Biostar’s Ryzen motherboards race toward release

Don't be buffaloed by leaks and rumors—the first official announcement of retail Socket AM4 motherboards for AMD Ryzen processors is here. In a weirdly-apropos manner (given the company's Racing theme), Biostar is first out of the gate with its announcement of five AM4 mobos. Three of the boards are based on the high-end X370 chipset, while the other two use the B350 chipset. Let's take a closer look.

The range-topping Biostar Racing X370GT7 is a full-sized ATX motherboard with the sort of feature set you'd expect from a high-end offering. You get a pair of USB 3.1 ports (in Type-A and Type-C flavors), a trio of PCIe x16 slots, and a quartet of DDR4 DIMM sockets that support transfer rates of up to 2667 MT/s. Like on a typical Intel desktop board, two of the PCIe x16 slots will run at x8 when two graphics cards are in use. Biostar makes no mention of Crossfire or SLI support, though. There's a PCIe x4 M.2 socket, six SATA 6Gbps ports, and six USB 3.0 ports, plus an internal header to connect two more USB 3.1 ports. Realtek's fancy ALC1220 offers 8-channel audio, and an RTL8118 controller powers the Gigabit Ethernet port.

Unusually, Biostar equips this range-topping motherboard with a pair of legacy PCI slots. The board also has DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI-D connectors despite being ostensibly intended for the forthcoming Summit Ridge Ryzen processors that don't include integrated graphics. Those ports can still be used with a Bristol Ridge socket-AM4 APU, of course. Like it did with its Kaby Lake motherboards, Biostar added diagnostic LEDs and a "GT Touch" panel with on-board reset and power buttons. Naturally, the board also includes Vivid LED DJ on-board RGB LED lighting and Biostar's 5050 LED control header.

The Racing X370GT5 is similar to its bigger brother above but drops the second PCIe 3.0 x16 slot. That leaves it with a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, plus a PCIe 2.0 x16 slot that runs at x4 speeds. This boasrd keeps its same four USB 3.1 connectors, the full-speed M.2 connector, and the two legacy PCI slots present in the GT7. However, the audio chip gets a downgrade to Realtek's ALC892, and there are no onboard debug LEDs or a DisplayPort connector. The product shots for the GT5 do appear to show a mini-Displayport connection on the back panel, but it isn't mentioned in any of the product documentation.

Stepping down once more to the Racing X370GT3, we move to a microATX design. This board has a feature set almost identical to the GT5, save for the omissions of the GT Touch panel and the two legacy PCI slots.

Judging by their spec sheets, the two B350-based motherboards from Biostar appear to be fairly similar apart from their respective size difference. The B350GT5 is an ATX motherboard that includes a pair of legacy PCI slots and both Type-A and Type-C USB 3.1 ports. Meanwhile, the B350GT3 is a microATX motherboard with no PCI slots and with two Type-A USB 3.1 ports. In an odd twist, the product images for the B350GT5 don't show any USB 3.1 ports at all, while the B350GT3's product images contain that mysteriously-unmentioned mini-DisplayPort like the GT5 and GT3 boards above.

It's hard for us to say whether the tables or the pictures are more accurate. In any case, Biostar's AM4 motherboards look pretty similar to the company's offerings for Kaby Lake apart from those old-school PCI slots. There's no pricing or availability info for these boards, but the company will be offering a 240GB M200 SSD with the top-end X370GT7 model when they arrive.

Comments closed
    • dragosmp
    • 3 years ago

    electrolytic capacitors hmmm suspicious

    • Amien
    • 3 years ago

    I’m surprised that no other board maker has come out with an announcement…

      • deruberhanyok
      • 3 years ago

      Also surprised, but, Biostar’s recent stuff has been solid (though a bit spartan in terms of BIOS features). This could be a good opportunity for them to get (deserved, I think) a little more mind&market share.

      Bundling an SSD with a motherboard is a nice perk, too.

        • Amien
        • 3 years ago

        Agreed. Biostar’s stuff has been great since the P45 days, Was a big fan of the TPower I45. While I’m surprised they’re so far ahead of everyone with the launch, I do hope that they do well. It’s an under appreciated brand.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 3 years ago

    I should also add, it’s a bleedin’ shame they drop 5.1 audio the second they go mATX. I’d expect to see at least the upper-end board have it.

