The Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) Strix X370-I Gaming picks up where a preceding motherboard, the Biostar X370 GTN left off. While that board wasn't able to leverage the strengths of AMD's X-Series chipset (to the point were B350 would have been a better choice), the ROG Strix X370-I leverages the chipset's high speed I/O for big-board features like M.2. Add some serious overclocking capability, and you're looking at a tremendously powerful, yet amazingly small, platform for your AM4 processor.
|10Gbps:(2) Type A|
5Gb/s: (4) Type A
(1) Gigabit Ethernet
(2) Wi-Fi Antenna
(1) v3.0 (x16)
|(1) PCIe v3 x4 / SATA3 2242/2260/2280|
(1) PCIe v2 x4 / SATA3 2242/2260/2280
(1) 5 Gbps
(1) RGB-LED, (1) Aura Header, (2) Temp Sensor
(1) Intel® I211-AT
Wi-Fi / Bluetooth
Realtek 8822BE 802.11ac / Bluetooth 4.1
HD Audio Codec
✗ / ✗
As the I in the name states, the ROG Strix X370-I Gaming deploys AMD’s X370 chipset into the Mini-ITX form factor. Like many Asus products, this board is all polish and features.
The contents of the box hit the sweet spot for what we expect from such a small package. Four SATA cables, documentation and an off-chassis Wi-Fi antenna round out the more standard offerings. The inclusion of a front panel adapter is nice for SFF builders since wiring up chassis cables can be problematic in cramped spaces. Also, the board comes with an addressable RGB extension cable for additional flexibility with system LEDs. Included Asus ROG stickers are less vibrant than those from Gigabyte or MSI.
Asus strips the I/O panel down to a very basic configuration. Where we typically see a plethora of ports for legacy input devices, multi-channel audio and ample USB connectivity, ROG Strix X370-I Gaming builders only have access to four USB 3.0, two USB 3.1 Gen2, one gigabit Ethernet, two Wi-Fi antenna ports and three analog audio ports (mic, line-in, line-out). Don’t plan on using an APU (accelerated processing unit) with this board since Asus opted to remove the video outputs in favor of reducing the complexity caused by wiring out iGPU signals. Some might think of this configuration as removing too much, but the cuts allow for a more spacious 8-pin EPS power connector.
Intel's I211-AT module drives the gigabit Ethernet while the Realtek 8822BE provides both 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1 connections for a mobile gaming setup. An added perk is the audio ports, which are illuminated according to their intended purpose, meaning when the system is plugged in, red, green and blue light emits out the back to help guide gamers to their headphone and mic jacks.
The primary design departure is the included M.2 riser housing. One thing that college students and HGTV enthusiasts know is that accessing vertical space is a great way to sneak in features. Asus takes this to heart and breaks out both the analog audio and primary M.2 interface above the planar. The two screws that secure the M.2 heat spreader are different lengths, so keep that in mind during installation. Also, the heat spreader’s lighting is routed through a seven-pin header with very thin pins, requiring extra caution during installation. Though not necessary, accessing the lowest layer of the stack is accessible by removing a few more screws and carefully removing the upper PCB.