On the test bench today is a premium and high-quality ITX sized motherboard from the guys at ASUS, the ROG Strix X370-I mini-ITX motherboard. The X370-I was launched a couple of months ago with small form factor (SFF) users being targeted who want to make use of AMD’s Ryzen multi-core processors.
The X370-I is a small and virile feature packed offering with support for up to 32GB of DDR4 memory with speeds up to a maximum of 3600MHz (OC). All the regular suspects including the ROG SupremeFX S1220A audio codec, but with an added element of quality which has been combined in with the M.2 heatsink. There are plenty of other features, ports and connections featured on this small Ryzen compatible AM4 m-ITX option, but let’s take a look and see what we’re dealing with…
Specifications & Contents
|Installed Processors (Max)||0 (1)|
|Supported Processor Manufacturer||AMD|
|Supported Processors||AMD Ryzen™/7th Generation A-series/Athlon™ Processors|
|RAID Format||RAID 0, 1, 10|
|Rear Panel I/O Ports|
|USB Ports||2 x USB 3.1
4 x USB 3.0
|RJ-45 Ports||1 x RJ-45|
|Audio Line In Ports||1 x 3.5mm Jack|
|Audio Line Out Ports||1 x 3.5mm Jack|
|Microphone In Port||1 x 3.5mm Jack|
|Antenna Connectors||2 x Antennas|
|Internal I/O Connectors|
|Front Panel Connectors||1 x Front Panel
1 x Front Audio
|Cooling Fan Support||1 x CPU Fan
1 x Chassis Fan
1 x AIO_PUMP
|SATA Connectors||4 x SATA III|
|USB Connectors||1 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0
|Speaker||1 x Speaker|
|Power Connector Port||1 x 20+4-pin ATX
1 x 4+4-pin EPS
|Other Connectors||2 x M.2, Socket 3, M Key (Type 2242/2260/2280)|
|Number of PCI Express Slots||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16|
|Memory Bus Speed||3600(O.C.) / 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666 / 2400 / 2133 MHz|
|Maximum RAM||32 GB|
|Memory Slot||2 x DIMM|
|Integrated Graphics Supported||No|
|Integrated Sound||ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A|
|Integrated Network||Intel® I211-AT|
|Network Speeds Supported||10/100/1000 Mbps|
|Wireless LAN||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|Wireless Network Speed||Up to 433 Mbps|
|Operating Systems Supported||Microsoft® Windows® 10 64-bit|
|BIOS||128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0, ACPI 6.1, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information|
|Jumpers||1 x Clear CMOS|
|Software Included (May be trial or restricted)||ASUS Utilities
|Form Factor||Mini ITX Motherboard|
|In The Box||Motherboard
M.2 mounting kit
4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
2 x M.2 Screw Package
1 x Supporting DVD
1 x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compliant)
1 x ROG Strix stickers
1 x Cable ties pack(s)
1 x Extension cable for Addressable LED
1 x Panel cable
Starting with an overall look at the board and omitting the relatively large (especially on ITX) AM4/PGA 1131 socket, the M.2 heatsink takes pride of place as being the most notable and noticeable component on the boards front. The way the ROG SupremeFX S1220A codec has been implemented along with the entirety of the on-board audio area is all for quality and performance. The circuitry and the M.2 slot itself has been raised up as to help with interference between components. This is something which can cause problems on ITX and smaller form factor boards and ASUS have gone to great lengths to try and address these issues. The heatsink itself does have built-in RGB thanks to the “glowing” ROG logo which can be synced with the strip of LEDs on the right-hand side of the board using the ASUS AURA Sync software.
A total of 3 x 4pin connectors have been included for fans, with a dedicated header for the CPU fan, one for a chassis fan and another as a dedicated AIO pump header. Serving power to the board is a 24pin ATX motherboard input as well as an 8pin 12V EPS CPU power connector. A single Aura addressable header has been included for users to expand the capabilities of their RGB and given the overall size of the board, a single header is more than acceptable on an ITX board.
To the left-hand side of the board, ASUS have placed the BIOS battery next to the integrated Wi-Fi 802.11 MU-MIMO capable and Bluetooth v4.2 compatible WAN card. This is clearly a space saving implementation and aside from the garish looks, without taking up extra PCB space, it’s quite a smart way of saving space etc.