    • Anomymous Gerbil
    • 3 years ago

    This is the second post today that I didn’t understand; I must be getting old.

    The first paragraph under the first image says: [i<]"The range-topping Biostar Racing X370GT7 is a full-sized ATX motherboard with ... a trio of PCIe x16 slots"[/i<], with an image above it that matches that description. The second paragraph then states [i<]"Unusually, Biostar equips this range-topping motherboard with a pair of legacy PCI slots"[/i<]. What's going on? ( There's an image *below* that second paragraph that shows a mobo with two PCI slots, but that seems to be for the X370GT5.)

      • RAGEPRO
      • 3 years ago

      Neither, actually. What’s happening is that BIOSTAR’s product images have nothing to do with what their product pages say. Read the last paragraph, heh.

        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 3 years ago

        Yes, I saw that. But regardless, those two paragraphs are inconsistent, and TR shouldn’t be writing that if they’re not sure what’s going on. I know TR isn’t what it used to be, but this seems pretty sloppy to me.

          • RAGEPRO
          • 3 years ago

          Since it isn’t clear, I’m the writer of this piece. Thanks for your feedback. We’ll try to make it clearer next time.

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 3 years ago

            Cheers!

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 3 years ago

            Downvoting a pleasant reply is just ridiculous.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 3 years ago

            Well… times are a changing, you know. Politeness is for loosers.

            • boing
            • 3 years ago

            The link to the X370GT7 motherboard on the Biostar website, says nothing about it having any legacy PCI slots. The specifications on that page list the following expansion slots:

            2 x PCI-E x16 3.0 Slot(x16 + NA or x8 + x8 for Ryzen CPU, x8 + NA for APU / NPU)
            1 x PCI-E x16 2.0 Slot(x4)
            3 x PCI-E x1 2.0 Slot

            And as someone posted, There are no native PCI slots to be seen on the picture of the motherboard. Neither on the Biostar website nor in this article. So, from where is the information that it supposedly has native PCI slots?

            • RAGEPRO
            • 3 years ago

            You’re being a little accusatory here, friend. Clearly the page has been updated. As it says on that page, the information is subject to change without notice. I’m sorry, but I didn’t take screenshots of the information to defend myself with later. 🙂

            • boing
            • 3 years ago

            My apologies, my post came across as more snide and hostile than I intended. I never considered Biostar would be so sloppy. Which I should, having seen several specification sheets where PCIe is mistaken for PCI.. Rest assured that I never thought it to be worse than an honest mistake and didn’t mean to sound accccusatory 🙂

            • RAGEPRO
            • 3 years ago

            No worries! I give Biostar more credit than most enthusiasts do, so seeing errors like this is a little bit disheartening. As we discussed among ourselves in the TR “office” (such that it is), it seems most likely that what happened is someone at Biostar was a little too eager to be the first out of the gate with Ryzen motherboard announcements.

            • excession
            • 3 years ago

            Can we at least have an article where the text doesn’t directly contradict itself, regardless of the pictures? As stated above:

            The first paragraph under the first image says: “The range-topping Biostar Racing X370GT7 is a full-sized ATX motherboard with … a trio of PCIe x16 slots”, with an image above it that matches that description. The second paragraph then states “Unusually, Biostar equips this range-topping motherboard with a pair of legacy PCI slots”.

            There’s an image *below* that second paragraph that shows a mobo with two PCI slots, but that seems to be for the X370GT5.

            • RAGEPRO
            • 3 years ago

            The article was accurate at the time of posting, picture notwithstanding. The data on Biostar’s site has since changed.

      • Anomymous Gerbil
      • 3 years ago

      I see that Tom’s also has [url=http://www.tomshardware.com/news/biostar-am4-x370-motherboards,33687.html<]an article[/url<] on these motherboards. They included a nice table to show the differences between the boards. Presumably they were also confused by the slot configuration thing as they left that out of the table.

        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 3 years ago

        Why on earth would anyone downvote this post?

      • excession
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah so I totally agree with the OP, I’ve looked at this several times and it doesn’t make any sense.

