So the first X470 board to come in that wasn’t included in our Ryzen launch kit from AMD was a board from Asus. This was suppose to go along with the new Crosshair that AMD included but we didn’t end up getting one, so, for now, I’m going to check out the Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming. I’m going to check out what Asus has done with their X470 models, test the performance to see how it compares to the two other X470 boards I’ve tested, check out the cooling situation, and then run down and see if it’s a good buy for someone looking to build a Ryzen 2000 Series build.
Product Name: Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming
Review Sample Provided by: Asus
Written by: Wes Compton
Pictures by: Wes Compton
Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE
No surprises at all here with the box for the X470-F. This is a Strix board and the box matches all of the past Strix boards as well. That means a black background with that neon like ROG logo over top of it. Then there is a picture of the board featured across the front with the product name next to it. Down along the bottom edge, most of the logos are the required ones from AMD and Nvidia for the SLI support for example but Asus did slip in one to show the Aura lighting support and that it is VR ready, not sure what a motherboard has to do with that, but sure!
On the back of the box, we have another photo of the board from the top down as well as an angled shot of the rear I/O connections. Then around that is a full specification listing. Information is king when it comes to trying to buy in retail and Asus has given you anything and everything you might need. Then down along the bottom, they have highlighted a few features with close up pictures. This includes the pre-mounted I/O shield, addressable LEDs, the Gen2 front panel connector, and the M.2 heatsink.
For documentation, Asus includes a full manual in its thick glory. Along with that, you get a small card with the ROG social media pages on it. Then a paper with a 20% off code from Cable-Mod, I’ve left ours uncovered for anyone who might want to put it to use. For stickers, you get a sheet of ROG stickers that also has labels for SATA cables. Then with that, you get a ROG door hanger. Last but not least is a driver/software disc. I’m going to keep pushing for USB drives as swag and for drivers/software, even though they cost more it would be a nice touch.
For accessories you get a black hard PCB SLI bridge on the chance you go SLI. Asus includes a few zip ties to help with wiring as well as M.2 mounting screws. Then for cables, you get two packs of two SATA cables for a total of 4, each having one cable with one right-angled end. Then the other two cables are lighting related. One is an extension cable for standard RGB strips, it is 80cm long. Then the other is an extension cable for the new addressable LEDs.
Board Layout and Pictures
So much like the packaging, with an initial look, the X470-G Gaming isn’t really a drastic change from the X370 version. This isn’t a big surprise considering most X470 boards have been the same. What does stand out though is Asus has clearly moved away from the two grey colors with a black background to use a lot more black. It still looks like a Strix board, but darker, like its goth teenage years. The X470-F is a full ATX board at 12-inch x 9.6 inches. Currently, this is their only full-sized Strix board on X470 as well, with just the ITX version as the other Strix model.
So the cooling has a slightly different look but shape wise they are close to what I saw on the X370 boards. For VRM cooling there are two heatsinks around the CPU socket. One on top and one to the left. They do not connect together at all. Both have an angular design with side cuts on the inside to give a lot more surface area. They are then covered in a dark grey anodization. The other half of the cooling is a large low profile heatsink that handles the chipset on the bottom right portion of the board as well as covers one M.2 slot. This heatsink is all blacked out with the exception of the ROG branding in a holographic-like finish over a good portion of it. Personally, the one ROG logo that is angled and the rest in black would look a lot better to me.
In addition to the heatsinks changing color, the other big aesthetic change is with the cover over the rear I/O. For starters, this design is much larger than the previous one. You can see it even goes over and covers up part of the VRM heatsink. The new design is also finished in flat black where past covers were in that Strix grey with a satin or glossy finish. The new look is clean though with most of it being just blank. You have the ROG logo and a dash like line under it that are both backlit. With this being integrated into the VRM heatsink I almost wonder if those should have been black as well.
