Benchmark Results & Final Analysis
The MSI Z370 Godlike Gaming sets the initial comparison data set for Z370 platforms using the Core i7-8700K. Data from the 8700K’s predecessors is an average of all previous tests from this lab, which includes every Z270 and our initial batch of X299 motherboards (later X299s were tested exclusively using the higher-model 7900X).
Synthetic benchmarks are great diagnostic tools, and show a small lead for the competing MSI board, which is appropriate for its 0.5 MHz BCLK overclock. Since we’re always looking for apples-to-apples comparisons, we’re looking at a wash.
One tiny change in the results from our Z370 Godlike Gaming review is that Gigabyte’s aggregate memory bandwidth score drops from 25.6 GB/s to 25.3. That’s because of a previous transcription error of the actual 25.26 GB/s result, which was too small an error to warrant a review revision.
The Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 has a couple gaming losses that exceed its competitor’s 0.5% overclock, yet even the largest differences are too small to notice in actual game play.
Differences in Talos are all about the game’s Nahimic Audio Solution compatibility, as the competing Z370 Godlike Gaming includes that software and its use imparts a framerate hit. A look back at that board’s review reveals higher frame rates with the software disabled.
Lower is better in timed applications, and a few of the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7’s losses again exceed the 0.5% overclock of the competing Z370 Godlike Gaming. Combined performance differences remain within 2%, however.
Power, Heat, & Efficiency
The Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 has appeared adequate through all of the tests so far, but we did find a small problem upon further examination: Its default CPU core voltage is 1.200V, slightly exceeding default settings. The impact this has on power consumption and heat production is far more relevant to our analysis:
In spite of its reasonable performance, the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 is less efficient (by more than 13%) than the fully-loaded Z370 Godlike Gaming. This probably won’t matter to overclockers who use fixed voltage anyway, but it would have been a huge problem in a non-performance-enthusiast application.
The Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 does a good job overclocking within the thermal limits of our CPU, matching the ultra-expensive Z370 Godlike Gaming.
The Z370 Aorus Gaming is even able to take a small lead in overclocked memory bandwidth, proving the worth of its O/C in at least one respect compared to its rival.
Determining value this early in the review process is complicated by the lack of a definitive answer for the difference in pricing between Z370 boards and the Z270 ones they potentially replace. Right now that difference appears to range from $0 to $30. If that difference were $30 consistently, the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 would be on the precipice of average value. And if we compare performance, it looks like a winner mostly because we haven’t tested any of the $0-price-premium Z370 motherboards yet.
Add in the price of the CPU, and the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 even looks like an average (or on par) value compared to our entire Z270 class.
We have an award for products that meet or slightly exceed our expectations without being priced into negative value territory, yet the only way the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 can get that is if we consider the worth of its lighting. Other features such as the premium audio DAC and software suite are easily offset by the added on-board components of certain competitors. While I’m loath to use lighting as a justification for an award, I’m sure readers who build show systems will be put off if I don’t. It’s my job to represent them too, and so the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 gets our stamp of approval.
MORE: Best Motherboards
MORE: All Motherboard Content