ASUS B150 PRO GAMING/AURA (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Final Thoughts


Pricing 

The ASUS B150 PRO GAMING/AURA is currently available in the UK from Dabs.com for £97.04 + £4.50 shipping which equates to a total of £101.54. US customers can purchase the motherboard from Newegg.com for $128.99 + $2.99 which comes to $131.98. While you do get a lot of features for the price point, it’s important to note that the Z170 PRO GAMING only costs £20 more from eBuyer.com. This seems like a better purchase given the overclocking ability, high-speed DDR4 memory support and greater number of PCIe lanes. That’s not to say the B150 PRO GAMING is overpriced, but it’s perilously close to Z170 alternatives.

Overview

In terms of aesthetics, the ASUS B150 PRO GAMING/AURA is flawless and a marvel of engineering. The subtle yet stylish heatsink design and stunning RGB lighting allows you to choose a finish which suitably matches your system’s theme. I also love the ability to monitor CPU temperatures using various colours as it provides an immediate way to quickly glance at system performance without squinting at small numbers in numerous software packages. One area which could be improved on is the default red heatsinks which struggle to contrast well with certain colours. This shouldn’t really effect the overall look in an enclosed chassis, but it’s something to take into consideration if you’re using bright LED strips to accentuate the colours.

While the motherboard is targeted towards lower-end users, ASUS hasn’t made any major compromises and only integrated high-end components. Notable premium features include a thick PCB, ESD LAN guards, SupremeFX audio, Q-DIMM, Q-LED, DRAM Overcurrent Protection and more! As you can see, this is an impressive package which makes it one of the best B150 motherboards available today. Granted, there’s not much competition for gaming motherboards using this chipset, as manufacturers tend to focus on Z170 and H170. Nevertheless, ASUS deserves credit for providing more options and catering to every possible aspect of the gaming market.

The motherboard’s layout is another highlight due to the USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C connectivity. There’s also an ample supply of USB ports to connect numerous devices, and the M.2 connector is useful to acquire ultra fast read/write speeds using elite grade hardware. On another note, the fan header placement is great and makes it quite simple to set-up a closed-looped liquid cooling solution. Clearly, the chipset’s restrictions on overclocking means this kind of cooling apparatus isn’t required, but some users might still want to go down this route to create a cleaner looking build. The motherboard also incorporates two PCI slots to connect older add-in cards and improve the overall level of flexibility.

As expected, the B150 PRO GAMING/AURA’s BIOS is sublime and exemplifies why so many consumers have a strong brand loyalty with ASUS. Navigating between pages is such a wonderful experience, and the BIOS relays information about voltages, temperatures, memory timings and other vital statistics. It’s presented in a slick, easy-to-use interface which caters to novices while offering enough functionality to please the hardcore demographic. This is a very difficult balance to achieve but it’s the main reason I recommend ASUS motherboards to people without any computer experience. One interesting feature is a diagram which outlines the current PCIe configuration and allows users to discover the bandwidth speed.

Performance-wise, it’s quite difficult to judge the B150 PRO GAMING/AURA because it’s the first motherboard we’ve tested using Intel’s business chipset. Despite this, it provides a good benchmark for when we receive other B150 products in the near future. If we judge the performance compared to H170 and Z170 offerings, the motherboard manages to compete rather well especially in networking, audio and M.2 read performance. There’s obviously some memory bandwidth limitations due to the maximum support speed of 2133MHz, but this shouldn’t really be a cause for concern.  To summarize, the motherboard reports good CPU results at stock settings, and emphasizes that you don’t need Intel’s Z170 chipset to attain huge framerates on demanding monitor resolutions.

Pros

  • Astonishingly beautiful design
  • Decent software suite
  • ESD Guards on LAN, Audio, KBMS and USB3.0/2.0 ports
  • Fantastic BIOS
  • Great Audio
  • PCB LEDs create a vibrant, unique finish
  • Premium power delivery and 10k capacitors
  • USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity

Cons

  • Pricing in the UK is extremely close to the Z170 PRO GAMING
  • Red heatsinks can look out-of-place with certain RGB colour palettes

The ASUS B150 PRO GAMING/AURA is one of the best-looking motherboards I’ve encountered and it’s able to stand out from the crowd due to the customizable RGB LED lighting on the PCB. It’s not style over substance either and contains a specification which befits the higher end Z170 options.

ASUS B150 PRO GAMING/AURA (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Thank you ASUS for providing us with this sample.