Long ago, in the age of AMD Athlon XP 1800+, I fell victim to the “don’t buy Biostar" mantra spinning in various enthusiast communities, and for whatever reason, despite never having owned a Biostar motherboard, I’ve maintained that stance. In the meantime, various media outlets and reviewers have given Biostar products various awards.
With an open mind and a little bit of wisdom under my belt, I welcome the chance to review the Biostar X370GT7 with our Ryzen test rig. Will Biostar’s X370 offering vindicate the company's offerings in my mind? Let's find out.
Biostar’s X370GT7 comes from its Racing lineup and dons a carbon fiber graphical texture across the box that is just small enough not to clutter the packaging. In an attempt to replicate a hood, the GT7 box opens like a large Calvin & Hobbes book, providing ample feature descriptions and a high-quality diagram of the board and its connectivity options. Though we appreciate the text being diverted from the back of the box, some of the descriptions are oddly worded and repeated across several sections. We enjoy the clarity of the items described on the back and product table but we have to nitpick that including the back-panel diagram dominates valuable space that could have been used to enhance the layout.
Contents of the box are . . . different. Rather than stick to the basics or include things like twist ties and stickers, Biostar includes a 120mm LED fan. This product is not featured on its site, nor is the supplier marked on the fan, but it appears to be a non-PWM Apevia AF312L-SBL variant that provides 5050 LEDs, anti-vibration pads, and is powered by either a motherboard fan header or ATA drive plug. Though we don’t need an extra fan for our rig, this is an easy way for aspiring RGBers to get an entry level fan with programmable lighting.
Slicing open the anti-static bag reveals our carbon fiber clad motherboard, complete with checkered flags on the heatsinks and across the planar. Lighting effects are subtle yet effective, with blue lights emitting from the Vreg heatsinks, IO guard, audio panel, and promontory heatsink that match perfectly with my Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming card. We would have preferred a cleaner wiring method for the heatsinks so that the cables aren’t draped across a very noticeable chunk of real estate. Two additional RGB ports are available on board to further enhance lighting effects through the company's Vivid LED tools.
We left Biostar’s M.2 cooler off for testing. We’ve read conflicting reports regarding attaching M.2 heat spreaders so we recommend running M.2 solutions the way the manufacturer delivers it. If the spreader is installed, it is fastened to the motherboard by two screws to ensure contact to the device. The GT7 provides a unique capacitive button board in place of standard switches and buttons for open case builders, though it would have been nice to be able to deactivate or change the color of the backlights. An LED Debug3 display is provided on the bottom right of the board for quick diagnosing of UEFI issues.
Outside of aesthetics and a couple board enhancements, this offering is as close as it gets to a reference motherboard design. Five analog audio, one SPD/F, gigabit Ethernet, four USB 3.1 Gen1, two USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type C and Type A), and a single PS/2 port are available to the back panel. DVI-D, HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort enable video output when using an APU. Two PCIe Gen3 x16 ports (x16 or x8/x8) are powered by the Ryzen chip and the bottom x16 port is wired out for PCIe Gen2 x4 connections. Three PCIe Gen2 x1 ports are provided for additional IO, and these ports do not share bandwidth with any of the other devices--a plus when compared to some other competitors.
The M.2 device is wired for PCIe Gen3 x4, which is compliant with NVMe requirements, but nowhere in the documentation does NVMe get listed. Six SATA 6Gb/s ports can be configured with RAID 0/1/10 through the X370 chipset, and five 4-pin fan headers are sprinkled across the board for cooling. Four single-hinged DDR4 slots are provided, similar to the ASRock boards we’ve reviewed.
MORE: Best Motherboards
MORE: All Motherboard Content