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ASUS Prime B350-Plus Review - Armchair Empire

ASUS Prime B350-Plus Review

  • 9/10
    Overclocking - 9/10
  • 6/10
    Compatibility - 6/10
  • 9.5/10
    Performance - 9.5/10
  • 9/10
    Stability - 9/10
  • 8.5/10
    Expansion - 8.5/10
8.4/10

Our Rating

We Recommend the ASUS Prime B350-Plus For

A casual user does not need SLI or Crossfire. A casual gamer also does not need extensive overclocking capabilities. The ASUS Prime B350-Plus is designed for a casual user/gamer who only wants to upgrade his or her existing system to match pace with current technologies. This motherboard offers the latest technologies and decent overclocking features for a standard user. Gaming on it is a surreal experience, so this is the Ryzen motherboard meant for all kinds of users.

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ASUS Prime B350-Plus AMD Ryzen AM4 DDR4 HDMI DVI VGA M.2 USB 3.1 ATX B350 Motherboard
  • Powered by AMD Ryzen AM4 and 7th generation Athlon processors to maximize connectivity and speed with NVMe M.2, USB 3.1, DDR4 and Gigabit LAN
  • 5X Protection III Hardware-level safeguards provide component longevity and reliability
  • Specially designed fan RGB header to support multi-color CPU fan LED strips

Introduction

With Ryzen 5 processors now out and thrashing Intel in benchmarks, gaming performances, and general purpose usage, casual users are starting to migrate towards AMD. However, unlike PC enthusiasts and gamers, a typical user does not need all the extra features of an X370 motherboard. The ASUS Prime B350-Plus caters to the general public who need a reliable motherboard with current generation technologies that meets their daily requirements with superior gaming support.

Please note that B350 motherboards aren’t designed for overclocking though all Ryzen chips are unlocked. With this motherboard, you can overclock using the BIOS though it is not advisable to do so. Hence, if overclocking is not your biggest requirement but you still want to install a powerful graphics card, an NVMe M.2 SSD or maximize your memory to 64GB, this is the motherboard to get around the $100 pricepoint. In inexpensive motherboards, we trust only Asus because of their proper quality check and stringent testing.

Specifications

The ASUS Prime B350-Plus runs on AM4 Ryzen processors from AMD. These new generation AMD processors are now compatible with several new technologies. For instance, you can now use NVMe M.2 devices, connect USB 3.1 products and use DDR4 memory modules for maximum performance. This was not possible with AM3 and AM3+ motherboards.

The B350-Plus from Asus comes with 5X Protection III. Basically, ASUS backs all its components, promises of only the best circuit design and manufacturing standards that add to the durability of the motherboard. It is not hard imagining this though since every Asus motherboard we have used or reviewed in the past has always fired up in the first attempt without any glitches. We cannot say the same when it comes to other manufacturers, especially with cheaper motherboards and chipsets. ASUS specifically mentions its SafeSlot Core. From what we gather, they have fortified the motherboard design to ensure greater retention and shearing resistance.

The ASUS Prime B350-Plus may be a low costing Ryzen board, but it still packs quite some punch. Take the optimized cooling for instance. The motherboard has onboard sensors that monitor the temperature of all elements. It even provides PWM/DC mode detection with 4 and 3 pin option. Finally, the Fan Xpert 2+ application allows you to tweak the noise and fan speeds individually. For styling, this motherboard packs LED lighting that has its own RGB header control.

Our Review

For folks who just want to upgrade their old processors and join the DDR4, M.2 and PCIe 16x bandwagon, the ASUS Prime B350-Plus is an excellent option. This is a Ryzen only motherboard that has zero backward DDR3 compatibility. Hence, if you buy this motherboard, you better invest into DDR4 memory kits and a Ryzen processor. Moreover, you should already have a graphics card or else get one since the new AMD processors are not APUs or yesteryears but dedicated CPUs only.

Almost immediately evident on the first POST is the fact that this motherboard needs very little tweaking. Being a B350 series board, it isn’t hugely endowed with overclocking and additional features. Maybe that is the reason it boots and performs with greater stability right out of the box. Nevertheless, it is best to update the BIOS the moment you get a chance. Good news though, this motherboard allows some amount of overclocking regardless of the Ryzen processor it runs.

In our case, we tested a Ryzen 5 1600 with 2400MHz 16GB (2 x 8GB) RAM and used the stock Spire cooler AMD provided. We managed to hit 3.85GHz without pushing past the 60-degree C mark. However, doing so increases the voltage to 1.45 volts! Good news though, you can reduce the voltage to about 1.3 volts on the 1600 and still maintain a stable 3.8GHz. That’s pretty impressive for a processor and motherboard combination, not exclusively designed for overclocking.

Likewise, working with RAM overclocking is comfortable with the UEFI BIOS. There are plenty of nice features but not a lot of things to make your head spin.

As for ports and connectivity, it has the usual ensemble though the M.2 with NVMe support is a nice touch for a motherboard that costs right around the $100 mark. Sufficient USB 2.0 internal headers allow for multiple fan connections, yet another great feature of the motherboard. And finally, the AI Suite from ASUS, which is always a pleasure to use.

For an average user, the B350-Plus will be more than sufficient. It is a budget overclock board, with beyond expectations reliability and performance. However, reviews for the Prime B350-Plus aren’t all that great. At best, it receives a mixed reception. The reason for this is Ryzen processors aren’t exactly plug and play. They have limitations to the kind of components you use. From RAM makers to PSU manufacturers, there is a huge list of compatible and non-compatible products. Hence, the majority of negative reviews are because customers did not research these limitations of Ryzen and decided just to upgrade their motherboard with a Ryzen chipset.

Two significant limitations for the ASUS Prime B350-Plus are EGVA PSU and Memory Stick compatibility. An EVGA PSU does not provide the requisite power to the board regardless of its rating. As for memory modules, stick with the 3200MHz modules certified for Ryzen processors otherwise your memory will be limited to 2400MHz at best. Though, we are confident this limitation will eventually be removed once Ryzen and ASUS have done proper testing of their architecture.

Pros

  • Most affordable overclock-friendly motherboard for Ryzen processors.
  • The motherboard has M.2 NVMe capability along with Crossfire with two ATI Cards.
  • A total of 4 DDR4 DIMM slots with maximum 64GB capacity and 3200MHz overclocked speed.
  • Compatible with all Ryzen processors and can easily overclock using the UEFI BIOS. Allows for voltage regulation too.
  • Sufficient USB 2.0 headers for extra fans and a dedicated fan application allows for full ventilation control.
  • Fresh breathing CPU LED strips.

Cons

  • Compatibility with memory manufacturers and PSU makers is limited to a stringent list.
  • This motherboard does not support SLI with NVidia cards though it accepts Crossfire with AMD ATI cards.
  • Fully compatible USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 slots with newer operating systems such as Windows 10. It may pose problems trying to install older OS.

Conclusion

ASUS is a brand we trust when it comes to PC parts. It is also the brand we promote because of the quality of their products. ASUS Prime B350-Plus is no different. This motherboard packs in the necessary requirements for running a Ryzen powered PC without costing more than $100. The money you save can go into a high capacity NVMe storage module or more memory and if you game then into a better graphics card capable of 1440p or VR even.