The Ultimate X370 Showdown

👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅22-05-17
Conclusion

The ASRock X370 Taichi surprised us for many reasons, firstly due to its high quality, no-fuss demeanour, something that may hit a note with many people. Out the box WiFi and Bluetooth is becoming a more desirable thing, and while we could argue that the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero is only 10 more expensive, if you stretch that by another 15 for the A/C version which includes a WiFi card, the numbers add up. That being said, it could just as easily be read as 'the ROG CH6H is ONLY 20 more expensive' and the abundance of features it offers over the ASRock X370 Taichi simply makes it a better choice in most situations.

That being said, for many people the additional 2x SATA ports and the extra M.2 slot may be reason enough to choose the X370 Taichi over the rest, not to mention that if you are someone that will never use the additional features on the ROG CH6H then you are paying more for nothing. The aesthetic preference of each motherboard will be purely subjective and down to preference and each could be used to create a very attractive system.

The main things that we found, and didn't like with the X370 Taichi was that it was clearly a cut-down version of the Fatal1ty X370 Professional Gaming motherboard, and considering the price, we felt that the X370 Taichi itself could have done with those bonus features regardless of aiming itself as an 'all rounder'. In fact, we would argue that many people would prefer the aesthetics of the Taichi over the Fatal1ty line purely on the basis that the motherboard itself is neutral coloured, something that has become very important in an era when RGB LED lighting will now do all the talking.

Despite those gripes, the X370 Taichi is clearly a high quality motherboard that will hold its own against its competitors, if you require a large amount of SATA ports and want out-the-box WiFi, yet do not require the frilly edges accompanied by the more Gamer/Enthusiast orientated motherboards, you will find everything you need here.

Best For: All rounder/Storage/Home server

Pros
+ 10x SATA 6Gb/s ports
+ 2x M.2 slots
+ 'Super Alloy' features
+ Included Wireless/Bluetooth connectivity
+ Adjustable Base Clock
+ ALC 1220 + TI NE5532 headphone amp
+ LED Debug

Mediocre
+- Waterpump headers only output 1.5a
+- Visibly cut-down PCB
+- Has the least available USB ports (16)
+- No NVMe Connector

Cons
- No video out



The ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero feels like the first 'real' ROG motherboard for the AMD platform for a very long time. Jam packed with enthusiast grade components, and an onboard audio system that simply says 'we aren't messing about'. This motherboard isn't only just giving gamers the best out there, but caters for the pros and enthusiasts looking for a strong system for overclocking under LN2 and/or custom water cooling. In our overclocking tests, the ROG CH6H achieved our highest bench-stable frequency yet on our R7 1800X, just shy of 4.1GHz while maintaining DDR4 3200MHz frequency. Aside from the overclocking features, the board itself is a beautiful gun-metal colour on black, and features vibrant but subtle customisable RGB LED lighting along with 2x additional RGB LED strip headers. Also worth noting that this motherboard provides users with the complete USB array available plus an additional USB 3.1 G2 header, meaning that you have access to 19 USB ports in total (14 via rear I/O, 5x via internal headers). There is even a nice little surprise in the form of an additional M.2 E-Key for a dedicated WiFi/Bluetooth card.

There are some downsides to the ROG CH6H, firstly that it only has one M.2 slot for storage, and secondly, this awesome 'Overclockers' motherboard has ruled out its use as the board of choice for many hobbyist overclockers in regards to the up-coming APU releases, simply due to the lack of a HDMI or displayport video out.

Considering its feature set and overall appeal, ASUS have done a fantastic job of squeezing the best out of the X370 chipset, and so its worth trying to squeeze this one into your budget.

