• Socket: AM4
  • Chipset: AMD B450
  • RAM Slots: 4
  • Form Factor: mATX
  • Memory: 3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz DDR4
  • Ports: 1x PS/2, 1x HDMI, 1x DVI-D, 1x LAN, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 3x USB 3.1 Type-A, 2x USB 2.0, 5x Audio port, 1x Optical (SPDIF), 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x8, 4x SATA 6Gb/s, 1x M.2
  • Pros:
  • Good layout
  • Price
  • Cons:
  • None

TUF Enough To Punch Above Its Class

As the Green Day song goes, “Wake me up when September ends.” Over here, September tends to end fast enough with all our holidays. But ASUS still had time to send us the TUF B450M-Plus Gaming, an AMD motherboard designed for the the 2nd Generation of Ryzen AM4 desktop CPUs.

The ASUS TUF B450M-Plus Gaming is a mATX (micro ATX) board, which means compromising on some PCIe slots for a more compact design. It features a black and grey colour scheme that’s so prevalent these days, with just a bit of yellow on the I/O shroud and plastic piece on the lower right side. These two areas are also the only ones that have RGB lighting, so we consider it among the least ‘glowy’ motherboards we’ve seen in a while.

Although we said that mATX boards tend to compromise, ASUS still managed to equip it with four DIMM slots and two PCIe slots (one x16 and one x8). Having two PCIe slots means that you can have a multi-GPU setup, assuming you pick a chassis that has the space for it. The PCIe x16 slot has a metal bracket reinforcing it for use with heavier GPUs. In addition, there’s an M.2 slot closer to the bottom between the two PCIe slots.

Besides key specs like that, the TUF B450M-Plus Gaming also has 4-pin headers – one for the CPU and two for chassis fans. This means that you won’t be able to use coolers with two fans or AIOs that need two 4-pin headers. There’s some good news on the RGB end though, with the white 4-pin header for RGB LED strips there to help add some colour to your build.

Since it’s not as small as a mini ITX board, the board is more evenly spaced out. But if you pick a smaller chassis to go with the size, make sure to install your parts first before hooking it up to the chassis, in order to have an easier time with the installation of your PC parts. We used a Wraith Spire cooler for our build, so all we had to do was remove the brackets near the CPU socket and screw the cooler into the supporting bracket at the bottom. Easy enough.

We got good benchmark scores with this motherboard as expected. With support for up to 3,200 MHz and 64GB of DDR4 RAM, as well as the newer Ryzen 2700 CPU, it can be great for users who want a machine that can do video rendering, gaming while streaming, and more.

CHIP CONCLUDE: Compactness with good balance of value and performance makes this ideal for those who want a high-end PC with a small footprint.

(to be published in issue October 2018)