Gigabyte B660 Aorus Master DDR4 Review: A Master for the Masses

Gigabyte B660 Aorus Master DDR4 Review: A Master for the Masses

The Gigabyte B660 Aorus Master is a well-equipped, non-overclocking option for around $200. Epblogs goal is to be the tech side of trust. We are proud of our independence and of our Gigabyte B660 Aorus Master DDR4 Review: A Master for the Masses thorough testing methods, in which we take our time with a product. We regularly check our test reports for changes and thus keep them up-to-date over a longer period of time – regardless of when a device was released.guaranteed reviews . Trust our Epblogs comprehensive reviews. We tested the products over a longer period of time and were able to see how they cope with everyday tasks. This is how we help you to find the best product for your read our guaranteed reviews .

Epblogs verdict

At roughly $200, the B660 Aorus Master is ready for anyone who needs a full-featured motherboard at a reasonable price and doesn’t care to overclock their processor. It’s a well-rounded board that will be a hit in the mainstream space, if its appearance works with your build theme.

The B660 Master comes with almost everything you’d expect from a B660 board. There are three M.2 sockets, capable 16-phase 60A power delivery, a last-gen flagship audio codec, along with integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5 GbE. Gigabyte uses a black and gray heatsink combination here, which some may not find particularly appealing. That said, this is still a good-looking board and the heatsinks and shrouds covering most of the board, delivering a premium look.

Tested performance with our B660 Aorus Master was average among its DDR4 peers. It excelled in the Procyon suite but was a bit slower than others in the video and photo editing portion. Gaming results were on par with the rest, while power consumption was better than most overall. As usual, you’d be hard-pressed to notice any performance deficits without seeing them in a benchmark result.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at the Aorus Master’s features, software, and performance to see how this sub-$210 board stacks up against the rest and if it finds a spot on our best motherboards list. First, here’s a detailed list of the B660 Aorus Master’s specs, direct from Gigabyte.

Specifications: Gigabyte B660 Aorus Master

SocketLGA1700
ChipsetB660
Form FactorATX
Voltage Regulator18 Phase (16 55A SPS MOSFETs for Vcore)
Video Ports(1) HDMI (v2.1), (1) DisplayPort (v1.2)
USB Ports(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2×2, Type-C (20 Gbps), (5) USB v3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), (4) USB v2.0 (480 Mbps)
Network Jacks(1) 2.5 GbE
Audio Jacks(5) Analog + SPDIF
PCIe x16(2) v4.0 (x16, x4)
PCIe x1(1) v3.0 (x1)
CrossFire/SLISupports AMD Quad and 2-Way Crossfire
DIMM slots(2) DDR4 5333+(OC), 128GB Capacity
M.2 slots(2) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps), PCIe (up to 110mm), (1) PCIe 3.0 x4 (32 Gbps), PCIe (up to 110mm)
SATA Ports(4) SATA3 6 Gbps (Supports RAID 0/1/5/10)
USB Headers(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2, Type-C (10 Gbps), (1) USB v3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), (2) USB v2.0 (480 Mbps)
Fan/Pump Headers(8) 4-Pin (CPU, Water Cooling CPU, System)
RGB Headers(2) aRGB (3-pin), (2) RGB (4-pin)
Diagnostics Panel4-LED Debug (CPU/Boot/VGA/RAM)
Internal Button/SwitchReset and QFlash buttons
Ethernet Controller(s)Intel I225-V (2.5 Gbps)
Wi-Fi / BluetoothIntel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 (2×2 ax, MU-MIMO, 2.4/5/6 GHz, 160 MHz, BT 5.2)
USB ControllersRealtek RTS5411
HD Audio CodecRealtek ALC1220-VB
Warranty3 Years

Inside the Box of the Gigabyte B660 Aorus Master

Inside the box, along with the motherboard, Gigabyte includes a barebones set of accessories including SATA cables, a Wi-Fi antenna, etc. As seems to be a growing trend, this board didn’t come with a driver disk/USB stick, but you can find the latest online at the website if your retail version is the same. Below is a complete list of the included extras.

