Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 Review: Compact Mini ITX Motherboard

Gaming motherboards for 12th-generation Intel processors turned out to be too expensive, and manufacturing partners decided to revise the lineup of solutions based on the LGA1700 platform. Therefore, in particular, in the compact mini ITX motherboard segment, several models were missing in each segment based on the H610, B660, and Z690 chipsets, the news about which would not have affected the main number of buyers, but enthusiasts and small-sized ones. The User-Factor (SFFPC) solution and HTPC got a bit annoying. However, for a limited number of readers, all is not lost.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 Review: Compact Mini ITX Motherboard

With the LGA1700 platform, the situation was complicated in some aspects by Intel itself, which changed the approach to finding and choosing the right motherboard. As for personal preference, this is why the Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 Mini ITX motherboard has become the mainstay we wanted to know more about and share with you.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 specifications

  • Socket: Intel Socket LGA1700
  • Supported processors: Intel 12Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold, and Celeron Processors
  • RAM: 2 x DIMM DDR4, Dual Channel DDR4-5333+ MHz (OC)
  • Expansion slots: 1 x PCIe 4.0 x16
  • Network controllers: 1 x Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (For PCB rev. 1.0), 1 x Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 (For PCB rev. 1.1), 1 x Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (For PCB rev. 1.2), 1 x Intel 2.5GbE LAN
  • Audio codec: Realtek 7.1 Sound High Definition Audio
  • Motherboard power: 1 x ATX 24-pin, 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V
  • Connectors on the rear panel: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-C), 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-A), 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 2 x USB 2.0/1.1, 1 x Q-Flash Plus BIOS, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 2 x Gigabyte Wi-Fi Module, 1 x LAN, 2 x Audio jacks, 1 x Optical S/PDIF
  • Form factor: Mini ITX motherboard
  • Warranty: 3 years

Unboxing

The Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 motherboard comes in a compact and very bright package, so you can enjoy your purchase even more. The stylish logo of the AORUS brand and the model name in large font unobtrusively remind us of what we are dealing with.

Manufacturers place high demands on the creation of mini-ITX motherboards, so it is not surprising to see the main information part of the significant distinguishing features – a redesigned reinforced power subsystem, an improved cooling system, USB 3.2 Gen ports, and sixth-generation Wi-Fi.

The Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 bundle isn’t rich: we have a user manual, a simple installation guide, two SATA cables, an ARGB backlight extension adapter, and an M.2 mounting screw, and two adapters for connecting 4-pin PWM fans.

However, with special care, we would like to highlight a futuristic design and an external WiFi antenna with a powerful magnetic base, which allows the transmitter to be fixed to a case or other metal surface.

Design

The Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 motherboard received a strict minimalist design with a touch of futurism made in neutral black and gray colors. The device is made in the Mini-ITX form factor on a black ten-layer textolite with 170 x 170 mm dimensions.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 Review: Compact Mini ITX Motherboard

Our Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 review unit is based on the Intel LGA1700 platform with support for the full line of current Intel 12th generation processors. Two DDR4 DIMM slots support up to 64GB, clocked at 2133-3200MHz and overclocked to 5333+MHz. Gigabyte does not have a version with DDR5 memory standard on the B660 chipset, but the only manufacturer has both models on the older chipset (Z690I Aorus Ultra).

The back of the motherboard is protected by a full-size metal backplate. In the area of ​​the VRM power subsystem, the plate conducts heat through the thermal pad, improving the temperature of the mosfets. A little lower is a dedicated area where other mini ITX motherboard models have a second M.2 slot. It may seem that here it is present under the protective plate, but it is not.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 Review: Compact Mini ITX Motherboard

The power subsystem is built according to the ten-phase “8 + 1 + 1” scheme, controlled by the Renesas RAA229130 PWM controller. Renesas ISL99390 mosfets are rated at 90A, which will be enough for Intel Core i7-12700(K) and Core i9-12900(K) processors. The power stages are cooled by a large monolithic heatsink (the slots are only decorative, without a built-in fan) along with a small heatsink for the second VRM line, connected by a heat pipe to the heatsink of the B660 chipset.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 Review: Compact Mini ITX Motherboard

The main and only M.2 slot is disguised in a small metal structure. The detachable shaped cover with AORUS lettering allows you to either increase the cooling of your components or expose your M.2 SSD for a custom high-cooling solution. From a personal example – WD Black SN850 and PNY XLR8 CS3140 models.