As for the rest of the top left corner, there isn’t too much going on given the CPU socket, heatsinks, and the I/O cover takes up most of that space. Asus did still slip the 8-pin CPU power connection up in between all of that though. There isn’t much space around it, in fact, if you look close you can see that it is up against the heatsink. There is also a four-pin RGB header in bright white down below the left heatsink as well as two fan headers for you to hook up lighting to your heatsink or to anything on the rear of the case as well as rear case fans. One of those plugs also doubles as the AIO/Pump header for situations where you need a little more amperage.
Over on the top right portion, there is a little more going on. First, you have four DDR4 ram DIMM slots. Also if you look close at the PCB around the CPU socket you can see additional branding and logos in a glass black. There are two four-pin fan headers for your CPU cooler above the DIMMs as well. Then along the right side, there is another fan header, this is our fifth so far. Below that is the 24 pin motherboard power and then you have an upward facing USB 3.1 Gen 2 header for cases that support the new faster USB connections.
Down in the bottom right corner, there are six right-angled SATA connections along the right edge. Behind those, there is an exposed M.2 slot. This is one of two, the other is up above the top PCIe slot under the heatsink. Down along the bottom edge, starting in the bottom right corner you have the front panel connections. Oddly enough Asus didn’t include a front panel helper on this board so the labeling of these is really important. I wish they would go with color-coded connections but there are at least labels right under the plug. Next, to that, you have two more 4 pin fan headers with a second pump header. That puts us at 7 so far. Then next to that the two white plugs are both for RGB lighting. One is for a normal RGB connection and the second is for addressable lighting. Then you have one USB 3.1 header and a USB 2.0 with it.
Continuing along the bottom edge there is a second USB 2.0 header as well as a thermal sensor plug. Then you have a TPM plug and a communications port. Then on the far left the front panel audio connection. For PCIe slots, the X470-F has a total of six. Three are x1 length and the other three are x16 length. Of those, all of the x1 slots are obviously x1 bandwidth. The bottom x16 slot is always x4 for bandwidth then the top two have a little more going on. First, they both have metal shielding to help hold heavy video cards up. So with most CPUs, the top one will run at x16 if you run one card and if you use both slots they both drop down to x8. The exception to that is if you run a Raven Ridge APU, then the middle slot doesn’t work at all and the top only runs at x8.
So for audio, the board has SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio using the CODEC S1220A. Asus did slip in dual OP amplifiers and impedance sensing for the front and rear headphone outputs. The controller is shielded as you can see in the picture below and they did use quality caps. It is also all split apart from the rest of the motherboard to help cut back on feedback.
So the biggest thing with the rear I/O to me is that Asus has now built it right on to the board. Where in the past you have to pre-installed the shield into your case now you don’t. This is especially nice with a few of the In Win cases that don’t have mounting for a shield at all with open-air designs like the D-Frame Mini where you now can get legends and don’t have to worry about missing and shorting something out. Anyhow for connections available on the X470-F Gaming, there are a few. Over on the right side, you have the standard 5+optical audio configuration with each plug being color coded. Then over on the left, you have an old-school PS/2 port. There are two display connections should you use a CPU with onboard, you have the DisplayPort and HDMI connections, both are full sized with a lot of room around them. Then for USB connection, there are a total of 8 back here. So the two red USB ports are USB 3.1 Gen 2 so they are the new faster connections. Oddly enough the Type-C is not Gen 2. It is a regular USB 3.1 Gen 1. Then all five of the blue plugs are USB 3.1 Gen 1. Last but not least is the built-in NIC. The red indicates it has Asus’s anti-surge built in for a little extra protection and it is all running on the Intel I211.
So with the X470-F Gaming flipped over there isn’t too much going on. You can better see the flat black PCB finish and if you look really close you can see Game On ROG Strix in gloss black across the middle. You can also see the PCB split for the audio circuitry over on the right side. None of the top mounted heatsinks have backplates other than the CPU socket. But they are all mounted from the bottom using screws, not those plastic push pins that break so later in the board's life cleaning and reapplying any thermal paste or pads will be easy if it is ever needed.