    • anotherengineer
    • 3 years ago

    Well I hope they have a decent selection of uATX boards. The AM3/AM3+ uATX selection was abysmal.

    edit – be nice if some have intel nics on them also

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    Could Biostar just stop doing this? Those checkers really look out of place on a motherboard and serve no purpose, not even excite gamers at all into thinking “I’m a gamer and that’s the board for me!” And they do make the boards look silly and cheap, and far less professional than Biostar thinks. Personally I don’t want a board that looks stupid like that.

      • strangerguy
      • 3 years ago

      Even actual supercars I see on roads look understated compared to these flashy mobos. Who exactly are they trying to impress…Kids? They aren’t the demographic with the disposable income to burn anyway.

        • ronch
        • 3 years ago

        Well, I see folks who have the disposable income but have the brains of 5-year old kids so…. yeah…..

      • deruberhanyok
      • 3 years ago

      Idunno, it’s unique. It isn’t black and red. Would be largely unnoticeable through a case window with various stuffs installed.

      Where’s the harm?

        • ronch
        • 3 years ago

        Technically no harm but I’d feel better knowing I have a nice, classy, serious-business, no-nonsense board inside my rig, seen or unseen.

      • Redocbew
      • 3 years ago

      Maybe they want you to duct tape the board to a stick and wave it around at passing traffic.

      • crabjokeman
      • 3 years ago

      Biostar is hardly the worst offender when it comes to shameless, glitzy decoration and RGB LED’s…

    • LoneWolf15
    • 3 years ago

    WhoTF needs PCI slots any more?

    I can’t think of a single peripheral (NIC, sound card, storage controller, interface port of some sort) that I can’t get in PCI Express. Nor can I think of a reason I’d hobble such an expansion card by choosing a PCI one.

      • south side sammy
      • 3 years ago

      you might think they are useless, and mostly they are, but to have a slot that’s far away from the pci-e slots comes in handy for that NIC card when the occasion arises. especially for me on Asrock boards for some strange reason.

      • CScottG
      • 3 years ago

      I do. I’ve got a legacy Echo Layla 3G that has the outputs I need and really hasn’t been surpassed in audio quality. (..sad thing is, it’s only a “break-out”/transmission card to the DAC.)

      Sure, there are alternatives available – but why spend another $300 or more to TRY and duplicate what I already have?

      (..for that matter I’ve also got a Sound Blaster X-Fi Fata1ty card as well, but it can be more easily replaced.. mostly from software of all things.)

        • LoneWolf15
        • 3 years ago

        I eventually replaced my X-Fi PCI with a PCIe one (X-Fi Titanium) which I still use, just for that reason.

        I’ll probably have little reason for a sound card if/when they stop supporting it; as 3D positional audio in hardware is no longer a thing, even though a Realtek 1150 isn’t that special, nothing is so much more amazing for the non-professional uses I have for it that I’ll need one. I always bought sound cards because they could perform tasks in hardware that onboard could not.

          • strangerguy
          • 3 years ago

          Slot-based consumer sound cards has been an exercise in futility for quite some time since the revamped audio stack introduced since Vista and the transition to purely software based audio in games. Just about anything about sound is done cheaper or better with mobo onboard or USB, especially if when one is using only digital outputs.

        • Anovoca
        • 3 years ago

        Not to mention, that particular board is called out for having a lower grade audio chipset.

      • hansmuff
      • 3 years ago

      It’s a niche, but an understandable one. Much as people love to dump on Creative Labs, they support their old cards for a LONG time, and some of those were pretty expensive.

      Think of it this way: if you did have a PCI card and wanted Kaby Lake, well, this would be one of your few choices. It’s not a bad way to distinguish yourself.

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      There are definitely uses in industrial settings where an old-school PCI slot is needed [even on a high-performance system].

      Not that you’d probably want this particular Biostar motherboard for those uses, but that’s another story.

      • albundy
      • 3 years ago

      i wanna stay with my X-Fi fatality platinum so i need pci. running coax digital (the time warner guy gave me a 30ft cable as a free extra when he installed my internets) from pc to home theater.

