In our B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard Review, we will look into the B650M AORUS ELITE AX. It is specifically for the latest AM5 platform, making it a motherboard to consider.
This motherboard is an entry-level product offering aspects and elements you will love. However, despite being an entry-level model, it still supports features like M.2 PCIe 5.0, an 8-layer PCB, plus a robust VRM.
The motherboard has more to offer, and we will focus on these in our B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard Review. We will discuss its design, functions, specs, more of its features, and how it performs.
For starters, we will check its packaging and what accessories Gigabyte included in the box.
Let us begin by checking the package. In front of the box is an image of the iconic falcon from AORUS and motherboard key features. The latter includes DDR5 and NVMe SSD support.
Flipping the box, you will find more details on the VRM, its WiFi capabilities, and reinforced PCIe slots.
Inside the box are the motherboard and additional items to help you get started. The accessory kit included in the package features SATA cables, WiFi antennas, and an installation guide.
B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard Review – Design and Functionality
The motherboard boasts a sleek design, which we will look into in our B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard Review.
It features a black PCB, impressive heatsinks, and SMD memory slots free of visible solder points. The design choice helps maintain signal integrity and enhances stability at higher frequencies.
Gigabyte efficiently executed the PCB layout of this motherboard since the component placement is well-organised with a few clever solutions. These include the PCIe Ez Latch primary slot lock. The slot lock simplifies the process of removing the GPU.
Moreover, the M.2 slots are toolless, so you do not require screws to secure the SSDs.
The primary PCIe slot on this motherboard is above the M.2 slots. Therefore, it can restrict airflow and the maximum height of the SSD heatsink.
The motherboard comes with a heatsink that you can use to replace the original. However, removing it may result in some manufacturers voiding the SSD warranty. Later, we will test the Aorus heatsink to see if it can handle various tasks.
Having a configurable reset button on the motherboard is a thoughtful addition. However, its placement could be more convenient, particularly for bench-testing purposes.
The primary PCIe slot on this motherboard is only compatible with Gen4 because of the B650 chipset. As for storage, the M.2 slot on this motherboard link to the CPU.
Its M2A_CPU slot supports PCIe 5.0. Then, the second slot supports PCIe 4.0. Four SATA connectors provide support for RAID 0, 1, and 10.
The audio CODEC of the B650M AORUS ELITE EX is the classic Realtek ALC-897. The manufacturer considers the integrated audio as HiFi Audio because of its capacitors. However, its implementation is decent and has little power to drive high-end HiFi headphones.
On its LAN, you will find that Gigabyte opted for a 2.5GbE while utilising the Realtek chip. The WiFi module, on the other hand, varies with the revision of this motherboard. Version 1 has an AMD/MediaTek RZ616 module, while the new version 1.1 uses Intel AX210.
Rear I/O of the B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard
A notable feature of the B650M AORUS ELITE AX is its built-in rear I/O shield. In addition, it features a Q-Flash button to allow BIOS updates without needing a processor.
Aside from the button, it has two WiFi antenna connectors and a USB Type-C with USB 3.2 Gen2 support. You will also find the following on the rear I/O shield:
DisplayPort & HDMI
USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A x2
USB 3.2 Gen1 x5
USB 2.0/1.1 x4
A simple audio panel for Line Out, S/PDIF Out, and Mic
B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard VRM
Our B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard Review will also discuss the VRM design of the product. This area consists of the necessary elements for power delivery when operating your PC.
The B650M AORUS ELITE AX sports a tough VRM heatsink featuring two aluminium pieces linked by a heat pipe. Usually, you can find these elements on higher-end models, so it is a surprise to see these on this motherboard.
Moreover, its thermal pad also offers outstanding contact with its components. And according to the company, it comes with 5W/mk thermal conductivity.
Speaking of its VRM, the motherboard uses a 6+2 phase setup, employing two power stages having the same PWM signal. It is a design called the Twin 12+2 VRM design from Gigabyte. The design can also work with other motherboards like TUF B550/X570 from ASUS.
The VRM components sport the Infineon XDPE-192C3B PWM controller and the OnSemi NCP303160 power stages. These have a 60A total current handling capacity.
On heat dissipation, the VRM can handle a maximum current of 160A with an R9 7950X running at stock. Therefore, the VRM should dissipate around 18W or approximately 1.5W per power stage.
Moreover, the B650M AORUS ELITE AX features an 8-layer PCB. It has 2oz copper and a robust cooling system meaning it can function efficiently even in hot conditions.
Key Features of the B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard
What makes this product better than other new motherboards? Let us find out by discussing its primary features in our B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard Review.
