
Round at the back panel we find a PS/2 port, four standard USB ports (two USB 3.0 spec), DVI, optical audio, HDMI, USB 3.0 type C, GB LAN (Intel I219-V) and 3.5mm audio. Speaking of audio, this is a board which features SupremeFX controller (112dB SNR, Realtek 1150) along with shielding, premium Nichicon audio capacitors and 300 Ohm headphone AMP.
Flipping the board over we fund our final connector, a M.2 slot (32GB/s PCIe 4x spec) capable of holding products up to 2280 length drives.
ASUS go with a fairly familiar BIOS on this product. It looks and functions just like their higher end products, minus the overclocking features due to the limitations of the B150 platform. On the software front, we get the Aura control centre, LAN management and the likes of Sonic Radar, an overlay which reveals information on our enemies in-game. This is of course in addition to the usual Asus apps such as AI Suite for monitoring and controlling our board.
ASUS B150i Pro Gaming Aura Review – Performance
i7-6700K, Z170/H170/B150, 2x8GB DDR4-2666 (Corsair)
i7-4790K, Z97, 2x8GB DDR3-2666 (Corsair)
GTX 980 Ti OC
Corsair H100 Series Cooler
Corsair AX1500i PSU
Samsung 850 Pro SSD (SATA Testing)
And Samsung T1 SSD (USB Testing)
ASUS B150i Pro Gaming Aura Review – Conclusion
The B150i Pro Gaming Aura is a board which very much knows its identity and consumer. Who are they? The type of person who wants to build a compact system with significant case window but doesnt care about overclocking, only stability and good performance at stock speeds. They are also likely a gamer, as the enhanced audio and LAN features suggest.
For that group the board is a very attractive product. We cant really fault it, especially as Asus pack in a bunch of other features such as high quality components, surge protection, wide range of outputs, quality BIOS and wide ranging component support. Really the only limitations of the board are through the very deliberate choice to use B150, so mainly no overclocking, limited memory speed and lack of RAID. Of course the presence of full speed M.2 socket gets us past that final point.
Summary: Looks great, decent features, quality build and solid performance.