As always, rather than trying to capture everything with photos I’ve gone through all of the BIOS options one by one and put it all together on video. It is a basic video with no voice over just for me to talk about a little here. I booted into the advanced mode right out of the hole. I’ve talked a lot about this in the past but Asus and a lot of other companies provide the EzMode to protect inexperienced users from having access to anything that could cause damage but then most of the time on my first boot I boot into the advanced mode bypassing it all. The landing page is your favorites page, you can add things to this for a quick jump in to change things. By default memory frequency is on here, as our voltages and a few boot options. Over on the right side, you have a hardware monitor with frequencies, temps, and voltages for the memory and CPU. This shows up on all pages.
The main tab up top gets you the BIOS version information as well as some basic info on your system like memory capacity and CPU. You can also change the date and time or language here. From there the next tab up top is the Ai Tweaker tab. This is the overclocking area here you can get access to all of the voltage and timing settings. As you dive into the details you have a LOT of control here, especially with your memory and power control.
The Advanced tab is the next section and this one is basically where you will find any other board, chipset, or peripheral setting that isn’t a normal overclocking setting. You can see that every subsystem is here like SATA, PCI settings, NIC, USB, and so on. The most important one is the AMD CBS down at the bottom and I forgot to click it. I missed it because it didn’t have an arrow indicating it was another page for some reason. But that is where you will get into the X470 chipset settings including some of the CPU settings needed to control turbo speeds.
The monitor tab basically lists out every sensor readout for all of your fans and temperature sensors onboard. Down at the bottom, you can also dive into the Q-Fan config. This lets you setup how fan profiles will act, turn on pump headers, and also run the configuration. There is a second place to get to Q-Fan controls up along the top or with F6, this is where you can map out fan cooling profiles. The Boot tab is the last normal tab and this is where all of your boot options are. Things like fast boot are here as well as configuring what your boot order and boot devices are.
The Tool tab is something a little different. These aren’t settings but rather additional software programs you can run right in the BIOS. The EZ Flash 3 Utility, for example, doesn’t show you how to flash yourself in public, no it lets you update the BIOS from right inside of the BIOS. It even lets you access the file from an already installed hard drive for simple downloading in windows then updating without a flash drive. Secure Erase is for doing low-level drive wipes, you know, in case you were mistaken on the EZ Flash before and took photos. Overclocking profiles are here, basically, you can save multiple profiles with different levels of overclocks for different room temps or to backup new profiles you are testing. The other two options basically just let you see in more detail what hardware you are running.
Up along the top, there are a few other options. For example, you can turn all Aura lighting on and off quickly. There is the Q-Fan Control that I already talked about. Then there is EZ Tuning Wizard. Asus brings out a wizard with his awesome hat and does magic, okay maybe they don’t go that far. But it does let you select a few basic things like what you use your PC for and what cooling you have and does a basic overclock for you. With the gaming setting, what I found for our 2700X was an estimated 2% with a factory box cooler, 5% with a tower air cooler, and 8% with water cooling using the wizard. The result was the same using daily computing as well. Not bad for almost no effort.
Lastly, I did jump into the EZ Mode to show everyone what it looks like. Basically, everything is on one page and there aren’t many drop down options. In fact, the only one is to turn on the DOCP aka AMDs version of XMP. You can see what you have for hardware in the top left, what fans are hooked up and how fast they are running, your fan profile, and even temps and voltages. Then boot order is drag and drop as this is the main thing inexperienced users might be looking for.
Test Rig and Procedures
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X- Live Pricing
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12S for cooling - Live Pricing
Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Paste - Live Pricing
Memory: G-Skill Sniper 3400MHz CL16-16-16-36 8GB - Live Pricing
Storage: Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD - Live Pricing
Video Card: Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti - Live Pricing
Power Supply: Corsair TX750M - Live Pricing
Case: Dimastech Test Bench - Live Pricing
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit - Live Pricing
For performance testing, I’ve mentioned it a lot in the past but it’s always good to post up a reminder. The performance between different motherboards really isn’t big unless you have one company overclocking or underclocking the CPU. So most of the testing below is just to keep everyone on the up and up and make sure there aren’t any issues.
