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.

Product Name: Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming

Review sample provided for review by: Asus

Written by: Wes Compton

Pictures by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

CPU

Intel® Socket 1151 for 8th Generation Core™ Processors

Supports Intel® 14 nm CPU

Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0

Chipset

Intel® Z370

Memory

4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 4000 to 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory

Dual Channel Memory Architecture

Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

Graphic

Integrated Graphics Processor- Intel® HD Graphics support

Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DVI-D/DisplayPort 1.2 ports

- Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz

- Supports DVI-D with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz

- Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz *1

Maximum shared memory of 1024 MB

Supports Intel® InTru™ 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider™

Supports up to 3 displays simultaneously

Multi-GPU Support

Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology

Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology

Expansion Slots

2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)

1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)

4 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1

Storage

Intel® Z370 Chipset : 
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)*2
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)*3
6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready

LAN

Intel® I219V

Anti-surge LANGuard

ROG GameFirst Technology

Audio

ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A
- Dual Headphone Amplifiers
- Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
- High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input
- SupremeFX Shielding Technology
- Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback *5
Audio Feature :
- SupremeFX Shielding™ Technology
- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
- Dedicated audio PCB layers: Separate layers for left and right channels to guard the quality of the sensitive audio signals
- Premium Japanese-made audio capacitors: Provide warm, natural and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity
- Sonic Radar III
- Sonic Studio III

USB Ports

Intel® Z370 Chipset : 
6 x USB 3.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
Intel® Z370 Chipset : 
6 x USB 2.0 port(s) 
ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller : 
2 x USB 3.1 port(s) (Type-A + USB Type-CTM, Support 3A power output)

ROG Exclusive Features

ROG RAMCache II

ROG CPU-Z

ROG CloneDrive

Overwolf

GameFirst IV

ROG Aura

- Aura Lighting Control

- Aura RGB Strip Headers

Special Features

OC Design - ASUS PRO Clock Technology
- Full BCLK range for extreme overclocking performance
5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
- Whole system optimization with a single click! 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power Control, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo App together, providing better CPU performance, efficient power saving, precise digital power control, whole system cooling and even tailor your own app usages.
TPU
- Auto Tuning, TurboV, GPU Boost
- Fan Xpert 4 featuring Fan Auto Tuning function and multiple thermistors 
Gamer's Guardian:
- DRAM Overcurrent Protection
- Stainless Steel Back I/O
- Highly Durable Components
- DIGI+ VRM
- SafeSlot
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- AI Suite 3
- Ai Charger 
- ESD Guards
ASUS EZ DIY :
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3 
- ASUS EZ Flash 3 
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode
ASUS Q-Design :
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM 
Gaming Aesthetics :
- 3D printing friendly
- AURA-RGB Lighting
Performance Optimization :
- DIGI + VRM
Turbo APP
M.2 Onboard(The latest transfer technologies with up to 32Gb/s data transfer speeds)

Back I/O Ports

1 x DVI-D

1 x DisplayPort

1 x HDMI

1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)

2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A + USB Type-CTM

2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue)

2 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x Audio jack(s)

Internal I/O Ports

1 x AAFP connector

2 x RGB Header(s)

2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s)

2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)

1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA mode & X4 PCIE mode)

1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)

6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)

1 x M.2_FAN connector

1 x CPU Fan connector(s)

1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s)

2 x Chassis Fan connector(s)

1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)

1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)

1 x System panel(s) (Chassis intrusion header is inbuilt)

1 x CPU OV

1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)

1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector

1 x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header(s)

1 x 14-1 pin TPM connector

1 x COM port header

1 x T_Sensor Connector

1 x AIO PUMP Header

3 x 3D Mount screw port(s)

Accessories

User's manual

ASUS Q-Shield

1 x ASUS Fan Holder

4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)

1 x M.2 Screw Package

1 x CPU installation tool

1 x Supporting DVD

1 x Strix door hanger

1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)

1 x ROG Strix stickers

1 x Cable ties pack(s)

1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)

1 x Extension cable for Addressable LED

1 x Thermistor cable(s)

1 x 3D printing mount package

BIOS

128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0, ACPI 6.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information.

