ASUS ROG Strix X370-I Mini-ITX Motherboard Review

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Asus Strix X370-I feature
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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

CPU
Installed Processors (Max)0 (1)
Supported Processor ManufacturerAMD
Supported ProcessorsAMD Ryzen™/7th Generation A-series/Athlon™ Processors
64-bit SupportYes
SocketAM4
Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
NorthbridgeX370
RAID SupportedYes
RAID FormatRAID 0, 1, 10
SATA SupportedYes
Rear Panel I/O Ports
USB Ports2 x USB 3.1
4 x USB 3.0
RJ-45 Ports1 x RJ-45
Audio Line In Ports1 x 3.5mm Jack
Audio Line Out Ports1 x 3.5mm Jack
Microphone In Port1 x 3.5mm Jack
Antenna Connectors2 x Antennas
Internal I/O Connectors
Front Panel Connectors1 x Front Panel
1 x Front Audio
Cooling Fan Support1 x CPU Fan
1 x Chassis Fan
1 x AIO_PUMP
SATA Connectors4 x SATA III
USB Connectors1 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0
Speaker1 x Speaker
Power Connector Port1 x 20+4-pin ATX
1 x 4+4-pin EPS
Other Connectors2 x M.2, Socket 3, M Key (Type 2242/2260/2280)
Expansion
Number of PCI Express Slots1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16
Memory
Memory Bus Speed3600(O.C.) / 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666 / 2400 / 2133 MHz
Maximum RAM32 GB
Memory TypeDDR4
Memory Slot2 x DIMM
Graphics Device
Integrated Graphics SupportedNo
Sound
Integrated SoundROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A
Network
Integrated NetworkIntel® I211-AT
Network Speeds Supported10/100/1000 Mbps
Wireless LAN802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wireless Network SpeedUp to 433 Mbps
BluetoothYes
Bluetooth Version4.2
System Requirements
Operating Systems SupportedMicrosoft® Windows® 10 64-bit
System
BIOS128 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
Jumpers1 x Clear CMOS
Software Included (May be trial or restricted)ASUS Utilities
Anti-virus Software
DriversIncluded
Physical
Form FactorMini ITX Motherboard
In The BoxMotherboard
User’s manual
M.2 mounting kit
I/O Shield
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
Width170 mm
Length170 mm

 

Closer Look

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.

Asus Strix X370-I 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.

Asus Strix X370-I wifi

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.

Asus Strix X370-I power

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).

Asus Strix X370-I sata

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.

Asus Strix X370-I rear io

Test Setup & Performance

Test Setup

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

AIDA64

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance AIDA64 CPU Queen

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance AIDA64 CPU AES

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance AIDA64 CPU Photoworxx

Cinebench R15

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance Cinebench R15 CPU

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance Cinebench R15 OpenGL

PCMark 8

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance PCMark 8

3D Benchmark Performance Results

3DMark

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance 3DMark Fire Strike

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance 3DMark Time Spy

Ashes of The Singularity

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance Ashes of The Singularity 1080p DirectX 12

Company of Heroes 2

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance Company of Heroes 2 1080p DirectX 11

Tom Clancy’s: The Division

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance Tom Clancys The Division 1080p DirectX 11

Thief

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance Thief 1080p DirectX 11

Total War: WARHAMMER

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I Performance Total War Warhammer 1080p DirectX 11

ROG Strix X370-I Mini-ITX Motherboard Review: Our Verdict

What’s Hot:

  • 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

What’s Not:

  • 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.

Asus Strix X370-I Awards

Huge thanks to ASUS Republic of Gamers for sending a sample of the X370-I mini-ITX motherboard in for review.

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