Reviewed: ROG STRIX X470-F Gaming

Affordable X470 awesomeness is here. Sure, $309 isn’t cheap, but it’s built to last, packed full of value and features from the renowned ASUS ROG range. Read on to meet the new motherboard we’ll be using in the PCTechReviews Test Bench for the next 12 months.

ASUS has followed up its successful X370 based STRIX series with the ROG STRIX X470-F Gaming in the ATX form factor. STRIX is the series aimed at enthusiasts and gamers who demand quality along with bells and whistles but still need to keep costs practical.

The ASUS ROG STRIX line is known for durability and a design that will go the distance – which is what you should prioritise where possible in a new system build. Let’s face it, the graphics card will get an upgrade before the motherboard. 2nd generation Ryzen CPUs with Performance Boost 2 and either 6 cores/12 threads or 8 cores/16 threads won’t be struggling to keep up anytime soon so buyers should quite rightly be looking for a new motherboard to grow old with from the X470 range. ‘Grow’ being the key term – there are 2x M.2 slots, multi-GPU with SLI and Crossfire support, 6 SATA ports, more USB connectivity than one could reasonably need and a decent sound platform. Despite not having WiFi as part of the package, a PCIe WiFi card or USB adapter could easily be added later if needed.

Some people love to tweak and tune their system manually, whilst other system owners want to spend as little time as possible optimising their PC for quiet running or overclocking, preferring instead to just get on with more important things like gaming or content creation. ASUS has nailed this balance by providing tools that make performance and thermal tuning easy but allow full control for those that want to really invest their time.

Let’s not leave out the memory compatibility, signature ROG BIOS and premium software suite including the RGB AURA Sync application that allows owners to make their board unique. One thing that got my attention was that AURA Sync also supports Philips Hue lighting so you can even control the lighting in your house/study within the ASUS Aura application after linking it to the Hue Bridge.

Catering for individual taste is a tricky area and ASUS has successfully executed a colour agnostic design with a black board and subtle branding. The RGB is fully customisable and you can even turn it off if bling isn’t your thing…. Or you can connect RGB LED strips, RGB RAM, RGB graphics cards and go all out. ASUS has left it up to you as to how far you take your RGB LED obsession.

For system builders, we see a couple of notable features to make that initial build activity a little easier. The pre-mounted I/O shield means that you can just install the stand-offs and drop the board in without fiddling around with a separate I/O shield plate. The Q-LEDs also help to indicate the nature of an issue when the system won’t boot and can tell you quickly if the problem relates to your CPU, memory, boot device issues, or graphics card (seriously, how many times do people forget to plug in the GPU power cables!!).

Key Features

ASUS summarised their key features per the list below but I’ll go into more detail during the review.

  • AM4 Socket for AMD Ryzen™ processors
  • Synchronized RGB lighting technology works with a vast portfolio of Aura Sync-capable PC gear and includes support for addressable light strips and Phillip Hue
  • Onboard M.2 Heatsink provides cooling for the M.2 drive, delivering consistent storage performance and enhanced reliability
  • Gaming connectivity: Intel Gigabit Ethernet, LANGaurd, dual M.2, USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • 5-Way Optimization: Automated system-wide tuning, providing overclocking and cooling profiles that are tailor made for your rig
  • Gaming audio: SupremeFX S1220A teams with Sonic Studio III to create an aural landscape that draws you deeper into the action.
  • Gamer’s Guardian: Pre-Mounted I/O Shield, ASUS SafeSlot and premium components for maximum endurance.
    The above features and more specific marketing information can be found on the product home page

Layout and Design

I usually start with the board layout and then move to the rear I/O connectivity but this time I’m starting with the pre-mounted I/O shield. It’s great! and I’m hoping that we see more of these across all manufacturers. Gigabyte also implemented this on their Aorus X470 Gaming 7, so whilst ASUS isn’t alone in offering it to the X470 market, having this feature is a key point of difference to other manufacturers. Pre-mounted I/O shields are one less thing to line-up on installation or lose. The integrated I/O shield and shroud also provide additional ESD protection. 

