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Third Party Review

Author: Gianluca Forcolin

If you never built a gaming rig, are tight on budget, but still want a setup that would look perfect in a cyberpunk netrunner’s den, then look no further, because ASUS has created the motherboard just for you.

The ROG Strix B360-H Gaming/Optane motherboard is an excellent compromise between affordability and performance, perfectly compatible with most tools of a standard gamer’s arsenal. Its design is bold, with ROG’s brand and red-and-black writings slashing across the board. It might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it definitely fits nowaday’s gaming aesthetic. It features a built-in I/O shield and a set of sturdy premium components for an easy and risk-free assemblage. Its setup also includes an LGA1151 socket and a 16GB Intel® Optane™ memory, which can be combined with any 8th and 9th-gen Coffee Lake CPU and an HDD to reach near-SSD speeds without having to buy an actual solid-state drive. In layman’s terms, this means less money spent on drives and CPUs and more money spent on a graphics card, and witness great performances with no need to overclock your CPU or tweak your system. Installing additional RAM slots is also possible thanks to B360’s extra slots, which allow a maximum of 64GB. And to top it all off, the AI Suite 3 control panel included with the motherboard allows for a fine tuning of the entire ensemble. If you’re like me and don’t care about performance because youstill play Pokémon Crystal on your emulator, you might be able to splurge on a fancy set of LED lights. This is possible thanks to the Aura Sync RGB software, also included with the motherboard, which allows to combine and synchronize your gear’s LED lights and make them dance in perfect harmony. This includes the lights inside your gear, like fans, graphics cards, memory drives, and wiring. Who doesn’t like their gaming beast to have a set of pulsating guts? (The only wart in this otherwise beautiful setup is that the red LEDs on the bottom side of the board cannot change color, although they’re still compatible with Aura Sync.)

Other than its affordability and design, what really sets the ROG Strix B360-H apart from other equally expensive boards is the quantity of features and ports. B360 has two M.2 slots, compared to GIGABYTE and SuperMicro motherboards, and six SATA ports compared to an MSI. Other things standing out are its HDMI, USB and audio ports (which, combined with its SupremeFX S1220A CODEC and its built-in audio suites, can make the foundation to the perfect sound system).

The last but not least special thing about B360-H, especially compared to its smaller predecessor Z370-F Gaming, is its upgraded heatsinks, allowing the power delivery system to cool off more efficiently than in smaller motherboards.

Being almost three years old, this motherboard aged well, and is still a competitive piece of equipment if combined with more recent components. Plus, it’s just a beautiful setup, and an enormous source of satisfaction even when the screen is turned off.