Thursday, October 19th 2017

ASUS Announces ROG STRIX X370-I And B350-I Mini-ITX Motherboards For AMD Ryzen

Mini-ITX boards are among the most difficult to produce. Their diminutive 6.7" x 6.7" dimensions leave little real estate for slots and ports, let alone the extra features that make ROG unique. We're not willing to compromise your experience for a compact footprint, so it takes some time and creativity to make everything fit. But it's worth the effort, because our new Strix X370-I Gaming and Strix B350-I Gaming motherboards for Socket AM4 raise the bar for small-form-factor Ryzen builds. They match the cutting-edge features of their full-sized siblings, including liquid-ready cooling and addressable RGB lighting, and they combine an M.2 SSD heatsink and amped-up audio on an innovative riser card.

Optimized overclocking on liquid or air
Ryzen CPUs are physically much larger than the Intel alternatives, adding another layer to an already challenging proposition. The extra area is well-spent, though. With up to eight Zen-based CPU cores primed for heavy multitasking and multithreaded workloads, Ryzen offers exceptional performance and value for game streamers, content creators, and power users who want to do more with their PCs.

Unlocked multipliers make Ryzen overclocking accessible for everyone, and the Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming take full advantage. They feature the same six-phase VRM design as our full-sized ATX boards for AM4, ensuring stable power delivery well above stock speeds. They're also built for the higher memory clocks required to fully unleash the platform's potential. The shorter traces used for the dual-DIMM configuration improve signaling, enabling DDR4-3600 speeds that surpass what's supported by competing motherboards.

Our exclusive 5-Way Optimization technology simplifies the overclocking process for beginners and experts. This intelligent auto-tuner automatically overclocks the CPU and configures the cooling based on the individual characteristics of components in your build. First-timers can overclock easily with a single click, while veterans can quickly find a stable baseline before moving to more aggressive manual tuning. And both benefit from 5-Way's ability to test connected fans and calibrate their response curves accordingly.

There are three fan headers onboard, one of which is configured out of the box for liquid pumps and all-in-one coolers. All the headers adapt automatically to three-pin DC or four-pin PWM devices. Instead of being bound to a single temperature sensor, each header can control fan speeds based on input from a group of multiple sensors. Along with the ability to detect GPU temperatures in select graphics cards, this capability ensures efficient cooling for a wide range of workloads, including gaming and other graphics-heavy work.

Audio and storage that think outside the form factor
The Republic of Gamers has a history of working around Mini-ITX limitations by building up with additional circuit boards. Our Maximus Impact series made room for upgraded audio with a dedicated riser, and the Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming go one step further with an M.2 Audio Combo card that contains both SupremeFX sound and M.2 storage. This small PCB is sandwiched between isolated heatsinks for an M.2 drive and the platform chipset, ensuring effective cooling without taking up too much space.

M.2 SSDs can throttle performance under sustained workloads that generate too much heat, and smaller Mini-ITX chassis present an especially toasty thermal environment. To help maintain performance when you need it most, the combo card reduces SSD temperatures with a custom heatsink. The M.2 slot supports the fastest NVMe drives with four lanes of Gen3 bandwidth directly from the CPU. It's joined by a secondary M.2 slot on the back side of the motherboard, allowing you to run two SSDs without any cable clutter.

The SupremeFX audio is linked to a dedicated chipset interface, so it doesn't share bandwidth with the primary M.2 slot. Its shielded S1220A codec routes audio output through headphone amplification capable of detecting and adjusting for the impedance of your headset. All of the audio circuitry is elevated off the motherboard, which helps isolate it from interference and improve overall fidelity. This is especially important for Mini-ITX motherboards that lack expansion capacity for a separate sound card.

Fully equipped in a fraction of the footprint
A single graphics card is all that's needed for high-end gaming and VR machines, but GPU coolers are increasingly heavy, which puts additional strain on the PCI Express slot. Our SafeSlot reinforcements guard against damage from the bumps and rough handling that can occur when transporting systems to LANs and shipping them to customers. The PCIe x16 slot is secured to the circuit board with extra solder points, and its walls are reinforced with metal bracing.

Onboard WiFi supplies fast 802.11ac connectivity spread over dual bands and a 2x2 antenna. The wireless module has MU-MIMO support to improve performance with compatible devices, plus Bluetooth for peripherals. Serious online gaming requires a wired connection, so the boards add a reliable Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller backed by GameFirst IV traffic prioritization software.

With four SATA ports, there's plenty of capacity for hard drives and additional SSDs. Around back, you get dual USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports with 10Gbps of bandwidth for fast external storage. They're paired with four Gen1 USB ports linked directly to the CPU, along with an internal header for two more up front. We also include an internal USB 2.0 header for front-panel ports on older chassis and all-in-one coolers with additional functionality. Without display outputs, the boards are designed exclusively for gaming rigs with discrete graphics cards, which is basically all of them.