The top M.2 location lies between the socket and the first PCIe slot. It mounts above the backplate of the graphics card, not underneath the cooler, so the SSD should be exposed to less heat in this location. The top M.2 Slot also has a heat spreader.

As a multi-GPU capable motherboard, there is a gap designed to allow for one slot of airflow between 2 dual-slot graphics cards to prevent the top card from being starved of fresh air.

The CMOS battery is located centrally and can be changed without removing the graphics card. The CMOS reset header is also in an easy to access position in the lower right corner of the board. ASUS have also included some perfectly sized battery stickers to jazz up that boring CR2032 Lithium battery. Also included on the sheet are matching fan and cable labels with ROG stickers.

Header locations have been well thought out and are spread around the outside of the board with an RGB header and 2x 4-pin fan/pump headers located near the rear I/O shroud to help keep things neat.

The area around the AM4 socket has been kept clear to ease installation of retention brackets and the fitting of AM4 clip-style coolers.

Audio

ASUS has provided a solid audio package here. The chipset hardware works together with software to deliver an audio experience and an overlay at a software level to enhance the gaming experience.

At a hardware level, we see the implementation of the S1220A CODEC and dual OP amplifiers. The headphone and rear speaker jacks are auto-sensing and can detect the impedance of the speaker or headphone attached. The Signal-to-Noise ratio is rated at 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input.

ASUS has used a SupremeFX branded shield over the chipset which supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback.

On the software front, ASUS has included SONIC RADAR III and SONIC STUDIO III.

Sonic Studio III

Sonic Studio impacts on how the audio platform sounds and provides functionality to adjust the EQ settings, customise settings based on applications, tweak surround sound configurations and implement environment-based audio effects. HRTF (Head-Related Transfer Function) support is also available for VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Sonic Radar III

I’m in two minds on Sonic Radar and have been since I first saw it on the Maximus VI Gene.

On a purist level, I fundamentally disagree with the concept that it provides a visual indicator of where gunshots or footsteps might be coming from. I’m perfectly fine with the audio platform delivering clarity that some other boards may not be able to match and this can also be impacted by the speaker setup or headphones. A visual indicator that helps a gamer see the relative direction of the loudest noise source can provide an advantage over other non-sonic radar enabled players. My personal issue is that Sonic Radar III works and seems to work well. I don’t think it made me a better or more lethal gamer but that doesn’t mean that it won’t help someone else. In games like COD or Counterstrike if you can see the team-mate markers on the map and then hear/see activity from a different direction without friendly markers it stands to reason that you’ve got a potentially unfair (albeit slight) advantage. From a product perspective, it’s great and I can’t fault ASUS for developing and including it in the package.

The audio is crisp and pleasant. I really enjoyed gaming and listening to music via the SupremeFX sound solution. On a personal note, the audio implementation is the ‘hero’ of the motherboard in my mind, narrowly ahead of the build quality.

AURA SYNC

ASUS generally make a big deal about their RGB LED software AURA SYNC. The software itself is very polished and it integrates well with LED strips, coolers, our in Win 509 case RGB and both the HyperX Predator RGB and ADATA Spectrix LED DDR4 kits we tested. The RGB presence on the ROG STRIX X470-F Gaming motherboard is quite subtle with the only onboard RGB LEDs residing in the logo on the rear I/O shroud. Aesthetically, this works and makes it up to the system builder as to how ‘loud’ they want their system lighting to be. 

The software is functional and easy to use but the main point of difference is the integration with Philips Hue lighting bridges that can control your house lighting. This means that not only can the Aura Sync software control the lighting on your PC (and ASUS ROG peripherals) but it can also potentially control your room lighting if you use a Philips Hue home lighting kit.

The lighting options include the usual strobe, rainbow, wave, breathing effects and smart effects based on music and system temperature or load.

