May 10, 2017 Written by:Geoff_Gasior

Shrink your PC with the ROG Strix H270I and B250I Gaming Mini-ITX motherboards

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They say good things come in small packages, and that can certainly be true for gaming PCs. The Mini-ITX form factor lets you build remarkably compact systems with enough horsepower for hardcore gaming and cutting-edge VR. We already offer the ROG Strix Z270I for gamers who want to overclock Kaby Lake processors in a small form factor. Now, we’re expanding the family with more affordable options for stock-clocked CPUs. Say hello to the ROG Strix H270I and B250I Gaming motherboards.

Equipped to cool the latest components

The two boards look identical, and they practically are. Both support Intel’s latest 7th Generation Core processors, and they can be loaded with dual-channel DDR4 memory. Each one also has a full-sized PCI Express x16 slot ready for discrete graphics. Modern graphics coolers can be quite heavy, so we apply SafeSlot reinforcements that strengthen the walls of the slot along with its connection to the board. This treatment protects your precious by preventing damage that can occur with clumsy handling or when transporting complete systems to LAN parties.

Effective cooling is crucial within the cramped confines of most Mini-ITX cases, but these boards have you covered. They include a dedicated water-cooling header that’s configured specifically for the pumps in AiO coolers. Two additional headers are provided for fans, and they’re all managed by our critically acclaimed UEFI and software fan controls. With just a few clicks, you can calibrate connected fans and optimize the cooling for your entire system.

Today’s fastest M.2 SSDs typically require dedicated cooling to maintain top performance with demanding workloads, which is particularly challenging within the constrained proportions of the Mini-ITX form factor. To tackle the problem, we added an isolated level to the PCH heatsink that provides dedicated cooling for a single M.2 drive. This double-decker design decreases SSD temperatures by up to 20°C, minimizing performance slowdowns with sustained transfers and other disk-intensive activities.

The ROG Strix H270I and B250I Gaming both feature a second M.2 slot under the board, so you can run dual SSDs without routing power and data cables. They also support Intel’s Optane Memory, which acts as an ultra-fast cache for mechanical hard drives and slower SSDs.

Synchronized full-system lighting

RGB lighting is here to stay, and Aura Sync implements it the right way. Both boards can synchronize lighting with other Aura Sync hardware, including ROG graphics cards, monitors, and peripherals. Compatible memory, cases, and other components are also available from our partners, allowing you to customize harmonious lighting across a complete system.

Our intuitive Aura software has everything you need to create a refined aesthetic with the right tones to match your rig. Or you can opt for a brash array of rainbow effects that assault the senses—the choice is yours. Either way, the motherboards’ monochromatic motifs won’t clash with your preferred colors.

Onboard lighting makes the right edge of the board a playground for linear effects that move from one end to the other. But that pales in comparison to what’s possible with the four-pin Aura header, which supports off-the-shelf RGB LED strips up to two meters long. That’s more than enough length to snake around an entire Mini-ITX chassis, both inside and out. We even include an extension cable that lets you position the strip wherever you want.

Integrated essentials that complete your PC

The limited Mini-ITX footprint inevitably reduces expansion capacity, making onboard peripherals especially important. That’s why we devoted extra attention to the SupremeFX audio, which eliminates the need for a separate sound card, and the integrated networking, which offers ultra-fast wired and wireless options.

ROG’s latest SupremeFX audio is based on a shielded S1220A codec backed by dual op-amps. This combination delivers an excellent 120-dB SNR for output, and it’s potent enough to drive high-end headphones with impedances up to 600Ω. The 113-dB input SNR represents a significant improvement over typical onboard solutions. Audio comes through loud and clear—and with minimal distortion—whether you’re listening to the sounds of the battleground, coordinating strategy with teammates, or streaming commentary to an audience.

Sonic Studio III software brings everything together with thoughtful features that make your PC a more capable multimedia powerhouse. Flexible routing lets you assign audio sources to different outputs, so you can game on your headset while streaming YouTube or Netflix to separate speakers or a big-screen TV. App-specific profiles adjust settings automatically to match your preferences, while noise filtering prevents background sounds from masking your voice.

Both boards integrate dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO support. With the included 2x2 antenna, they can push wireless throughput up to 867MBps—nearly Gigabit speeds. They also feature Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers with even faster performance and trusted reliability. Bluetooth 4.1 is included, as well, along with enough USB connectivity for room-scale VR setups.

So, what’s the difference?

Although the ROG Strix H270I and B250I Gaming are virtually identical, there are a few minor differences. The H270 chipset supports multi-drive RAID arrays and Smart Response caching that’s unavailable on the B250, giving the H270I options for more elaborate storage configurations. It also has more USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, which is why two of the B250I’s rear USB ports are limited to 2.0 speeds.

Apart from those chipset-related differences, the H270I adds a secondary Gigabit Ethernet controller based on a Realtek chip. But both boards come with our GameFirst IV traffic management software, so you can stream and download without sacrificing ping times.

The last difference is pricing. As you’d expect, the H270I costs a little bit more than the B250I. The precise delta depends on your region, so check with your local ROG representative or retailer for more details.

Hit the link below for the full press release.

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