MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon

With the wide range of new Coffee Lake based 8th gen CPUs from Intel, there needs to be just as much of a selection when it comes to motherboards. Not every board will fit each build or theme and depending on the CPU you may need more or less features. MSI has done a great job with a whole list of different models on Z370. For the launch, they sent over the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon, one of their higher end boards and I’ve been testing with it. Today I want to check out what they have going on for features and see how it compares to the rest of the market. Is the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon the board to get for your new build? Let’s find out.

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Asus ROG Rampage VI Apex

Well, we are far enough past the original X299 launch that the refined and crazier motherboards are starting to come out. This isn’t anything new, Asus especially likes to take more time for their crazy boards, not just rushing everything out to make it to launch day. In this case, it also gives them the chance to tweak things, like work on the VRM cooling that was found to be an issue with a lot of the X299 boards after the launch. This works out timing wise as well given Intel finally launching their last few high-end Core-X CPUs. In fact, Asus sent this board over specifically to test with that launch. Well with that out of the way I can finally also take a closer look at the board itself. You know the Rampage VI Apex is something special when it stands out even when compared to the Prime X299 Deluxe. So let's check it out.

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Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming

Well, the Coffee Lake launch is here and to support Intel’s new CPUs we also have new motherboards. As I write this I have two boards in the office that I have been testing, the first being the Asus ROG Strix Z370-F that I used to test the two CPUs for the review. Asus’s boards have been solid and this one doesn’t look to be any different. As a Strix board, it has Asus’s now standard color neutral layout that uses black and gray, RGB lighting, and the angular Strix look. Today I’m going to take a look at its features, confirm that it performs well, check out the UEFI, and then talk a little about where it sits in the market and find out if it is worth picking up.

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EVGA X299 Micro

So the X299 has been an interesting one. Intel introduced high-end CPUs at the last minute, there was a lot of drama at the launch about VROC, cooling issues post-launch, along with strong competition from AMD with the Threadripper launch. A lot of the board manufacturers have been revising and making changes but EVGA has been waiting to get things right before putting their X299 lineup into the wild. While as of writing this I don’t see any for sale in regular retail stores, EVGA did finally send over a board. Today I’m going to check out the X299 Micro, their Micro ATX board. Given the performance X299 is capable of, I’m excited to see if this board could be a good mATX build option to pack a lot of performance in a smaller package. EVGA typically keeps things simple with a blacked out look and little to no lighting for those who just want a clean good performing board. Let’s find out if that is the case again.

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MSI X299 SLI Plus

If you aren’t into flashy builds or if you are building a PC to be used in an office environment it seems like it is getting harder and harder to find simple but feature filled motherboards. Thankfully a few of the manufacturers like MSI have Pro focused lines. This is especially important with X299, a platform that overall seems better focused on workstation builds. Well MSI just happened to send over the X299 SLI Plus from their Pro lineup and today I’m going to check it out and see what it has going on.

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Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

After taking a look at the new Intel Core X CPUs and one X299 board I took a quick break to check out Gigabytes new Mini-ITX board for AM4 and now I’m back at it checking out the second X299 board to come into the office. This time the board is from Gigabyte and it is a little more down to earth compared to the Asus X299 Deluxe’s nearly $500 price point. Today I’m going to check out the Gigabyte X299 Gaming 3 from the Aorus brand. It isn’t Gigabytes lowest priced board, but at just under $280 for the MSRP it is down close to the range that people who aren’t shopping for $1000 or more CPUs would be looking. So today I’m going to see what it’s all about, test it, then run down where it stands in the market.

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Gigabyte AB350N Gaming WiFi

It’s hard to believe that the Ryzen 7 launch was three months ago but with the Ryzen 5 launch and the recently Intel launch, things have just been crazy. During that time though I have been constantly on the lookout for ITX boards. AMD spoke about their X300 and A300 chipsets at the Ryzen 7 launch but things have been suspiciously quiet about them for the last few months but a few motherboard manufacturers have been working on their own ITX AM4 boards using the X370 or B350 chipsets. Gigabyte has finished up their variation and it came in late last week. I immediately started in on testing to see just how feasible Ryzen is in ITX. So let's take a closer look at the Gigabyte AB350N Gaming WiFi and then see how it performs!

