Just a quick and dirty review of the AB350M-Gaming 3 mATX board from Gigabyte.
Here are the most important specs :
|Fan Headers||3 - supports fans, water pumps and AIO. Smart Fan 5 management software|
|DIMM Slots||4 - supporting up to DDR4 3200 (compared to mATX standard of 2)|
|PCIE Slots||3 - 2x 16 lane physical slots (16x 1x 4x)|
|USB||10 - 2 Type A 3.1 Gen 2 , 2 Type A 3.1 Gen 1 , 6 Type A 2.0/1.1|
|Storage||1 - NVM Express 6 SATA 6Gb/s with Raid 0, 1 and 10|
With that said the layout of the board is rather comfortable to work with. All connections are pretty easy to get at and installation is about as difficult as any other motherboard. The only change I would make is the m.2 mounting point being under a GPU in the 16x slot. If you go to upgrade or install a water loop with this motherboard you'll be looking at complete removal of the video card. Not really a deal breaker but something to keep in mind. Maybe a Type-C USB connection when Rev 2 arrives. Otherwise it's solid as a rock.
When navigating the BIOS I find myself having trouble locating settings. I haven't owned a Gigabyte motherboard with the new style UEFI so it was a bit of a learning curve. Options are hidden in obscurely named categories and I found myself looking back at the manual in order to find what I was looking for. That could just be a gripe because I miss the days of the blue screens with white letters. If you are familiar with Gigabyte UEFI layout then this won't be a problem for you.
The real test of an inexpensive board like this is usability and ease of setup. Many folks purchasing this will be first time builders or people who don't want to fuss with anything. They just want to plop together the system and fire it up. This is by far the fastest install to Windows desktop motherboard I've ever used. I didn't have to configure anything. After turning the PC on it went straight into Windows and I was able to be up in running in a matter of about 15 minutes. Boom. That's the kind of stuff I want when I am running something in this price range. I've had poor experiences with other manufacturers where installing the hardware was the easiest part - when it shouldn't be that way.
Overclocking is actually really simple - if you trust the VRMs and power delivery to keep up with the job. There isn't a lot of filtering or phases for the CPU and that's not a really bad thing but it also limits the amount of clean voltage getting to the heart of the system. I wouldn't expect this to break any world records but as long as you don't get too greedy and have a decent power supply the GA-AB350M will get you there. I was able to get a 3.9 ghz OC on my 1700x with no problems at all. Just changed the multiplier and off to the races I went.
Gigabyte has really outdone themselves with the GA-AB350M-Gaming 3. At around $90 you cant really go wrong. This has all of the current bells and whistles you could ask for in a motherboard. With the slow death of Crossfire and SLI you wont be paying for more than you're going to use and you will get the things you want. If you are looking for a straight shooter that has been designed to kick the snot of the competition in it's respective class - this is the board for you.
More information : GA-AB350M-Gaming 3 (rev. 1.0) | Motherboard - GIGABYTE
Amazon.com : Amazon.com: GIGABYTE GA-AB350M-Gaming 3