There is one thing that I’d like to see implemented and this isn’t a criticism of ASUS as I don’t believe any other vendor offers the functionality I’m looking for at this time. I’d like to see a lighting mode that links a defined profile to an application in a way that allows you to have a set ambient lighting configuration for different games or perhaps video editing. Some games have peripheral RGB LED profiles. An example is Battlefield 1 where a Logitech ‘Spectrum’ RGB keyboard lights up in white with certain keys that change colour depending on the need to open a door or reload a weapon – and the whole Logitech Orion peripheral set of keyboard, mouse and headset will glow red when you are killed in the game. Extending this from a Logitech RGB peripheral integration to a full ASUS AURA SYNC implementation including the extension to Philips Hue lighting would provide even better immersion. ASUS is probably the vendor closest to reaching this capability with the widest range of RGB-enabled products.

Network Connectivity

Gigabit LAN is on offer via an Intel® I211-AT Chipset with anti-surge LANGuard protection. The GameFirst IV software is intuitive and works as expected but if you are obsessive about your pings I’d always suggest closing down applications that compete for bandwidth rather than relying on (any) software or network QOS to prioritise your gaming traffic.

Packaging & Build Quality

The packaging is typical of most manufacturers and the board is well protected.

Build quality feels first rate and this is something that we expect/demand from ROG products. We expect it because ASUS differentiate their ROG product line as hardcore and highest quality – and because they have established a track record in this regard with previous products that carry the ROG branding. We demand it because ASUS ROG products aren’t cheap – there are other product lines available if you can’t stretch the budget into Republic of Gamers territory.

In terms of longevity and durability, we see:

  • ASUS SafeSlot is a strengthened PCI-E slot design that has a reinforced slot with metal support and additional solder points to protect against heavier graphics cards shearing off the PCI-E slot or splitting it. Whilst I’ve never seen this happen, I’ve spoken to one person who experienced this issue on an older LAN PC where the damage seemed to occur during transit. SafeSlot is implemented on the 16x and 8x slots.
  • High-Quality Solid Capacitors – These are rated at temperatures between  -55℃ to 105℃ so unless you game in a furnace or a freezer, you can expect these to outlive capacitors on other components.
  • Overcurrent Protection has been implemented with resettable fuses to protect connection ports and DRAM modules from damage.
  • ASUS Digi+ VRM provides smooth power delivery to the CPU which is more important to stability when boosting or overclocking.

Track Record of Quality

Let’s take a moment to look at that track record I just mentioned and our experience in this area.

We’ve been using two ASUS motherboards here across a number of projects since the start of 2014, the ASUS Maximus VI Gene and the Z87 Gryphon. Both are still in use albeit formally retired from project builds and review work. The Maximus VI Gene has been put out to pasture as a secondary Oculus system and the Gryphon now operates as a silent office workstation for proofreading and research but these are among the most reliable and durable motherboards we’ve seen. Their bundled applications set the benchmark at the time for motherboard software and applications – while the competitors have largely closed the gap in this regard we’d like to acknowledge that the ‘Z87’ era for ASUS had them leading the way. The Maximus VI Gene was the first motherboard I’d seen with secure erase functionality for SSDs built into the BIOS and the thermal armour and sensors of the Z87 Gryphon set a benchmark for thermal tuning and durability. Fast forward to today and the ASUS design team continue to innovate with PWM fan controllers on video cards to improve the case airflow based on the needs of the graphics card, AURA Sync RGB lighting, thermal tuning and other initiatives to improve performance and increase the lifespan of their products.

Last October, we worked with Roccat and DXRacer to build six demonstration gaming PCs for their PAX AUS booth in Melbourne. ASUS also partnered in the showcase, loaning 6 motherboards and graphics cards. The components were a mixture of new and what looked like pre-used review samples but they all went together without any issues at all and the build/installation process for the whole showcase was completed in less than a day.