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      I wouldn’t need it but it’s not like I’m running out of space for expansion card slots. Let them be there. You never know when they’ll come in handy.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 3 years ago

        If you don’t already have some ancient legacy PCI card that you’re unwilling to replace, there is zero reason to buy a PCI slot for any future use. Creative Labs went to PCIe with the Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium series in mid-2008, eliminating the need for PCI slots on most newer motherboards.

          • ronch
          • 3 years ago

          Who said anything about Sound Blaster? My X-Fi is PCIe.

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 3 years ago

            If you don’t [b<]already[/b<] have an irreplaceable 9+ year old legacy PCI card now, you should not waste space and resources on your [b<]new[/b<] motherboard with an obsolete PCI slot. Either get a smaller (micro-ATX) motherboard, or use that space for PCIe slots that could actually be useful for an expansion card that you might buy in the current decade.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 3 years ago

            You did say “you’ll never know when they’ll come in handy.” JAE is saying that if you don’t already have a purpose for this legacy port, you do, in fact know: it’s never going to come in handy.

            • ronch
            • 3 years ago

            How can you say with certainty that I’ll never need them? I once had a family member who was having trouble with his PCI wifi adapter. I had a PCIe adapter. I would’ve been able to trade cards with him if my board had a spare PCI slot. But no, we couldn’t trade and so he had to go out and get a new adapter. The PCI adapter he had was fine but the reception wasn’t very good where he was located with respect to the router. See?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 3 years ago

            “Maybe this old adapter might work out for me and save $10 some day in the future.” That is the most convoluted excuse anybody could fathom

      • anotherengineer
      • 3 years ago

      My $200 sound card says it does. Wish they had pcie ones when i bought the thing back in the day.

      [url<]https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829271002[/url<]

        • Wirko
        • 3 years ago

        My E-mu 1212m says the same. But TWO slots? I’m as confused as anyone when I see two PCI slots on a recent motherboard.

    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    I don’t know why motherboard makers are preoccupied with racing motif for motherboards.

    Racecars are unsafe, unreliable and finicky. I want a motherboard that’s the Volvo station wagon of computer equipment, or a microbus, or an F-150.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 3 years ago

      [quote=”Voldenuit”<]...or an F-150.[/quote<] The F-150 [b<]Raptor[/b<] model, of course, with 450 hp, 5.0 second 0-60 mph, 13.7 second 100 mph quarter mile, 8000 lb towing capacity and serious 4x4 off-road capability? They even added three LED lights in the front grill to give you that extra bling! [url<]http://www.caranddriver.com/ford/f-150-raptor[/url<]

    • EndlessWaves
    • 3 years ago

    I had the same expansion slots on the 2007 P5Q Pro I bought.

    With the all new platform I was hoping we’d move beyond the x16@16x, x16@x4, x1, x1 that’s been standard on mid-range boards for the last decade.

    An HDMI 1.4 and DVI output is equally ancient, if not more so. With the integrated graphics supporting multiple 4K 60hz outputs why are the motherboards so far beyond? As only the low end CPU will be using it at all supporting HDMI 2.0 bandwidth only on the top end board seems very silly.

    Still, at least they support DDR4-2666 instead of DDR4-2400.

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<]With the all new platform I was hoping we'd move beyond the x16@16x, x16@x4, x1, x1 that's been standard on mid-range boards for the last decade.[/quote<] Part of it is a function of physical space that's available for the slots, and part of it is a function of the platform having a similar number of available PCIe lanes to most other consumer platforms, including Z170/Z270.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    X370/B350…Oh snap! They’re a step ahead of Intel!!!

      • tsk
      • 3 years ago

      Typical AMD to do this; let’s use Intels naming scheme but one number higher so people think it’s better. Now let’s hope Intel names their next mobos Z/H370 and B350 for maximum confusion.

        • DPete27
        • 3 years ago

        Z/H370 and B350 is actually the natural progression of their mobos. Right now they’re on Z/H270 and B250.

          • tsk
          • 3 years ago

          I know, they will name them something else now though.

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    >Biostar’s motherboards Ryzen to the challenge

    • south side sammy
    • 3 years ago

    they do look like $50 bottom end boards.

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      Did you notice the top CPU heatsink retention clip was already broken off the X370GT7 picture!?

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        It’s nice to see them doing that at the factory so you don’t have to do it yourself.

        • south side sammy
        • 3 years ago

        that’s the $40 model…. LOL………..
        I think the screws are there. must be boards that have been passed around…. no, the screws aren’t there. somebody must have gotten hungry.

        • Waco
        • 3 years ago

        It’s not broken off, it’s not even screwed onto the board.

    • ozzuneoj
    • 3 years ago

    These boards are really sparse looking… lots of empty space around the socket.

    Speaking of the socket. I can’t help but notice how odd that style of socket looks in 2017 compared to the heavy duty LGA bracket deal I’ve been used to for 10 years. I worked on a Socket AM3+ FX system for someone recently and when the CPU slipped right out with the heatsink after I reapplied thermal paste (long story… kid had dismantled the system and managed to bend a CPU pin after yanking it out by accident himself and then not handling it properly, then said he never took it out) I was reminded of how much I appreciate LGA systems when working on them.

    At the same time, I’d much rather straighten a pin on a CPU than one in an LGA socket, so it is a double edged sword…

    In the end, once the CPU and cooler are installed it doesn’t really matter. I will hopefully be able to remember now to TWIST the heatsink off to remove it when dealing with AM2\3\4 systems from now on.

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<]These boards are really sparse looking... lots of empty space around the socket.[/quote<] Plenty of clearance for giant fans CONFIRMED!

      • K-L-Waster
      • 3 years ago

      Wait, you mean AMD is still using ZIF?

      Didn’t that go out with ISA slots and USB 1.2?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<]I will hopefully be able to remember now to TWIST the heatsink off to remove it when dealing with AM2\3\4 systems from now on.[/quote<] Pulling a pin off of a CPU really sucks because now it's stuck in the board and the CPU is (probably) ruined. That "from now on" tells me you already know that, though.

        • ozzuneoj
        • 3 years ago

        Thankfully no pins were pulled off or broken.

        I just meant that after having the CPU come out with the heatsink (most likely it came out easier because the kid had jammed it in there and bent a pin, so it wasn’t fully seated… which was why his system wouldn’t boot) I remembered that it is best to slide\twist the heatsink off of the CPU with these sockets to avoid having the CPU pull straight out with it due to suction.

        I’ve personally never broken a CPU pin off… surprisingly. I’ve had to straighten plenty though. I miss the old Socket A\370 pins though… lots more space and much heavier pins. These newer ones are so dense and thin, they make me a tad uncomfortable. I especially don’t like that the pins are so close to the edge of the CPU, because its possible to handle it quite gently and yet still bend a few pins ever so slightly on the edges (possibly because you’re using a vice-like grip with your fingers to make sure it doesn’t fall and ruin your day).

        In this particular situation, the kid and his dad were pretty happy when I straightened out the pins and got the system booting again. First time I’d ever done something like this on the spot while the owners were sitting there sweating, wondering if they needed to wring their kid’s neck and buy him a new PC. Good times. Reminded me a lot of the early days of my brother and I building PCs and making some very costly errors. 🙂

        I will say, it would have been much much much harder and much riskier had this been an LGA board of some kind with one or more bent pins in the socket. I have broken those pins off while straightening them before… thankfully only in boards I received “for parts”. The crazy angles, the fact that they get “twisted” most of the time, and the fact that they are so thin and chintzy makes them a nightmare. The only thing they have going for them is that there’s no reason for them to get bent unless you drop\poke something into the socket. For the record, I have never personally bent any pins in an LGA socket, even when doing socket 775 to 771 socket mods.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 3 years ago

    I mean, I know this isn’t exactly “in the lab” and all, but I seem to keep putting [url=https://techreport.com/news/31447/in-the-lab-aorus-z270x-gaming-8-motherboard?post=1021746<]my foot in my mouth[/url<] when it comes to Ryzen prognostication. Maybe I should just stop? Or...OR...maybe I need to keep predicting things so that the opposite comes true.

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      You don’t have to put RyZen in one of these things.

      If you can find one of the mythical “Bristol Ridge” APUs then you can plug one of those parts in for a completely pointless experience.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        I don’t [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M4_Ommfvv0<]FEEL useless[/url<]. edit: and you can put Skylake in a Z270 mobo. Although that chipset hadn't been officially released yet.

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