For the last component today I had to pick out a motherboard. So obviously, being an AMD build it needed to be a Ryzen board. I was originally going to use the MSI X370 Titanium that I covered at launch because I had it on hand. The bright silver theme wouldn’t really go with everything though. When talking with Asus about other upcoming projects this one came up and they offered to send over their Asus Prime X370 Pro. With neutral colors, it fit the build and it better fit what I would recommend for someone building a Ryzen PC right now. Plus Asus hardware and software has been great on our test bench so why mess with what works right?
So the box for the board has a basic black background with a large photo of the board on the front. Being a prime board they kept things simple and avoided any of the red themes of the ROG boards. Inside the box, beyond the motherboard, you get a user guide for documentation, a coupon for a discount off of CableMod lighting, and a driver/software disc. The rear I/O cover is surprisingly basic, I was really hoping for a blacked out plate but they went with a darkened silver with small white labels. The back does have the foam rather than all of those metal springs so you don’t have to worry about getting those jammed in the USB and network ports.
The board also comes with an HB SLI bridge with a solid black PCB for anyone who wants to run SLI on the Prime. You also get four black SATA cables, two with a right angled end. There is a Q connector for an easier front panel connection and then you get a couple small screws for Asus’s 3d printed designs. You can print a few different covers and attach them right to the board on the included mounting point with these screws.
So like I mentioned before, the X370 Prime has a fitting name because the board sticks with the basics and gives us a color neutral theme but on a board with some of the features found on the higher-end “gaming” themed boards. The board itself is full ATX with a black PCB. It has black plastic for all of the ports and slots, then they use gray and white for the heatsinks. There isn’t anything too fancy so they dropped the rear I/O cover and focused on what people need. For cooling, there are two aluminum heatsinks around the CPU socket to handle the power circuitry. There aren’t any heatpipes connecting the two but they both have good surface area. The Chipset cooler is flat and doesn’t have much going on other than the white cover stuck to it with a few designs on the top and the Asus branding.
Starting up in the top left corner of the board, the Prime X370 Pro has an 8-pin CPU power connection tucked up above the power circuitry heatsinks. Below that same heatsink, they also slipped in two 4-pin case fan headers. There are two more 4-pin fan headers to the right of the top heatsink as well but those two are for CPU coolers with the main fan or pump header designated in white. All around the CPU socket, Asus did screen print white strips on the PCB, as someone who would prefer a darker or all blacked out board I’m not a big fan though.
Over on the top right, the Prime has four DDR4 dims with a black and dark gray theme on every other DIMM. Next to them is the 24-pin motherboard power and below it a new USB 3.1 front panel connection. There aren’t any cases that use this new connection just yet, but I can’t wait to have even faster connections available on the front panel, especially with what looks to be an easier to use connection that the USB 3.0 internal connection.
Moving to the bottom right section there isn’t anything until you get to the six SATA connections. They are all right angled for better wire management and you can run a whole bunch of drives should you need the storage. Down in the farther corner is the front panel I/O connection it isn’t color coded but Asus does provide their Q Connection helper. Then you have two more 4-pin PWM fan headers for a total of 6 so far. Then you have a front panel USB 3.0 header and two USB 2.0 headers.
In the bottom left section, most of the space is taken up by the PCIe connections. The Prime X370-Pro has three x16 length slots and three x1 length slots. The top two x16 length slots run at x8 when working together as this board does support Crossfire and SLI or the top slot will take the full x16 in a single card configuration. The last one runs at x4 all of the time. Above the slots, there is a single M.2 socket with support for 2242/2260/2280/22110 length drives. It also runs at a PCIe x4 assuming you are using a Ryzen CPU not one of the upcoming Athlon APUs. Also in the corner, we can see the gold Japanese made caps that are part of the build in audio. Asus used a Realtek ALC 1220A 8 channel audio CODEC and slipped in things like impedance sense for the front and rear headphone and the split PC to protect from interference.
For the rear I/O the Prime has a mix of connections including DisplayPort and HDMI connections for future use with Ryzen CPUs with built-in GPUs. Over on the right is a standard 5 plus optical audio array. For USB you get 5 USB 3.0 ports, a Type-C 3.0, and two USB 3.1 ports. The Network port is for an Intel I211-AT NIC, I still love seeing Intel NICs even on Ryzen boards because they are great network cards. Then last but not least is the PS2 port up in the top left for older mice and keyboards. If I had my way the Prime could use a few more USB ports or at least a faster Type-c, but it does have enough for most people.
The back of the board doesn’t have too much going on. We can see the black PCB better and we can see the AM4 backplate. Beyond that, nothing to special back here.
So this is where our Ryzen build project Carmine stands currently. It will most likely be a week or two before we see any more updates. We have to lock down things like the SSD, RAM, and cooling as well as the CPU and Video Card that I’ve already got picked out. So keep an eye out for more updates soon!