ROG Strix X370-I and B350-I are itty-bitty boards for Ryzen builds

You remember way back about 24 hours ago when we reported on that ITX Ryzen motherboard that Asus was teasing? As it turns out, the company actually has a pair of new motherboards, and we've got the full details on them now. The two boards are the ROG Strix X370-I Gaming and the ROG Strix B350-I Gaming. As you no doubt expect, both models fit the mini-ITX form factor and have AM4 sockets.

ROG Strix X370-I Gaming

In our comments, gerbil tsk pointed out that the AMD X370 chipset doesn't offer a lot over the B350 chipset for an ITX motherboard. His observation was markedly astute, as these two motherboards appear to be completely identical. That means both models come with a pair of DDR4 DIMM slots capable of running their memory at up to 3600 MT/s, along with a single PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 socket, a PCIe 2.0 x4 M.2 socket, and four SATA ports.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of these boards is that their audio hardware actually comes on a daughterboard suspended above the PCB. That daughterboard also holds the aforementioned PCIe 3.0-capable M.2 socket. The whole thing then gets covered by an aluminum plate bearing an RGB LED-illuminated ROG logo. Given that Asus refers to the cover as a "heatsink" we'd have liked to see some fins on it, but in our experience M.2 SSDs don't really need that much cooling anyway.

The audio codec on hand itself is the Realtek S1220A on both boards. The networking hardware is all provided by Intel, and consists of the usual Gigabit Ethernet and 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Whichever model you choose, you'll have four USB 3.0 ports and two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports on the back panel, as well as another two USB 3.0 ports and a pair of USB 2.0 ports via internal headers.

ROG Strix B350-I Gaming

Jeff correctly identified the onboard connectors yesterday, although one of the RGB LED headers is Aura Sync-addressable. There's also a dedicated connector for water-cooling pumps like on the majority of Asus' finer boards, as well as a thermal probe header. Given all that clearance around the CPU socket and the generous allocation of power phases, these boards might be able to take Ryzen CPUs to their limits. Asus says the ROG Strix X370-I Gaming and B350-I Gaming will be available late this month.

Comments closed
    • freebird
    • 2 years ago

    Is anyone else SHOCKED that the B350 board doesn’t have any on-board video ports? Not even one?

    I’ve been waiting/looking forward to some more AM4 ITX boards, so I can grab a RavenRidge when available and replace my Richland (overheating) based HTPC.

    I guess AsRock & Gigabyte are the only games in town for this future build… (BioStar has one, but I’ve had bad experiences with them)

    [url<]https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&IsNodeId=1&N=100007625%20601292786%20600009028[/url<]

      • MOSFET
      • 2 years ago

      I am shocked at the lack of video outs. So I guess we know what that one expansion slot is for…

      I still have two Richland systems in my office, and while I admit they are slow for power-user-usage, one thing they don’t do is produce much heat or drink much power. The 65W A8-6500 idles (full-system) at 27W. The 95-100W A8-6600K is overclocked to 4.4 GHz and is cooled by a $17 CoolerMaster HyperT2 heatsink with 92mm fan. Definitely not overheating. [Just in case you didn’t know, the internal temp sensors on the old APU line is broken. It reports roughly twice the actual temp.]

    • tsk
    • 2 years ago

    Given that the boards are identical I wonder what the price difference will be.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    Wow, so I was going to comment on the silly size of the PCH heatsink yesterday, thinking how big it was because there was no way room for a PCH and M.2 slot under there so it MUST be the PCH. Then I thought better of it, because it doesn’t really matter if the heatsink is [i<]overengineered[/i<]; That's a good thing. But, no. Asus have one-upped themselves; Rather than putting the M.2 slot on the back like everyone else, they've created two new problems. First of all they've shrunk the PCH heatsink down to "why even bother?" size. Second, they suffocated it by cutting off the precious little airflow it had with a daughterboard. for the M.2 that belongs on the back of the board. So, with other mITX boards, you can access the M.2 slot by removing the GPU and then pulling the board and other components out as one lump. With this design you don't have to remove the motherboard - you only need to take out the GPU, then the RAM, then the, the CPU cooler, probably the SATA cables, definitely the Audio front panel connector, and then the heatsink+LED card. MUCH EASIER, RIGHT?

      • synthtel2
      • 2 years ago

      It’s worse than that – with a decent cutout in the case’s mobo tray, an M.2 drive on the back only needs a case panel popped off for access, and that often results in a much cooler environment for the drive than this location on the front could ever be.

      • Goty
      • 2 years ago

      What’s the power consumption of the chipset, anyhow (and does AMD use the PCH acronym?) From what I recall, heatsinks on these things are largely for show nowadays.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        I don’t know about power consumption of the X370 but I remember reading an article that says 40% lower power consumption than AM3+ and those chipsets range from 13.6W to 22W depending on which model.

        So, uh – a very ballpark figure says probably 8W for the A320 and about 13W for the X370. If that’s even remotely accurate a heatsink is certainly still necessary. The 2.7W Lynx Point PCH in my laptops have small heatsinks on them, and my 8.4W cree bike headlight gets painfully hot without air flowing over it.

        As for the term PCH, I also don’t know. AMD use the phrase Fusion Controller Hub for their APUs. The word “chipset” is definitely outdated though since the nortbridge was swallowed up by the CPU and the southbridge is all that’s left. I’m just gonna keep calling it a PCH until AMD find a better acronym. They can’t call the AM4 chips a FCH just yet, because Ryzen is not a “Fusion” APU.

          • MOSFET
          • 2 years ago

          B350 = 5.8W

          Your other chipset TDP (a very loosely defined term, and nearly always a design maximum) numbers jive with Wikipedia, so let’s keep going. A88X and FM2+ socket got the Fusion Controller Hub down to 7.8W. B350 is listed as 5.8W, and it’s the only AM4 chipset [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_chipsets<]with a TDP entry.[/url<] Chipset lithography has apparently dropped from 65nm to 55nm.

            • Chrispy_
            • 2 years ago

            Hmm, I didn’t think to check Wikipedia; good find.

            5.8W is probably still in heatsink territory. My Cree XML lamp is a 1000mW at 8.4-7.2V DC (so a minimum of 7.2W) and it has a huge surface area compared to most PCH/FCH heatsinks and still gets very hot – 70-80°C hot, if my fingers are any good at judging things.

    • synthtel2
    • 2 years ago

    My ASRock AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac has P-state VID control, Vcore offset, and VSoC offset, but no 100% manual Vcore or VSoC. I was under the impression X370 was the fix for that. (I don’t know where I got that idea though, so take it with a grain of salt.)

    • K-L-Waster
    • 2 years ago

    Good to see more SFF boards for RyZen coming out. Better late than never.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 2 years ago

      Raven Ridge may be a phenomenally good APU for small PCs. Currently Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 CPUs are less well suited for tiny boxes because you’ve still got to add a graphics card. There are, of course, several mini-ITX cases available that accept a full-size graphics card, but the reduced size and power consumption of an APU opens up the possibility of some very small boxes.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 2 years ago

        Only problem with APUs for these is no video outs…

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 2 years ago

          That’s a shame. That means that they’ll sell a smaller number of these motherboards into the niche market of mini-ITX RyZen 7 systems with graphics cards instead of combining them into the larger market that will include Raven Ridge APUs. The reduced sales volume will make these motherboards more expensive than they would have been otherwise.

      • Chrispy_
      • 2 years ago

      Just MSI late to the party now.

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