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This review is from: MSI X370 GAMING PRO CARBON AM4 AMD X370 SATA 6Gb/s HDMI ATX Motherboards - AMD
Pros: - Solid build quality
- Two M.2 Slots
Cons: - Slow POST!
- BIOS update makes RAM no longer POST
- Poor position and orientation of two SATA ports
Other Thoughts: Was fortunate to get one of these from another retailer, as NewEgg was still "auto-notify" (and still is as of 3/21/17!). There were no BIOS releases upon arrival, just V1.00. I installed a 1700X cpu and 32GB (2x16GB) of Patriot Viper Elite 2666MHz DDR4 RAM (PVE432G266C6KBL). Reading up on all the issues with RAM compatibility, to my surprise, it posted without issues! I went into BIOS, make some standard settings, and left the RAM at default 2133MHz. I then installed windows 10 w/out issues and confirmed that 32GB was available to windows. I then went back to BIOS and used the A-XMP profile for 2666MHz. I guess this interprets the Intel XMP for AMD platforms. I was quite happy that while the POST time was scary slow, it did POST! I would say a good 10-15 seconds of nothing from when hitting the power-button, until the screen lights up. But it does POST. I go into windows again, and confirm the speed and that all 32GB is there.
I am using a Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler with the AM4 mounts (they will send you a set for free, if you provide them a copy of invoice of AM4 motherboard and a picture of your CPU Cooler with RMA number along with it, where the RMA number in picture is to insure you just don't include some other picture that you downloaded!). IIt is a massive CPU Cooler, but it does clear the RAM, which has good sized heatsinks. I ram some stress tests with the stock settings, and was seeing temps in the 70's. I have read that these temps are not correct for 1700X / 1700X parts, and that you are to subtract 20C. Not trusting this for now! Also read that 95C is max, and CPU will start to throttle.
I installed the AMD RyzenMaster software, then ran a batch file that the excellent manual tells you about, to setup some HPET settings. I switched from the default C profile to #1, and was able to overclock to 3.9GHz with 1.400V. Ran Prime95 for about 30-minutes w/out issues. I also tried Cinebench, and score jumped from 1394 to 1565. Was very happy. Temps reported were 85C by the RyzenMaster software. Will be experimenting some more to find the sweet spot.
Some dings to the board. I saw a recent BIOS update to V1.10, so I went ahead and installed it. The system would POST just fine, but the A-XMP for 2666MHz would no longer work. The RAM would only work at 2133MHz. I downgraded back to the V1.00, and the RAM worked fine at 2666MHz.
There are two M.2 slots, but the second only runs at PCIe 2.0 speeds. Or if you put a SATA SSD in the slot, it will disable one of the six SATA ports. And finally, MSI made an AWFUL design choice to place two of the SATA ports on the bottom of the board (if you assume the board is mounted vertically), and they are vertically oriented. This means that if you use these SATA ports, you won't be able to install a long graphics card! Unless you can find two different SATA cables with 90 degree and 270 degree orientation, then fun the SATA cables at a weird angle, making your build potentially ugly. And that is even if such a cable exists! Just don't know why they just didn't put six SATA ports right next to each other, all horizontally mounted? There is plenty of space on the board.
So overall very happy with the board. I was lucky with RAM compatibility and overclocking performance. I am just removing a star due to the little issues and quibbles that I mention above.
Pros: - Excellent Value
- Fantastic Bundle
- Plenty of BIOS updates
Cons: - Color scheme has some getting used to!
- Need to get these in stock!
Other Thoughts: First off, full disclosure that this primarily an unboxing review and evaluation of specs of S/N: 72M0XB311555. I had this on pre-order, not sure when I was going to get it, so had not ordered my Ryzen CPU yet. Out of the blue, it shows up on my doorstep (had not been looking at emails, so missed the shipped notice from NewEgg!). So I just ordered the AMD Ryzen 1700x CPU.
First impressions are wow, what a package presentation! It arrives in a very large box, with lots of graphics and specs listed out. Opening the box you get four SATA cables, SLI bridge, Wifi antennas, screws for M.2 slots and a nice I/O shield. The manual is massive, but that is primarily because it is in a million languages. It has a fair amount of detail, but nothing on the BIOS or overclocking guide.
The motherboard itself is heavy, which I tend to like in a board. Good quality components. I am not a big fan of the color scheme, as the primary reason to get this board was good over-clocking potential and the built-in WiFi (which would add $30-35 on its own). The power delivery is a 12+4 phase design, which should be good for over-clocking. Only time will tell!
I also like the fact that ASRock is really updating the BIOS on this thing, which indicates they are working hard to support it and work out bugs. I mean wow, they have five beta BIOS, most of it related to DDR4 compatibility and timing adjustments. That's good, as Ryzen and it's motherboards are getting alot of flack over RAM issues. Fingers crossed.
Pros: - plenty of on-board features (two USB3, two USB2, two Ultra M.2, four fan headers)
- simple black/silver color scheme
- good value
Cons: - skimpy on rear ports (5.1 audio, no spidif, two USB2, two USB3 and two USB 3.1)
- ships with old BIOS (1.10) as of 3/15/17
- issues getting Intel LAN driver installed
- slow post when XMP 2800MHz enabled
Other Thoughts: First off, I am happy with the purchase of the ASRock Z270M PRO4 uATX motherboard (S/N: 6AM0XB371322). I also want to disclose that I am submitting this review partially because ASRock is providing a rebate bonus! However, that does not affect my rating in any way. :-)
I brought up the board with an Intel Core i5-7500 CPU and ADATA 16GB (4x4GB) 2800 MHz RAM. I wanted four sticks, so that I could test out all the RAM slots. I initially left the memory speed at default of 2133MHz. I right away update BIOS via USB stick from older 1.10 to 1.40, which was released in late December 2016. I have mixed feelings about this. Typically, when mobos first come out, there are all sorts of bugs, so many BIOS updates are required. So the update from 1.0 to 1.4 indicates that they are updating the BIOS from initial release. However, there has been no updates in the last 2-1/2 months. Is this because the board is rock stable, or that they are just lackadaisial about it?
BIOS update went fine, then I set my RAM to XMP 2800MHz. This is when i noticed that the POST time would slow down dramatically. From only a few seconds, to about 10-seconds before the display would go on. Not sure if there is a way to speed up this POST time, but I didn't find it in the BIOS/UEFI menus.
I installed windows 10 on a SSD, then installed the chipset, MEI and storage driver. Unfortunately, I ran into an issue when trying to install the Intel LAN driver. It would get stuck during the install for several minutes, before spitting out an error message about not being supported. I re-checked the driver, and it was correct. I did a reboot, and tried again. same result. On the third reboot, the LAN was suddenly working! Not sure what that was about. I was using the first release of Windows 10 (no anniversary update), if that is of any indication. After that things went smooth. Updated windows, an ran Intel Processor Diagnostic Test w/out issues. I also ran memtest86, and things were stable.
I have yet to test the system with a graphics card, just the on-board graphics (both DVI/HDMI).
As indicated in pros/cons above, there are plenty of great on-board features. Actually two Ultra M.2 2280 ports is crazy for a uATX board! You also get two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 headers. The later is great, as many boards are skimping on these, and you oftentimes have devices that need these (CPU cooler monitoring, plug-in blue-tooth, front USB 2.0, etc). You even get six SATA ports. Oh, and four fan headers (three 4-pin, which I assume are PWM and one 3-pin).
Overall, I am quite happy with the purchase. Only reason I am knocking off a star is due to the slow POST time and issues with the Intel LAN driver installation.