ASRock X370 Gaming K4 ATX Motherboard Review

With Ryzen forging its path, we're starting to get a few more AM4 motherboards, which means that we can evolve from AMD 970 chipset comparisons to a more level competition. We caught some flak from readers regarding reference data, choice of GPU, and limited depth in our review of the ASRock X370 Taichi.

Next up: the ASRock X370 Gaming K4. It's back to the Fatal1ty series and placing the focus back onto gaming.

Technical Specifications

ASRock's Fatal1ty series has refined the standard for using red and black in its motherboard schemes and marketing. The early executions were quite sloppy, and aesthetically this X370 Gaming K4 is a step in the right direction. The large box shares the same footprint as the X370 Taichi, and the graphic arrangement seems much more balanced with the extra real estate.

The box forgoes the Fatal1ty photo and provides highly differential product information, such as the M.2 (Key E) for WiFi modules, dual storage M.2s, and the board’s abundant hardware connections. Despite the glossy finish and superb branding, box contents are a little sparse, with only four SATA cables, a backplate, four individually packaged tiny screws, SLI bridge, software CD, postcard, and documentation.

The X370 Gaming K4 backplate is slightly different than that of the Taichi, providing two PS/2 ports, six USB 3.0, one USB 3.1 Type-A, one USB 3.1 Type-C, five analog audio jacks, SPDIF, gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 1.4. Of course, that HDMI port won’t work until AM4 APUs hit the market later this year. There is also space for two WiFi antennae to be routed and mounted to the backplate, although this product does not provide any of that hardware. The X370 Gaming K4 serves Creative's Sound Blaster Cinema 3, which is only a slight deviation from the Taichi audio solution. The bottom edge of the board hosts the TPM, two 4-pin fan headers, two for RGB, the standard USB 2.0 header, and front panel headers.

#PLACEHOLDER_##

As for storage options, two type M key M.2 ports deploy Gen2 x2 PCIe and Gen3 x4 PCIe through the M2_2 and M2_1 sockets, respectively. Six right-angle SATA 6 Gb/s ports sit on the right edge of the board next to the RGB'd Promontory heat spreader. This should be plenty of fast disk I/O for gaming applications, but could be a limiting factor for workstations. We would have preferred an x4 connection for the M2_2 slot at the cost of losing some USB ports or some of the x1 slots.

The remainder of the board layout is straightforward, giving immediate and easy access to the USB 3.1 headers, 24-pin ATX, and single-ended memory DIMM slots towards the front of the chassis. Two 4-pin fan headers next to the voltage regulator heat spreaders give access to optional CPU fans and water pumps, however water pumps are limited to a maximum of 1.5A. Speaking of voltage regulator heat sinks, these appear to be similar in size of those of the ASRock X370 Taichi, but lack the angles and style in favor of simplicity.

With the extra storage, M.2, and WiFi M.2, there are only two PCIe x16 and four PCIe x1 slots available. The lack of additional x16 or x8 slots limits the higher end card options. But then again if you need more I/O, you wouldn't be considering a board with features aimed at gaming enthusiasts.

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  • Crashman
    Very nice, thanks Terk!
    2
  • elbert
    Great review and the only question I have is on the temperature. Does those temps take into account AMD's reported 20c offset for the 1700x and 1800x? Only the 1700 was reporting correct temps a few weeks ago.

    Update: I see were the 20 offset was added in my second look over the review.
    1
  • Midnitte
    Now if only the Tachi would ever go in stock...
    0
  • Thelatestnewbgamer
    why is confirmed G.Skill memory being used. it easily hit's 3200mhz on the tai-chi board. i'm pretty sure this same stick of ram which is a samsung dimm and the Preferred memory manufacture of choice to use when building a high end ryzen system would run 3200mhz in this gaming k4 board,,,this ram was pulled outta my kaby lake i5 system...thanks for the review glad you mentioned the issue with ram compatibility and the generic speed the average user will get if using incompatible memory i imagine the scores would be awesome if you were able to hit 3200mhz @ 14-14-14-34
    1
  • theterk
    An in-depth review of Taichi/Gaming K4 and whatever other board I review will be revisited and tested with two different types of 3200MHz RAM with whatever the latest UEFI version is for each product. Stay tuned! lots of more motherboard reviews coming.
    3
  • damric
    Another THW review of a Killer board that doesn't include testing the Killer network software.
    1
  • __Isomorph__
    terk, is there any advantage whatsoever to have VRM @ 16 vs 12 phases? and if no difference, then why the hell is it necessary for the Taichi to have a 16 phase VRM? most other boards i see out there from rival brands are at 8 or 10. please help me make sense of this cryptic nonsense.
    0
  • turbotong
    #PLACEHOLDER_## comment about the #PLACEHOLDER_## article.
    0
  • theterk
    @Isomorph, not all phases are created equal. A 16 phase board doesn't necessarily perform better than a 10 phase board.

    Ideally, more phases allocated to a particular voltage rail decreases signal noise, component wear, and in some cases increases redundancy. This is useful for overclocking since any noise induced by your workload or overclocking could potentially cause your system to crash. This also assists in spreading the heat produced by the VRMs to different components increasing the likelihood of stability.

