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-   -   ASUS TUF B350M-PLUS GAMING motherboard review... it doesn't suck after all (https://www.overclock.net/forum/11-amd-motherboards/1644685-asus-tuf-b350m-plus-gaming-motherboard-review-doesnt-suck-after-all.html)

Minotaurtoo 12-26-2017 08:59 AM

ASUS TUF B350M-PLUS GAMING motherboard review... it doesn't suck after all
 
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Product page: https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards...M-PLUS-GAMING/

I bought this motherboard because of the TUF labeling... honestly I thought that ASUS had finally went and ditched the idea of the TUF boards being superior in general compared to other option, I was wrong.

Installation was easy and windows easily recognized the chipset so driver issues was a non existent problem unlike my saberkitty when I transferred it to my sons PC...

I installed a Ryzen 7 1700 intending to overclock and well hearing all the "don't overclock a Ryzen 7 chip on a B350 board" stuff I honestly thought I may be in for some trouble... things like VRM temps in the 100C + range and poor voltage control have been repeated to me over and over again...

well, the TUF B350M has a fairly nice heatsink over the vrm's and with the aid of a small 80mm fan running at 2000rpm (fairly quiet too) and decent case ventilation, I never saw the vrm temps get over 63C even at 3.9ghz Here is a snip from HWiNFO64 showing all the motherboards temp sensors and the cpu temp after a few mins run of IBT AVX on my 3.8ghz profile:

https://www.overclock.net/content/ty.../1000/flags/LL

as you can see the hottest temp was the cpu temp at 51.1C I'm not sure exactly what the motherboard temp sensors are, but based on what I know I have a good idea that temp 1 is socket temp and temp 2 is a sensor somewhere on the motherboard away from the cpu and the remaining temps are the vrm temps... as you can see at 3.8ghz everything stays nice and cool well within acceptable limits... now I realize this was a short run, but the longer running stress tests seem to level out on the temps around 55C on the cores and temp 1 around the same.. .with the 3-6 temps hovering around 50C nothing to be concerned about... bumping up to 3.9 pushes all but temp two into the 60C range. I have word from ASUS that the vrms on this board are good up to 100C with the caps being good till over 120C... no concerns there then.

As for voltage control... well in Ryzen master software you can control the voltage directly just type in what you want, but in the bios... it's only by offset... little bit of downer there, but if you have a calculator with you it's easy (I didn't need one http://files.overclock.net/images/smilies/biggrin.gif) but other than that I didn't miss anything that the saberkitty had that this one doesn't really... One odd option they added to this board from my previous one was an option for performance bias... I really had no idea what to make of this... but i decided to test it... it offered performance bias for cinebench R15, R11.5 AIDA and Geekbench... surprisingly it actually did something

https://www.overclock.net/content/ty.../1000/flags/LL

As you can see the 3.8ghz profile is actually ahead of the 3.9 profile! without the performance bias it only scored 1684... and strangely it made a difference in games too:
Ryzen 1700 stock:
https://www.overclock.net/content/ty.../1000/flags/LL
Ryzen 1700 overclocked to 3.8:
https://www.overclock.net/content/ty.../1000/flags/LL
And finally Ryzen 1700 at 3.8 with performance bias set for Cinebench R15:
https://www.overclock.net/content/ty.../1000/flags/LL

Now I'm not even going to guess what that performance bias does, but it is a neat feature to find on a B350 board.

Cpuz validation and benchmark comparison: https://valid.x86.fr/9ut3j4

https://www.overclock.net/content/ty.../1000/flags/LL

as you can see I have managed a decent overclock and pretty good performance at mild clock of only 3.8


On to other topics:

Integrated network controller is good, honestly I can't tell the difference from one to the other short of bandwidth and response time and this one is doing its job well... no issues with drivers with it at all.

Integrated sound.... well.... it's there... just there.... if you want great quality sound with this board I suggest a sound card... not that this is just awful, just lacking in outputs in the back.. if you want to use 7.1 surround you'll find you might have to sacrifice a line in port or mic port in order to do it... seems that they could have added a couple ports for that easily.

