One of the great things to come out of Computex was news of cheaper LGA 1700 motherboards via Intel’s soon-to-be-released B660 chipset. The fact that the PCH itself would be a few dollars cheaper was only the start of savings, as halving the number of pathways to the CPU would also reduce motherboard complexity and cost. Designers would also get half as many PCIe 4.0 and half as many PCIe 3.0 lanes controlled by the chipset, so that critics like us wouldn’t scold them for not taking advantage of free resources in a low-cost segment where PCB economization would have dictated this anyway. Heck, even the SATA and USB3 port count—which costs more to implement than simple PCB real estate—was cut in half.
None of these cost-saving economizations are likely to repel most non-overclocking performance seekers: The consumer performance market often breaks into separate gaming and home workstation segments, where the later are more likely concerned by the chipset’s inability to split its CPU-based PCIe 4.0 x16 slot into four x4 pathways. That exclusion rules out the using certain multi-drive M.2 storage adapters on the upper x16 slot, including Asus’s own Hyper M.2 x16 Gen 4 Card. Gamers will put a graphics card there.
With those limits in mind, let’s have a look at what the TUF Gaming B660M-Plus WiFi D4 does with this lower-cost chipset’s available resources:
|Asus TUF Gaming B660M-Plus WiFi D4|
|Socket||LGA 1700||Form Factor||Micro ATX|
|Chipset||Intel B660 PCH||Voltage Regulator||13 Phases|
|Video Ports||DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.1 (4k@60Hz)||Audio Jacks||(5) Analog, (1) Digital Out|
|Rear USB||(1) 20Gb/s Type-C, (4) 10Gb/s Type A,
(1) 5Gb/s Type A, (2) USB 2.0
|Network Jacks||2.5GbE, (2) Wi-Fi Antenna||I/O Panel Extras||✗|
|PCIe x16||(1) v5.0 (full x16), (1) v3.0 (x4)||SATA Ports||(4) 6Gb/s|
|PCIe x8||✗||USB Headers||(1) v3.x Gen2 at 5Gb/s, (2) v3.x Gen1, (2) v2.0|
|PCIe x4||✗||Fan Headers||(6) 4-Pin|
|PCIe x1||(1) v4.0||Legacy Interfaces||Serial COM, System (Beep-code) Speaker, 3-pin PWR LED|
|CrossFire/SLI||2x / ✗||Other Interfaces||FP-Audio, Thunderbolt AIC, (1) RGB LED, (3) ARGB LED|
|DIMM slots||(4) DDR4||Diagnostics Panel||✗(four indicator LEDs)|
|(2) PCIe 4.0 x4||Internal Button/Switch||✗ / ✗|
|SATA Controllers||Integrated (0/1/5/10)||USB Controllers||ASM3142 PCIe, ASM1074 Hub|
|Ethernet Controllers||RTL8125BG 2.5Gb/s PCIe||HD Audio Codec||ALC897|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||Intel AX210 WiFi 6E (2.4 Gb/s) / BT 5.2 Combo||DDL/DTS Connect||✗|
The CPU’s 16+4 PCIe lanes go to a Gen5 x16 and an Gen4 M.2 slot as expected, and four of the chipset’s six PCIe 4.0 lanes go to second M.2 slot in what appears to be the perfect combination of gaming graphics and storage bandwidth for all but the most stringent of storage fanatics. Asus adds 2.5GbE and Intel WiFi 6, and even ports one of the chipset’s two available USB 3.2 2×2 ports to the I/O panel.
Things get a little sketcher for the front panel connectors, as Asus wires a Gen1 (5Gb/s) USB3 interface to a Gen2 connector, in addition to the two Gen1 interfaces that connect its front-panel Gen1 connector, all via an old-school ASM1074 hub seen located between the B660’s heat sink and 24-pin power connector at the motherboard’s front edge.
Getting those negatives out of the way, we find a layout that can fit nearly anything but a second (thick) graphics card into a four-slot Micro ATX case. Asus evidently found that gamers were more likely to use a triple-slot graphics card than attempt to put two double-slot cards in the same Micro ATX case, and it’s probably right.
We should take a moment to warn builders in developing markets that their old 110mm SATA M.2 devices won’t work. There simply isn’t enough space for anything greater than the now-standard 80mm format, and the M.2 interfaces are PCIe (NVMe) exclusively. Its Gen4 standard is backwards compatible with Gen3 drives, however.
This is not your father’s Asus front-panel connector: While similar in shape to the one used on older boards, its divided into a now-standard Intel-style 9-pin group on the left, and a legacy PC Speaker /Chassis Intrusion / 3-pin Power LED group on the right. Above and to the left of this front-panel group are four SATA ports, two that point outward from the bottom edge and two that point forward from the front edge.
The bottom-rear corner includes a shockingly old ALC897 audio codec and an even older serial communications port. Asus suggestively places a Thunderbolt add-in card header directly below the four-lane x16-length bottom slot, and this photo also shows the screw-free rotating clasp for 80mm M.2 drives. The second M.2 slot also has a clasp, though it’s concealed by an M.2 heatsink in our photos.
The TUF Gaming B660M-Plus WiFi D4’s voltage regulator appears to be broken into an 11+2 phase configuration, with those eleven phases using Vishay SiC654 50A MOSFETs. A Digi+ ASP2100 EPU masters these outputs.
Asus includes a printed user manual, support DVD with drivers/software/digital manual, a straight SATA cable, an SATA cable with one right-angle end, a certificate of reliability, 2T2R WiFi antenna, TUF Gaming sticker kit, and mounting hardware with two screws and two standoffs for M.2 drives that are shorter than the common 80mm format.