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Asus Prime X299 Deluxe

So yesterday I took a look at the controversial Core-X CPUs from Intel. One of the best parts about a new enthusiast chipset and CPUs though are all the amazing motherboards that come along with them. During Computex, all of the boards were shown off but availability right before the launch was tight so the only board to come in time was the Asus Prime X299 Deluxe. Being a Prime board it isn’t super flashy but Asus didn’t skimp on the features at all. On top of being packed full of anything you can ask for the board even has unexpected features like a Wireless AD adapter in addition to the standard a/b/g/n/ac adapter and it even has a what they call LiveDash, a small display that is customizable and goes well beyond the standard LED post indicator. So today I’m going to try to get through all of the features of the Prime X299 Deluxe and see what else Asus is hiding.

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Asus Strix Z270I Gaming

So I had the chance to check out our first ITX Z270 board with the Gigabyte Z270N Gaming 5 just last week. As soon as I was done testing, I swapped it out and jumped right into the second board that came in, the Asus Strix Z270I Gaming. This board was sent specifically for an upcoming project build, just like the Asus Strix GTX 1080 11Gbps that I also took a look at last week. While I wait for a few of the last components for the build I wanted to take a closer look at the board and make sure it was going to be what we are looking for.

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Gigabyte Z270N Gaming 5

Surprisingly, even though we covered a whole list of Z270 motherboards after Intel’s launch, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that we ended up with any ITX boards. The first ITX Z270 board to come into the office is the Z270N Gaming 5 from Gigabyte. This is their higher end ITX offering. It has a touch of orange in its styling and I’m excited to see what Gigabyte has to offer the LAN rig and higher end SFF build market so today I’m going to check out its features then take a quick look at the performance.

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Asus Strix H270F Gaming

After the Intel 200 Series launch, I took a look at a range of boards on the Z270 chipset all in the mid range as far as pricing and features. The Asus Strix Z270E board ended up being great and I have been using it with all of the Ryzen testing as well for comparison testing. Well, a shipping mix-up when waiting for a Z270 ITX board for an upcoming project build meant I ended up with an Asus Strix H270F Gaming in its place. It might have been an accident, but it is a good chance to check out a similar board but from the H270 line. H270 drops overclocking and gives a lower number of PCI lanes from the CPU which means less for PCIe options, fewer M.2 storage options, and less for USB. But it still gives a lot of features at a lower price point, so today I'm going to check out the Strix H270F and see if it’s a good option for someone who might not be planning on overclocking their new build at all.

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Asus Crosshair VI Hero

It’s crazy to look back at the original Crosshair and see just how much things have changed. Hell, the original was running on a Nvidia nForce 590 chipset, how many people even remember that Nvidia had their own chipsets! Anyhow, even all the way back to the original Asus has always packed the Crosshair boards full of features and from what I’ve seen of the new Crosshair VI Hero it looks like they have done the same thing again. This is one of the two boards that came with our initial review setup for the new Ryzen processors. So today I’m going to check out the new Crosshair VI Hero and see what it is all about and find out if it is a good option to consider for those of you excited to build a new high-end AMD build.

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MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium

Beyond the exciting new CPU and the nice wooden box that came with our Ryzen review kit, down in the bottom I found an awesome looking motherboard to test with. AMD and MSI had slipped us an X370 XPower Gaming Titanium along with the rest of the kit. While I’ve taken a look at a lot of MSIs boards, I haven’t had the chance to check out any of their Titanium boards and it is an area where I think MSI has really been showing some creativity, so I’m excited to take a closer look at the new board and find out if the Titanium has the features to back up its good looks.

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Gigabyte AB350 Gaming 3

Part of the excitement about the Ryzen launch is the possibility of getting high performance at a much lower price than the premium that Intel has had on it recently. With the new CPUs, some of the new X370 boards have pushed their pricing up with all of the added features. Well, this is where the B350 chipset comes in. AMD dropped the number of USB and SAT ports on the B350 and you can’t get SLI on a B350 board but they still allow overclocking and the prices for B350 boards are a lot cheaper. This will come into play more with the mid range Ryzen CPUs, but even paired with the Ryzen 7 1700, a B350 board can be a good value. So today I’m going to check out the AB350 Gaming 3 from Gigabyte as it seems to fit the bill perfectly with a good feature list at a good price.