Finally, in the longest reliability experiment we have undertaken, we are currently still using an ASUS P8Z77 Deluxe motherboard in a dedicated home server. This board was reviewed previously here and has been in use since March 2013. The system (i7-3770K, 16GB Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3) has been running 24×7 as a file and media server since January 2014 and we haven’t had a single issue with it.

Specifications

CPUAMD AM4 Socket
AMD Ryzen™ 2nd Generation
Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Vega Graphics
Ryzen™ 1st Generation
7th Generation A-series
Athlon X4 Processors
Supports CPU up to 8 cores
* Refer to www.asus.com for CPU support list
ChipsetAMD X470
MemoryAMD Ryzen™ 2nd Generation Processors
4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 3600(O.C.)/3466(O.C.)/3400(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2933(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz Un-buffered Memory *
AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Vega Graphics/ Ryzen™ 1st Generation Processors
4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 3400(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2933(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz Un-buffered Memory *
AMD 7th Generation A-Series/Athlon X4 Processors
4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 2400/2133 MHz Un-buffered Memory 
Dual Channel Memory Architecture 
* Refer to www.asus.com for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).
BIOS256 Mb Flash ROM,
UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP,
WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0,
ACPI 6.0,
Multi-language BIOS, 
ASUS EZ Flash 3,
CrashFree BIOS 3,
F11 EZ Tuning Wizard,
F6 Qfan Control,
F3 My Favorites,
Last Modified log,
F12 PrintScreen, Secure Erase,
User Profile,
F4 AURA ON/OFF,
F9 Search,
and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information.
GraphicsIntegrated Graphics in the AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Vega Graphics/ 7th Generation A-Series APU
 
Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DisplayPort ports 
- Supports HDMI 1.4b with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
- Supports DisplayPort 1.2 with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 60 Hz
Maximum shared memory of 2048 MB (for iGPU exclusively)

Multi-GPU Support
Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology
 
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
AudioSupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A
- Dual OP Amplifiers
- Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
- High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input
- SupremeFX Shielding Technology
- Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback *3
Audio Feature :
- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
- Sonic Radar III
- Sonic Studio III + Sonic Studio Link
LANIntel® I211-AT, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
Anti-surge LANGuard
ROG GameFirst Technology
USB PortsAMD Ryzen™ 2nd Generation/ Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Vega Graphics/ Ryzen™ 1st Generation/7th Generation A-Series/Athlon X4 Processors : 
4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue)

AMD X470 chipset : 
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector port(s) 

AMD X470 chipset : 
4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (2 at back panel, , 2 at mid-board)

AMD X470 chipset : 
4 x USB 2.0 port(s) (4 at mid-board)

ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller : 
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (2 at back panel, red, Type-A)
Expansion SlotsAMD Ryzen™ 2nd Generation/ Ryzen™ 1st Generation Processors
2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8) 

AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Vega Graphics /7th Generation A-Series/Athlon X4 Processors
1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x8 mode) 
AMD X470 chipset
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode) *1
3 x PCIe 2.0 x1
StorageAMD Ryzen™ 2nd Generation/ Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Vega Graphics/ Ryzen™ 1st Generation Processors : 
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)

AMD 7th Generation A-series/Athlon™ Processors : 
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA mode)

