Joined on 09/03/03
Supports Ryzen 3700X out of the box (YMMV)
Pros: + Plug and play - everything worked right away + Native support for Ryzen 3 started in firmware F40; motherboard has F50 + Affordable even during COVID craze + Really good connectivity options between USB 3.2 Gen 1 and 2, 1Gbps Ethernet, WiFi + RGB in my opinion is really nice; I've seen videos and though it was a gimmick but honestly I enjoy the colors and smooth sequences + 2 M2 slots with heatsinks (22110 and 2280) + WiFi works flawlessly even without the antenna + Recognized Crucial Ballistix 3600 CL16 2x16GB even though it's not in the Approved List (you'll need to update the memory in the BIOS to make it work at the intended speed, but this is the same with any motherboard) + Passive Chipset Cooling + Beefy VRM
Cons: - BIOS F50 is actually a downgrade from the F40 (removed PCIe4.0 support which had been "left" in and AMD didn't quite like it). Honestly not worth messing with a BIOS downgrade that might brick the thing as we won't need Gen4 for quite a while. - BIOS navigation is fairly intuitive but not amazing; better than other brands, worse than others - Manual and overall documentation support online is not awesome
Overall Review: The key question I had that I wish someone would have mentioned anywhere before I purchased was whether it would support Ryzen 3000 series without the need for an older CPU to flash the BIOS. If you're in my same shoes - fear no more and read on! My mobo was likely produced at the end of 2019 (the serial numbers starts with 2019) and it came with the latest firmware installed (F50) which supports Ryzen natively (similar to the MAX series in MSI boards). The telltale is that in the box there is a logo that says "Ryzen 3000 Desktop Ready". Now call me jaded, but the word "ready" is a loaded word, as different manufacturers may use it to represent different things (remember 720i HD "ready" TVs?) I wish AMD was less vague in their marketing guidance to manufacturers. Why not spell it out? "Supports Ryzen 3000 natively" would leave no room for doubt. In any case, I found out ahead of time (my CPU was still traversing the country) by opening a ticket with Gigabyte eSupport and got my answer within 48 hours and it was a clear and concrete answer - kudos for that! Overall, this is a phenomenal motherboard at less than one and a half Benjamin Franklins. It has a couple minor areas of improvement which due to the aging nature of the platform will likely never be addressed, but they are not even inconveniences. Considering the fairly similar feature-set to B550s or even low end X570s, nothing so far that would warrant lowering the rating. However, keep in mind it's been about a week since I powered it up and I haven't yet done stress testing of any kind. If I find issues, I will update this review. At the moment is running a Crucial M2 1TB and a Radeon 5700XT with nary a complaint. Fits neatly and tightly in a Fractal Design Meshify C case. The Aorus Falcon branding is superb - brings a smile to my face every time I look at it. Aggressive yet tasty at the same time. The best motherboard I've ever had.
Pros: Plays almost any format you can think of. Upon connection, discovered the network right away and it prompted for a firmware update. Took about 5 min, maybe 10, rebooted and voila. Remarkably polished first impression. Pleasant skin, clean looking and straightforward. Tiny footprint, unobstrusive. Remote works at very odd angles, so no direct line of sight required in my experience. HDMI, optical audio and composite outputs. It seems to me that this is the best in class for its class.
Cons: Terrible for streaming wirelessly - for some reason video would stutter and audio crackle after a few seconds. A search in the forums shows this is a common issue that has been outstanding for quite some time (and no, it is not a network issue on my end, I have streaming working fine elsewhere). No keyboard or smart text entry - think TiVo 2005. Ever so slightly sluggish navigation. Took a while to figure out how to share my folders in Win7 (also a common issue in the forums). Turns out this is probably more a fault with Win than WD, but other devices don't seem to struggle as much, so go figure.
Overall Review: Apparently the wifi stuttering is a firmware issue that has gone unresolved for a long time. If you connect a wireless bridge to the WD Live ethernet, it will work flawlessly, proving that this has something to do with the internal wifi handling. The remote is OK - a bit cluttered for my taste (37 keys!), but comfortable. Wish it lit up. Search the forums on how to set up Win 7, it is a bit tricky and YMMV with some approaches, but you will need to tinker with authorizations which is not the most straightforward process in Windows - but it is doable. Don't let this dishearten you, just be advised that you'll likely spend a few hours streamlining and tweaking until you finally have it working in the most efficient way. It would be nice if WD made a box like this with added storage and a few HD tuners that could also take the input of DVD players and such with some passthrough connectors - in other words, a true media HUB. I think I would pay 3 to 4 Benjamins for something like that :