Hard drive support: with 6 sata ports and one M.2 port there is no shortage of places to plug a drive in, but the sata controller seems to be slow... same as my saberkitty was... not terrible, but my SSD's never get the same speeds on my saberkitty as they would on an Intel chipset board... not sure if it's the AMD chipset or just ASUS being slow on AMD's boards. Haven't tried the M.2 yet, but the board shares the sata bandwidth with the M.2 so not sure how well it would work

RGB header only works with AIsuite 3 so that is kinda a bust... not many people I know like AIsuite

Other thoughts: This board is heavy for its size which to me translates into TUF I didn't handle it with care installing and didn't go easy on pushing in the RAM or Video card either... just wanted to make sure that it would handle a less than knowledgeable installer....that and I was in a hurry. Not sure about the longevity of the board yet, but if it lives up to the TUF history of ASUS boards I've had before, it'll take torture and come back day after day for more... my old saberkitty handled a 9590 pushed just over 5ghz for 3 years without so much as a complaint and that chip would pull nearly 500watts under stress.. the Ryzen chips really don't pull much up to around 3.8... mine at 3.8 under the worst stress I could generate only pulled 135 watts... and at 3.9 pulled 155 watts... so even though it's only 4+2phase pushing an 8 core cpu, wattage wise Ryzen pulls so much less than FX did it's not really killing the vrm's.. actually I had more trouble with the vrm's on the saberkitty getting warm than this so far.


Conclusion: If you don't have the money for a good x370 board, you won't go wrong with the ASUS TUF B350M-PLUS GAMING mother board... sure there are some missing features, but it is more than capable of handling a Ryzen 7 chip... would recommend, as always, putting a fan on the vrm's just for added margins, but not sure it's really needed.

One more thing... it has a gold/yellow-orange light that shows through the board in various places and strips and looks like it's breathing... kinda neat really .. .it even does it when in standby http://files.overclock.net/images/smilies/biggrin.gif


Hope someone finds this useful and I know I skimmed over it a bit, but didn't want to get too lengthy, feel free to ask any questions, I'll try to answer if I can.. not to keen on doing custom tests for people as I am pretty busy around here... If you liked it, hit that rep button, if you didn't leave a nasty comment http://files.overclock.net/images/smilies/tongue.gif

***** ***** ****** *******

EDIT/UPDATE: After having a week to play with this board I was able to get 4ghz stable and with reasonable temps...however I discovered that the vrm's do have a hard time keeping the voltage stable on this 8 core chip as power draw increases and basically only high and extreme LLC even helps at that point, however, it showed no signs of giving in... temps across the vrm's were still good only hitting the mid 50's to low 60's peak... and the core temps hit mid 60's... now keep in mind I have very good airflow across the vrm's and my chip is under water.

The other thing I've discovered is that there is no way to change the baseclock... not the biggest issue in the world since there are plenty of options for RAM speed and core speed is adjustable in 25mhz increments or you can just do custom multiplier and dividers to get your exact needed clock speed...

I still am sticking with my 3.825ghz profile, not because I think the board can't handle more, but because my particular Ryzen chip hits a voltage wall at 3.9...

I still say this is the best matx board I've ever had and I've had a few over the years...

UPDATE 2:

well... I did it... 4.02ghz on this board... admittedly I don't have the best chip... but at 1.45v it was stable enough to run plenty of benches... I actually got 4ghz stable at the same voltage, but I'm posting the benches I ran from the 4.02 profile because I feel it would stabilize with only a little more voltage.... enough of my talking here are the results:

User bench score, I'm really impressed with this... I managed to reach the top scores for this cpu on this test...not bad for a matx board... expecially when temps never exceeded 60C on the vrms! http://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/6631044

Cinebench:
https://www.overclock.net/content/ty.../1000/flags/LL

CPU-Z benchmark: https://valid.x86.fr/cigws8

UPDATE 3:

Asus zenstates does work with this board and quite easily at that... allows easier overclocking without it having to stay at peak clocks all the time thus allowing idle time power savings.
Asus Zenstates can be got from Here.


