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Kevin J.

Kevin J.

Joined on 06/30/05

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 4
Most Favorable Review

Excellent motherboard in most respects, but there are oversights that may make the price hard to justify

MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM AM4 AMD X370 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM AM4 AMD X370 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: -First off the build quality is fantastic all around. All of the vital components are reinforced really well, the heatsink is effective, and the core material holding the board together is tough. Overall, it was much more sturdy when putting my PC together than other motherboards have been when putting components in. That bodes well for long-term lifespan of the board. -It looks great on an aesthetic level without needing to rely on LEDs (although it has those too) -Easy to install. I had no issues with ports being in an odd or inconvenient place. -Dissipates heat well evenly across the motherboard. Temp levels never got close to worrisome while stress testing the computer. -The diagnostic lights and number readout are really handy if you run into issues. It makes the process of determining what went wrong (or what YOU did wrong) much less frustrating. The number readout is especially useful. Once things are up and running okay, the number display shows the current CPU temperature, which is really convenient. -Easy to get running and get overclocking, in my experience. With barely any effort on my part, I got the CPU overclocked to 4.0 GHz and the memory to 2933 MHz at 16-16-16-36. While ideally the memory would be at 3200, that is a pretty good first showing for an AM4 motherboard, considering how difficult the memory compatibility has been for all manufacturers. -While there have been some issues with the BIOS (see cons), all of the BIOS related functions were easy to use and worked just fine, including resetting and flashing the BIOS. EDIT 4/14: With the 1.4 BIOS, I was able to get my memory to run at 3200 MHz easily. There are a couple of functions in this BIOS that will automatically detect and set up your RAM speeds and timings, and those worked great. Still, your mileage may vary. The memory I used was listed on the motherboard's official compatibility list, which can be found on MSI's website.

Cons: -The price is the big issue. The areas that the board doesn't excel in or are eclipsed by competing boards all hurt that much more because this is the most expensive AM4 motherboard out there. For a premium price, I would expect a best-in-class premium product in all areas and it doesn't quite deliver on that. -Aside from some higher quality materials being used (important!) and the diagnostic LEDs, there is very little in the way of features separating this motherboard from the MSI Gaming Pro Carbon, which is $120 less. -While this is a good overclocking board, some other boards have useful components for overclocking that this one doesn't. Notably, this doesn't have an external BLCK to assist in higher-clocked memory, which a few boards, including the ASRock Taichi have. For a premium price, this board should, at least, match the components that the Taichi has. -BIOS support has been limited, trailing far behind other motherboard manufacturers. A month after release, the board has only had two updates, with no communication as to what else is coming and when. Also, we're still on 1.00 AGESA while most others are at 1.004. Pretty abysmal on what should be a premium experience. -The BIOS is somewhat slow to POST and some of the descriptions are vague. Also, much of the free MSI software is bloated and has poor documentation in broken English. Some of this is common to motherboard manufacturers, but it shouldn't be at this price. -The onboard audio, while free on interference, is pretty flat and doesn't have much of a punch. Onboard audio is generally pretty poor on motherboards, but it would've been highly appreciated had they added a better audio chip or a dedicated DAC to properly drive speakers and headphones. Compared to the competition, this is probably fine, but having the audio be excellent on this would've gone a long way to justifying the premium price. EDIT 4/14: The recently released 1.4 official BIOS has added the latest AGESA code as well as optimizing boot times and memory compatibility. Boot times are much quicker now.

Overall Review: On the whole, this is an excellent motherboard in most areas, but for the asking price (which is the highest of all AM4 motherboards,) there are areas where support is lacking and where other motherboards offer more in some areas for a lower price. This is still a really good board, and if the BIOS issues get addressed, this will definitely be a board to seriously consider if you are looking for high performance on your Ryzen machine to last a long time. EDIT 4/14: My main BIOS issues have been addressed with the 1.4 BIOS. It still isn't perfect, and it isn't like everyone's issues have been immediately solved, but the biggest complaints I had have been dealt with on the software end. I would easily give this motherboard a 4.5 out of 5 if I had the option to.

