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Gigabyte B550I AORUS PRO AX Review

Small size, big features

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

The B550 platform is upon us! Today, we’re looking at an especially neat option from Gigabyte with the B550i AORUS Pro AX. This motherboard is small, but it doesn’t lack in features. If you’re considering building a small form factor gaming PC, this is definitely a worthy option to consider — but does real world performance match up to a plentiful spec sheet? Join us as we find out.


  • Current Price: $179.99 (Newegg)
  • Form Factor: Mini-ITX Form Factor (17.0cm x 17.0cm)
  • CPU: AMD Socket AM4, support for: 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen processors/ New Generation AMD Ryzen with Radeon Graphics processors
  • Memory
    • 2 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB (32 GB single DIMM capacity) of system memory
    • 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen Processors:
      • Support for DDR4 4866(O.C.)/4600(O.C.)/4400(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/3333(O.C.)/3200/2933/2667/2400/2133 MHz memory modules
    • New Generation AMD Ryzen with Radeon Graphics processors:
      • Support for DDR4 5300(O.C.)/5200(O.C.)/5000(O.C.)/4866(O.C.)/4600(O.C.)/4400(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/3333(O.C.)/3200/2933/2667/2400/2133 MHz memory modules
    • Dual channel memory architecture
    • Support for ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules
    • Support for non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules
    • Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
  • Onboard Graphics
    • Integrated in the New Generation AMD Ryzen with Radeon Graphics processors:
      • 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 5120x2880@60 Hz (Support for DisplayPort 1.4 version, HDCP 2.3, and HDR.)
    • 2 x HDMI ports, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@60 Hz (Support for HDMI 2.1 version, HDCP 2.3, and HDR.)
    • Support for up to 3 displays at the same time
    • Maximum shared memory of 16 GB
  • Audio
    • Realtek ALC1220-VB codec
    • High Definition Audio
    • 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  • LAN: Realtek 2.5GbE LAN chip (2.5 Gbit/1 Gbit/100 Mbit)
  • Wireless Networking
    • Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
      • WIFI a, b, g, n, ac with wave 2 features, ax, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
    • Bluetooth 5
    • Support for 11ax 160MHz wireless standard and up to 2.4 Gbps data rate
  • Expansion Slots
    • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot (PCIEX16), integrated in the CPU:
      • 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen processors support PCIe 4.0 x16 mode
      • New Generation AMD Ryzen with Radeon Graphics processors support PCIe 3.0 x16 mode
  • Storage
    • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot (PCIEX16), integrated in the CPU:
      • 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen processors support PCIe 4.0 x16 mode
      • New Generation AMD Ryzen with Radeon Graphics processors support PCIe 3.0 x16 mode
  • USB
    • CPU:
      • 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports on the back panel
    • Chipset:
      • 1 x USB Type-C port on the back panel, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support
      • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port (red) on the back panel
      • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports available through the internal USB header
      • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB header
  • Internal I/O Connectors
    • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
    • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
    • 1 x CPU fan header
    • 2 x system fan headers
    • 1 x addressable LED strip header
    • 1 x RGB LED strip header
    • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
    • 2 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
    • 1 x front panel header
    • 1 x front panel audio header
    • 1 x speaker header
    • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 header
    • 1 x USB 2.0/1.1 header
    • 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header (2x6 pin, for the GC-TPM2.0_S module only)
    • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • Back Panel Connectors
    • 1 x DisplayPort
    • 2 x HDMI ports
    • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port (red)
    • 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
    • 1 x USB Type-C port, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support
    • 1 x Q-Flash Plus button
    • 1 x RJ-45 port
    • 2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
    • 3 x audio jacks
  • Hardware Monitoring
    • Voltage detection
    • Temperature detection
    • Fan speed detection
    • Overheating warning
    • Fan fail warning
    • Fan speed control
  • Unique Features
    • Support for APP Center
      • @BIOS
      • EasyTune
      • Fast Boot
      • Game Boost
      • ON/OFF Charge
    • RGB Fusion
    • Smart Backup
    • System Information Viewer
    • Support for Q-Flash Plus
    • Support for Q-Flash
    • Support for Xpress Install
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited Warranty

Since the launch of this generation of Ryzen processors, we’ve been waiting for B550 — even before we knew it as such. This generation brought with it PCIe 4.0, which opened the door to ridiculously fast NVMe drives capable of speeds up to 5 gigabytes a second (anecdotally, the same tech that will be the backbone of the PlayStation 5). Until now, being able to achieve those speeds meant buying into high-end X570 platform while the more mainstream B450 chipset was left with PCIe Gen 3.0. It was a premium many users simply weren’t willing to pay for a single feature.

If you’ve been on the fence about upgrading your PC, B550 may be your reason to jump down and take the plunge. Like the B450 platform, B550 aims to be much more price accessible for the average consumer. The cheapest B550 board currently available on Newegg can be had for only $114. The lowest end X570, on the other hand, is $149 and jumps to $209 immediately after. If you’re looking to build a small form factor PC, prices are even steeper, beginning at $219.

