ASUS ROG Strix B660-I Gaming WiFi Review (Page 3 of 12)

Page 3 - Physical Look - Hardware, Board Layout

As a mini-ITX motherboard, the ASUS ROG Strix B660-I Gaming WiFi is significantly smaller than your average ATX board with physical dimensions of 17cm x 17cm. The flat black solder mask is seen throughout the board. Like the ProArt B660-Creator D4, most of the components can be found in monochrome shades with the exception of a few capacitors that are gold and silver. The Strix logo can be seen on the larger VRM heatsink with the Republic of Gamers branding just below with some additional text. This area also has a heartbeat signal and an 8-bit alien ship, which can be seen between the Strix logo and the ROG brand name. Another heartbeat signal is seen over the front-facing M.2 slot with an 8-bit Pacman and a dotted figure to the side. The ROG logo is seen beside it in bright colors with the text “Game On”, although the A is flipped, and the E is backwards. The full product name is printed right beside the memory slots. Various other components such as alloy chokes and durable high temperature capacitors can also be seen around the board. Aesthetics do not contribute to the functionality of a motherboard, but it is nice to see ASUS put in the effort to have a cool-looking unit.

As seen in the photo above, the heatsink configuration is reasonable for such a small board. They cover the MOSFETs, inductors, and capacitors placed around the CPU socket, as well as one for the PCIe 4.0-based NVMe M.2 slot in the front. This heatsink contains thermal pads underneath to help with keeping your drive at a reasonable temperature. The board also uses an eight-layer PCB to dissipate the heat around the VRMs. There are no active fans present like we have seen on most AMD X570 motherboards. The ASUS ROG Strix B660-I Gaming WiFi should perform well with all the heatsinks placed on the board, although we will perform some temperature testing later to verify this.

The CPU power connector is located top left of the board, which is the case for most motherboards out there. This 8-pin EPS header exists to feed power to the processor. Despite being a smaller board, it is not too cramped here with enough room to connect the CPU power cable. With that said, I would still recommend connecting the CPU power connector before installing any cooler to avoid any of these issues, especially if you have a large heatsink.

Three 4-pin headers are located above the smaller VRM heatsink. In order of left to right, these are CPU_OPT, CPU_FAN, and AIO_PUMP. It should be noted the header labels are located further off to the right side of the board. These labels indicate that two of these headers will support cooling fans, while the other is for a liquid cooler pump.

The above photo displays the back of the motherboard. The design is quite simple with all the different PCB traces being shown. Other light gray components can be seen forming the ROG logo, which I think is a neat touch. All the same images from the front can also be seen printed on the back such as the heartbeat signal and the dotted figures. The standard Intel backplate can be found here. All aftermarket LGA1700 coolers should be designed to work with this backplate.

Various electrical components can be seen here, some being through-hole and some being surface-mounted devices. The through-hole connectors are found for the power connection sockets and other high-stress locations, as they can withstand higher mechanical stress than surface mount. We can also see a PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe slot here, which brings the total number of M.2 NVMe drive slots to a respectable two with this mini-ITX motherboard. An M.2 backplate is supposed to be provided for users to place on top of their drives, which will help deal with the thermal load. This specific package did not come with one though, which I assume to be a one-off mistake.

The LGA1700 processor socket can be seen close to a variety of motherboard components. Two of these components are the two VRM heatsinks included on the motherboard. The heatsinks are relatively low in height, so I do not have worries about cooler compatibility in the case of this motherboard. The B660-I Gaming WiFi features a Digi+ EPU and 8+1 60A power stage design to deliver power that can be used by Alder Lake Intel processors.

Two memory slots can be seen fairly close to the processor socket. However, there is only so much room on a motherboard, especially with a mini-ITX one, so this is not surprising. Most memory modules are designed to have heatspreaders that are low profile enough, so clearance should not be an issue when it comes to CPU coolers. Many modern CPU coolers are designed so it does not hover over or clear the RAM anyway, further emphasizing how clearance should not be an issue at all. The closest slot to the processor socket is DIMM A1, with the second slot being DIMM B1. Both slots have a fortified metal divider for increased strength.

The ATX-24 pin power connector can be seen on the side of the motherboard, which is standard for any motherboard no matter the form factor. Placed beside the ATX 24-pin power connector are four LEDs to indicate if there is a problem with the CPU, memory, graphics card, or boot device status. This helps indicate a problem to the user if there is one during start up. Below the ATX-24 pin power connector is the system panel and speaker header.

The photo above gives a clear view of the four standard SATA 6Gb/s ports. These ports are native to the chipset, which is the B660 in this case. These ports lead directly out from the motherboard rather than at a 90-degree angle. The SATA ports support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10. To the right of it is the USB 3.2 Gen 1 header, followed by a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C header that is more and more common on more recent motherboards.

There is a single PCI Express 5.0 x16 expansion slot located at the very bottom of the ASUS ROG Strix B660-I Gaming WiFi, which can be used for your graphics card. This PCIe 5.0 x16 slot is provided by the processor. There are no other PCIe slots on this motherboard, which is what I would expect given the smaller size nature of the mini-ITX format.

There are two M.2 storage slots on this motherboard, with one of them right above the PCI Express expansion slot and the other being on the back of the motherboard, as seen earlier. These M.2 slots provide fast data transfer speed for your NVMe storage devices. Both M.2 slots are PCIe 4.0-based and can support sizes of up to 2280. The M.2 slot on the front of the board has four lanes of bandwidth supplied by the CPU, while the back M.2 slot has four lanes supplied by the chipset. The front M.2 slot uses ASUS' M.2 Q-Latch. The latch works in a way where it uses a simple locking mechanism to secure the drive, making it so users do not have to use a traditional screwdriver and screws.

An array of different headers can be seen squished between the PCIe 5.0 x16 slot and the M.2 heatsink. From left to right, we have our front audio panel, two-pin clear CMOS, three-pin S/PDIF module, and a 9-pin USB 2.0 header. While a little tight together, I like the organization of the headers.

Beneath the rear heatsink are the audio components, which is the ROG SupremeFX S1220A 7.1 channel audio codec with audio-grade capacitors and a Savitech SV3H712 amplifier for the front panel 3.5mm connection. The audio codec supports up to 32-bit/192 kHz playback in non-7.1 configuration, rated at 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR line-in recording input.

The back contains the I/O panel with all the different inputs to the motherboard. There are a total of three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports highlighted by the blue connectors inside of the ports. There are also three USB 2.0 Type-A ports and two USB Type-C ports, which is a greater number of USB Type-C ports than one would see on other motherboards. The USB Type-C ports are slightly different from each other, with one being USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 and the other being USB 3.2 Gen 1. They are all native to the Intel B660 chipset. The USB ports can be disabled for security. A single 2.5G Ethernet port can also be seen, which is powered by an Intel I225-V chip. A 2x2 Intel AX201 wireless module can also be seen at the back for attaching the provided antenna with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 support.

Additionally, there are two video connectors on top of the USB 2.0 Type-A ports. These come in the form of an HDMI and DisplayPort output, which both support outputs for up to 4K resolution up at 60Hz. The rest are audio connectors based off the ROG SupremeFX S1220A 7.1 channel audio codec as aforementioned. Interestingly enough, we do not have an optical audio connector here.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Bundle and Chipset
3. Physical Look - Hardware, Board Layout
4. BIOS and Test System
5. Benchmark: AIDA64
6. Benchmark: Cinebench R23
7. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 10
8. Benchmark: PCMark 10
9. Benchmark: 3DMark
10. Onboard Sound Frequency Analysis
11. Thermal Measurements
12. Conclusion