  • (2) SATA cables
  • (3) M.2 screws
  • Wi-Fi Antenna
  • Microphone
  • G-connector
  • Stickers/case badge
  • Manual

Design of the Aorus Master

Overall, the B660 Aorus Master looks like many of its more expensive (and overclockable) Z690 siblings. The matte black 6-layer PCB gives way to black and gray heatsinks to cover all the parts that get hot. The large black VRM heatsink dominates the left side of the motherboard and houses Aorus branding, backlit by RGB LEDs. The second RGB area is under the board in the top-right corner. The top VRM heatsink, along with the M.2 and chipset heatsinks, are gray with grooves cutout for more surface area and a design element. The chipset heatsink sports the Aorus falcon as well.

Overall we like the appearance. While there are other boards out there that cover more of the PCB, we have to remember this is a budget-focused board. Still, it will look good lit up inside your case, assuming you don’t mind the contrasting color of the heatsinks.

The top left corner of the B660 Master is taken up by the huge VRM heatsink that reaches out over the IO area, yielding a clean appearance. On top is the Aorus branding lit up from below with RGB LEDs. There are grooves cut out for additional surface area. Above the heatsink are two EPS connectors, an 8-pin (required) and 4-pin, to power the processor. To the right is the second VRM heatsink, but this time it’s gray and contrasts with the black PCB and other VRM heatsink.

Continuing right, we run into four DRAM slots that lock the memory down from both ends. Gigabyte supports up to 128GB of RAM with speeds listed to DDR4 5333(OC). Since you can’t overclock the processor with this chipset, your only overclocking adventures have to come from the memory.

There are two 4-pin fan headers (CPU_FAN and CPU_OPT) and two RGB headers along the top-right edge. In total, there are eight fan headers scattered around the board, which should be plenty to control the cooling in your chassis. Each header supports both PWM- and DC-controlled devices. You’ll have plenty of power for all of your fans and a water cooling pump too, as each supports up to 2A/24W. Next to the fan headers are 3-pin ARGB and 4-pin RGB headers, with the other two light headers along the bottom edge of the board. Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion application controls the board’s RGB ecosystem.

Working our way down the right edge, we run into the 24-pin ATX connector to power the board, two additional fan headers (SYS_FAN5/6_PUMP), a front-panel USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) port, and slightly offset is the front panel USB 3.2 Gen2 (10 Gbps) connector. Just below the screw hole here are the Q-LEDs that light up during the boot process. If there is a problem during startup, one of the four lights (labeled Boot/CPU/VGA/RAM) remains lit pointing out the general area of the problem. Since there isn’t a 2-character debug LED to share more details, you’ll have to rely on this LEDs for any pre-OS hangups during boot.

Gigabyte uses an 18-phase VRM here, with 16 phases dedicated to Vcore. Power comes in from the EPS connector(s) and then to an ON Semiconductor NCP81530 controller, which works in a teamed/parallel fashion (no phase doubler, but two MOSFETs receive one signal) with 16 55A ON Semiconductor NCP302155 MOSFETs. Since overclocking the processor isn’t an option with this chipset, the 880A for Vcore is plenty to run our Intel Core i9-12900K without issue.

The bottom half of the board sports the audio section, storage, and PCIe slots. Starting on the left side, we see Gigagbyte’s AMP UP! Audio branding covering a Realtek ALC1220-VB codec hidden below. While the B660 Aorus Master may not have a fancy DAC or opamp, it does sport several yellow Chemicon brand audio caps, along with four red WIMA caps to help deliver quality sound. This isn’t the newest audio codec, but being the last generation’s flagship, most users will be pleased with the audio.

The Aorus Master sports two full-length slots and one x1 size slot for PCIe connectivity. The top full-length slot uses reinforcement to prevent shearing from heavy graphics cards and runs at PCIe 4.0 x16 from the CPU. The second full-length slot sources its lanes from the chipset and runs at a maximum of PCIe 3.0 x4. The board supports AMD Quad-GPU Crossfire and 2-Way Crossfire with the available lanes. The bottom slot also sources its bandwidth from the chipset and runs at a maximum of PCIe 3.0 x1.

Hidden under the gray heatsinks are three M.2 sockets. All sockets support up to 110mm, but PCIe modules only. SATA-based M.2 modules are not supported. I would like to see that availability for a budget board, as SATA SSDs are cheaper ( although slower) than NVMe drives. And those on a budget might have more older storage they’d like to carry over to a new system. The top socket, M2A_CPU runs at PCIe 4.0 x4, along with the second socket (M2P_SB). The bottom socket, M2M_SB runs at a maximum of PCIe 3.0 x4. It’s worth noting that when a drive populates the M2M_SB socket, the second PCIe slot gets disabled.

