ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-F Gaming Motherboard Review

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ROG Strix Z370F Review
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Up for review today is a sub £200 ATX motherboard from ASUS, the ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming. The Z370-F Gaming is designed for use with Intel’s Coffee Lake 8th generation processors and offers gamers looking for an affordable, yet good quality pathway to get onto the LGA1151 v2 platform.

With a whole host of features including integrated M.2 cooling through a custom PCH heatsink, onboard audio via the Realtek ALC1220 codec and 8 phase digital VRM for the CPU, it’s sure to be a hit with gamers and users looking to push a little more from their CPUs effectively.

ROG STRIX Z370-F Closer Look

Looking closer at the Z370-F motherboard, ASUS has equipped this ROG branded board with a set of dark grey heatsinks which looks brilliant if I don’t say so myself. It certainly has appeal and is subtle enough to look good with a whole host of other components and parts within your system. Within the dark and classy exterior is a range of components which give a high end feel to it. These include the ROG S1220A audio codec which is actually a utilisation of the Realtek ALC1220, nothing wrong with that of course!

ROG STrix Z370F main

Also featured is 3rd generation T-Topology which has given a boost to the rated specifications regarding memory speeds over Z270; a jump from 3600MHz to 4000MHz with every slot populated…very titillating stuff!

ROG STrix Z370F ram slots

The PCI layout is rather interesting with a total of 3 x PCIe x16 slots (bottom one is hardwired to run at x4 from the PCH) and 4 x PCIe x1 ports, all capable of running Generation 3 supported cards/adapters and devices; it’s even backwards compatible with gen 2. AMD 3-way CrossFireX graphics card configurations are supported as well as 2-way NVIDIA SLI.

ROG STrix Z370F board

Storage wise, the Z370-F has 2 x M.2 slots with the bottom and 2nd slot having full PCIe 3.0 x4 capability, which is apt as this is where the board offers an M.2 heatsink for superior cooling potential. Also present is a total of 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports with support for RAID 0, 1 and 10 configurations. Speaking more on cooling, ASUS ROG has included 6 x 4pin fan headers in total and for fans of RGB which is integrated into the rear I/O cover, a further addressable RGB header with support up to a maximum of 60 additional LEDs.

ROG STrix Z370F chipset

On the rear I/O, an interesting selection of ports have been included, which also doesn’t include a couple previously found on the Z270-F. Firstly, there are an array of connectors for onboard VGA including a DisplayPort, an HDMI and a DVI-D port. Also included is 2 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A ports with a single USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C connector, with a complimentary pairing of USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports. You can’t forget about the 2 x USB 2.0 ports also present. ASUS have omitted a PS/2 connector on the Z370-F board, not that we have an opinion on that. For those who use the onboard audio and you should as the ALC1220 is a decent codec, is 5 x 3.5mm audio jacks and a S/PDIF optical output. For networking, a single Intel-based Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45) port is present.

ROG STrix Z370F io

Overall the board looks great, but does it perform as well as it looks? Time to put it on the test bench and see what’s what with this sub £200 offering…

