GIGABYTE GA-AB350 Gaming 3 Review

👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅26-06-17
Closer Look

The AM4 socket is powered by a 6 + 1 power phase, which is kept cool by a large heatsink at the rear. On the left side we find the Dual BIOS chips and the CPU RGB LED header, and a 4pin fan header.

Surrounding the DIMM slots from left to right we find the 2x ASATA ports, the 24pin ATX power socket, another 4pin fan header (all fan headers are hybrid fan headers), and on the far right is the CPU and CPU OPT 4pin fan headers, the CPU OPT header can output 2A (24W) for water pumps. The outer edge features a large strip of plastic (the Accent LED Overlay) which lights up when switched on.

Only 2x SATA ports are at a right angle, with another two fixed directly to the motherboard itself. The very bottom right corner is home two 4x diagnostic LEDs.

The front panel headers are located where you would traditionally find them and have been sectioned off by a plastic block, helping to fit the G-Connector a little more easily. Between the front panel headers and the SATA ports is a 'Clear CMOS' jumper, while on the left is a USB 3.1 G1 header (sporting adjustable voltage/ DAC-UP 2) and another 2A 4pin fan/pump header.

The bottom edge sports the internal expansions/headers including the front panel audio block, SPDIF header, LED DEMO jumper alongside the RGBW LED header, a TPM header, and finally connectors for 2x 2 USB 2.0 ports. Despite baring the AMP-UP name on the EMI shield and Chemicon audio capacitors, there is no swappable OP-AMP within the audio circuitry. Unlike the Tomahawk B350, there is no direct mention of the audio circuitry being physically isolated, or the left/right audio channels having a separate PCB, so maybe GIGABYTE are relying a little too much that the ALC 1220 alone will carry high quality audio for the gamer.

The M.2 slot supports M.2 SSDs up to 110mm in length, and supports either PCIe SSDs or SATA SSDs, if you use a SATA SSD, the 'SATA port 3' will become unavailable, while using a PCIe SSD will render both the ASATA ports unavailable.

The rear ports afford a universal PS/2, 2x USB 3.1 G1, DVI-D, HDMI 1.4a, USB 2.0 (DAC-UP 2), 2x USB 3.1 G2 (red), 2x USB 3.1 G1, gigabit LAN (Realtek, would have been nice to see an Intel LAN solution), analogue audio ports and an optical S/PDIF out.

The Accent LED Overlay is red by default, but can be changed with the RGB Fusion app (accessed via the GIGABYTE APP Center) with additional RGB lighting surrounding the audio section also. The lighting can display most primary colours with decent vibrancy (such as Red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, Blue, Purple. violet, magenta) though struggles with in between colours and white. The Colour wheel in app too is not calibrated very well so requires a fair amount of playing around to get the bold colour you desire as orange is still clearly within the red zone, yellow clearly in the orange zone, and green clearly in the yellow zone etc. Overall the LED lighting can look very attractive and features some simple effects such as pulsing, flashing, spectrum cycle (which doesn't look all that great unfortunately), flashing to the beat of music. There are some more advanced lighting modes including activity indicators (unfortunately not customisable from the standard Green-Orange) such as CPU activity, LAN activity, and temperature, as well as custom colour cycles.

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