To start off my testing I went with 3DMark using both the Fire Strike and Time Spy tests to look at DX11 and DX12 performance. In fire strike, the X470-F Gaming came in at the exact same score as the MSI board and overall was in line with all boards tested. Time Spy was similar but the Asus board did get a slight bump in the overall score from a touch higher CPU score. Then sticking with the Futuremark now UL tests I tested with PCMark 10. I like this test because they test media consumption, gaming, productivity, and everything else in similar ways to how most people use their computers. Here the X470-F Gaming and the Aorus board were in line with each other with the MSI oddly behind. Passmark’s Performance Test 9 is also an overall benchmark but its tests are more focused using synthetic benchmarks for each aspect of a computer. All three results were close but the Asus X470-F did come in at the bottom of the three. Then for my last overall performance test, I tested out two games, in both the X470-F was spot on with the other two boards. The 1080Ti and 2700X together put up good numbers in both.
Now the only test that I normally see much of a swing is in the network performance. This is because it is one of the only areas that different boards and companies will use different NICs. In this case, Asus went with the Intel I211, a fairly standard NIC. Intel NICs overall are almost always solid in my experience and with the fastest results out of the three boards tests, there aren’t any big surprises there.
Now I recently added a new test where I look at overall VRM temperatures. I do this using a Flir to test the temperatures of the VRM heatsink. In this case, Asus either did a good job with thermal dissipation or a bad job of transferring any heat at all to the heatsink with the lowest temperature of the three. My other photos help figure this out though. The temperature around the CPU is up at 134.6F where the Aorus with its upgraded cooling was over 10 degrees less. So it seems this board has good cooling, but the Aorus has better cooling, even though the heatsink is cooler in this case.
I did look around at the rest of the board as well. You can see there is a chip between the bottom PCIe slot and the audio circuitry that is running a little warm. The chipset up under the video card ran cool as well as you can see.
While not as performance specific, the lighting of the X470-F Gaming is also a big part of things like any of the Strix boards. The rear I/O cover has lighting built in the shape of a line and the ROG logo. They are lit with addressable LEDs to give that nice blue to green fade in the photo, it rotates through all of the Strix colors but you can set them to anything you want using the Aura software.
Overall and Final Verdict
So where does the Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming fit into the market? Well for starters, compared to the two other X470 boards I’ve taken a look at it is a little cheaper. They accomplished this by not including wireless for one. But even without that, you do still get the good Asus software and BIOS, especially important with their Aura lighting control. In my testing, I found that the heatsinks cooled well, not the best, but still better than most of the competition. I’m also really digging the new blacked out look. I liked the old Strix look as well, but the new look, especially on the I/O cover, looks good. Speaking of having the I/O shield pre-installed as well is a nice touch. You get a ton of fan headers including two pump compatible plugs, RGB lighting connections on the top and bottom of the board that are easy to spot, and overall more than enough connections. That is with the exception of rear USB ports. Asus included enough for most people, but I always want more even if they are just old school USB2s. My only other complaint was with the weird holographic cybertext on the bottom heatsink, it really takes away from the clean look. I didn’t mind it on the rest of the board, in fact, I kind of like the use of gloss black over flat black for low key styling.
So is this the X470-F board to pick up? Actually yeah, both the Gigabyte and MSI boards I took a look at had big pros and cons where the X470-F seems to fall in a little cheaper with everything you might need. That is of course unless you need wireless built in! This is the gaming board I would recommend otherwise though. It is more of a middle ground than the high-end Crosshair Hero but that is a good thing when it comes to the pocketbook with an MSRP of $214.99. I’ve said it before, but if you already have an X370 board don’t bother. But otherwise, this should be good for your new Ryzen 2000 series build.
Live Pricing: HERE