AMD X470 chipset : 
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 2 mode)*2
6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), 
Support Raid 0, 1, 10
Internal Connectors1 x Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
2 x RGB Header(s)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 X2 mode)
1 x TPM connector(s) 
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s) 
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) 
3 x Chassis Fan connector(s) 
1 x AIO_PUMP connector 
1 x W_PUMP+ connector 
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
1 x System panel connector
1 x COM port header
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s)
Rear Panel I/O1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
5 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, 
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jack(s)
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (red)Type-A
1 x USB 3.1 (black)USB Type-CTM
Anti-surge LAN (RJ45) port
ROG ExclusiveROG RAMCache II
ROG CPU-Z
Overwolf
GameFirst IV
Special Feature5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
- Whole system optimization with a single click! 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo App together, providing better CPU performance, efficient power saving, precise digital power control, whole system cooling and even tailor your own app usages.
TPU
- Auto Tuning, TurboV, GPU Boost
Gamer's Guardian:
- DRAM Overcurrent Protection
- Stainless Steel Back I/O
- Highly Durable Components
- DIGI+ VRM
- SafeSlot
- ESD Guards on LAN, Audio,and USB ports
ASUS EPU :
- EPU 
AURA :
- Aura Lighting Control
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- AI Suite 3
- Ai Charger 
ASUS EZ DIY :
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3 
- ASUS EZ Flash 3 
ASUS Q-Design :
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM 
Gaming Aesthetics :
- AURA-RGB Lighting
ManageabilityWOL, WOR, PXE
Support CDDrivers
ASUS Utilities
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
AccessoriesUser's manual
4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x M.2 Screw Package
1 x Supporting DVD
1 x Strix door hanger
1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)
1 x ROG Strix stickers
1 x Cable ties pack(s)
1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)
1 x Extension cable for Addressable LED
Form FactorATX Form Factor 
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )
OSWindows® 10 64-bit
Note*1 PCIeX16_3 slot shares bandwidth with PCIeX1_1 and PCIeX1_3.
*2 M.2_2 socket shares PCIe clock with PCIeX1_1, when PCIeX1_1 or PCIeX1_3 are occupied, M.2_2 only can support SATA mode. 
*3 Due to limitations in HDA bandwidth, 32-Bit/192kHz is not supported for 8-Channel audio. 

BIOS

It’s a Republic of Gamers UEFI. I’ve attached some screenshots below to demonstrate the interface. The interface is intuitive and has a few options that can easily be overlooked. DOCP found the XMP settings on all DDR4 kits we tried. There is an EZ mode and an advanced mode – if you’re buying this board, you owe it to yourself to look at the manual, invest a few minutes in Google and take the advanced mode for a spin.

The UEFI also tells you the SMART information/status of your connected hard drives in the advanced section.

SSD Secure Erase is also retained from previous iterations allowing you to effectively factory reset your SSD. In the interests of being thorough, I nuked an ADATA SX7000 M.2 SSD using this tool and it worked exactly as advertised … making sure that I was really sure I actually wanted it completely erased. You shouldn’t erase an SSD by accident here.

At the end of my trek through the Advanced mode of the UEFI BIOS, I felt that I had more visibility of my components, their specifications and their status than I’ve seen with other interfaces.

RAMCACHE II

I like the concept of RAMCACHE in that it allows you to use faster system memory as a cache for files that are stored on slower storage.

We have just completed our testing of the AMD StoreMI that is available with the X470 chipset and have had limited time since re-imaging the system in a typical configuration.

For the purpose of RAMCACHE II testing, we also installed an ADATA SX7000 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD rated at up to 1800MB/s (read) and up to 850MB/s (write) solely for the purpose of comparing with and without a cache. The higher speeds reduced the SATA III limitations of the other SSDs. The SX7000 was mounted as a logical drive but simply formatted and left empty except for our testing runs.

We used the RAMCACHE II application to use 12GB of our 32GB of HyperX Predator RGB 2933MHz DDR4 as the cache.

The results are impressive and whilst we will be spending more time actually using it, the benchmarks below are very encouraging.

Both the Samsung SATA SSD and Seagate Firecuda 2TB HDD showed significant read improvements in the Crystal Disk Mark benchmarks.

When using RAMCACHE II for gaming and general application work we noticed an improvement in level load times when using Battlefield 1, Fallout 4 and Elder Scrolls Online. The system did feel ‘snappier’ in general but we didn’t have a lot of time to really give RAMCACHE II a decent thrashing. This application turned out to be one of the real hidden gems that we weren’t expecting so there will be a follow-up article on this in the near future.

