Since its release back in April, AMD’s Ryzen platform has quickly established itself as a viable option, delivering exemplary performance for daily computing, gaming, and enthusiasts. At ASUS, we were ready for the early unveil, releasing an array of motherboards for value-packed PCs and high-end rigs. However, pressing demand for Ryzen-based systems shows a need for more options in the middle of the ASUS product stack. So today, we’re bolstering our portfolio with two new AM4 motherboards aimed squarely at gamers who wish to bring Ryzen performance to their next PC build.
Based on the latest AMD X370 and B350 chipsets, the ATX-sized Strix X370-F and Strix B350-F include all the core ROG enhancements that make system setup a breeze and performance stand out from the crowd. Our 5-Way Optimization software takes all the guesswork and hassle out of tuning by automatically configuring overclocking and fan profiles for your system. The software smartly utilizes automated stress and thermal tests to evaluate the capabilities of installed components, delivering a final result that is tailored to get the most from your build.
To help keep temperatures under control, there's onboard provision for a multitude of fans and even options for water pumps, providing options for simple or elaborate cooling setups. All onboard headers are capable of auto-detecting whether a fan is DC (3-pin) or PWM (4-pin), negating the need for users to tinker with advanced settings just to get their system up and running. And those hardware features are backed by a comprehensive set of controls in the firmware and software, such as the ability to dynamically map the temperature of select ASUS graphics cards to system fans, leading to builds that are quiet when performing light tasks and efficiently cooled when gaming or crunching through CPU-intensive workloads.
Onboard audio also gets the ROG treatment, with SupremeFX melding the ASUS-exclusive S1220A codec with our Sonic Studio software to deliver immersive audio for gaming headsets and speaker setups. There are options to emulate surround sound via stereo headsets, drawing you deeper into the onscreen action, and noise reduction features for microphones, delivering crystal-clear communication to online teammates. Applications can also be mapped to connected audio devices, so you can route music to speakers, game audio to a headset, and video-based audio to a monitor, without needing to manually switch between outputs when changing tasks.
For gamers who want to personalize their rigs, onboard RGB lighting options and ASUS Aura software provide a host of options. The Strix X370-F and B350-F both include an onboard RGB lighting zone, plus two 5050 headers capable of driving RGB strips up to two meters long with an array of colors and effects. There’s even an option to display CPU temperature as color, making Aura functional as well as aesthetic. You can also coordinate lighting with other Aura Sync-compatible hardware to create a cohesive visual theme.
With current trends favoring graphics cards that have heavyweight coolers, clumsy handling when building a PC can lead to PCI Express slots splitting or buckling due to strain. Fortunately, both the Strix X370-F and B350-F feature ASUS SafeSlot, which uses an insert-molding process to brace onboard PCI Express slots with steel inserts, and then employs additional solder points to anchor the connector firmly to the motherboard. Together, these enhancements ensure SafeSlot is more resilient to mishaps than the partially braced solutions of competing products.
ROG Strix X370-F Gaming: All the tools to unleash Ryzen
The Strix X370-F is graced with all of the AM4 platform’s trimmings; it benefits from being positioned right next to the high-end ROG Crosshair VI Hero, receiving the same tricks and tuning to unleash Ryzen’s latent potential. The automated overclocking abilities of our 5-Way Optimization software can push capable CPUs over 4GHz, while the X370-F’s optimized T-Topology trace layout has enough headroom to support high-performance memory kits rated up to DDR4-3200. As your experience with the platform grows, you can push even further thanks to our PRO Clock technology, which grants more flexibility for overclocking memory.
With five onboard fan headers, the Strix X370-F has the credentials to keep everything in your system cool, whether it’s running at stock speeds or overclocked to the limits. Two additional headers are dedicated to all-in-one coolers and water pumps, catering for more advanced setups and showcase rigs that are artfully plumbed with custom water cooling. Those dedicated headers can also be repurposed for fans, lending to more options for airflow.
The high-performance saga also filters through to storage, with an onboard M.2 slot that supports PCI Express X4 Gen 3.0 drives and provides a scintillating 32Gbps of bandwidth for transfers. The latest SSDs tend to run hot when pressed for data, so the M.2 slot has been placed away from thermally challenged areas. You can even mount a 3D-Printable fan holder over the drive for improved cooling.
The Stix X370-F has a bounty of connectivity options, sporting eight SATA ports, USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports in Type-A and Type-C format, and an internal USB 3.1 connector for front-panel use. A plethora of USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 2.0 ports are also available, ready for tethering to an arsenal of gaming peripherals and hardware.
Visually, the monochromatic Strix theme is a perfect canvas for Aura RGB lighting. Onboard illumination is provided by a light bar within the I/O shroud, plus a couple of 5050 headers that supply enough power to light up a full-tower chassis with a range of colors and effects.
Teamed with suitable hardware, the Strix X370-F’s features perfectly complement Ryzen's strengths, making it suitable for not only sensibly subdued builds, but also high-octane gaming rigs that push the platform to its limits.
ROG Strix B350-F Gaming: Delivering essential AM4 performance
Tactfully augmented with core ROG features, the Strix B350-F targets gamers who know where to focus their spending when building a well-rounded system. All the overclocking tools to push Ryzen are present, including support for 5-Way Optimization for automated tuning endeavors. The board is also adept at overclocking eight-core processors thanks to a capable power delivery circuit and beefy heatsinks. Memory support keeps up with higher-priced alternatives, clocking in at speeds up to DDR4-3200 with the right kits. The fine-tuning attributes of ASUS PRO Clock don’t make the transition, but that’s hardly a concern for the type of builds the Strix B350-F will feature in. You still get all the ROG firmware expertise, presenting everything the platform has to offer in an intuitive way.
Cooling options also punch above the asking price, with all the control features of more expensive motherboards intact, together with five headers for fans, plus one dedicated to AIO coolers. That makes the Strix B350-F capable of keeping an intelligent grip on system temperatures, including builds that are overclocked.
The B350 chipset’s limited number of lanes means that only the top PCI Express slot runs at Gen 3.0 X16 (or X8 when the secondary slot is populated), while the secondary slot runs at Gen 3.0 X4. That said, both are enhanced with SafeSlot, adding a layer of protection for single- and dual-card graphics setups even though the latter is an unlikely configuration at this price point.
High-performance storage is accounted for with an onboard M.2 slot tied to four PCI Express Gen 3.0 lanes. It's suitably positioned to receive airflow within the chassis, helping to keep temperatures under control. For mass storage, all of the chipset’s six SATA ports are available, and like in the X370, they can be configured for RAID to boost performance or provide a layer of redundancy.
Connectivity is nicely proportioned, offering two USB 3.1 Gen 2, four USB 3.1 Gen 1, and two USB 2.0 ports in the rear I/O panel. Like on the Strix X370-F, Intel’s I211-AT Gigabit Ethernet controller takes care of network communications, providing a reliable high-speed connection, while onboard audio meets the same SupremeFX S1220A spec, enhancing sonics and eliminating the need for a sound card.
Unlike with cheaper alternatives, the Strix B350-F’s appearance isn’t gaudy. The neutral color scheme makes it easy to populate the board with aesthetically matched components. Personalization options don’t fall short, either. There's an Aura RGB zone on the chipset heatsink and dual strip headers for casting a full gamut of flamboyant effects or subtly accenting your build with tasteful colors.
Thanks to deft tailoring, the Strix B350-F strikes the perfect balance between price and performance, retaining all the essentials to build a formidable Ryzen-based gaming system.