ASUS PRIME X370-PRO AM4 Motherboard Review
- [ASUS PRIME X370-PRO AM4 Motherboard Features]
- Packaging & Accessories
- Closer Look
- Test Setup and Overclocking
- Conclusion – TL:DR
ASUS PRIME X370-PRO AM4 Motherboard Review. Hot on the heels of our ROG CROSSHAIR VI HERO AM4 Motherboard Review, we now focus on the mid ranged tier, and ASUS has an enticing board, that’s fair on features, and is priced extremely competitive!
Utilizing the AMD X370 chipset, we find support for DDR4 up to 3200Mhz, M.2 slot, AURA Sync, Xfire and SLI, 5-way optimization and more….
Pricing on the day of review is around 145 UK and the $ 169 99 US
[ASUS PRIME X370-PRO AM4 Motherboard Features]
- 5-Way Optimisation: One-click system-wide tuning that now also senses GPU temperatures to ensure cooler gaming
- ASUS Aura Sync – World’s first synced RGB lighting with easy controls to orchestrate Aura Sync-capable hardware
- Refined Audio: Realtek ALC1220 codec provides pristine and powerful audio quality
- ASUS SafeSlot: Patent-pending PCIe with enhanced retention and shearing resistance
- 5X Protection III: Multiple hardware safeguards to protect components from damage by power or electrical surges
Packaging & Accessories
ASUS reuse a design we’ve seen in the past, with clean black box. From the front side, the emphasis is on the 5-way optimization, and the AURA sync support.
The backside is segmented into sections, that focus on the PRIME’s key features.
Taking a look at the bundle now in no particular order, you’ll find the following:
- User’s manual
- 4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)e
- 1 x Supporting DVD
- 1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)
- 1 x Q-Connector
For the price point, this is a very generous bundle.
We start our tour with a complete top down view, to absorb what’s on offer. The first impression is good but.. I couldn’t help but notice something, appeared to be missing.
After using the Intel Z170 and Z270 models of the Prime series, in personal rigs of mine. I expected to see the same white shroud and cover, which made those models unique. Sadly it’s not present, and we can only assume this is to keep pricing down.
Despite this, visually it still a nice board, and the silver heatsink looks decent. Not in the same territory as the HERO naturally, but fair considering the price point of the PRIME
The Heatsink over the MOSFETs still produces a unique look, and gives the board a sense of power, and ability
ASUS have reused the same Heatsink over the X370 chipset, that’s we’ve seen in the past. With abstract lines on a mix of white, silver and grays.
The very same styling is carried over and printed directly onto the PCB, particularly around the DDR banks, we like this!
So not the exact look we expected, but the Prime does boast its own feel, and overall it’s a decent looking board. Perhaps a little busy in places.
ASUS Safe slots have been installed in the first two slots, granting more strength and support for heavier cards. Which is a must these days, for your peace of mind! Your good to go for both AMD Crossfire, or Nvidia SLI here.
I do wish they’d added the extra strength, to the third for the sake of symmetry…a trivial annoyance and not a deal breaker. It is lacking to keep costing down
- Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology *1
- Supports AMD CrossFireX™ Technology
- AMD Ryzen™ Processors
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
- AMD 7th Generation A-series/Athlon™ Processors
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x8 mode)
- AMD X370 chipset
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode) *2
- AMD X370 chipset
3 x PCIe 2.0 x1
Realtek® ALC S1220A 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
– Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
– Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
– High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input (Line-in)
– Front panel audio connector (AAFP)
Audio Feature :
– Audio Shielding: Ensures precision analog/digital separation and greatly reduced multi-lateral interference
– Dedicated audio PCB layers: Separate layers for left and right channels to guard the quality of the sensitive audio signals
– Premium Japanese-made audio capacitors: Provide warm, natural and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity
ASUS have gone for an all SATA approach, avoiding U.2. Instead, offering 8x SATA III 6gbps ports.
Which are all angled for cable neatness.
