ASUS ROG Strix B550-XE Gaming WiFi Preview
Published: 30th October 2020 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
Up Close - The PCB
The B550-XE Gaming WiFi is the latest in a long line of Strix models and it appears that ASUS have dialed back on the "glitch" font that we took against last time. It's nice. The whole package looks a little more professional. The 135° stripes running from the top left, through the heatsink, and down to the chipset heatsink is nice and bold.
At the top left your Ryzen CPU is kept sated with power by an 8+4 12V arrangement. It might just be us but these are always the trickiest cables to install in any system we build. Between the AIO and your case bracing there is rarely quite enough room for our sausage fingers.
At the top right there are one each of the RGB and Addressable headers than form the basis for the ASUS AURA Sync lighting setup, whilst alongside them are three headers for your CPU cooling needs, including a dedicated pump header.
In the middle we have two USB 3.2 headers in Gen1 Type-A and Gen2 Type-C formats to ensure the front of your case is still useful. Anything to save us digging around the back trying to sort out ten identical black USB cables is a plus in our book.
At the bottom right we find six SATA ports just above the front panel connectors and, thankfully, two USB 2.0 front panel headers. As so much of our hardware requires a USB header to control the lighting these days it's good to see the old USB 2.0 still having a place in our modern world.
Lastly on our tour the B550-XE has the familiar ASUS SupremeFX audio on its own board for smooth audio without needing to buy an addon sound card, unless of course you're heavily into audio engineering then you'll need one if only for the extra connectivity. There is also a couple more fan headers here, as well as the AURA RGB and Addressable headers.
As you would expect from a motherboard bearing the famous Republic of Gamers branding, and from the now equally famous Strix range, the power on the B550-XE is 14+2, which is more than enough to handle anything you care to throw at it. Given the requirements of the Ryzen 9 3950X this is a welcome feature indeed. We're also big fans of the heatsink design that keeps it all cool, and how well the slashes marry up to the blended IO Shield and RGB section.
Lastly for those of you with tiny fingers there is a fan header tucked away between the bottom of the aforementioned heatsink and the top of the uppermost M.2 heatspreader.