Since our target audience is gamers and enthusiasts, the bulk of the Intel 600 series motherboards that arrive for evaluation ends up being Z690 series platforms. I sent a message to GIGABYTE to see if we could get their newest B660 platform sent over for review as we started to close up our coverage of Alder Lake.
In order to appeal to a wider audience, the GIGABYTE B660 AORUS Master, which sits at the top of the B660 motherboard stack, offers both DDR5 and DDR4 options. For our review, we chose the DDR4 variant because it is more practical for customers to assemble a gaming PC on a tight budget.
The B660 Master’s hardware is not dissimilar to those of its Z690 cousins. It has three PCIe express slots, with the top x16 slot running at Gen4 and the other two at Gen3 x4 and x1, respectively. One m.2 slot for storage is located above the top PCIe slot, coming off the CPU. To the left of the chipset heat sink, there are two more Gen4 and Gen3 m.2 slots. SATA connectivity has four 6Gbps ports.
When we previously examined the Z690 Aorus Master, we discovered that the upper-midrange board had reliable power delivery and a large number of M.2 connections for the newest storage. Today, we’ll take a look at the B660 Aorus Master, which has a chipset that forbids CPU overclocking and is located a little lower on the product stack. The B660 edition of the Aorus Master, which ranges in price from $190 to $210 depending on where you find it, is a good option in terms of functionality and also comes well-equipped.
The GIGABYTE B660 AORUS Master has practically all of the features you’d anticipate from a B660 board. Three M.2 ports, competent 16-phase 60A power delivery, a flagship audio codec from the most recent generation, integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6, and 2.5 GbE are all present. Some people might not find Gigabyte’s usage of a black and gray heatsink mix very appealing. Despite this, the board still has a nice appearance thanks to the heatsinks and shrouds that cover the majority of it.
The B660 Aorus Master’s tested performance was comparable to that of other DDR4 modules. It performed quite well in the Procyon suite but lagged behind competitors in the video and photo editing section. While power consumption was often better than most, gaming performance was comparable to the others. As usual, it would be difficult to identify any performance deficiencies absent their appearance in a benchmark result.
GIGABYTE B660 AORUS Master overall look & specs
The Master and the rest of the 600 series family have a similar style. The rear I/O cover and chipset heat sink both have RGB, and all boards have a gunmetal heat sink layout covering the VRMs, chipset, and m.2 slots.
Four USB 2.0 ports are located at the top of the rear I/O, followed by the Wi-Fi antenna. The display outputs and USB 3.2 Gen2 are shown in red after that. At the bottom, there are audio and 2.5Gbe ports that are off to the side. The blue ports are Gen1 USB 3.2 connections functioning at 5Gbps.
On this platform, just next to the front panel audio connection, we have WIMA audio caps. As we proceed down the board, a couple RGB ports and the USB 2.0 headers join. Four SATA connections and two Thunderbolt headers for an AIC are located nearby. Fans and the 24-pin are situated below a Gen1 and Gen2 USB 3.2 header. We have RGB and fan hookups across the top.
With fewer overclocking options, the BIOS interface is same to that of the Z690 Xtreme and Master. Starting in simple mode, you will see all CPU and RAM statistics along the top, including frequency and temperature. The mounted disks and fan controls are shown to the right during the boot phase. You can adjust voltages and other CPU and memory parameters in advanced mode. In the IO Ports menu, AORUS offers extra choices, such as the ability to disable IGP and set up LAN controls, Thunderbolt, and storage.
We’ll examine the Aorus Master’s features, software, and performance in more detail below to see how it compares to the competition and whether we should include it on our list of the best motherboards. Here is a comprehensive list of the GIGABYTE B660 AORUS Master specifications, straight from Gigabyte.
|Voltage Regulator||18 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/SLI||Supports 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 Panel||4-LED Debug (CPU/Boot/VGA/RAM)|
|Internal Button/Switch||Reset and QFlash buttons|
|Ethernet Controller(s)||Intel I225-V (2.5 Gbps)|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 (2×2 ax, MU-MIMO, 2.4/5/6 GHz, 160 MHz, BT 5.2)|
|USB Controllers||Realtek RTS5411|
|HD Audio Codec||Realtek ALC1220-VB|
Final thoughts on GIGABYTE B660 AORUS Master
GIGABYTE B660 AORUS Master is an economical entrance to Intel’s Alder Lake platform that’s well-equipped for the price. It costs $209.99 (though it’s sometimes seen for sale at approximately $190). The board has a strong audio section, three M.2 connections, 10 USB ports, including a 20 Gbps Type-C port on the rear IO, and an overall attractive design. There is no need to worry about performance because it was about average for DDR4 boards. Overall, it’s a good motherboard at a fair price.
There aren’t many suggestions for improvements or grievances. The three M.2 connections should be sufficient for the majority of storage needs, although none of them support SATA-based modules. The four available SATA ports, compared to many possibilities in this class that have six, maybe another drawback. Aside from that, the board still has a nice overall appearance, albeit some users may not like the contrast between the heatsinks.
The Gigabyte Aorus Master is an effective board in the B660 price range in the end. It costs the same as the MSI if you can purchase the board during the deal. If anything, the fact that the heatsinks cover a larger portion of the board gives the Gigabyte board a more upscale and refined appearance makes me prefer it to the Tomahawk.
However, if you don’t like the clashing colors, the MSI would be a better option for the same price. The GIGABYTE B660 AORUS Master DDR4 is a fantastic alternative for approximately $200 if B660 is your preferred platform and you want a reliable motherboard that checks off all the anticipated boxes.
GIGABYTE B660 AORUS Master