Along the right edge, we run into two Thunderbolt AIC headers (for adding an add-in card) and four SATA ports. The SATA ports remain active regardless of what M.2 devices are used. If you want to RAID the SATA ports, they support RAID0/1/5/10. Four SATA ports will be plenty for most people. But again, if you have multiple older drives you want to carry over from a previous PC, this could be limiting.

Several headers live across the bottom, including USB ports, RGB, and fan headers. Below is a complete list of all the headers in this area.

  • Front panel audio
  • 3-pin ARGB header
  • 4-pin RGB header
  • TPM header
  • (2) USB 2.0 headers
  • Q-Flash+ button
  • (4) System fan headers
  • 2-pin temp header
  • Clear CMOS jumper
  • Front panel header

As we move to the rear IO area, Gigabyte was kind enough to preinstall the IO plate from the factory, which gives the B660 Master a premium vibe. All the ports are labeled and easy to read against the black background. There’s nothing fancy back here, just some branding to remind you this is an Aorus product.

One thing that stands out are the 10 total USB ports which is generous for a board in this price class. We run into a stack of four USB 2.0 ports on the left, while next to that is the Wi-Fi antenna connection. Video outputs consist of the DisplayPort (v1.2) on top, with HDMI(v2.1) on the bottom. Next is a USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) port that sits on top of the fast USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps) Type-C port. Continuing right, we hit four more USB ports (3.2 Gen 2, 10 Gbps), with the Intel 2.5 GbE port on top. On the right edge is the audio stack that consists of five analog plugs and a SPDIF out

Firmware

Gigabyte’s B660 firmware looks no different than on pricier Z690 boards, except it excludes processor overclocking functionality. The BIOS starts in an informational EZ Mode that displays system information with limited functionality. You can enable XMP profiles from here, access Smart Fan 6 for fan control, use Q-Flash to update the BIOS, or enter Advanced Mode. When working in the Advanced portion of the BIOS, major headers are listed across the top, with sub-headings below. Page up/down functionality has finally been added, and the BIOS is easy to read and well organized to help find what you’re looking for.

Software

On the software side of things, Gigabyte’s primary tool is the App Center. This application is a central repository for all board-centric applications, some Windows settings, and other third-party software. Simply click to download the applications you want, install them, and an icon shows up on the screen. We installed @BIOS (BIOS flashing utility), Easy Tune (overclocking/system tweaking), RGB Fusion 2.0 (to control RGB lighting) and last but not least, SIV (for system monitoring). The Gigabyte website has many other helpful applications, including USB charging (to control power to ports), LAN, and more that aren’t covered here. Overall, we like App Center’s small footprint and found its modular tools helpful.

Test System / Comparison Products

As of October 2021, we’ve updated our test system to Windows 11 64-bit OS with all updates applied. We kept the same (opens in new tab)Asus TUF RTX 3070(opens in new tab) video card from our previous testing platforms but updated the driver to version 496.13. Additionally, our game selection was updated, as noted in the table below. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted. The hardware we used is as follows:

Test System Components

EVGA supplied our Supernova 850W P6 power supply (appropriately sized and more efficient than the outgoing 1.2KW monster we used) for our test systems.

Our standard benchmarks and power tests are performed using the CPU’s stock frequencies (including any default boost/turbo), with all power-saving features enabled. We set optimized defaults in the BIOS and the memory by enabling the XMP profile. For this baseline testing, the Windows power scheme is set to Balanced (default), so the PC idles appropriately.

To get the most out of the Intel Alder Lake chips, you need to be on Windows 11 with its updated scheduler. In most cases, Windows 10 performs well. However, some tests (Cinebench R20, Corona and POVRay) take a significant hit. In short, if you’re going with Alder Lake, you must upgrade to Windows 11 for the best results across the board. That may change with patching and updates in the future, though.

Synthetic Benchmarks

Synthetics provide a great way to determine how a board runs, as identical settings should produce similar performance results. Turbo boost wattage and advanced memory timings are places where motherboard makers can still optimize for either stability or performance, though, and those settings can impact some testing.

