Thanks to its amazing specs and features, the Asus ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming motherboard is a lethal combination of good performance and optimal layout. Hardcore overclockers may take pause. But its overall performance is enough to make buyers easily overlook this specific shortcoming.
Features and Layout
Market trends change with time and new inventions. Similarly, the prices of motherboards raised when PC lovers separate their ways from traditional PCs. Since this breakup, any motherboard that comes with a price tag of less than $160 has only basic features. If you go a little upward from the price range of $160 to $220, you will get moderate products that satisfy most performance enthusiasts.
However, if your pockets allow, you can get a complete set of a motherboard with high-end features for a bit more than $220. And wild stuff happens past $280.
With that said, this model comes in the price range of about $210. So, here a question arises, does this justify the money you pay, or is it just a mainstream overclocking board that has some added specs? Let’s try to answer these questions.
The single light bar on this device tells that it is not enough for serious show-offs. Those who prefer performance over looks will be ok with this. If you are the one, you may overlook this fact. Except that, the rest is slightly as far as its plastic I/O connector cover that has been painted silver to match and brushed-aluminum heat sink.
A cursory glance at its specs shows principally high-end intentions with a newfangled USB 3.1 Gen2 header for the front, and two ASM3142 controllers that distinctly provide Type-A, and Type-C ports to the rear, all at 10Gb/s. Sharing options are limited with all the M.2 slots, and SATA ports working simultaneously with few configurations; you can set the second M.2 port that lies under the heat sink to two lanes to enable the SATA ports’ former steals. While the upper M.2 only demands a SATA port if it is full with a SATA drive. Performance enthusiasts all factor in the NVMe at this point, usually saving SATA for backup drives.
Even by keeping these things in mind, it is difficult to let it be some of the port choices on the I/O panel. Do performance enthusiasts actually require three outputs for onboard graphics of the CPU? Why does this model come with only six USB ports knowing that customers who want to use the rear-panel USB 3.1 Gen2 as a reserve for portable devices? Why does this model lack a CLR_CMOS button? Why does it not come with any USB BIOS Flashback considering the factors it is an Asus-made enthusiast motherboard?
The last statement gives the answer because this device is an enthusiasts-level mainstream board instead of a true high-end offering. And it is good to go for what this model is. Other things that make it worthy of the price you pay and put it on the top of the mainstream segment are an RTL8822BE 2*2 (867Mb/s) controller with Bluetooth 4.2, in Key-E format that mounts to a custom riser card. The latter also holds its antenna connectors. That is something amazing. It may cost almost $20 for those who want it. On top of that, having this feature on the I/O panel is nice because it does not occupy valuable slot space.
What that means is that the board needs to compete only with a motherboard that comes at the price of $190. And this task does not raise eyebrows given its dual USB 3.1 Gen2 controllers. Moreover, the two metal-sided PCIe *16 expansion slots that automatically switch from *16/*0 to *8/*8 modes when you install a second card are reinforced with soldered-down through-pins. Via four lanes to the PCH, the third long slot is connected. These specs speak volume of the fact this is the best motherboard for Intel i7 processors.
If you give another look at the possible-configuration table, you will find that the two-lane front-panel USB 3.1 controller does steal pathways from two PCIe slots. These two slots that are disabled are directly under graphics cards. Saying differently, graphics-card coolers will cover up these two disabled slots for most of the Crossfire and SLI users. You may think this is not a big deal unless you see one of its strong competitors that is unable to figure out this yet. Even it costs more than double what this motherboard costs. Surely, a smart move by its designers.
In addition, the front-panel audio header of this model is one inch forward of where it traditionally lies.
This helps builders that have little short cables. Furthermore, you will also find a header for vintage serial-port breakout plates that though looks out of place on a gaming motherboard. Next on the list are one of its two RGB headers, an addressable LED, a TPM header, one of its two front-panel USB 3.0 headers, an Asus proprietary fan hub, and one of its six fan headers, and two USB 2.0 headers. The front panel button/LED header has a standard Intel pin layout along with alternative (3-pin spaced) power LED segments added near the forward edge and PC speakers.
Five more fan headers blanket the CPU. In order to avoid any mechanical interference with long expansion cards, the second regular RGB LED header lies at the Strix’s top edge with all six SATA ports pointing forwards right next to the upper USB 3.0 front-panel header. A load of gear comes in the box of the Strix Gaming. Along with that, you get a thermistor lead, addressable-LED and RGB LED extension cables, four SATA cables, an HB-SLI bridge, a Wi-Fi antenna, a CPU fan holder, a CPU installation tool, documentation, cable ties, stickers, a doorknob hander card, the I/O shield, and a driver/application disc.
- Shared slots are hidden by graphics cards
- Fewer shared interfaces than other motherboards
- Dual USB 3.1 Gen2 controllers
- Great performance of installed 867Mb/s Wi-Fi/Bluetooth controller
- CPU overclocking