PCB block diagram of the device showing and location of main slots and ports. It is interesting to know that Gigabyte has already released three revisions of this model, where, according to official sources, they differ in Wi-Fi modules (rev 1.0 – AX201, rev 1.1 – AX200, rev 1.2 – AX211).

BIOS software

The Gigabyte BIOS software shell has not changed and is made in the typical branded black and orange colors. Basic and Advanced (F2) modes offer a wide range of settings and options.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 Review: Compact Mini ITX Motherboard

When saving a BIOS screenshot (F12), for some reason, the images were slightly flattened, so the text looks distorted.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 Review Test

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4
  • Processor: Intel Core i9-12900K
  • Cooling system: Deepcool GAMMAXX L360 A-RGB
  • Thermal interface: Noctua NT-H1
  • RAM: Team Xtreem 8Pack 4500MHz (2 x 8 GB)
  • Graphics card: Radeon RX 6400
  • Drives: Western Digital Black SN750 500 GB
  • Power supply: be quiet! Straight Power 11 850W
  • Operating system: Windows 10 x64

Before testing, the Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 motherboard BIOS has been updated to the current F4b (beta) version.

The powerful Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 power subsystem allows even the Intel Core i9-12900K processor to open up, but let’s not dissemble that the VRM area is hot (to the touch). According to the MOS sensor, it heats up to 65℃.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 Review: Compact Mini ITX Motherboard

Let’s see how the Gigabyte motherboard works with stock DDR4-2133 RAM.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 Review: Compact Mini ITX Motherboard

For this model, the activation of the XMP profile with a frequency of 4500 MHz was not an obstacle. Only it sets the frequency one step higher, 4533 MHz, which is related to the internal multiplier. But attempts to jump higher turned out to be unsuccessful: from our experience, we can say that with Gigabyte motherboards, the problem lies in some lonely timing that required manual adjustment.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 Review: Compact Mini ITX Motherboard

And indeed. The Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 motherboard decided to increase even the main timings by 1-2 cycles. So the engineers decided to disguise something and add stability. Perhaps some parameters, on the contrary, are underestimated. For understanding, our Team Xtreem 8Pack set is achievable at 4800 MHz.

Final line

It is hard to imagine a picture of a Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 buyer when inexpensive and excellently equipped motherboards based on the B660 chipset can be found for around $150 to 170, and our Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 review unit costs slightly higher! But sometimes, the main requirement is the mini-ITX form factor, and its manufacture and equipment cost the company more.

An alternative option on the market is the B660M-ITX/ac model from ASRock: it is close in price to $150, but it suffers from a weak power subsystem designed more for younger Intel Core i3/i5 processors, fewer interfaces, and simple design.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 motherboard, in turn, is focused on the entire segment of 12th generation Intel processors, and even the old Core i9-12900K is subject to this: performance does not decrease, and temperature conditions are in order. Yes, overclocking RAM is at one level (although we need more). Is it worth the overpayment of such opportunities, of course, you decide? We are satisfied with its performance, although there is some double feeling. What causes it?

What can ruin the Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4? It is a completely unsuitable budget audio codec Realtek ALC897 from the generation before last, which was a shame to install, transferring the new product from the category of older solutions to the younger segment. Even the BIOSTAR B660GTN has better sound!

And you also know that the B660 chipset does not support processor overclocking, so installing a processor with the letter K is a dubious decision, although they have higher frequencies and may have E-cores (for example, i5-12600 / i5-12600K). Therefore, it is obvious that you will choose something from the i5-12400 / i5-12600 / i7-12700 and their counterparts without integrated graphics with the letter F. But bad luck: Intel limited their SA voltage to 0.9 V, so overclocking and RAM are limited to 3533-3600 MHz. Gigabyte is not to blame for this, but there are more dubious points for choosing the B660I Aorus Pro DDR4.

To sum it up, the Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 is a compact and stylish one that can even handle an i9, but a very expensive motherboard with a mediocre sound and a “surprise” from Intel.

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 price and availability

Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4 mini ITX motherboard has been priced at $245.99 / £196.68 and it can be purchased via Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk online stores.

Pros:

  • High performance
  • Appearance
  • Good temperature conditions
  • Powerful power subsystem
  • WiFi 6E (AX211)
  • Three fan slots

Cons:

  • Realtek ALC897 sound chip

About Ankeet Solanki

He started this blog as a hobby to show his affection for gadgets, but over the time this hobby became professional. And now he is working as a full-time blogger, but in free time he loves watching movies and games. PayPal donation for TechToyReviews will be appreciated.

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