The Aorus B660 Master did well here, with scores in 7Zip, Cinebench R23, POV-Ray, and Procyon Office all around the average for DDR4 boards. The Video and Photo editing tests inside Procyon were also average. AIDA64 memory latency results were also as expected. In short, there’s nothing to worry about performance-wise in this set of tests.

Timed Applications

Starting with LAME testing, the B660 Master took 9.51 seconds to complete, the second quickest result so far. The Corona Ray Tracing benchmark’s results were just above average, finishing in 53 seconds. Handbrake results were average for DDR4, with the x264 test completed in 118 seconds, while x265 (which isn’t affected much by the slower DDR4) compared in 301 seconds, or slightly above average. There are no performance issues in the timed applications either.

3D Games and 3DMark

Starting with the launch of the Z690 chipset, we’ve updated our game tests. We’ve updated Far Cry: New Dawn to Far Cry 6 and shifted from F1 2020 to F1 2021. We run the games at 1920×1080 resolution using the Ultra preset (details listed above). As the resolution goes up, the CPU tends to have less impact. The goal with these settings is to determine if there are differences in performance at the most commonly used resolution with settings most people use or at least strive for. We expect the difference between boards in these tests to be minor, with most falling within the margin of error differences. We’ve also added a minimum FPS value, as that can affect your gameplay and immersion experience.

In F1 2021, the B660 Aorus Master DDR4 averaged 165 fps, with minimums of 140 fps, one of the faster results. Far Cry 6 was similar, with a minimum of 125 fps and an average of 137 fps. Both results here are slightly above average.

In the 3DMark tests, the B660 Master DDR4 scored 14,173 on 3DMark Time Spy and 16,912 on Fire Strike Extreme, both slightly below average. Although the synthetic game benchmarks run a bit slower than average, our real game tests showed good results. You’ll have nothing to worry about when gaming on this motherboard.

Overclocking

Overclocking the CPU isn’t possible on B660-based chipsets, but the platform does allow for memory speed adjustment. With our DDR4-3600 and DDR4-4000 kits, we simply set XMP and off we went without a hitch. Surely there’s some headroom left, but I’d imagine people purchasing a budget-class board aren’t looking to buy expensive RAM that’s far outside the sweet spot (DDR4 3600-4000).

Bottom Line

Priced at $209.99 (though it’s often found for sale at about $190), Gigabyte’s B660 Aorus Master is an affordable entry to Intel’s Alder Lake platform that’s well equipped for the price. The board includes capable power delivery, 10 USB ports (including 20 Gbps Type-C) on the rear IO, three M.2 sockets, a solid audio section, and generally good looks. Performance was right around average for DDR4 boards, so there’s nothing to worry about on that front either. In all, it’s a competent motherboard at a reasonable price.

As far as complaints or improvements go, there aren’t many. On the storage side of things, the three M.2 sockets should be enough for most, but none support SATA-based modules. Another potential shortcoming is the four available SATA ports, where many options in this class have six. Outside of that, the contrasting heatsinks could be a turnoff for some users, though the board still looks good overall.

There’s some stiff competition in this space, though. Asus has a ROG Strix B660-A for $229.99, MSI has a MAG B660 Tomahawk WIFI DDR4 ($189.99), and ASRock’s B660 Steel Legend is the least expensive of the group at $159.99. If you need more native SATA ports, the ASRock and MSI have you covered with six. If you’re looking for the best audio, the Asus is the only one that rocks the latest Realtek ALC4080 codec (although it’s priced significantly higher). All of the boards include a 2.5 GbE and Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 6), except the ASRock which does not come with Wi-Fi. They all support up to three M.2 sockets. In short, it’s going to come down to price and looks for most users.

In the end, the Gigabyte Aorus Master is a competent board in the wallet-friendly B660 space. If you can get the board at the sale price, it costs the same as the MSI. Between them, I like the Gigabyte over the Tomahawk if only for how the heatsinks cover more of the board, giving it a more premium and clean appearance. But if you’re not a fan of the contrasting colors, the MSI could be a more attractive solution at the same price. If B660 is your platform of choice and you want a solid motherboard that checks off all the expected boxes, the Gigabyte B660 Aorus Master DDR4 is a great option for around $200.

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