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A New Player in Motherboards: Our NZXT N7-Z37XT Review

How We Test

We initially upgraded our test bed during the X299 launch to handle the tremendous heat produced by the Core i9-7900X. Our award-winning Fractal Design S24 liquid cooler system sample serves the same purpose for the newer, lower heat Core i7-8700K.

SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
Graphics DriverGeForce 382.53

Cooler Master’s HAF-XB provides an optimal layout to blow the Celsius S24’s fans sufficiently over each motherboard’s voltage regulator.

Comparison Products

The N7-Z37XT provides overclock settings competitive with the similarly priced products used in today's comparison, apart from the lacking PCH voltage adjustment and the broader 50mV steps of CPU VCore. We don't overclock the PCH, and the larger VCore steps still got us to our 1.30V goal, so we should expect similar achievable frequencies from all models.

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 8Version 2.7.613Home, Creative, Work, Storage, Applications (Adobe & Microsoft)
3DMark 13Version 4.47.597.0Skydiver, Firestrike, Firestrike Extreme Default Presets
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2016.03.22.21CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth
DiskSPD4k Random Read, 4k Random Write128k Sequential Read, 128k Sequential Write
Cinebench R15Build RC83328DEMOOpenGL Benchmark
CompuBenchVersion 1.5.8Face Detection, Optical Flow, Ocean Surface, Ray Tracing
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version 3.98.3Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.9Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19 GB 4k mkv to x265 mp4
BlenderVersion 2.68aBMW 27 CPU Render Benchmark, BMW 27 GPU Render Benchmark
7-ZipVersion 16.02THG-Workload (7.6 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=9"
Adobe After Effects CCRelease 2015.3.0, Version 13.8.0.144PCMark driven routine
Adobe Photoshop CCRelease 2015.5.0. 20160603.r.88 x64PCMark driven routine (light and heavy)
Adobe InDesign CCRelease 2015.4, Build 11.4.0.90 x64PCMark driven routine
Adobe IllustratorRelease 2015.3.0, Version 20.0.0 (64-bit)PCMark driven routine
Game Tests and Settings
Ashes of SingularityVersion 1.31.21360High Preset - 1920x1080, Mid Shadow Quality, 1x MSAACrazy Preset - 1920x1090, High Shadow Quality, 2x MSAA
F1 20152015 Season, Abu Dhabi Track, RainMedium Preset, No AFxUltra High Preset, 16x AF
Metro Last Light ReduxVersion 3.00 x64High Quality, 1920x1080, High Tesselation, 16x AFVery High Quality, 1920x1080, Very High Tesselation, 16x AF
The Talos PrincipleVersion 267252Medium Preset, High Quality, High Tesselation, 4x AFUltra Preset, VeryHigh Quality, VeryHigh Tesselation, 16x AF


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  • darthbonehead
    How can you make a $300 motherboard look cheap and nasty?

    Don't like the N7 branding either, NZXT should steer clear of that.
    Reply
  • Gregory_3
    Those heat sinks had better be effective. As attractive as it looks, I'm not sure about the wisdom of placing a layer of plastic over the soldered components.
    Reply
  • deepblue08
    Not sure I dig the 1980's refrigerator look
    Reply
  • PureBlackFire
    complete lack of USB 3.1 gen 2/type C connectivity, wifi, blue tooth, competent vrm cooling and close ecosystem lighting and fan control are what somebody considers "moderately" reduced feature set for a $300 motherboard? I'd say it's a sub par first offering from a company new to the motherboard market. at $180 this isn't a bad board, but even at $180 you can get all the relevant features here and USB 3.1 gen 2.
    Reply
  • falifluche
    No point for NZXT to build a MB factory so who is it built by according to you TH ?
    Reply
  • Karadjgne
    So NZXT throws a bone to the Asus Sabertooth. At $200 it'd be an interesting option, but for $300 it's an aesthetics appeal only board.
    Reply
  • AnimeMania
    Making your own Z370 motherboard can't be that big a deal since CyberPowerPC did it as well.
    https://s.cppc.co/spec/getspec_share.aspx?n=MOTHERBOARD&v=CyberpowerPC%20Z370%20SLI%20Xtreme%20ATX%20w%2F%20RGB%2C%20802.11ac%20WiFi%2C%20USB%203.1%2C%202%20PCIe%20x16%2C%204%20PCIe%20x1%2C%206%20SATA3%2C%202%20M.2%20SATA%2FPCIe%20%5BIntel%20Optane%20Ready%5D&x=MB-470-101&f=www
    Maybe you can find one and review it as well, I certainly wouldn't select one without a review.
    Reply
  • delaro
    Added Aesthetics at a premium cost with sub par budget board performance, heat and features. Well now why would anyone waste money on it?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    20575741 said:
    Those heat sinks had better be effective. As attractive as it looks, I'm not sure about the wisdom of placing a layer of plastic over the soldered components.
    It's not plastic, except for those thin strips between the slots. The rest is steel. The manual says to leave the plastic strip off if you put an M.2 drive there...

    20576020 said:
    No point for NZXT to build a MB factory so who is it built by according to you TH ?
    I'm sure if you look long and hard you'll figure something out, it's not like NZXT spilled the beans.

    20576090 said:
    So NZXT throws a bone to the Asus Sabertooth. At $200 it'd be an interesting option, but for $300 it's an aesthetics appeal only board.
    I thought Sabertooth was plastic? Anyway, the whole time I was testing it I kept coming up with "it's a fine board, too bad about the price", so I tried to write that in the nicest way :)

    Reply
  • Karadjgne
    About the only contract mobo builder I can think of that wouldn't have issues with direct brand competition conflicts would be Foxconn, and they definitely have the resources to design and/or manufacture mobo's to vendor specs.
    Reply