ASRock X370 Killer SLI Review

👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅11-05-17
Some have questioned AMD's reasoning behind including SATA Express 10Gbps natively into their chipset, declaring it to already be a redundant interface. However, to have is often better to have not, especially in the realm of storage flexibility. Though, as the market has a clear preference towards the M.2 format, especially in consideration with taking advantage of NVMe 32Gb/s data transfer speeds, the SATA interface looks set to be relegated to mass storage HDDs. So rather than including a redundant interface which few may ever use, those bright sparks at ASRock re-routed the SATA Express lanes directly into an additional M.2 port, meaning more users will now able to benefit from the additional bandwidth they supply.

Of Course, the ASRock X370 Killer X370 offers more than just useful storage options. It offers a host of features that have been specifically considered for contemporary and future gaming demands. Meaning all the USB ports offer high current output ensuring that VR devices will work trouble free. For quality and durability, users will can rest assured, knowing that ASRock has used top quality components. There are a host of mod-cons that make it onto this board too such as: steel plated PCIe slots, a dedicated M.2 (E key) for a WiFi/Bluetooth combo (included with the X370 Killer SLI/ac), 2x RGB LED headers (controllable via software) along with 2x 4pin fan/waterpump headers. It is also good to know that ASRock have updated their supporting software suite, giving users a pleasant experience to get the most out of their motherboard.

We did pick up on some features that appeared to be a more token implementation than actual feature. One example would be the 2x 4pin fan/waterpump headers that only output a maximum of 1.5A (or 18W), while competitors are providing waterpump headers capable of 2-3A output. Other things to note would be the lack of the premium Realtek ALC 1220 audio codec, along with the strange positioning of the AMD Fan LED and USB headers. Many may choose not to use the stock coolers, but it is likely that there WILL be many that will use them, and having the headers situated directly north of the 24pin ATX plug means that the RGB Wraith coolers cables with have to track over the memory modules.

The above are minor gripes and can easily be overlooked, there is however something we cannot overlook. The apparant non-inclusion of USB 3.1 Gen2. This could be a misprint in translation, which is likely considering the official listing doesn't yet go by the current standard of USB naming. Instead it lists the USB ports simply as 'USB 3.0/2.0'. Running with the older nomenclature, the ASRock X370 Killer SLI features: 2x internal 2x USB 3.0 headers, and 8x USB 3.0 at the rear; a total of 12 USB 3.0 ports. As there are no additional drivers for 3rd party USB ports, we know that the AMD X370 chipset affords 2x USB 3.1 Gen2, and 10x USB 3.1 Gen1, totalling 12. It is likely that the USB Type C and its partner port are actually USB 3.1 Gen2. The image of the rear IO shows that there is a slight colour difference which could be an indicator. After checking the device manager, it does confirm that there are USB 3.1 drivers installed.

If you are able to overlook our minor criticisms, the X370 Killer SLI is an awesome motherboard that offers some outstanding features, making it a very attractive proposition for the price.

ASRock wake up to market demand, and give users an additional M.2 port that takes advantage of the X370s native SATA Express alongside the M.2 NVMe slot, opening up access to a feature that would otherwise be unavailable to many people.

+ Attractive Aesthetics (board design + RGB LED lighting)
+ Solid performance
+ Premium components
+ Competitive price
+ 2x M.2 slots, 1x NVMe, and 1x additional M.2 slot (leveraging the dedicated 2x SATA Express 10Gbps lanes from the X370 chipset)
+ Dedicated M.2 (Key E) For WiFi card (included with the 'ac' model)
+ 2x 3A/36W RGB LED headers

+- Waterpump headers only output 1.5a
+- No ALC 1220 audio codec
+- Awkward position for AMD Wraith LED header
- Debug LEDs would have been nice.

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