ASUS PRIME X370-PRO Motherboard Review
ASUS PRIME Motherboard
The ASUS PRIME X370-PRO is a Socket AM4 Motherboard which supports AMD Ryzen & 7th Generation A-series / Athlon Processors.
This ATX form factor motherboard is based on the AMD X370 Chipset, offering enthusiast class features, low-level control, support for DDR4 up to 4200MHz, eight SATA + M.2 connectors and dual graphics card configurations thanks to two PCIe 3.0 graphics slots.
ASUS PRIME X370-PRO Motherboard
At the time of publication the ASUS PRIME X370-PRO can be found online for $154.00 USD. A reasonable price given the combined feature sets on this motherboard.
Contents of the retail box has all the essentials to get started. Four SATA cables (two 90-degree angled and two straight), one Q-connector for the front panel connections, an ASUS Q-Shield (I/O shield), M.2 screw package, one SLI HB bridge, installation DVD and users manual.
Appearance is clean, no embellished color schemes or gimmicky ornaments. The black printed circuit board contrasts nicely against crisp white etching and brushed aluminum heatsinks. The ASUS branded heatsink over the X370 chipset is low-profile and a subtle compliment to this simple, yet elegant look.
RGB LEDs are positioned along the underside and illuminate a transparent track towards the lower left half of the motherboard. For those seeking intensive ambient light, an Aura RGB Strip Header is also present. However, the ASUS Aura Sync is an ineffective feature as support for compatible controller software isn't available for Linux. Configuration options are limited to on/off, sleep, hibernate and soft states from within the BIOS.
On the back IO panel you'll find a legacy PS/2 combo port for a keyboard or mouse, a Gigabit LAN port (RJ-45) driven by the Intel I211-AT chipset, five USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue), two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (teal blue) Type A ports and a single USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C. High definition audio jacks supporting 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel configurations, along with one optical S/PDIF audio out connector are also standard.
Onboard Graphic Chipset is an AMD Radeon R Series which offers Multi-VGA output support via HDMI 1.4b (max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24Hz) and DisplayPort 1.2 (max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 60 Hz) with 2048 MB of shared memory. Keep in mind that current Ryzen CPUs negate Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP) support, this will be available in next-generation AMD APUs, but for now a discrete GPU is required.
A single onboard M.2 Socket 3 with M Key design (SATA mode & PCIE mode) is ideally located directly above the PCIe x16 graphics card slot, allowing for unobstructed access.
Storage options are abundant thanks to a total of eight internal Serial ATA 6Gb/s connectors located towards the bottom corner of the board. These SATA connectors are stacked two high with a 90-degree orientation and offer support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10. An M.2 PCIe SSD cannot be used to create a RAID array, refer to the manual for details.
Realtek ALC S1220A 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC is on-board to provide impressive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity.
Being a X370 chipset, this motherboard is optimized for multiple GPU configurations and supports both AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA 2-Way SLI technology. Expansion slots on the ASUS PRIME X370-PRO is 1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8) slot, 1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x8 mode) slot, 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode) slot and 3 x PCIe 2.0 slots.
Like most Motherboard manufactures, ASUS has also incorporated reinforced PCIe expansion slots on their boards. This feature is marketed as ASUS SafeSlot - PCIe with enhanced retention and shearing resistance. The stainless steel shielding safeguards against interference and also improves mechanical strength of each slot. Additionally the three PCIe x16 slots feature Q-Slot clips aid with insertion and removal or large graphics cards.
Present are four DIMM sockets, utilizing dual channel memory architecture, with support for up to 64GB of DDR4 system memory. Though AMD AM4 Platform officially supports a frequency of 2667MHz, according to ASUS, the PRIME X370-PRO supports a Memory Frequency of up to 4200MHz and I've confirmed this from within Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI).
For the duration of evaluation I have confirmed that the latest stable release of Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) successfully installs and operates under default conditions.
All on-board feature sets have been tested to function correctly out of the box, with the exception of RGB lighting control which requires software not available for Linux distributions.
I recommend you update the motherboard BIOS to the latest release. At the time of this review, PRIME X370-PRO BIOS 4008 2018/04/17 was current and offered update AGESA 1002a.
Compatibility Test Conditions
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
- Memory: Ballistix Sport 64GB Kit (4 x 16 GB) DDR4
- Distribution: Ubuntu Desktop 17.10 (64-Bit)
- Linux Kernel: 4.13.0-38-generic
- OS Install Options: Default
- BIOS Version: 4008
- BIOS Settings: Default
- Usage Test(s): Desktop, KVM
- Duration: 120 Hours
- Overall Result: Stable
- Recommended: Yes
ConclusionThe Good - Pros
- Total of eight SATA connectors along with M.2 support
- Supports both AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA 2-Way SLI
- UEFI offers simple navigation for a novice and robust control for the enthusiasts
- ASUS Q-Shield eliminates sharp edges and relieves stress on the back IO panel
- An abundant mix of USB ports, including USB 3.1 Type-C
- ASUS EZ Flash 3 allows for updating the BIOS via Internet
- Aesthetically appealing color scheme
- RGB LED lighting track is unique looking
- Standard 3 year warranty
- Stable under Ubuntu Linux
The Bad - Cons
- RGB LEDs lighting / ASUS Aura Sync cannot be controlled under Linux (no software support)
The Ugly - Issues
The Verdict - Opinion
The ASUS PRIME X370-PRO offers a well engineered physical layout, along with all the premium features and abundant control you would expect from an enthusiast class motherboard.