Manageability

WfM2.0, DMI3.0, WOL by PME, PXE

Operating System

Windows® 10 64-bit

Form Factor

ATX Form Factor

12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

 


Packaging and Accessories

For packaging, Asus didn’t change anything big when moving to Z370. We have the standard Strix look with a black background and the ROG logo in the background in multiple neon colors. The front has a photo of the board with the model name out in front. Then down along the bottom, there are a few of the required logos for stuff like the Intel chipset and CPUs, Nvidia and AMD’s multi-card solution, and then Asus includes the Aura and 3d printing friendly logos to hint at some of the board's features. On the back of the box, there are a few more photos. The main photo has a top-down look at the board along with an angled picture to show the rear I/O. Next to that is a short specification listing. Then down along the bottom, they highlight four key features with more photos. Namely the Aura Sync lighting, the M.2 Heatsink, that the board has an Addressable LED header, and that it is 3D printing friendly.

image 1

image 6

Once you open everything up the board comes wrapped up in a static protective bag and it its own carboard tray. This floats up above all of the accessories under it.

image 7

For documentation, you get a full user manual. With it, they have also included a sticker sheet, this time including the SATA stickers right in with the stickers you might stick around the house. There is also an instruction sheet showing how to use the fan holder, even though it says X299 on the paper it looks to match what you need to know for this board. Also with the documentation, you get a door hanger to warn people when you are gaming, a cablemod 20% off coupon to buy more lighting, and a driver/software disc. I would still suggest downloading the most up to date drivers and software from Asus’s website.

image 8

image 9

The Strix Z370-F comes with a few different accessories. You get two bags with two SATA cables each to start. Then you have cables for both normal RGB lighting and the new addressable LED lighting. Then on the far right, they also included one thermistor cable to be able to keep an eye on one temperature around your case using Asus’s software. This is something you normally see on a lot more high end of a board so I was happy to see they included one here. They included a bag of zip ties along with the screws and hold-downs for all of the 3d printable mounting locations and the fan bracket. There is also a CPU installation helper tool. The bracket is for mounting a small fan up over the memory DIMMs. Then, of course, you also have a rear I/O cover, this one is blacked out and while it does have foam on the back a few of the holes also have springs that you have to be careful don’t get jammed inside of their respective connection plugs. Then last but not least they included a flat black solid PCB HB SLI bridge in case you want to run two Nvidia cards together in the future.

image 11

image 12

image 13

image 14

image 15

 


Board Layout and Pictures

So much like the change from Z270 to Z370 from Intel, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of big overall changes for the Strix Z370 coming from the last generation boards. The same angular styling is there as is the black and gray color scheme. The Z370-F is a full ATX board and with that, you get a full four DDR4 DIMMs, and a full PCIe stack though I will get to how those break down later. The only big visible change was in the chipset heatsink, mainly it now including an M.2 cover in that.

image 17

image 4

So for cooling the Z370-F has two main heatsinks around the CPU socket that handle the power circuitry. Speaking of that, everything is all tucked up into the top left corner of the CPU socket area. The heatsinks do now have a little accent cut into them and when you look from the top side of the board down you can see that they are hiding a lot of extra surface area as well. They aren’t connected together with a heatpipe though. Then the chipset is cooled by the low profile cooler. There is a main black heatsink with grooves cut into it then the gray aluminum panel up on top that adds style including the ROG logo that is machined into it.

image 18

image 19

image 2

Pulling the screws out of the aluminum cover down over the chipset allows you to get at the M.2 slot. The cover has a thermal pad on it to help heat transfer and the cover has enough meat on it to do some cooling. What surprised me though was that the main chipset heatsink actually has the ROG logo printed on it still up under this cover. So if you want a new look you could pull the cover off and go with a more blacked out look and it still has the branding.

image 20

At this point, I don’t think I would want to go with a board that doesn’t have an I/O cover. While simple they really add to the clean look, covering up the silver I/O. For the Z370-F the I/O cover wraps over the I/O and then integrates right in with the heatsink next to the CPU socket. It is a dark gray and it has a check mark looking white strip in it that has Aura RGB lighting behind it for that Strix look.

image 21

Okay, let's dive in and see what other details the Z370-F has, starting up in the top left corner of the board. This section is taken up mostly by the rear I/O, the CPU socket, and the power circuity cooling. But if you look close you can see that Asus slipped in two PWM fan headers down below the left heatsink. Up above the left heatsink, they have an 8-pin CPU power tucked in and next to it is a CPU overvoltage header that when flipped allows for a little higher voltage limits when overclocking.

image 22

image 29

In the top right area, there are two more PWN fan headers to the left of the four DDR4 ram DIMMs and then a this over on the right edge. Up top, the bright white header is to hook up Aura lighting. The board is surprisingly bare over in this area but they did slip in four surface mounted LEDs up under the fan header on the right edge. Each has a small label to help show what the board is stuck on if it doesn’t boot. Below that is a 3D print mount and then the 24-pin motherboard power.

