microATX size may be too limited for some versus ATX
The Gigabyte B650M DS3H is a nicely designed motherboard and one of the cheapest B650 chipsets we’ve seen. It’s a good option for budget microATX builds, but you’ll need to be okay with missing out on some key features such as Wi-Fi and an integrated I/O shield.
AMD’s AM5 platform is maturing right on schedule, bringing with that some cheaper pricing. While initial higher platform expenses kept motherboard costs higher on average for early adopters, the trend is improving.
Here we have one of the most affordable motherboards yet for AM5 — Gigabyte’s B650 DS3H. Coming in at $149, it’s a smaller microATX motherboard, but still one that lets you to step into the next-generation AM5. Using the B650 chipset allows for some costs savings over the more expensive X670. With DDR5 standard and bundled with a set of basic features, are there any serious compromises here? (Keep in mind, the AMD A620 chipset will be the true budget option — and that will certainly come with more compromises.)
We’ll go over the features, design, and performance. Keeping careful tabs on its attractive pricing, we’ll see if buyers can still get that next-generation feel, but “on the cheap.” Coupled with a larger than ever selection of Ryzen 7000 CPUs that are often on sale now, it may be a good path for those wanting to keep costs under control. Its small size, albeit niche, makes this an even more interesting choice for compact PC cases, to boot. Let’s see the details!
DDR5 RAM, dual-channel up to 4 DIMMs (up to 128Gb)
2x onboard M.2 slots (PCIe Gen 4)
1x PCIe 16x slot (PCIe Gen 4)
1x PCIe X1 slot (PCIe Gen 3)
HDMI 2.1 and 2x DisplayPort out
8 USB ports on back (Including USB C)
PS/2 port for legacy peripherals
Realtek 2.5GbE LAN
4 SATA 6Gb/s ports
4 PWM fan headers
Realtek 7.1 Audio
What’s missing from the B650 chipset?
The B650 chipset is trimmed down from B650E and X670E. To hit these cheaper prices, you’ll have access to fewer SATA ports, USB ports, and no PCIe Gen 5 — not to mention the limitations inherent to the B650M’s smaller microATX form factor. You’ll only get PCIe Gen 4, and not 5 here. That’s fine for most users — we can hardly saturate these lanes as is currently.
What is the Gigabyte B650M’s CPU choice?
B650 AM5 gives you access to any current Ryzen 7000 CPU, from the original ones such as the Ryzen 5 7600X, to recent non-X variants such as the Ryzen 9 7900, to even the fast Ryzen 7 7800X3D. You may want to avoid some of the heavy brawler CPUs such as the Ryzen 9 7950X due to VRMs and cooling considerations. It doesn’t make sense to pair a premium CPU with this class of this motherboard. It’s a better match with something like a 7600X or non-X, lower-wattage CPU like the Ryzen 7 7700. The latter will also come with the AMD Wraith Cooler, giving you good bang for your buck. Keep in mind that microATX will usually allow for less radiator space in certain cases, so you’ll want to get something efficient for a smaller build.
Does the Gigabyte B650M have DDR5 RAM and PCIe Gen 4?
AM5 is DDR5 RAM only, and prices are typically better now as more time has passed since its release. You will get four RAM slots, which is better than the two slots that smaller Mini-ITX motherboards offer, and on par with ATX motherboards.
Being B650, you’re not getting access to PCIe Gen 5, but you will find PCIe Gen 4 in both the 16x slot and the two onboard NVMe slots. Only B650E or X670E will offer you more PCIe lanes (and PCIe Gen 5 for that matter) — but at $149, we’re not complaining.
You also get an additional Gen 3 1x slot — which is another advantage over Mini-ITX motherboards, and good for users who need that extra add-in card slot.
What storage does the Gigabyte B650M have?
You’re getting two NVMe PCIe Gen 4 slots onboard, which is reasonable for this size motherboard. Those should suffice for most users, and speeds will be plenty fast, too. For those who need more, you do have access to four SATA ports for more drives. Overall, storage options are good here for the price.
What USB ports does the Gigabyte B650M have?
There are eight rear USB ports, including 1x USB-C, so the quantity is great for microATX. You do get four of them as USB 2.0, with the rest 3.0. For this price class, that’s fine — we’ve even seen USB 2.0 on more expensive motherboards such as the Asrock B650M PG-ITX.
Interestingly, you’ll also get a relic — a PS/2 port for legacy peripherals. If you’re happy, you know exactly what to use it for. If you have no idea what it’s for, don’t worry, and move on!
Dual DisplayPort and HDMI 2.1 also help with Ryzen 7000 CPUs, which have built-in iGPUs. It’s unusual to have so many display-out options, so Gigabyte certainly intends for just the right user to match this with their needs.
How is the Gigabyte B650M’s networking?
