ASUS serves up a budget Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake B660 motherboard that also sports support for the latest 13th Gen Raptor Lake processors.
UPDATE (20 October 2022) - With the launch of Intel's 13th Gen Raptor Lake processors, this board now supports the latest 13th Gen processors as well, with a BIOS update available from ASUS's website. The article has been updated accordingly to reflect this.
If you're looking to build a budget PC using the latest Intel 12th generation Alder Lake processors (and now 13th generation Raptor Lake processors), chances are, you've probably already shortlisted the B660M-A WIFI D4, an entry-level Intel B660 offering from the PRIME series of motherboards by ASUS. For today's article, we'll be checking out this motherboard which serves up support for the latest PCIe 4.0 standard, while maintaining legacy DDR4 support instead of DDR5, which is sure to help keep the costs of building a budget PC with this board low.
Summary of Specifications
- Processor Support: Intel 12th generation LGA1700 Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron processors - 13th generation processors supported with a BIOS update
- Chipset: Intel B660
- Memory: 4x DDR4 slots, max 128GB, up to DDR4 5333 (OC) support
- Audio: Realtek ALC897 audio
- LAN: Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet
- WIFI: Intel AX201 WIFI 6 with Bluetooth 5.2
- Expansion Slots: 1x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x4, 1x PCIe 3.0 x1
- Storage: 4x SATA III, 2x PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2
- Form Factor: microATX
Packaging & Contents
As a budget-oriented offering, the B660M-A WIFI D4 comes with the following accessories:
- 1x WIFI antenna
- 2x SATA III cables
- 2x M.2 drive screws
- 2x M.2 drive standoffs
- 1x M.2 rubber pad (adds height clearance for single-sided M.2 SSDs)
- 1x I/O shield
- 1x manual
- 1x quick start guide
- 1x DVD driver disc
In terms of aesthetics, the B660M-A WIFI D4 has white stripe motifs splashed across the entirety of the board, which lend themselves very well to the silver VRM and chipset heatsinks. Unsurprisingly, the board does not have an integrated I/O shield, nor does it come with any built-in aesthetic LEDs/RGB LEDs.
The VRM heatsinks are a standard aluminium affair, which are again, unsurprisingly smaller as compared to those that you see on higher end boards.
The included heatsink for the Intel B660 chipset is a passive affair that isn't very sizeable. It's great to see however, that ASUS has included a M.2 heatsink for the primary M.2 drive slot, which also contributes to the overall appearance of the motherboard.
The B660M-A WIFI D4 comes with four DDR4 slots with support for up to 128GBs of RAM, and the DDR4 5333 standard (when overclocked). The RAM slots are of a single-tab design, and ASUS has included its OptiMem II feature which optimises memory signal pathways so as to improve memory performance and stability.
USB Front Panel Headers
For front panel USB connectivity, ASUS has included two USB 3,2 Gen 1 front panel headers and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type C front panel header. This is rounded off by a series of USB 2,0 front panel headers on the bottom edge of the motherboard.
Expansion Slots & Storage Options
The B660M-A WIFI D4 comes with a single PCIe 4.0 x16 slot with the ASUS SafeSlot feature which provides additional reinforcement for heavy graphics cards so as to prevent sag and slot damage. The said slot is accompanied by two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots which are made out of plastic, with the top slot supporting the x4 standard, and the bottom slot supporting the x1 standard.
In the storage department, ASUS has included four SATA III ports, with two ports set in a right-angled configuration which should aid with cable management somewhat, and the remaining two ports in a straight-angled configuration.
The SATA ports are accompanied by two PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, and a heatsink is included for the primary M.2 slot, which is a welcome feature to have for sure.
Audio & Internet Connectivity
Shoring up the B660M-A WIFI D4's audio duty is Realtek's ALC897 audio codec, which is an entry-level part commonly found on low to mid-range motherboards.
Wired internet connectivity is courtesy of Intel's I219-V, which provides for Gigabit ethernet connectivity.
As the board's model name implies, the PRIME B660M-A WIFI D4 comes with built-in WIFI, and this is powered by Intel's AX201 part which supports WIFI 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.
Fan & RGB Headers
ASUS has included a total of four fan headers for the board:
- 1x CPU_FAN
- 1x CPU_OPT
- 2x CHA_FAN
Additionally, ASUS has also included three addressable RGB headers, which is plenty for RGB junkies, and these are accompanied by a single 12V RGB header.
The B660M-A WIFI D4 comes with the following rear I/O ports:
- 1x DisplayPort 1.4
- 2x HDMI 2.1 ports
- 1x PS/2 port
- 4x USB 2.0 Type A ports
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A ports
- 1x Gigabit Ethernet port
- WIFI antennae connectors
- Audio jack connectors
While inspecting the rear I/O of the board, one cannot help but notice that ASUS has gone for a rather non-standard CMOS battery arrangement, with the battery encased in a holder of sorts which is stuck to the side of the PS/2 and USB 2.0 port stack. This is connected to the board by means of a two-pin connector.
Conclusion & Pricing
The ASUS PRIME B660M-A WIFI D4 is a decent enough Intel B660 motherboard that provides support for the latest 13th Gen Intel Raptor Lake processors and its predecessor, the 12th Gen Alder Lake series of processors, while serving up support for the PCIe 4.0 standard and DDR4 memory.
One thing that stood out for this board is the unusual CMOS battery arrangement, where ASUS could have gone for a more conventional CR2032 battery holder to make future battery replacement efforts less of a hassle. In addition, more rear USB 3.2 ports would be welcome, as PC cases (especially entry-level ones in which such a motherboard would likely reside in) rarely come with more than one front panel USB 3.2 connector. This would mean that at least one of the onboard front panel USB 3.2 Gen 1 headers, and possibly the USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type C header, would go to waste. Finally, the lack of 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet for this board can be considered to be a missed opportunity for ASUS, as this feature has been spotted on several competitor-brand entry-level Intel B660 motherboards.
As of October 2022, the board can be had for around S$289 in Singapore through offline and online retailers. International eCommerce platforms such as Amazon and Newegg have this board listed for around US$152.
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Get this board from Lazada Singapore: https://c.lazada.sg/t/c.YWB9VV?sub_aff_id=alktech (affiliate link)
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The motherboard featured in this article was a review unit provided on loan from ASUS Singapore.