ROG STRIX Z370-F Specifications

Core Specifications
Edition ROG STRIX Z370-F GAMING
Form Factor ATX
CPU Socket 1151
Chipset Intel Z370
RAM Memory Support
Memory Type DDR4
Memory Channel Dual (2)
Memory Type (ECC) Non-ECC
Memory Type (R/U) UDIMM (Unbuffered)
Memory Speed (Mhz)
  • DDR4 – 2133
  • DDR4 – 2400
  • DDR4 – 2666
  • DDR4 – 2800(OC)
  • DDR4 – 3000(OC)
  • DDR4 – 3200(OC)
  • DDR4 – 3300(OC)
  • DDR4 – 3333(OC)
  • DDR4 – 3400(OC)
  • DDR4 – 3466(OC)
  • DDR4 – 3600(OC)
  • DDR4 – 3733(OC)
  • DDR4 – 3866(OC)
  • DDR4 – 4000(OC)
Max. Memory Capacity 64GB (4x16GB)
Audio
Audio ROG SupremeFX 8-Ch. HD Audio S1220A
Graphics Support
Primary GPU Interface PCIe 3.0 (x16)
SLI Support 2-Way SLi
Crossfire Support 3-Way CrossFire
On-Board Graphics Connectors
  • DisplayPort 1.2
  • DVI-D
  • HDMI 1.4
Internal Connectivity
Expansion Slots
  • 1 x M.2, 2242/2260/2280, PCIe 3.0
  • 1 x M.2, 2242/2260/2280, PCIe 3.0/SATA
  • 4 x PCIe 3.0 x1
  • 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16
  • 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 Bandwidth)
  • 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x8 Bandwidth)
SATA Support SATA3 / M.2
RAID Support via SATA
Storage Mode Support
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • NVMe Boot (via M.2 PCIe Slot)
  • NVMe Boot (via PCIe 3.0 Slot)
  • RAID 0 (SATA 0~5 ONLY)
  • RAID 1 (SATA 0~5 ONLY)
  • RAID 10 (SATA 0~5 ONLY)
  • RAID 5 (SATA 0~5 ONLY)
Internal I/O
  • 1 x 24-pin (Power)
  • 3 x 3D Mount screw port
  • 1 x 4-pin AIO_PUMP Connector
  • 1 x 4-pin CPU Fan Connector
  • 1 x 4-pin CPU OPT Fan Connector
  • 2 x 4-pin System Fan Connector
  • 1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector
  • 1 x 8-pin (Power)
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 1 x CPU_OV
  • 1 x Front Panel Audio Header
  • 1 x M.2_FAN Connector
  • 2 x RGB Header
  • 1 x ROG Extension header (ROG_EXT)
  • 6 x SATA III – 6Gb/s
  • 1 x Serial (COM) Header
  • 1 x System Panel Connector with Chassis Intrusion
  • 1 x T_Sensor Connector
  • 1 x TPM Header (14-1 pin)
  • 2 x USB 2.0 Header
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Header
External Connectivity
Network Interface Type Wired Gigabit LAN (10/100/1000)
Network Chip/Modules 1 x Intel® I219V (Gigabit LAN)
Rear I/O Connectors
  • 2 x Audio I/O
  • 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
  • 1 x DVI-D
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4
  • 1 x Line In
  • 1 x Line Out
  • 1 x Mic-In
  • 1 x RJ-45
  • 1 x SPDIF Out (Optical)
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C

 

Test Setup & Performance

Test Setup

Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F
CPU: Intel Core i3-8350K @ Stock (4.0GHz)
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

Performance

In the interest of fairness and to show real-world performance, the processor was left at stock. All of the motherboards and processors saw in the graphs below are set with multi-core enhancement enabled (on supported models) and are at the mercy of the motherboard itself.

ROG STRIX Z370-F Gaming 3DMark Fire Strike

ROG STRIX Z370-F Gaming 3DMark Time Spy

ROG STRIX Z370-F Gaming Cinebench R15 CPU Benchmark

ROG STRIX Z370-F Gaming Ashes of the Singularity DX12

ROG STRIX Z370-F Gaming Thief

ROG STRIX Z370-F Gaming Total War Warhammer

ROG Strix X Z370-F Motherboard Review: Our Verdict

What’s Hot:

  • Decent VRM for a sub £200 ATX motherboard
  • Fantastic looking heatsinks and the M.2 integrated heatsink is cool
  • Subtle RGB implementation, as well as an addressable header included
  • Good performance
  • Pretty good value for gamers looking for an all-around performer without sacrificing on key features such as M.2, NVIDIA SLI support and overclocking

What’s Not:

  • Plastic heatsinks look good, but plastic has no cooling properties or function aside from aesthetics

Although not brand new to the market (been out since launch), the Z370-F from ASUS ROG is nothing short of beautiful, in virtually every way. Like most premium ROG branded motherboards, if you’re not totally proficient in overclocking, or you’re not too clued up on Z370 overclocking, ASUS’s 5-way optimisation works a treat. 5-Way essentially combines a host of tools designed to make things easier for you but without the danger of pushing too hard which can be detrimental to your components.

Note about MCE: Also featured is MCE (multicore enhancement) which is a regular mainstay on ASUS boards, with performance being increased due to this. This gives ASUS a performance edge at stock thanks to some crafty technical magic, but as mentioned by many, it can increase heat and cause problems. There is an option to turn it off if you wish, which you can do within the BIOS by hitting F7 (advanced mode) and disabling it in the OC tweaking section.

Looks wise, the Z370-F is a winner and is one of the nicest looking Z370 board on the market currently, and with a current retail price of just under £200, it’s perfectly priced too.

If there was a negative, it would be the heatsinks used on the board. Even though the bulk of the heatsink does a good job in heat dissipation, the covers are made from plastic and unlike the heatsinks found on the Z370-E; the sort of twin brother to the Z370-F. Use the metallic heatsinks on both, and there probably isn’t a board under £200 with as much aesthetical appeal and clout in the price range.

If you’re looking for a mid-range motherboard, but want something with just a little bit more to give, then the ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-F is certainly a board that’ll tick the boxes. Ok, there aren’t as many boards in the range that compete with the ROG Maximus range, but this board is certainly a worthy younger sibling and with a couple of refinements in features, it could have been one of the best on the platform for the price.

ROG Strix Z370F Review Awards

Huge thanks to ASUS ROG for sending a sample in for review.

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