Biostar Racing B550 GTQ review
Is it some Gran Turismo Quality motherboard?
Meet the Biostar B550 GTQ motherboard. It’s a rather entry-level mATX product from the Racing series, which also includes an ATX form factor version. The design is rather attractive, with a consistent black-and-grey theme. This is a 24.4 x 24.4 cm, mATX-factor product equipped with a B550 chipset, and it offers such features as 6+4-phase power design (Dr. MOS) and 1x Gigabit ethernet (the ATX version has 2.5 Gbps). Priced at about 130 USD, it’s definitely a cheap one, in the range of B450 motherboards.
As for the features that make it stand out from the crowd, well, there really aren’t any (except for the form factor itself). It’s the opposite of what you might have expected. The board has two PCIe slots with ‘iron slot protection’. One is PCIe 4.0 x16, while the other one is locked to PCIe 3.0 x4. Complementing these full-length slots is a pair of PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. As for the audio, you get the Realtek ALC1150 HD codec, which is a step backward as compared with other B550 boards, which are equipped with ALC1220. The power section is decent. You can see that it’s a 6+4-phase design that should handle most CPUs, but we’ve doubts if it’ll manage the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X. The 3900X is the best safe bet. There is some good information for RGB fans here as well: one regular RGB LED header (+12 V) and two addressable RGB LED headers (+5 V). The lighting can be controlled with the “Vivid LED DJ” program. There’s also “super LAN surge protection”, which should improve electrical stability, make the internet connection more stable (sic!), and prevent damage from lightning strikes and electrical strikes (but we all know that there is nothing than can stop the former, right?). So, what does B550 mean in reality? The B series are typically business (quick add-in) or consumer-grade motherboards, but some say that the B stands for ‘budget’. Alongside the Ryzen 3 3000 series, there is the X570 chipset, and now also the B550 chipset for AM4 processors. The x16 slot and one M.2 slot still support PCIe Gen 4.0. This is provided by the processor, so you need a Ryzen 3000 chip to take advantage of this feature. Older procs will offer PCIe Gen 3.0, and the B550 chipset and DMI uplink otherwise are all PCIe Gen 3.0 as well. The board has one reinforced x16 PCIe Gen 4.0 graphics slot, as well as four RAM banks for up to 128 GB of DRAM, with max OC rated at 4933+ MHz. The board, as stated, is positioned in the lower end of what is considered the mainstream segment, and it looks sleek. Let’s have a closer look then, shall we?