Test System

Test Rig Specification

  • AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
  • EK XLC-240 Predator AIO water cooler
  • 16GB G.Skill Sniper X 3400MHz DDR4 (Benchmarks and overclocking)
  • 32GB ADATA 2400 SPRECTRIX RGB DDR4, 32GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4 2933 (Aura Sync and compatibility testing)
  • ASUS ROG STRIX X470-F Gaming Motherboard
  • MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G 4GB
  • Samsung Evo 840 250GB SSD
  • Samsung Evo 860 250GB M.2 SATA SSD (Only for testing StoreMI)
  • WD Blue 2TB 3.5″ HDD (Only for testing StoreMI)
  • ADATA SX7000 M.2 NVMe 256GB SSD (used only for testing RAMCACHE II)
  • Seagate Firecuda 2TB 3.5″ HDD
  • Aerocool Project 7 750W 80 Platinum PSU
  • In Win 509 Case
  • Logitech G910 keyboard
  • Logitech G900 mouse
  • Logitech Z533 desktop speakers
  • Kingston HyperX Cloud Revolver headset
  • ViewSonic XG2703-GS Monitor – (G-SYNC disabled for benchmarking)

Overclocking

We had already tested the 2700X on the ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate and Gigabyte Aorus X470 Gaming 7 WiFi and found what we felt was the limitation of the CPU. This didn’t really change and we hit the 4.25GHz at 1.425v without any dramas.

Interestingly, the 4.3GHz overclock at 1.425v still failed under benchmarks as it did on the other two X470 motherboards – it lasted longer in the stress test by 10 minutes, but still crashed out in the end.

Pricing

The Crosshair VII Hero and Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi take X470 boards and Ryzen 2nd generation to the top level… at a high cost and with features that many gamers don’t really “need”. The ROG STRIX X470-F Gaming hits the enthusiast gamer market right between the eyes with high-end build quality, an appropriate set of features, some really convenient extras and a price tag of around $300 give or take $10.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

I really enjoyed testing the ASUS ROG STRIX X470-F Gaming and look forward to retesting all of our Ryzen CPUs when we re-benchmark them in the near future.  The board has a clean and practical layout making it easy to work with. Having a pre-mounted rear I/O shield demonstrates nice attention to detail and consideration of the system builder – it’s also a very welcome aesthetic touch. There is a single heat spreader for the top M.2 slot which is something you’d rather have than not.

The things that stood out during the dedicated testing period were the stability, the polish on the bundled application but most of all the Audio experience.

I liked the subtle RGB lighting and the software supported our power supply, case and DDR4 RGB LEDs as if they were ASUS components – which they weren’t. This is how it should be. You can have the I/O shield LED running or turned off when the system is in a sleep, hibernated or soft-state.

ASUS stayed true to the ROG BIOS of previous generations and the look and feel of it will be very familiar to system builders upgrading from older ROG boards. This might not seem like much but there are some nifty options in there that we don’t see on other motherboards. I would have liked to see a BIOS flashback function or dual BIOS mechanism included as a safety net but if omitting this makes the board more affordable then perhaps it’s a fair compromise.

I didn’t find myself wanting for anything in particular, except perhaps a second USB 3.1 Gen 1 motherboard header as our In Win 509 case has 4 USB 3 ports on the front and 2 header cables. The motherboard has a USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel header which will likely be more useful in the future.

There are times when you use a product and it just ‘feels’ bulletproof. This was one of those times. This is a board that screams ‘Durability’ and has everything a gaming enthusiast would need. You could spend a lot on an X470 board if you want to, but the ASUS ROG STRIX X470 Gaming hits the ~$300 price point perfectly.

  ASUS ROG STRIX X470-F Gaming Motherboard
 

PROS

Very good audio platform
Solid performance and durability
Polished software bundle
Great aesthetics and subtle RGB LED

Reasonably priced

CONS

– BIOS flashback not implemented
Awards

 

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