image 23

The bottom right corner has a lot more going on, even with the chipset and M.2 cooler taking up most of this space. On the right edge, there are right angle mounted USB 3.0 and SATA ports (six in total). In the bottom corner, you have the front panel connections, each is labeled but hard to see with the gray on black screen printing. Above that, I love that the CMOS header is easy to get to and not near anything else. The bottom row has two USB 2.0 headers and a second USB 3.0 that is this time facing up. There is another PWM fan header that is this time facing up and then on the far left is a header to hook up a fan header PCB if you need even more.

image 24

image 27

image 28

The bottom left section has a lot going on as well. This is where all of the PCIe slots are located for one. The Z370-F has a total of four PCIe x1 slots and three x16 length slots. Of those only two of the x16 slots have the metal shielding. The bottom non-shielded x16 length slot runs at x4 speeds in PCI 3.0 or 2.0. The top two x16 slots run at x8 speeds if you use them both or the top slot gets the full x16 speed when running one card. Also in this area, we have two M.2 mounts, one up under the cover and another up top next to the x1 slot. Both support PCIe x4 but only the one under the cover also supports SATA should you end up using a SATA based M.2 drive.

image 25

Down along the bottom edge in the bottom left corner you have the SupremeFX onboard audio. They are running good Japanese caps with the controller under a shield along with the split PCB around the audio circuity to try to keep things clean. They also have dual headphone amplifiers and impedance sensing ports on the front a rear to help support high-end headphones. It is all running on the S1220A CODEC. Beyond that, there is a COM and a TPM header but most people won’t need those. Then there are two bright white RGB headers. The one on the left is for standard RGB lighting and the one on the right is for individually addressable lighting. It's nice to have both as a lot of cases have normal RGB support now and individual addressable LEDs are going to add control for more effects in the near future.

image 26

So at first glance, the I/O on the Z370-F is a little lacking. This is mostly because left of the display connections only has two USB ports and a big open area where a wireless card or ClearCMOS button could go. That said you do get a few things. Over on the right, you get the standard 5+optical audio connections. There is one ethernet port, running on Intel’s I219V controller. There are two USB 3.0 ports up under it then two more USB 2.0 ports next to it. For display connection options on the onboard video, you have everything you might need though with DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort. Then last but not least you get a Type C Gen 2 port with another Gen 2 port above it in red. I know personally, the big thing I would want here is more USB ports. Even if it was just going with a stack of four USB 2.0 ports over the stack of two. I think a lot of users are going to be relying on the front panel connections get all of their devices hooked up.

image 3

I’m surprised Asus went through the trouble of screen printing a design on the entire back of the PCB like the did the top. I doubt many people will ever see this side, but if you look it is there. From this side, you can see that the only bracket on the back is for the CPU socket. There are screws back here holding all of the heatsinks in place though for each TIM replacement.

image 5

 


BIOS

To check out the UEFI rather than take screenshots or pictures I put together a simple video of me going through each of the options. This way anyone who is curious about a specific feature can pause at any point to see every detail. Typically Asus UEFI’s are really solid with easy to navigate menus and smooth mouse movement. The setup hasn’t really changed so the layout is still good but I will say the mouse smoothness is noticeably different. It isn’t any worse than the competition, but it is unlike Asus so I hope they get the issue patched out in the future.

As for the BIOS itself, like I said most things haven’t changed. When you first boot into the BIOS you land on the EZ Mode page like you should. It's amazing how often companies include the easy mode but make people go through the advanced mode to find it. The whole point is to keep things simple for people who don’t know their way around to prevent people from changing things they don’t understand. For this board, you get access to fan speeds and controls and a slide to rearrange boot menu. There is a quick overclock option up top and you can also turn on raid and XMP options. Beyond that, the rest of the page just gives you information on the hardware and voltages and temps.

Getting into the advanced UEFI brings you back to the tabs up top with lists of options you can change. Just about everything can be found in two tabs. The Ai Tweaker gives you access to all overclocking and voltage adjustments. Then the advanced tab brings you to a menu of options to open up more pages. This is where you can dive into peripheral settings and turn off features that you don’t use. The monitor tab just lists out up to date information for temps, voltages, and speeds. The boot menu is exactly what you would expect, boot options. The tool tab is where you can find a few of Asus’s special tools. I personally love the UEFI updating from the BIOS. You can check and download the latest from the interwebs or if you downloaded the new BIOS in windows you can go through and find where you saved the file without the need for flash drives being formatted a specific way or any of that. You can also secure erase drives or even save your overclocking profiles. That one specifically is nice, you can have known good configurations or even have different profiles depending on if it is summer or winter.