Users looking to overclock on such a small board will be pleased by the inclusion of a 6 phase VRM, which is more than capable of pushing your Ryzen 3, 5 and 7 processors to decent clocks. This is dependent on your processors capability however, as well as your choice of cooler.
The ROG X370-I ITX board has a good storage setup thanks to featuring 2 x M.2 slots and a total of 4 x SATA3 ports. Both M.2 ports support SATA capable M.2 drives 2242/2260/2280 with 1 port having fully-fledged PCIE 3.0 support (the slot with the heatsink).
As you would expect with an ITX motherboard, the rear I/O is certainly lacking when compared to a full-sized ATX offering. That being said, ASUS ROG have done a decent job of putting as much as they could without sacrificing too much in terms of quality. The biggest surprise for me is the lack of USB 3.1 Type-C and on-board options for the newly released APUs, but its apples and oranges in reality as there isn’t much space available to play with. Included are 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a single LAN port powered by the Intel I-211-AT Gigabit controller and 3 x 3.5mm audio jacks for the on-board audio. This is finished off with Wi-Fi GO! Module which features Bluetooth v4.2 connectivity.
Test Setup & Performance
Motherboard: ASUS ROG STRIX X370-F Gaming
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 8 Core @ Stock settings
CPU Cooling: be quiet! Silent Loop 240mm
GPU: ASUS ROG GTX 1060 STRIX 6GB
RAM: Ballistix Elite 3000MHz 16GB (2x8GB)
PSU: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 1000w
OS: Windows 10 Professional x64
2D Benchmark Performance Results
3D Benchmark Performance Results
Ashes of The Singularity
Company of Heroes 2
Tom Clancy’s: The Division
Total War: WARHAMMER
ROG Strix X370-I Mini-ITX Motherboard Review: Our Verdict
- Decent quality 6 phase VRM is good for an ITX offering
- M.2 heatsink is not only cool with an RGB ROG logo, but it’s been proven to be functional
- Pretty much what small form factor Ryzen users have been asking ASUS for!
- Good performance all-around
- Features dual M.2
- No on-board VGA connections, so APU use is moot
- Pricing is a little high in comparison to other AM4 ITX options
- A little too late to the market to be a big hitter (launched Q4 2017) since X470 is close to being launched
It seems that we’re coming close to the end of the Ryzen (1) product cycle and what a board to finish on. Users have been asking ASUS since the launch of A320/B350/X370 for an ITX motherboard similar in design, quality and pricing to their Intel variant, the Impact. Well, ASUS ROG have delivered and in reality, they’ve done a good job overall.
While the X370-I has only been out for a few months, it’s certainly the best AM4 ITX motherboard in comparison to the Biostar X370GTN and Gigabyte GA-AB350N options in terms of quality, design and thought process behind certain aspects. With Gigabyte omitting good quality VRM heatsinks and the Biostar offering having very little to offer overall other than being a small form factor option. Anyway, moving back to the board in question, the X370-I has good all-around performance and has plenty of features making it a good quality option for Ryzen users looking to go smaller.
The rear I/O is a little lacking, but ITX boards don’t usually offer much and the biggest shock for me was the fact ASUS overlooked any inclusion of VGA options. This makes it difficult for users wanting to purchase this board to go with their new APUs. This is kind of disappointing, but space was clearly an issue, even though Biostar managed to include them on their X370GTN model. Combining both generations of USB 3.1, the rear I/O has a total of 6x Type-A ports which isn’t mouth-watering, but it’s adequate for a board of this size.
The crux of it comes down to the overall quality of what’s ACTUALLY included and this is where ROG shines above most of their competitors. The ASUS ROG X370-I is a solid option for consumers wanting to harness the multi-core power of AMDs Ryzen processors, but want something space saving to go into a mini-ITX case, thus saving desktop space and reducing the overall footprint of their system. It’s a Gold award today along with the prestigious Editor’s Choice and I firmly stand by what I say, this is the best AM4 ITX board currently on the market, even if ASUS ROG hasn’t provided the ‘full’ package in my opinion.
Huge thanks to ASUS Republic of Gamers for sending a sample of the X370-I mini-ITX motherboard in for review.