Clearly, B550 is needed especially if you’re building a small form factor PC, and that’s where the Gigabyte B550I AORUS PRO AX comes in. Retailing for $179, this is a motherboard designed for gamers that don’t want to make big sacrifices in performance just to cut down on size. It’s absolutely feature rich despite being a tiny 17cm x 17cm — that’s 6.7 inches on either side. Take a look at the picture above. Tiny. The amount that Gigabyte has packed into this small package is impressive. 

Let’s take a look at connectivity. Around the back, you’ll find six USB ports, two of which are USB 3.2 Gen 2 to support ultra high speed external storage, and one of which is a USB Type-C. Additional internal headers will allow you to expand that to 10 total ports. We also have two HDMI 2.1 ports capable of cinema 4K and HDR, and a DisplayPort 1.4 connection with a maximum resolution of 5120x2880. On the bottom of the back panel we find our audio connections for Mic, Line Out, and Line In. The audio chipset isn’t the high-end ESS kit found on their high-end full-size motherboards, but it does use the latest RealTek ALC1220-VB chip which natively supports up to 7.1 virtual surround sound. 

Gigabyte spared no expense when it comes to both wireless and wired connectivity. It features 2.5 gigabit  ethernet, powered by RealTek. Over wireless, it supports the latest WiFi 6 AX200. If your home network isn’t there yet (not many are, but will be soon), it also supports 2.4/5GHz dual band, WiFi a/b/g/n/ac as well as AX. Additionally, the board sports Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity for compatibility with your wireless peripherals and earbuds. 

For storage, I was impressed to see that the board supports dual M.2 drives. The first is just north of the GPU and sports a built-in heatsink. The second is cleverly placed on the bottom of the board. Sadly, only the top-mounted NVMe drive supports PCIe Gen 4. The bottom M.2 drive has a bit of clearance thanks to the stylish backplate, but if your drive has its own thick heatsink, you could run into compatibility issues depending on your choice of case. Likewise, that positioning could make it an incredible pain to swap out once the motherboard is installed. Still, I appreciate the creative placement and the ability to use dual NVMe drives at all. Back on top of the board, you’ll find four SATA drives for additional storage. 

When it comes to memory, we find the expected two DIMM slots, each steel reinforced. The board offers support for 64GB of memory at speeds of up to 4866MHz (overclocked, of course). The spec sheet also describes speeds up to 5300MHz with AMD’s next generation processors. Let that sink in for a moment.

If you’re an overclocker, you’ll be pleased to know that Gigabyte has equipped the PRO AX with an 8-phase VRM system.  This is a 6+2 system with each phase capable of handling up to 90A. Compared to a full size X570 like the AORUS Master I tested against, this is a reduction but is still an impressive solution for such a tiny board. I’m excited to see what kind of overclocking results I achieve!

Compared to a full-size board, you do leave a few things on the cutting room floor. There are only three fans headers — two in addition to the CPU fan. Power delivery is 8-pin instead of 8+4 pin. There are only 4 SATA ports and a single PCI-e. Generally speaking, these go with the territory of such a small board and you wouldn’t go into this expecting ten hard drives and SLI. What I do miss, however, is a debug LED to indicate any problems that could arise. 

Overall, this is a very full-featured package that seems poised to be a solid foundation for sleeper, SFF gaming PC. 

Let’s see how it performed!

Benchmark Results

Test System #1: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X CPU, Gigabyte B550I AORUS PRO AXMaster Motherboard, NZXT Kraken X72, G.Skill TridentZ Royal DDR4-3600MHz 16GB DRAM Kit, Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD 2TB, Corsair HX-1050 1050 Watt Power Supply.

Test System #2: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X CPU, Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master Motherboard, NZXT Kraken X72, G.Skill TridentZ Royal DDR4-3600MHz 16GB DRAM Kit, Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD 2TB, Corsair HX-1050 1050 Watt Power Supply.







Ryzen has notoriously low overclocking headroom, so I expected the limitation I found on this chip to hold true. When I initially tried overclocking the 3300X on my X570 AORUS Master, I was able to achieve a stable 4.4GHz overclock across all cores at 1.35V (the standard Boost Clock is 4.3GHz). This was my starting point for the B550I AORUS PRO AX.

Unfortunately, at the same voltage, I found myself crashing, though I am unclear why. I was able to achieve stability at this frequency by increasing the voltage to 1.37V, however. To the best of my ability, I ensured that  all of the other power delivery and calibration settings remained the same; which is to say, stock. As only a very moderate overclocker, I claim no authority on what else may have been causing it. Sound off below with your ideas and I’ll try it as I continue to research on my own.

Regardless of requiring slightly more voltage,  I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t need to drop my overclock frequency. Small size doesn’t mean reduced overclocks, it seems!

Results Discussion and Final Thoughts

I’m impressed with this motherboard — to say the least. Gigabyte has done an outstanding job of packing premium features into an incredibly small package. The performance is also hand in hand with Gigabyte’s high-end X570 AORUS Master. You do make some trade-offs for the small size, such as the reduced VRM count, but that didn’t hold me back from pushing a moderate overclock. If you’re ready to leave the big PC tower behind, the B550I AORUS PRO AX makes for an excellent foundation for your next system. 

The product discussed in this review was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
9.0 Amazing
  • Tiny form factor
  • Feature rich, despite its small size
  • Competitively priced
  • Dual M.2 slots
  • Competes blow to blow with X570 in performance
  • Only one slot supports PCIe 4.0
  • Few fan headers


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight