What are hardware enthusiasts supposed to do while we anxiously await Jeff's review of Ryzen? It's going to be a long week until we can get a full look at the new hotness, but in the meantime, we're getting more information about the supporting cast for AMD's upcoming processors. Asus is showing off four of its socket AM4 motherboards.
All four motherboards support DDR4 memory that can be overclocked to 3200 MT/s and pack at least one NVMe M.2 slot. There are two models sporting the high-end X370 chipset, and two models with the B350 chipset. Asus isn't ready to make any announcements about boards with the A320 chipset yet, but since it doesn't support overclocking, it's unlikely to be interesting to buyers of the flagship Ryzen processors.
The first Asus board rising to the occasion is the ROG Crosshair VI Hero. This is a fully-featured ATX board with a host of premium touches. Since it uses the X370 chipset, it can handle two graphics cards in a CrossFire or SLI configuration. Accordingly, Asus reinforced both PCI Express x16 slots with steel, put a little extra space between the slots to give the cards some breathing room, and slipped an SLI bridge into the box. Asus assumes that purchasers will pair up this motherboard with an equally-premium graphics card, so the ROG Crosshair VI Hero doesn't have display outputs. There's a USB 3.1 Type-C port on the I/O panel, though, and a total of 13 USB Type-A ports available before users even start connecting front-panel headers.
Of Asus's AM4 motherboards, the ROG Crosshair VI Hero has the most aesthetic options. It offers customizable Aura RGB lighting, and has two 4-pin headers for independently-controlled LED strips. Mounts for 3D-printed cable covers and nameplates give users further options for making this motherboard their own.
Asus packed the Prime X370-Pro full of features for overclocking and setting up a multi-GPU monster, but left out some of the ROG Crosshair VI Hero's aesthetic extras. This board also offers widely-spaced, steel-reinforced PCI-Express X16 slots. It has DisplayPort and HDMI outputs, should the board end up hosting one of AMD's upcoming APUs. There's also a header for LED light strips, though the board itself doesn't ship with RGB LED lighting.
The next two Ryzen-compatible boards from Asus move to the B350 chipset, maintaining support for overclocking, but dropping a few USB ports, SATA ports, and support for Crossfire or SLI configurations. The Prime B350-Plus doesn't include all of Asus' extra overclocking tools, but users can still tweak the multipliers on Ryzen CPUs. The board offers HDMI, DVI-D, and VGA display outputs. There's no Aura RGB LED lighting, but the black-and-red color scheme and red accent lights ought to appeal to more than a few folks out there.
Last on the list, we have the only microATX board of the bunch, the Prime B350M-A. Other than its trimmed-down size and smaller number of PCI-Express slots, this motherboard's spec sheet closely matches that of the Prime B350-Plus. It has the same display outputs as the larger board, but drops the rear-panel USB 2.0 ports. The motherboards are quite similar otherwise.
All four boards are available for pre-order, and will be available in March along with the Ryzen processors. The ROG Crosshair VI Hero commands a $255 price tag, and the Prime X370-Pro costs $170. As for the two B350 boards, the Prime B350-Plus goes for $100 while the microATX Prime B350M-A will set you back $90.
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