Pricing and availability
All but identical twins, the ROG Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming set the standard for Mini-ITX AM4 motherboards. They'll be available starting late-October in the United States with pricing to be released in the coming weeks. Please check with your local ASUS ROG representative for details on availability in other regions.Source: ASUS ROG
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19 Comments on ASUS Announces ROG STRIX X370-I And B350-I Mini-ITX Motherboards For AMD Ryzen

#1
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
Hmm I wonder where the crosshair units will be
Posted on Reply
#2
dyonoctis
Okay, can anyone can tell me why should one buy the x370 ? The boards are identical in every aspect but the chipset....
Posted on Reply
#3
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
dyonoctis said:
Okay, can anyone can tell me why should one buy the x370 ? The boards are identical in every aspect but the chipset....
Compare them on asus website when they appear.
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#4
umageddon
Either one of these is on my next to-buy list as they're probably 100x better quality then the Biostar ITX I got day one.
The Biostar is "meh" quality, has a crap VRM setup, decade+ old sound IC, piss poor BIOS setup, *slow* boot times, 1 fan header, no WIFI and I'm worried I'll see minimal updates with it going forward.
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#5
ensabrenoir
me likey...gota itx case thats oh so lonely....for now
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#6
exinfer
Sad not enough io ports, then they want a shiney penny.
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#7
silentbogo
Finally, some fresh mini-ITX entries. I'm wondering what's the projected price? My ITX rig needs an upgrade ASAP (tired of my i3).

dyonoctis said:
Okay, can anyone can tell me why should one buy the x370 ? The boards are identical in every aspect but the chipset....
No reason at all. Basically all the hardware differences between X370 and B350 are negated by the motherboard design, so having X370 makes no sense (except from marketing perspective).
Posted on Reply
#8
Imsochobo
dyonoctis said:
Okay, can anyone can tell me why should one buy the x370 ? The boards are identical in every aspect but the chipset....
Bios and a few ports.
Posted on Reply
#9
CheapMeat
A good example of why SODIMMs should become the norm rather than full DIMMs. We lose out on nothing but gain board space.
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#10
iO
silentbogo said:
No reason at all. Basically all the hardware differences between X370 and B350 are negated by the motherboard design, so having X370 makes no sense (except from marketing perspective).
The B350 one supposedly only offers SATA on the second M.2 slot and a lower end WiFi chip just like ASRock did with their boards.
X370 is also the only chip that supports PCIe bifurcation.
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#11
Valantar
Asus launches its AM4 ITX boards a full half year after the platform launces, cites "ITX design is difficult!"

ASrock launces X299 ITX board within weeks of platform launch. Physically larger socket, more pins and thus more traces, double the memory channels, 3x the m.2 slots, >2x the power delivery requirements. STILL matches Asus' boards in terms of both internal and external I/O, even beating it in terms of audio. The board looks to be entirely reworked compared to previous generations, so little to no advantage from iterative design.

I think we have a winner.
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#12
Bruno Vieira
I still want my ROG mATX. But at this point, its going to be x470
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#13
Dimi
Pathetic IO compared to the Z370-i. Where is the VRM cooling? Where is the SupremeFX sound chip? This is crap and should be sub 90$
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#14
silentbogo
iO said:
The B350 one supposedly only offers SATA on the second M.2 slot and a lower end WiFi chip just like ASRock did with their boards.
X370 is also the only chip that supports PCIe bifurcation.
According to ASUS, both boards have the exact same M.2 configuration.
https://www.asus.com/Product-Compare/?products=0yXJyjfNoMbcSSQR,1ZTbHyB4JfQVklLS&b=2

WiFi adapters are also the same, since both are ASUS WiFi GO! modules with identical specs (not sure which chipset, but it's a typical 2x2 b/g/n/ac + BT4.2 combo, probably Mediatek-based).

PCIe bifurcation is useless on this board, since there will be nothing to split. Even M.2 slots are allocated one from CPU, and one from chipset.

So, at the end of the day you still get two identical boards with two different chipset and at two different price points.

Dimi said:
Where is the SupremeFX sound chip?
It's located on the M.2 raiser.


Posted on Reply
#15
Imsochobo
Dimi said:
Pathetic IO compared to the Z370-i. Where is the VRM cooling? Where is the SupremeFX sound chip? This is crap and should be sub 90$
I run 4Ghz without temperature issues on a non cooled VRM b350.
I run 105C at 4ghz P95 2hour.

I added memory heatsinks dropping it to 80C thus the requirement is surprisingly low, it was just a placeholder mobo for me but in all honesty it's doing so well I haven't purchased an replacement.