You get Realtek 2.5GbE Lan, which is standard on motherboards nowadays. Disappointingly, you won’t get Wi-Fi onboard. This can be a crucial deal breaker for many people who more and more rely on a solid Wi-Fi connection. Sure, you can just buy a separate USB or even PCIe dongle, but it’s an added cost. We’d like to see Wi-Fi here standard.
How is the Gigabyte B650M’s audio?
Audio is okay here, with three inputs on the back. For this price, it’s sufficient — and those who need better sound will want to add an external device or sound card.
What’s included in the Gigabyte B650M’s box?
The unboxing experience is simple — not much here aside from a few M.2 screws and SATA cables. You do get the I/O shield — which is not integrated like on many motherboards this generation. No Wi-Fi antenna here either — because there’s no Wi-Fi onboard.
Other features of note
The quick release function of the GPU is nice to have, along with “Q Flash Plus,” which lets you update the BIOS without a CPU. You also get a reset button on the back. You also get four PWM fan ports, which is sufficient for a small build.
Some features that are missing should be noted — such as the lack of Wi-Fi, which may impact many users. The I/O shield is also not integrated — a feature that most motherboards seem to have this generation. We can understand, however, due to the cheaper price.
Gigabyte B650M DS3H layout and design
The Gigabyte B650M DS3H has an obvious design characteristic that’s hard to ignore: size! It’s a microATX motherboard, meaning you can jam it into smaller enclosures than standard ATX. It also will have more ports and slots compared to the even tinier Mini-ITX — a selling point for many PC builders.
Aesthetically, how does it handle this smaller size? For the $149 price, the build quality is good. Most of the important surfaces on the motherboard feel great and are well represented and covered throughout. For example, you have the neat monochromatic color scheme on both the I/O shroud area and PCIe slot area. Good coverage here makes the motherboard seem more premium and does not give away its budget status. The M.2 slots are also covered by this “Thermal Guard.”
You do not get an integrated I/O shield, which is understandable but slightly disappointing. It seems like many AM5 motherboards are including this, and it’s a nice little feature for PC builders. Not having one makes the I/O rear area more exposed than you’d like to see aesthetically, until it’s tucked away in a small build. Hopefully you won’t forget to put the I/O shield in place before installing the motherboard!
There’s no RGB light show going in this motherboard, but you’ll get RGB headers. This is fine — many motherboards with RGB and fancy OLED displays also cost significantly more.
Around the back, it’s standard motherboard fare. Overall, the design of the motherboard here is very fitting for the price it comes in at. Sure, we’d like to see an integrated I/O shield, but we’re glad that the front of the motherboard looks pleasing and not bare-bones. It’s also built relatively well, similar to pricier options.
Gigabyte B650M DS3H BIOS and software
For those who like tinkering, the Gigabyte BIOS does give you some options for adjusting your system parameters. There’s a good chance if you’re running a standard Ryzen CPU such as a Ryzen 7 7700 you’ll rarely visit the BIOS (since you’re not overclocking). It’s still a nice place to be acquainted with, for setting DDR5 Expo profiles or boot settings.
Gigabyte also offers its software suite: Gigabyte Control Center. Like many motherboard manufactures, Gigabyte consolidates various utility software programs into one unit. This makes things like adjusting fan profiles, changing RGB themes, and even driver updates easier. While we typically still recommend some “old school” methods of driver updates and fan control, it’s nice to see some software improvements this generation. (Previous options consisted of various separate software downloads that each did different, often confusing, things).
Overall, for $149 you’re getting competent performance for the new generation of AMD Ryzen CPUs. It’s also true of the accompanying technological improvements such as DDR5. While you’re not getting top performance and overclocking — you’re also not paying top dollar. It’s a fair compromise.
Should you buy the Gigabyte B650M DS3H?
The Gigabyte B650M DS3H comes with a few unique points of interest. First, its $149 price makes it one of the better-priced options we’ve seen so far on the B650 chipset for the newer AM5 Ryzen CPUs. You’d have to go lower into the A620 chipset to see some better deals, at the cost of less features. It also is a microATX motherboard, a niche market. This can either be a positive or negative for some, depending on your PC build objective.
It does put up “as expected” performance with most Ryzen CPUs, making a better pairing with the more affordable options. It has good enough VRMs, and support for DDR5 and PCIe Gen 4.
It is missing a few key items, however. Primary of which is Wi-Fi — which can be a crucial point for some users. Adding a third-party solution is possible, but that also negates the cost savings here. You do get 2.5Gb Ethernet, so you’re covered there. The lack of an integrated I/O shield is a minor quibble. But we’d just like to see it in all boards come — as many have done so already for AM5. (See our review of the MSI MAG B650M Mortar WiFi, where fewer comprises are made on this microATX board but for a slightly higher price.)
Overall, it’s a good option for $149 if you can live with a few of those compromises, and don’t need more features. A larger ATX motherboard may give you more PCIe slots, better USB ports, and more SATA ports, but a small price increase. Otherwise, it’s a nicely design motherboard that is amongst the cheapest we’ve seen for B650, and keeps most features intact.