- 8 x SATA 6Gb/s port
- Support Raid 0, 1, 10
[M.2 / U.2]
M.2 is the first choice for many, when assembling a new build. The benefits of no cabling, faster speed, and less space required. Drawn many towards M.2 of SATA drives.
While Z270 boards typically boast 2-3 slots, we have only one here. Initially, that felt frustrating, but be realistic and give the matter some more thought. Will you actually need more than one on a budget friendly Ryzen build?
- AMD Ryzen™ Processors :
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
- AMD 7th Generation A-series/Athlon™ Processors :
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 2 mode)
ASUS have always provided more than most. The PRIME is another model that follows this trend!
[Other ports/ Features]
Along the motherboard base, you’ll find a fair amount of connectivity.
- 1 x Aura RGB Strip Header
- 1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)
- 2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA mode & PCIE
- 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
- 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
- 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
- 2 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (2 x 4 -pin)
- 1 x AIO_PUMP connector (1 x 4 -pin)
- 1 x W_PUMP+ connector (1 x 4 -pin)
- 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
- 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
- 1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
- 1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector) (Chassis intrusion header is inbuilt)
- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
- 1 x 14-1 pin TPM connector
- 1 x COM port header
- 1 x USB 3.1 front panel connector
Finishing up our tour of the board, looking at the I/O which consists of:
- 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
- 2 x USB 3.1 (teal blue)Type-A
- 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C
- 5 x USB 3.0
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
- 5 x Audio jack(s)
2016 was the year of RGB. like any trend, It’s very much a love-hate snowball, but I must applaud the efforts from ASUS, unlike other brands they been very careful and smart. Lots of thought with how and where they apply the actual lighting, on most of their products.
When implemented correctly the end results can be impressive. The RGB here is somewhat basic, relying on a single area, that cast’s an ambient light down the left side.
That said, the PRIME does boast an RGB header, so adding your own strip lighting would be the logical choice
Test Setup and Overclocking
Proudly Powered by our Dimastech Mini V1.0 Test Bench
|AMD Ryzen 7 1800X|
|Memory:||16GB Kingston Kingston Predator 16GB DDR4 PC4-24000C15 3200MHz Quad Channel Kit|
|Video Card:||AMD/ XFX 390X|
|PSU:||Bitfenix Fury 750G|
|Hard Drives:||SSD – Crucial M550 |
M.2 – Kingston M.2 HyperX Preadtor 240GB
|OS:||Windows 10 X64|
We’ve spent the last few years taking for granted, the simple overclocking that intel allows with K series processors. Now on Ryzen,With XFR in the mix, is it worth it and is it easy? The short in is yes, its reality straight forward
For this test, we use a simple approach and maxed the vcore, and aimed for the best core speed. Our CPU peaked at 3.9Ghz on all cores, which seems to be fairly common.
About 100Mhz less than what we achieved, on more expensive boards
Our test method uses a large variety of software to determine the results and product award. For your viewing, these are broken down into the following categories
- General System
- CPU & Memory
- Storage & USB
- Audio &Networking
We start with a broader view of general system performance and then break it down, as we delve deeper with sub testing, where we can examine key areas.
[PC Mark 8]
PCMark 8 from Futuremark. PCMark 8 is designed to test the performance of all types of PC, from tablets to desktops. With five separate benchmark tests plus battery life testing, PCMark 8 helps you find the devices that offer the perfect combination of efficiency and performance. It’s the complete PC benchmark for home and business.
The first test we run is PCMark 8, as we’re also able to gauge an all-around score. This test is heavily affected by all internal components rather than focusing on just one.
A solid starting point for the PRIME, being the cheapest of the AM4 boards we’ve reviewed to date, scored are in line with what we hoped for
Keep in mind these scored are listed in minutes, the actual difference between each is almost zero
Cinebench is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.
Again with Cinebench, the difference from one board to the next is almost unmeasurable
Before launch, as reported widely DDR4 support and stability was troublesome, this has since been addressed with BIOS updates, and we ran at 3000Mhz with no issue. As with previous testing the gaps between each board are small.