Fantastic at keeping your components cool and is intelligently designed, but some of the components aren't what they should be for the price

Corsair Obsidian Series 750D Airflow CC-9011078-WW Black Brushed Aluminum and Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Corsair Obsidian Series 750D Airflow CC-9011078-WW Black Brushed Aluminum and Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Pros: -This case is designed around keeping your components cool, and it excels at doing so. The top and bottom sides of this case are all designed for ventilation so you can hook up radiators or fans to any of those surfaces and push heat out that way, which is rather different from how most cases work. The power supply is meant to be installed at the bottom of the case with the fan facing down, so the warm air blows out the ventilated bottom. The top is largely open with a grate-like pattern crossing it with rubberized screw slots for attaching radiators or fans. Also, a magnetic cover comes with it that lays over the top to keep larger particles from falling in. The fans are substantial and work great. The end result of all of this is that hot air has many places to go and can be forced out of the case in other ways than in most cases, where everything that creates heat in the case just pushes it all into the same area and it goes out the back. -Despite the large number of holes in the top and bottom of the case, the core of it is really sturdy. It feels substantial and as long as you aren't touching the side panels (see more on that below), it will stay firm. -It also comes with some well thought out features that add to convenience and usability: -It comes with two no-screw hard drive enclosures, each of which holds three drives. You just take the slot out , put it on the hard drive, and push it back in. Both can be removed, and the space below is ventilated if you want more fans. You will likely have to remove one of them because one is too close to the power supply for its cables to bend properly. -There are four easy-access SSD slots near the front of the case to easily secure standard SSDs, which can be removed individually. -There are slots where you can weave cables in and out from "behind" the motherboard. This helps to clean up the interior of the case to improve air flow and reduce clutter. However, it would've been nice if there were a couple more of them. Also, the space for cables on the other side is pretty limited.

Cons: The main issue is that for the price, some of the components of the case aren't quite as good as they should be. -The biggest problem area is the side panel with the see-through plastic piece. Unlike the rest of the frame of the case, which is quite sturdy, the side panel is really thin and flimsy. It bends easily whenever you are handling it and the plastic isn't particularly good quality either. Moreover, when you secure the panel to the case, it is tough to secure it in a satisfying manner because there is little that the panel hooks onto and it is only secured in the back by two screws, that at least on my model, never screw-ed in exactly straight. Given that this is a case squarely aimed at enthusiast and performance-minded PC users, who are likely to be opening up their PC much more than the average PC user, this is a notable issue that you'll have to deal with everytime you open up this case. -The thumbscrews rarely did a great job of screwing in flush with the case, both on the side panel and with the slots in the back. -Watch out when handling the hard drive chassis on the bottom of the case. The edges haven't been treated and can cut you pretty easily. -Also, given this case's intense focus on airflow, it's too bad that there isn't a way to put a fan on the side of the case. Really, both side panels just need a thorough redesign to be up to the standards of the rest of the case.

No issues, works great!

G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3600 (PC4 28800) Desktop Memory Model F4-3600C16D-16GTZ
G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3600 (PC4 28800) Desktop Memory Model F4-3600C16D-16GTZ

Pros: -These memory modules work great with my new Ryzen build. With proper BIOS support, these will easily hit 3200 MHz at good timings without having to worry about overclocking. -Solid build quality, and I personally think they look good.

Cons: -The shape of the memory modules make it difficult to insert them into the motherboard by pressing from the top. The only place that is flat is the tiny bit in the middle, which isn't enough to get it in. You have to grip onto the sides and push down that way.

Great!

OKGEAR 24" SATA 6 Gbps Cable, Straight to Straight W/ Metal Latch,  Red, Backward Compatible 3 Gbps and 1.5 Gbps
OKGEAR 24" SATA 6 Gbps Cable, Straight to Straight W/ Metal Latch, Red, Backward Compatible 3 Gbps and 1.5 Gbps

Pros: Build quality is excellent. These cables are extremely durable and well made.

Cons: -None