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Asus Strix Z270E Gaming

It's just about impossible to check out all of the different Z270 boards offered by all of the manufacturers, but I have at least taken a look at a mix so far. Missing though was Asus, so today I’m going to be checking out the Asus Strix Z270E Gaming. Asus’s Z270 product lineup is broken down into four categories, Maximus as their high-end gaming boards, the Stix line as their gaming boards with lighting, the TUF series that is well tuff, and the Prime series are simpler for styling but still packed with a lot of the same features. Asus even put together a nice website to help you figure out what fits you best. So the Strix Z270E Gaming that I’m going to check out today is a full ATX board up at the top of the Strix lineup. I’ve only checked out Strix video cards, so I’m excited to see what Asus has going on with the Strix boards.

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MSI Z270 SLI PLUS

So not everyone looking for a Z270 board wants or needs all of the gaming-focused features that most of the Z270 boards have. Specifically, some people just want something clean and simple looking without any special lighting and MSI seems to have just the thing. Their Z270 SLI Plus has a black and silver theme without any RGB lighting. It’s a lot closer to a budget board but it still has a few of the features you would need/want when building a simple gaming PC including the SLI support. So today I’m going to check it out and see what it has going for features, software, and performance. Let’s dive in!

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Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming K7

So it's almost tax time and this year we couldn’t ask for better timing on hardware launches. Intel launched their new chipsets and CPUs around CES time and AMD has their new CPUs and Chipsets coming here soon as well. So it looks like this year might be a big year for hardware, especially with more companies refocusing again on the PC. Well, Gigabyte introduced a whole selection of Z270 boards at CES and along with that they also expanded the reach of their Aorus line. It used to just be their gaming laptop lineup, but they have now brought together that brand with their gaming peripherals, motherboard, and video cards as well. The first Aorus product to come in is their new Z270X-Gaming K7 board. Let’s take a look and see what it’s all about.

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Gigabyte Z170N-Gaming 5

With companies finding ways to pack more and more features into Mini-ITX motherboards the small form factor market has flourished over the past few years. We are finally seeing a lot of people running smaller builds at events as LAN rigs and the idea of a higher end build doesn’t require a case that hardly fits in your car and needs a backbelt to pickup anymore. In fact, even when looking past the smallest builds we have been seeing cases designed for Mini-ITX that are still more mid tower designs. This is because most builds only need a single video card these days and built in NICs have improved in quality, ITX boards now sometimes have wireless, and even onboard audio has improved (and some people have moved to USB audio). All of that means most people don’t really need huge builds. I already took a look at MSIs Z170 ITX gaming board and today I’m checking out the Gigabyte Z170N-Gaming 5, Gigabytes highest featured ITX board to see what they have packed into the ITX form factor.

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MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC

Over the last few years small builds have been becoming more and more popular. Both for LAN rigs like we have been using for a long time, but even for main PCs. This is partially due to more parts being available but mostly some people are tired of dealing with huge heavy cases, especially when you can do nearly anything you want in the Mini-ITX form factor. Late this fall I started thinking about a new LAN rig, maybe even another iteration of our LunchBox series, before I did that though I really needed to check out the new Z170 boards. That leads me to today where I’m going to check out MSI’s gaming focused Mini-ITX board, the Z170I Gaming Pro AC. I’ve used a few of MSI’s ITX boards in builds before and I’m excited to see what this one has to offer.

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Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming-7

With the launch of Intel’s latest chipset and the i7-6700 CPU it’s no surprise that they brought along with them a long list of new motherboards from every manufacture. At the launch I took a look at one of MSIs boards. After the launch though we jumped into GPU mode and covered the latest budget cards. Past that I slipped in a vacation and then of course our 17th LAN event. With all of that past us I can finally revisit Z170 and take a look at the Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 7. I’m excited to see what Gigabyte has packed into the board as far as features go and to find out how it compares to the MSI. So today I’m going to dig through the Gaming 7s features then put it to the test, let’s get to it!

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