Twin Digital VRM Design
Gigabyte AORUS motherboards use the best VRM design and high-quality components. As a result, the B650M AORUS ELITE AX can ensure maximum Turbo Boost and overclocking performance of the latest processors.
Highly Durable SMD PCIe 5.0 x4 M.2 Connector
The PCIe 5.0 x4 M.2 slot supports the latest M.2 form factor (25110). In addition, it increases the bandwidth of PCIe 4.0 by two times and ensures compatibility with future M.2 SSDs.
Up to 6666 and Higher – DDR5 EXPO and XMP Overclocking
AORUS offers a tested and proven motherboard that enables memory overclocking, reaching 6666 and higher. To achieve this performance boost, you must ensure your memory modules are Intel XMP or AMD EXPO capable. In addition, you can enable this function on the AORUS motherboard.
Shielded Memory Routing
The B650M AORUS ELITE AX has a PCB inner layer where you can find all the memory routing. In addition, it has a massive ground layer that protects it from external interference. As a result, it maintains stable performance when overclocking.
Exceptional Thermal Design of the B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard
Gigabyte motherboards offer unparalleled performance since they have an optimised and innovative thermal design. Therefore, these motherboards guarantee the best stability and lowest CPU, SSD, and chipset performance.
This thermal design ensures superior performance under full-load applications and when gaming.
The Ultra-Efficient M.2 Thermal Guard from Gigabyte
Gigabyte built the thermal solution of the B650M AORUS ELITE AX with durability in mind. The M.2 Thermal Guard prevents bottlenecks and throttling from high-speed M.2 SSDs by dissipating heat before issues happen.
3% Cooler with the 2X Copper PCB
The B650M AORUS ELITE AX adopts the 2X copper on PCB inner layer to reduce the temperature of components. In addition, it uses an ultra-thin PCB-size copper heatsink to dissipate heat effectively. Plus, it works using its low impedance and high thermal conductivity.
SmartFan 6 for Superior Cooling
SmartFan 6 has several unique cooling elements that guarantee the consistent performance of gaming PCs. Also, the B650M AORUS ELITE AX supports PWM/DC fans and pumps so that you can define each fan curve. You can manage these via the intuitive interface of Gigabyte.
802.11ax WiFi 6E
The B650M AORUS ELITE AX uses 802.11ax WiFi 6E, the latest wireless solution with a dedicated 6GHz band. It enables gigabit wireless performance for better gaming, seamless video streaming, and reduced dropped connections. Additionally, it offers up to 2.4 Gbps speeds.
This wireless solution also supports Bluetooth 5, which provides faster transmission and four times the range of Bluetooth 4.2.
Two Times Faster
With 2.5G LAN, this motherboard provides up to 2.5GbE connectivity with twice the speeds of 1GbE. Therefore, it is ideal for gamers who want the best online gaming experience.
Front USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C Port
The USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 provides twice the performance of the previous generation USB 3.2 Gen2. It delivers up to 20Gbps ultra-fast data transfer when connecting USB 3.2-compliant peripherals. In addition, you can enjoy the reversible design of the USB Type-C connector to access and store massive data quickly.
Rear USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C Port
The native USB 3.2 Gen2 of AMD offers up to 10Gbps speeds. Additionally, it provides twice the bandwidth of its previous generation. It also supports backward compatibility with USB 3.2 Gen1 and USB 2.0 for convenience.
Its USB Type-C connection offers better compatibility with a range of modern devices. This improved USB 3.2 Gen2 is also available with the traditional USB Type-A.
WiFi 6E Advantage
The biggest problem of the current WiFi environment today is spectrum congestion. It is due to the many devices using 2.4GHz and 5Ghz, causing slower speeds and unreliable connection.
WiFi 6E extends the standard of WiFi 6 and uses the dedicated 6Ghz band. Aside from being a brand-new frequency for transferring data, it is spacious for more future devices. Moreover, WiFi 6E makes users enjoy better and more stable signals with a faster connection.
WiFi 6E for the Ultimate VR Experience
Virtual reality (VR) in gaming continues to be popular. However, VR gaming requires faster network solutions. Fortunately, the B650M AORUS ELITE AX uses WiFi 6E to give you the ultimate VR experience.
With WiFi 6E, you can enjoy lower latency, faster WiFi speeds, and improved battery life for VR devices. As a result, you can stream VR games wirelessly from the PC to your VR device for higher video quality.
Gigabyte Control Centre
Gigabyte Control Centre, or GCC, is a unified software utility for all products supported by Gigabyte. It offers a newly designed intuitive interface, allowing you to control all necessary functions conveniently.
Aside from being a unified platform, it offers modularised control components for installed hardware. Plus, it has an automatic update function to keep the system and supported products up to date.