 


Test Rig and Procedures

Intel Z370 Test System

CPU

Intel Core i7-8700K

Live Pricing

Cooling

Noctua NH-U12S for cooling

Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Paste

Live Pricing

Live Pricing

Memory

Kingston HyperX FURY DDR4 16GB Kit 2666MHz

Live Pricing

Storage

Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD

Live Pricing

Video Card

Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti

Live Pricing

Power Supply

Thermaltake 850w

Live Pricing

Case

Microcool Banchetto 101 Test bench

Live Pricing

OS

Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Live Pricing

Motherboard Testing

Passmark Performance Test 9.0

Overall PCMark score

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 standard test, not the quick or extended versions

3DMark

We run the 2013 Fire Strike test on the performance setting

In Game Tests

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

In game benchmark, ultra setting, 1080p

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands

1080p, built-in benchmark run at the high setting

Subsystem Testing

Passmark

Passmark Advanced network test

 


Performance

For performance testing, I ran the Z270-F through all of our normal motherboard testing. Most of the tests are just to confirm that there aren’t any weird quirks or performance issues. With this being our first Z370 board there aren’t any comparison numbers as well. That said I was happy with the overall performance of the Z370-F when paired with the i7-8700K and the GTX 1080Ti. It put up solid numbers in 3DMark, in game, and in the overall tests like Passmarks Performance Test and PCMark 10.

While testing I did also put the NIC to the test as well. This is one of the few areas of a board that can sometimes vary depending on the network card they went with. In this case, Asus stuck with the Intel I219V that is included in the chipset and as you can see the performance was really good.

3DMark

Motherboard

Overall Score

Graphics Score

Physics Score

Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming

20338

23799

19461

PCMark 10 Score

Overall Score

Essentials

Productivity

Content Creation

Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming

6850

9658

9367

9644

Passmark PerformanceTest 9.0 Overall Score

Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming

6126.2

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands Average FPS

Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming

115.22

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Average FPS

Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming

95.9

Average Network Speed

Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming - Intel I219V

941.1

 


Overall and Final Verdict

Okay, I might be a little crazy. Every new CPU launch everyone is excited about what the CPU has to offer. While I do love that part of things, I’m also just as excited to see what is going on with the chipset and the motherboards. The Asus ROG Strix Z370-F is the first Z370 board to come through the office but I’m sure it will be far from the last. As far as the chipset goes, this one isn’t nearly as exciting compared to AM4 where we finally saw a lot of features being added. Really Z370 is Z270 only with upgraded stock memory clocks and support for the new 6 core CPUs. Because of that, it does show in Asus’s board, this isn’t a big jump from the Z270 Strix boards. They upgraded the cooling but it is hardly visible when you first look at everything. But did we really need anything? The Z270 Strix boards were solid, have awesome styling and good performance. The Z370-F has all of that. I love that they added the addressable LED header in addition to the normal Aura headers and the M.2 heatsink is a nice touch as well.

As for downsides to this board, well I just had a few and they will really depend on how you plan on using the board. I really would have liked to see more USB ports on the rear I/O and I would have been happy with them just being USB 2.0. It was also weird that the Z370-F doesn’t have one of the new USB 3.1 internal headers than Asus pioneered. Beyond that I hope they work on the mouse tracking in the BIOS, I’ve never had issues with that in the past with Asus boards but have experienced it on this board and another that I will be writing about soon.

Overall though I don’t think any of those issues will be a deal breaker for most users, unless you are like me and use far too many USB devices all at once. Asus didn’t change too much of the styling so you still get a good looking board but with support for Coffee Lake, that’s assuming you can find one I guess. The $179.99 MSRP falls right in the middle of a few other Asus Z370 boards so you do have options if you would prefer a Prime themed board or one with a ROG like touch of red. But for me, the color neutral Strix look has to be the best for anyone who doesn’t know what case they are going to go with or if you plan on taking advantage of all of that RGB lighting on the board and with the headers to set your build color depending on your mood.

fv5

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

Log in to comment

We have 792 guests and 3 members online

supportus

Share This
Follow Us

Our TS Server Info: ts.lanoc.org

Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/lanoc