Best for: Enthusiasts/ overclocking/ Custom water-cooled systems

Pros
+ Attractive Design and Aesthetics
+ Dedicated M.2 slot for WiFi
+ Features a front panel USB 3.1 Gen2 connector
+ Dedicated water cooling features
+ Voltage readout points
+ LN2/extreme OC mode
+ Dedicated On-board controls
+ Adjustable Base-clock
+ Highest overclock achieved
+ Total of 19 accessible USB ports
+ ALC 1220 + ESS Sabre ES9023P + RC4580 op-amp Audio
+ Dedicated features for gamers and VR
+ LED Debug

Mediocre
+- Only 1x M.2 Storage slot
+- No NVMe Connector
Cons
- No video out



GIGABYTE pulled no punches with the AX370-Gaming K7, visually it is a stunning treat both with and without LEDs. Of all the motherboards we looked at, it is the only motherboard to feature 4x USB 3.1 Gen2 readily available, along with DAC-UP USB ports available at both the front and rear. If you need a motherboard with SATA Express, then this (along with the Gaming 5), is your only choice. Many would prefer to have had another M.2 port available making use of redundant PCIe 2.0 lanes, as well as having a dedicated slot for a WiFi/Bluetooth card as featured on the ROG CH6H. Though, unlike the above, GIGABYTE has also included an optional NVMe U.2 socket should you prefer to use that over the M.2 slot.

There are some minor differences between the Gaming 5 and the K7, the most important one of which is the inclusion of a clock gen chip, enabling Base clock adjustments. This will give the AX370-Gaming K7 more appeal to overclockers looking to get the best performance out of their system. Aside from this, you get some additional LED lighting and a sleek all black colour scheme.

Best for: Gamers/ Value/ LED lighting

Pros
+ Attractive RGB LED lighting
+ 8x 4pin hybrid fan headers (including 2x 2A/24W support)
+ 2x SATA Express
+ NVMe U.2 port
+ Features 4x 3.1 Gen 2 (3x Type A, 1x Type C)
+ Dual ALC 1220 supported by Creative technologies
+ Dual Network (Killer E2500 + Intel)
+ DualBIOS
+ Competitive price
+ Dedicated features for gamers and VR
+ Adjustable base-clock
+ LED Debug

Mediocre
+- Only 1x M.2 slot
+- No M.2 WiFi slot
+- Most power hungry (must be those LEDs)

Cons
- None



This motherboard slightly fell into an interesting place, one where it seemed rather beautiful and outstanding, but on closer look it just kinda started undoing itself. The Fan headers seem rather sporadic with little regard to the quantity and location. MSI didn't include an RGB header for the AMD RGB LED Fan, and there is only 1 RGB LED strip header. The LED lighting (No RGB here) is a mess with red, green, yellow, and white lighting scattered around with no aesthetic regard.

In regards to outright features, there are many that will cater for gamers and enthusiasts. It also features a NVMe U.2 socket in a similar manner as the GIGABYTE Gaming K7 where it will by disabled if the primary M.2 slot has a PCIe SSD installed. It also has a USB 3.1 Gen2 front panel header as with the ROG CH6H, which is a great additional bonus. There are other design considerations in place specifically for performance and overclocking, however it seems strange that we weren't able to adjust the base-clock. Despite that, in our overclocking test we found that the X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM, clock-for-clock, managed to outperform the ROG CH6H at a lower clockspeed in Cinebench R15, and so it stands to reason that this motherboard may actually be tempting for some overclockers to investigate, specifically if they plan on exploring the capabilities of the yet-to-be released 7th Generation APUs as MSI saw fit to include a HDMI 2.0 port and a display port for that very reason.

There is an understandable charm and beauty to the X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM, and if for you, the most important factor with this motherboard is the aesthetic, if you love how this board looks, there is no reason why you should not get this motherboard. Though for many it would be difficult to choose the X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM when the GIGABYTE Gaming 5/K7 is available for 75-100 less, and the ROG CH6H for 40 less.

Best for: Niche/Performance

Pros
+ Very attractive finish
+ ALC 1220 audio supported by Nahimic 2 software
+ BIOS Flashback+
+ 2x M.2 slots
+ NVMe U.2 port
+ Front panel USB 3.1 Gen2 connector
+ HDMI 2.0 + Displayport video out
+ Attractive, easy to use BIOS
+ Slow mode for extreme overclocking
+ LED Debug
+ Scored the highest Cinebench R15 in our OC test.

Mediocre
+- No M.2 WiFi slot
+- Can't adjust base clock

Cons
- Price
- Incoherent Fan header layout
- Incoherent LED lighting

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