You can reconfigure the multi-function reset button of the B650M AORUS ELITE AX to other BIOS functions. You can set it to the following user scenarios:
RGB Switch – to disable all lighting effects on the motherboard.
Direct-to-BIOS – boots into the BIOS menu directly without pressing anything on the keyboard
Safe Mode – access BIOS safe mode to configure specific options without losing other BIOS settings.
High-End Audio Capacitors
AORUS motherboards have high-end audio capacitors to deliver high-fidelity and high-resolution audio. These offer the most realistic and immersive sound effects for gamers.
Audio Noise Guard
Like other AORUS motherboards, the B650M AORUS ELITE AX has an audio noise guard. It segregates the sensitive analogue audio elements of the motherboard from possible noise pollution.
Ultra-Durable Design of the B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard
Gigabyte uses the Ultra-Durable design on the B650M AORUS ELITE AX to provide unparalleled durability. Also, the company performs a high-quality manufacturing process, uses the optimal components, and reinforces all slots, making these solid and durable.
Aside from its exceptional durability, it has unique features like PCIe EZ Latch to make DIY building faster and easier. In addition, it has a screwless design to simplify unlocking the PCIe slot latch when removing the graphics card. As a result, replacing the graphics card is more convenient, making it ideal for enthusiasts who often upgrade their PC.
Gigabyte Q-Flash Plus simplifies flashing the BIOS. It eliminates the need to install the memory, graphics card, and CPU and enter the BIOS menu. Plus, it only requires downloading and saving a new BIOS file on your USB flash drive and pressing the dedicated Q-Flash Plus button.
We will also discuss the specifications of the B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard Review. Learning these details will help determine if this motherboard is compatible with your PC components.
The B650M AORUS ELITE AX has an AMD socket AM5 supporting AMD Ryzen 7000 series processors. It uses the AMD B650 chipset, hence, its name. The motherboard sports DDR5 memory, four DIMM slots supporting a maximum of 128GB, and a dual-channel memory architecture.
On its onboard graphics, the B650M AORUS ELITE AX has one DisplayPort and an HDMI port. For its audio, Gigabyte integrated the Realtek audio CODEC while they used a Realtek 2.5GbE chip for its LAN. The company also opted for the AMD WiFi 6E RZ616 | Intel WiFi 6E AZ210 for its wireless communication module.
Moreover, the B650M AORUS ELITE AX supports Windows 11 (64-bit) and Windows 10 (64-bit). And lastly, it sports a micro ATX form factor measuring 24.4 x 24..4cm.
Hands-on with the B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard
Before discussing this motherboard’s performance, our B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard Review will check its BIOS.
The UEFI interface and usability of the BIOS for Gigabyte boards are efficient and similar to their previous motherboards. Also, enough adjustments are available for extreme overclocking and daily use.
Similarly, the UEFI of the B650M AORUS ELITE AX is comparable to the Gigabyte B550M DS3H. The only changes made to its visuals are related to the AORUS branding.
The interface is user-friendly and straightforward. Plus, the adjustments available are adequate even for the most demanding overclockers.
The AMD Overclocking menu offers useful options like VDD_Misc, stabilising higher memory frequencies, LN2 Mode, and LCLK Frequency Control. In addition, it is helpful during extreme overclocking to deal with cold bugs or USB port issues caused by low temperatures.
Performance of the B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard
During performance tests, all memory was stable at overclocked and stock frequencies. The B650M AORUS ELITE AX was more than efficient in pushing the limits of the memory controller of our processor. Even when using single-ranked modules, these worked without any stability issues.
As expected, the motherboard did not have issues with the processor. Under load, temperatures remained below 50 degrees Celsius, with only 18.9K delta.
It shows that there is plenty of available headroom available. That means using a Ryzen 9 79050X/X3DD will be fine for the motherboard.
The motherboard also sports a 6+2 phase VRM arrangement with two power stages per phase. These, plus sturdy heatsinks and an 8-layer PCB, provided outstanding thermal performance.
If the motherboard pairs with a Ryzen 7 7700X, it will have zero issues. Therefore, working with a Ryzen 9 7950X or any new processor will have no problems.
B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard Review Summary
Like the previously released AORUS motherboards, the B650M AORUS ELITE AX has an impressive build. It has an 8-layer PCB, an integrated back panel shield, and a solid VRM cooling system. It also has an excellent layout and unique features, making it reasonably priced.
This product seamlessly worked when we tested it for our B650M AORUS ELITE AX Motherboard Review. It delivered everything that Gigabyte promised, which makes it an outstanding motherboard.
The B650M AORUS ELITE AX is worth purchasing for its features and quality. It is the ideal motherboard for using the AM5 platform without spending a fortune.