Update 4: This board with bios update works quite well with the new 2700x even achieving a cinebench score of 1948. The part that surprised me is that it pulled a further few fps out of my old gpu hitting 107.5 min and average of 145.57 in dirt rally... didn't really think that the cpu was still a bottleneck for this game... also got some gskill flare x ryzen ram and although it will not run it at 3200 like it really should, the board will acheive 3133 stable with some very tight timings... that really helps smooth out a couple games I have.

Minotaurtoo 12-26-2017 10:20 AM

Just decided to add some other benchmarks on here:

Passmark score:


Userbench rating: http://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/6451215

Firestrike: https://www.3dmark.com/3dm/24193908?

I realize that this doesn't totally reflect on the motherboard, but it does show that it is no slouch... notice the hard drive performance numbers in Userbench rating... it says performance is below normal for that particular SSD I'm using... I am still playing around with settings to see if I can get that up, but so far every AMD board I have tested with shows that drive as being slow.. put it on and Intel chipset and it performed well... don't know exactly what's going on...maybe just a driver issue or other setting... any ideas to improve that would be helpful...especially if I'm not the only one seeing this...maybe just a bug in that drive with AMD...

sideeffect 12-27-2017 03:24 AM

I got this motherboard during the Ryzen sale and ASUS game promotion and seeing as my case only fits MicroATX this seemed the best motherboard to get.

I am very happy with it. From what I have read about the other Micro ATX boards this must be the best:thumb:

At first I gave the stock Spire cooler a chance and was running at 3.7Ghz 1.2v. Prime was stable but hitting 75 degrees but the VRM temps were a very reasonable 60 degrees max. I then fitted a Xigmatek dark knight cooler I had from AM3 days and it fits fine over the AM4 bracket it doesn't face the exhaust fan but the air does cool the VRM's so win some lose some..

I am now running 24/7 3840Mhz at 1.30625v and temperatures are more reasonable for both CPU and VRM.

Using 3401 BIOS. I tried Load Line calibration from Auto to extreme and I got the best results on Auto. I have Phase control set to Extreme and frequency set to 350.

I tried the on-board Realtek LAN and was quite happy with it but was getting some lower benchmark results with network usage so tried a Intel pt 1000 dual LAN PCI-e card and got similar results. So the Realtek is fine but with default settings it was very slow at connecting to Cyberghost VPN but after changing some settings it was better.

Some Benchmarks
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minotaurtoo View Post

One odd option they added to this board from my previous one was an option for performance bias... I really had no idea what to make of this... but i decided to test it... it offered performance bias for cinebench R15, R11.5 AIDA and Geekbench... surprisingly it actually did something



As you can see the 3.8ghz profile is actually ahead of the 3.9 profile! without the performance bias it only scored 1684... and strangely it made a difference in games too:

And finally Ryzen 1700 at 3.8 with performance bias set for Cinebench R15:

Now I'm not even going to guess what that performance bias does, but it is a neat feature to find on a B350 board.

I didn't touch that option yet that seems interesting and I have to test it now! I am also wondering what it changes if it has an effect on gaming as well you would think it is something to do with latency.

Edit- Yes this user reported it lowers the latency of the CPU cache but could possibly affect stability. https://rog.asus.com/forum/showthread.php?98004-Performace-Bias-option-in-BIOS

sideeffect 12-27-2017 09:25 AM

Ran some tests on the performance bias after your post.