As for I/O the engineering seems to lack on amd boards unfortunately.

Edit:
This is VRM temps.
Please note that X299 run 80C on some boards with big blocks, their price is 7X my board but the powerconsumption of x299 chips is also very high.
This comment is just that the cooling we saw in 2008 on boards is not required anymore - We want to see some but the power rails have improved a lot the last decade.
3.8 ryzen can run on any board regardless of power design and cooling on the mobo as of today without big decreases of motherboard lifetime.
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#16
NC37
silentbogo said:
Finally, some fresh mini-ITX entries. I'm wondering what's the projected price? My ITX rig needs an upgrade ASAP (tired of my i3).


No reason at all. Basically all the hardware differences between X370 and B350 are negated by the motherboard design, so having X370 makes no sense (except from marketing perspective).
There already is Mini ITX options for Ryzen. Best being ASrock, but there are some. If you look closer at the boards, there are differences in quality between the B350s and X370s. I just built a Mini ITX Ryzen on the ASrock 370. However, it would have been a 350 had I not researched them more.

When looking into the two, I found the common complaint regarding the B350s was crap heatsinks on the voltage regs, or just heatsinks that were not set on properly. These complaints disappeared when you got to the 370.

The next complaints came in with just the B350s ability to handle the overclocks. Some would just not handle them well at all. The makers had cheapened on the power phases or other components. Along with the poorly cooled VRMs, they'd just be shoddy boards in comparison to the 370s.

350s get better when you get out of the ITX area.
Posted on Reply
#17
Xajel
Bruno Vieira said:
I still want my ROG mATX. But at this point, its going to be x470
True, still waiting for one, with two M.2's, at least 6x SATA, Dual Ethernet with teaming ( or single 5/10gbe ), USB 3.1g2 with Type-C built in and a front panel header also. and because there's still no X370 mATX ( other than that meh Biostar ), I really hope to see one with Thunderbolt 3 compatibility also.
Posted on Reply
#18
Valantar
NC37 said:
There already is Mini ITX options for Ryzen. Best being ASrock, but there are some.
That depends on how you define "best". IIRC, the Biostar is the only one with USB-C, and the Gigabyte has a horrible, horrible layout (look where they put the 8-pin power connector!). OTOH, the Biostar lacks wifi and has crap software. I got the Biostar back when it was the only option, but if I had to buy today, I still think it would be my pick, but I'm getting a separate software-controlled fan controller. Oh, and I haven't seen the need to OC my 1600X, of course.
Xajel said:
True, still waiting for one, with two M.2's, at least 6x SATA, Dual Ethernet with teaming ( or single 5/10gbe ), USB 3.1g2 with Type-C built in and a front panel header also. and because there's still no X370 mATX ( other than that meh Biostar ), I really hope to see one with Thunderbolt 3 compatibility also.
You have some... optimistic wishes. While dual m.2 would be doable, the second would be PCIe 2.0 through the chipset. More than 2 USB 3.1G2 would require an added controller, taking up board space. As would dual ethernet (or 5GbE). As for TB3, the only AMD board currently looking like it'll support it is the Designare, which has the required header, but not the certification (yet?). While all of this is probably doable (at least with riser boards), it would be a very expensive board - probably in the >$250 range. Don't think there's much of a market for ultra-premium AM4 ITX boards, sadly.
Posted on Reply
#19
silentbogo
NC37 said:
There already is Mini ITX options for Ryzen. Best being ASrock, but there are some. If you look closer at the boards, there are differences in quality between the B350s and X370s. I just built a Mini ITX Ryzen on the ASrock 370. However, it would have been a 350 had I not researched them more.
The AsRock Fatal1ty itx/ac series is also the same, from PCB layout to VRM and passive components. The only difference between B350 and X370 is a chipset and a bundled-in Intel WiFi adapter(1x1 for B350 and 2x2 for X370). Even the VRM heatsink has been replaced on newer revisions to the same one as on x370 board. Both are solid boards, and I would probably get a B350 board for my next upgrade, 'cause I already have a couple of decent 802.11ac adapters laying around.
"Difference in quality" is a totally mythical thing: both motherboard models have the same (I really mean the same) PCB, both have identical or interchangeable VRM components, both came from the same assembly line, and both are bundled with the same stuff. Even BIOS is the same, since AsRock forgot to take out (or intentionally left in) PCIe bifurcation settings from B350 model.

In case of ASUS - it's the same wireless adapter on both boards, exact same PCB, exact same components and probably the same BIOS (just like on both AsRock counterparts).

The only two other options from Biostar and Gigabyte are mediocre at best. I even prefer Biostar over GB for their choice of VRM components. I'll even forgive a missing Wireless AC adapter on X370GTN, because they did not forget to add USB type C.
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