Not every gaming system needs an overclocked CPU and memory. Some folks just want to buy their chip of choice, pick up some inexpensive memory, and a graphics card and go on with their lives. Asus' ROG Strix B250I Gaming is designed for the gamer that wants the bling and blinkenlights of an enthusiast motherboard without paying for the extra hardware needed for CPU overclocking. To wit, the board sports the aesthetic features of Asus' other ROG Strix boards in a smaller size with a smaller price tag.
Mini-ITX motherboards have limited expansion, so the only way to avoid a spaghetti mess of USB cables is to integrate critical features into the motherboard. The ROG Strix B250I Gaming has an integrated Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC to go along with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 radios of undisclosed provenance. Two storage devices can slip into the pair of M.2 slots, though if both slots are filled, only one of them can be a SATA device. One of the M.2 slots is mounted to the top of the PCH heatsink, and the other is on the back side of the motherboard. The board also sports Asus' "ROG SupremeFX" take on Realtek's S1220A audio codec. Four USB 3.0 ports and a pair of old-school USB 2.0 ports are provided if additional connectivity is required.
As far as gamer-bling, the ROG Strix B250I Gaming has as much of that as one could expect for a motherboard so small. The board has multiple RGB LED illumination zones plus a 5050 LED header for connecting an RGB LED strip. All the blinkenlights are controlled via Asus' Aura Sync software. A pair of fan headers are provided, as is a separate header intended for use with an AIO water pump.
The pair of full-size DDR4 DIMM slots can accept up to 32 GB of memory, but the XMP overclocking profiles of high-end stuff like Corsair's Dominator line would be wasted here. The only expansion port is a PCIe x16 slot, as is usual on mini-ITX motherboards. If that expansion slot is not occupied with a gaming graphics card, the ROG Strix B250I Gaming has a DisplayPort and an HDMI jack for the Skylake or Kaby Lake IGP.
Asus says its ROG Strix B250I Gaming motherboard is shipping now, though we were unable to find it at any of our favorite e-tailers. The board will carry an MSRP of $110 when it does arrive in stores.
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