MicroATX gaming motherboards are far popular than you think.
With inventories of the B360 Express digesting nicely, motherboard vendors are finally implementing its replacement, the B365 Express, in premium gaming-grade products. ASUS rolled out its first Republic of Gamers (ROG) product, with the ROG Strix B365-G Gaming. Built in the micro-ATX form-factor, this board packs many gamer-essentials and is targeted at PC gamers who don’t bother with overclocking. With its in-BIOS memory frequency setting capped at DDR4-2667, ASUS is very specific about the target audience. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 7+2 phase VRM. The board supports all 9th gen and 8th gen Core “Coffee Lake/Refresh” processors out of the box.
The LGA1151 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots that support up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4-2667 memory; and the board’s sole PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot with a metal reinforcement. A PCI-Express 3.0 x1, M.2 E-key slot (for WLAN cards), and PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (physical x16), make for the rest of the expansion area. Storage connectivity includes two M.2-2280 slots, one of which supports both PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps, while the other is just PCI-Express 3.0 x4; and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. The board’s sole 1 GbE interface is driven by an Intel i219-V controller. USB connectivity includes two type-A 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, besides six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by headers). The onboard audio solution combines a Realtek ALC1220A CODEC with dual OPAMPs, EMI shielding, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. A couple of 3-pin addressable RGB headers make for the rest of this board, which is expected to retail around the $100-mark.