Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX review

If you're on a tight budget, this is a great Socket AM4 mini-ITX motherboard for AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs, even beating some X570 boards.

Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX review: Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX motherboard on magenta and orange background

Our Verdict

86%

A solid B550 mini-ITX motherboard that doesn’t shed too many features for the price.

The Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX costs around $30 less than it did at launch, but can it now offer the allure of the more expensive Socket AM4 mini-ITX motherboards available, or has Gigabyte cut too many features from the list?

Let’s start with the M.2 heatsink, which is a vast improvement on the non-contact design of the Gigabyte X570-I Aorus Pro WiFi, but the large top heatsink doesn’t actually make contact with the SSD. Instead, there’s a smaller heatsink beneath it.

At Custom PC, we’ve been reviewing and overclocking the latest motherboards since we first launched in 2003, so we know exactly what to look for in terms of layout, features, performance, and overclocking abilities.

Quite why Gigabyte separated the two is beyond us, as the Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Ultra Plus has just has one big slab that offers excellent cooling via your case’s airflow. Still, the peak M.2 SSD temperature of 58°C was decent. The VRMs were also kept chilly. With an 8-phase power delivery, they were kept at a peak of 51°C, which was the second coolest result on test.

The Gigabyte has three fan headers, albeit with one being a tiny proprietary port that requires an included adaptor to connect to a fan. Gigabyte’s fan control section in the EFI and its software are excellent too, with plenty of adjustments available, although the software is a bit clunky for overclocking and other tasks. Sadly, however, there’s no USB-C header on the motherboard, which is a shame given that all the other B550 boards we’ve recently tested include one.

Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX review: Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX motherboard on magenta and background

The rear I/O panel at least offers a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, but it’s a shame the board can’t cater for cases that have full Type-C support. Type-A ports are a bit thin on the ground too, with just five of them, but there are mini-ITX boards with fewer than this, so we can’t be too harsh.

Arguably, the best feature of this board is the wide-open CPU socket area. Unlike the Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4, there’s no heatsink at the top, and every cooler we tested fitted fine, including the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II with its huge mounting plates.

As you’d expect from a B550 motherboard, you get 802.11ax Wi-Fi and 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet as well as Realtek ALC1220 audio. There’s the full complement of four SATA 6Gbps ports too, as well as HDMI and DisplayPort outputs should you want to use an APU with on-board graphics.

Meanwhile, a handy feature is Q-Flash Plus, which is Gigabyte’s answer to USB BIOS Flashback, allowing you to update the EFI without having a compatible CPU. This could be useful if you end up with a second-hand model that has an old BIOS, and you have a shiny new Ryzen 7 5800X3D it doesn’t support.

Audio performance was good, with a noise level of -103dBA and a dynamic range of 103dBA. There wasn’t much difference in the performance results between all the mini-ITX boards we’ve tested in our benchmarks, but the Gigabyte did manage to beat the competition slightly in Cinebench and Far Cry 6, and it’s on par with the rest of the field in other tests.

Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX pros and cons

Pros

  • Good VRM and M.2 cooling
  • Good software and EFI-based fan control
  • Spacious CPU socket

Cons

  • Heatsink design could be better
  • Could do with more USB ports
  • No USB-C header

Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX specs

The Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX specs list is:

Chipset   AMD B550
CPU socket AMD Socket AM4
Memory support 2 slots: max 64GB DDR4 (up to 4800MHz)
Expansion slots One 16x PCIe 4
Sound 8-channel Realtek ALC1220
Networking Intel 2.5 Gigabit LAN, Intel 802.11ax Wi-Fi
Cooling Three 4-pin fan headers, VRM heatsink, M.2 heatsink
Ports  4 x SATA 6Gbps, 1 x M.2 PCIe 4, 1 x M.3 PCIe 3,  1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 4 x USB 3, 2 x HDMI, DisplayPort, 3 x surround audio out
Dimensions (mm) 170 x 170 (W x D x H)

Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX price

Price: Expect to pay $169 (£167).

Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX review conclusion

Even though the Gigabyte X570-I Aorus Pro WiFi is cheaper, we’d still take the B550I Aorus Pro AX over it. This B550 board offers better VRM and M.2 cooling as well as faster networking and more fan headers too. This is a great board if you have a really limited budget.

If you’re interested in building a mini-ITX PC, make sure you also read our top mini-ITX PC build tips, as well as our reasons why now is the best time to build a mini-ITX PC. If you’re looking to upgrade to one of the latest AMD CPUs, such as the Ryzen 7 7800X3D, then make sure you also check out our full guide to the best AMD AM5 motherboard, where we take you through several options at a range of prices.