    Obligatory link to an old article: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-motherboard-voltage-regulator-circuit/4/
    4
  • pjgowtham
    Asus prime x370 pro review please :D??
    0
  • CTPAHHIK
    Great review - thank you very much!!!
    0
  • rugrat
    The lead sentence on my homepage RSS feed is:

    "Will the X370 Gaming K4 continue the Fatal1ty tradition regardless of the notion that Ryzen is..."

    I came here to finish that sentence,... It's not in the article. Now I'm going to wonder for the rest of the day,..."i wonder what the notion is about Ryzen."
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    The lead sentence on my homepage RSS feed is:

    "Will the X370 Gaming K4 continue the Fatal1ty tradition regardless of the notion that Ryzen is..."

    I came here to finish that sentence,... It's not in the article. Now I'm going to wonder for the rest of the day,..."i wonder what the notion is about Ryzen."
    You're looking at the subtitle (I won't quite call it a Lede) for the article, which can be read on the "motherboards" category page:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/t/motherboards/
    1
  • rugrat
    Thanks Crashman,...There's a heading and then a partial sentence that strikes me as part of the actual article. I guess I'm thinking of a "lead in" or first sentence of the article but subtitle works. Not being able to finish the subtitle myself brought me to the article,...alas, no happy ending.

    Thanks again for the link,...now I'll go and find the notion that Ryzen is....:bounce:

    "...terrible at gaming."!?...:heink:
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Thanks Crashman,...There's a heading and then a partial sentence that strikes me as part of the actual article. I guess I'm thinking of a "lead in" or first sentence of the article but subtitle works. Not being able to finish the subtitle myself brought me to the article,...alas, no happy ending.

    Thanks again for the link,...now I'll go and find the notion that Ryzen is....:bounce:

    "...terrible at gaming."!?...:heink:
    LOL, I guess it's fighting that notion. As is the editor. He's found that when you use a weak-enough graphics card, it can game as well as anything from Intel. The sad part is, "weak enough" is GTX 970. Yeh, we all need new graphics cards now :/
    0
  • Ramin rostami
    BOYS do you know ryzen cpu is too smoot than intel 7700, very low latency in games and ..., very smooth in games because ryzen GRAPHIC CARD, mouse ,keyboard directly connect to ryzen cpu ! see am4 and 270 board diagram
    http://uupload.ir/files/7kxp_crosshair-diagram-1280x1024.jpg
    note= (in intel below picture intel has PCI3 out from cpu but it is cpu internal graphic out,not independant in )!!!!!
    http://uupload.ir/view/6fej_z270-diagram.png
    0
  • __Isomorph__
    where do you get this notion from?

    i read and watched everything i could get my hands on re Ryzen, mobos, VRM and voltage phases, and i feel pretty comfortable now to say that there's been a lot of FUD that has been spread ignorantly or willfully about Ryzen.

    for those short on time, this video says it all loud and clear and is the mandatory watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylvdSnEbL50 .

    Ryzen is the superior CPU. and ASRock Taichi is the better mobo for stable OC'ing: https://level1techs.com/article/fastest-ryzen-1800x-system-world-2017-03-20


    Anonymous said:
    Will the X370 Gaming K4 continue the Fatal1ty tradition regardless of the notion that Ryzen is terrible at gaming?

    ASRock X370 Gaming K4 ATX Motherboard Review : Read more
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    where do you get this notion from?

    i read and watched everything i could get my hands on re Ryzen, mobos, VRM and voltage phases, and i feel pretty comfortable now to say that there's been a lot of FUD that has been spread ignorantly or willfully about Ryzen.

    for those short on time, this video says it all loud and clear and is the mandatory watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylvdSnEbL50 .

    Ryzen is the superior CPU. and ASRock Taichi is the better mobo for stable OC'ing: https://level1techs.com/article/fastest-ryzen-1800x-system-world-2017-03-20


    Anonymous said:
    Will the X370 Gaming K4 continue the Fatal1ty tradition regardless of the notion that Ryzen is terrible at gaming?

    ASRock X370 Gaming K4 ATX Motherboard Review : Read more


    It only did poorly in games at launch when a super-powerful graphics card was used. From launch day forward, we saw AMD fanboys using graphics-bottlenecked configurations to prove that Ryzen was just as good in games and better at a few other things. People were angry at Tom's Hardware for not skewing its configuration in this manner.

    Since then, there have been several software and firmware patches to improve the performance of Ryzen in places where it had done poorly. But the notion remains.
    0
  • __Isomorph__
    ok but then what do you make of this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tfTZjugDeg

    when the scottish dude switches over to dual RX480 a whole new story unfolds and he concludes the shitty NVidia DX12 driver is to blame as we can see how on par with the 7700K Ryzen 1800X is, once it's the AMD DX12 driver who is in charge.
    0
  • Oranthal
    Anonymous said:
    An in-depth review of Taichi/Gaming K4 and whatever other board I review will be revisited and tested with two different types of 3200MHz RAM with whatever the latest UEFI version is for each product. Stay tuned! lots of more motherboard reviews coming.


    What ram would you use with the Gaming K4 mobo at a budget of $150 or less for at least 16gb? What is the fastest memory you have gotten to work?
    0