Its been no secret, many publications have reported lower than anticipated 1080P results, and our finding echoes exactly that. AMD has since published, with time for changes to roll out, with enchantments to compilers and software to catch up; these numbers will improve across the board.
I’d suggest following AMD on social media; they’ve recently announced and shown, clear gains in some titles (since launch) on their blogs in the form of community updates.
We are confident in time this will translate across other titles, and the gap will close between them and Intel.
The PRIME PRO does a mighty job of keeping with the more expensive board, only falling behind a few GPS here and there!
[GAMING 1440P /AKA 2K]
Once we increase to 1440P the gap narrows,1440P and above is where Ryzen begins to shine most!
Our first look at the I/O and SATA results are very good
Impressive SATA scores, trumping most Intel based boards.
We don’t have any USB 3.1 (Gen2 ) devices at the time of testing, so will be focusing on 3.0/3.1 only. Be sure to understand the actual difference between USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 1 & Gen 2. As it’s something that not all brands have explained clearly.To measure speeds we use AS-SSD, with an SSD inside a USB 3.0 Caddy from Startech
The Kingston SSD has a theoretical limit of 499MB/s Write, when hooked up internally to an SATA 6GB/s port. Overheads and such we accept that some degradation occurs when used over USB 3.0/3.1
The AM4 platform has had upgrades in all areas, including USB and the numbers speak for themselves!
Using the inbuilt network test for Performance test 8. The method is to install the software on two machines, that are on the same network. One acts as a client and the other as a server, a designated amount of data is sent across and then the min, Avg, and max transfer speeds are outputted.
ASUS uses an Intel LAN solution, which has in the past and continues to deliver the best all round results. (Compared the popular Killer LAN seen on most other boards) While the max between the rear aren’t too far apart di pay attention to the better minds and average especially
While the max speeds, between the rest, aren’t too far apart, do pay attention to the better min’s and average especially!
We use RightMark Audio Analyzer, connecting “Line out” to “Line in” with a 3.5mm cable.
|Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB|| |
|Noise level, dB (A)|| |
|Dynamic range, dB (A)|| |
|THD, %|| |
|THD + Noise, dB (A)|| |
|IMD + Noise, %|| |
|Stereo crosstalk, dB|| |
|IMD at 10 kHz, %|| |
|General performance|| |
No comprised on audio, here io quality, as you would expect from ASUS, was great, or to be exact…excellent according to the Audio analyzer The new codec delivers amazing audio.
Conclusion – TL:DR
So then conclusion time, and I’m going to break tradition and announce award first,…its the Editor Choice Award for the PRIME. When I look at what’s on the market, and look a visuals/features. it just makes sense. Despite a few niggles here and there, I can’t ignore the admirable price tag!
At 142 (GBP) it ranks much closer the B350 products, than it is to the flagship X370 boards, from the competitors. There are of course some tradeoffs to keep the costing in check, and namely the lack of any shroud/armor and timid RGB implementation. One part of me feels disappointed to see the lack of the white shroud, that was present on both Z170 and Z270,
while the other completely understand why it was omitted. Likewise, the RGB is underwhelming but has an ace up its sleeve with AURA sync support and dedicated RGB strip header. If you want some eye candy from the prime you’ll need to expand on what’s here
The performance was consistently high, as we’ve come to expect from ASUS, with no weak or notable areas of concerns. As mentioned in the video, for those who haven’t seen it. BIOS updates are coming on thick and fast, each addressing some of the early and expected teething issues, particularly with DDR4 compatibility and stability. Granted this a very different scenario, and don’t for a second let the fiasco that was Bulldozer disheartened you…Ryzen is brilliant, and with a little more time for the brands to play catchup, it’ll be even better
The BIOS as always is fantastic. With a plethora of toys to play with, all neatly presented in the best UEFI on the market, software bundle is well worth exploring too, with some clever and logical applications to boost creativity, and change your overall experience. Overclocking was decent though we didn’t match the same speeds here as we did on the HERO obviously… but 100Mhz less for a considerable saving isn’t too bad either!
Thanks to ASUS for sending out the sample for this review.