Performance bias AUTO


Performance bias CB15


Performance bias AIDA/Geekbench


Tomb Raider


Farcry Primal + Shadow of War


The Performance bias seems to improve the CPU cache and Memory latency which improves benchmarks and has some impact on games. I think I will keep the CB15 setting. I have read that it can destabilize the system and that possibly higher SOC voltage is required for stability.

miklkit 12-27-2017 02:52 PM

Does that motherboard do BCLK OCing? If so, then it might be possible to run the clocks up incrementally. I'm messing around with a new bios that finally lets my E-die 3200, 16-18 ram run at that speed and I'm finding that 3020 @ 14-16 is at least as fast if not faster.

Those VRMs are running very cool and are in fact running cooler than mine are. Mine are now peaking at 52-53C.

Minotaurtoo 12-27-2017 04:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by miklkit View Post

Does that motherboard do BCLK OCing? If so, then it might be possible to run the clocks up incrementally. I'm messing around with a new bios that finally lets my E-die 3200, 16-18 ram run at that speed and I'm finding that 3020 @ 14-16 is at least as fast if not faster.

Those VRMs are running very cool and are in fact running cooler than mine are. Mine are now peaking at 52-53C.

It does allow base clock overclocking... at least it looks like it does lol.. haven't tried it yet really... been trying to OC my ram past the rated 3000, ... no dice so far even with increasing the timmings... 15, 17, 17 35 nets me 2933, but I was hoping if I loosened the timings I could get higher.

sideeffect 12-27-2017 05:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by miklkit View Post

Does that motherboard do BCLK OCing? If so, then it might be possible to run the clocks up incrementally. I'm messing around with a new bios that finally lets my E-die 3200, 16-18 ram run at that speed and I'm finding that 3020 @ 14-16 is at least as fast if not faster.

Those VRMs are running very cool and are in fact running cooler than mine are. Mine are now peaking at 52-53C.

It does not support BCLK changes or reveal CPU spread spectrum in latest BIOS. The Bus speed is a slightly lower than standard 99.76 which results in 2926.4 MHZ RAM at 2933 settings and I guess around 3057 MHZ at the 3066 setting. The latest BIOS does have RAM steps up to 4000.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minotaurtoo View Post

It does allow base clock overclocking... at least it looks like it does lol.. haven't tried it yet really... been trying to OC my ram past the rated 3000, ... no dice so far even with increasing the timmings... 15, 17, 17 35 nets me 2933, but I was hoping if I loosened the timings I could get higher.

I was unable to get my RAM stable at 3066 and it wouldn't even boot at 3200 didn't matter how lose the timings were or what SOC voltage I used. I do have dual rank chips though. I did manage to reduce the timings a lot at 2933 but TRCD would not work well for me under 18. The review of these modules says these have Hynix chips on them and they do seem to behave like Hynix.


Minotaurtoo 12-28-2017 03:29 AM

yeah, I looked last night and no not even in Ryzen master can the base clock be adjusted...however, custom core ratio is available....doesn't help with the memory though lol...
From what I heard double ranked ram speeds are hard to get above 2133 even... but obviously some have gotten much higher. As for mine, I'm not sure if it's the board or the RAM, but 2933 is high as it will go as far as I can tell... I am working with some friends on here to see if we can work on some timings that will allow me to go higher.

Minotaurtoo 12-29-2017 03:37 PM

Just going to drop this link here... http://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/6526563

not bad for a little ole B350 board lol... and all temps were well within tolerance... oh and I managed a 1790 cinebench score too


sideeffect 12-30-2017 04:49 PM

Nice overclock. Are you stable at 3.92 or just for benches?

I have been testing my stability with prime and have realised that leaving the VRM Phase control frequency at 200 allows less Vcore to be used. Leaving phase control set to optimal is just as stable as extreme and uses less power. I set both my Load line calibrations to regular which seems the best. I use ZenStates to overclock in windows so that my C-states are still working and now I am going to enable EPU power saving and test for stability so I can save even more power and hopefully still be stable.

My CPU is hitting a big voltage wall around 3850Mhz where it's not practical to overclock further but I can bench at 4GHZ at 1.4v.

I manged to get the RAM to boot at 3200 but it errors out in windows memtest after 10 minutes.


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