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Biostar X370GTN ITX AM4 Motherboard Review

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,141
Location
Montreal
If you live in North America, chances are that Biostar is not the first name that pops into your head when thinking about motherboard manufacturers. While they have a significant presence in Asia, they haven't really made a big splash on this continent, partially because they don't make the flashy high-end motherboards that get everyone's attention. Thankfully, sometimes you just have to make something unique to get a lot of attention, and that is why we are reviewing the Biostar X370GTN.

Biostar one upped everyone in the industry by not only announcing the first Mini-ITX AM4 motherboard, but by releasing it before anyone else had even announced their versions. Not only that, but at $110 USD / $150 CAD, the X370GTN is quite really affordable too. While we have a lot of experience with Intel-based Mini-ITX that are at least 50% more expensive than this AM4 model, it will be interesting to see what Biostar has been able to create with a low price point and tiny 7" x 7" piece of PCB.

When we look at the specs, the first things that stand out are the seven-phase CPU power design and the 4-pin CPU power connector. Could these prove to be limitations when overclocking? We are going to find out. When it comes to connectivity and expansion, this motherboard is quite similar to other pint-sized offerings. There are four SATA 6Gb/s ports, one full-speed PCI-E 3.0 x4 M.2 slot, two full-speed USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, one Type-A and one Type-C, up to six USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 2.0 headers, for a grand total of ten possible USB ports. When it comes to networking, there is one Realtek Dragon-powered gigabit LAN port and no onboard Wi-Fi, which is a slight disappointment but not at all unexpected given the low price point.

As you would expect, there is only one PCI-E x16 slot that will likely house a graphics card if you're planning to use a Ryzen processor. However, this motherboard also supports AMD's new seventh generation Bristol Ridge APUs and it will surely also support the upcoming Zen-based Raven Ridge APUs. If you do install an APU, your video output choices will be limited to DVI-D or HDMI 1.4.

The onboard audio solution is based on the Realtek ALC892 ten-channel codec, which is familiar to us since it was Reatek's high-end audio codec all the way back in 2010-2011. The codec is helped along with a chunky pair of 'Hi-Fi' audio capacitors, a headphone sense amplifier, and the whole audio section is protected by a PCB-level isolation line that helps keep noise out of the audio signal. If and when you listen to music, you will able to be able to make the onboard RGB LED lighting dance to the beat. There is not only lighting into the single MOSFET cooler, but there are also two headers on which to attach 5050 RGB LED light strips.

Despite being small, the Biostar X370GTN appears to be competently equipped for its price. However, implementation is everything, and we are going to found whether Biostar had to cut any corners in order to be first to the market.

 
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MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,141
Location
Montreal
Packaging & Accessories

Packaging & Accessories


Now that we have gone over the X370GTN's features and specifications in the intro, it is time to examine the packaging and then crack open the box to take a look at the bundled accessories. Let's check it out:



Click on image to enlarge

Although it's not evident in these pictures, the box that the Biostar X370GTN ships it is larger than you would expect at 11" x 10.5" x 2.5". We suspect that it was actually designed for Micro ATX motherboards, but is now pulling double duty for Biostar's Mini ITX models as well.

Much like the rest of the Biostar Racing motherboard lineup, the X370GTN's packaging has a carbon fiber look, a Tron-line car silhouette, and a World of Tanks offer in the top right corner. On the back of the box, you will find a decent amount of information about the interesting features that have been packed onto this model, as well as a handy rear I/O panel diagram and an abbreviated specifications list.



Click on image to enlarge

When you open the packaging you can see that motherboard is held in place and protected by a good amount of cardboard on all sides, which makes sense if our assumption about the packaging being for a Micro ATX motherboard is indeed true. The bottom half contains the small handful of accessories, the manual, a pamphlet, and the installation DVD.

The motherboard itself is wrapped in an anti-static bag, but the nice little bonus is that there's also a foam pad under the motherboard to protect the solder points, traces, and any rear-mounted components.



Click on image to enlarge

The simple accessories bundle consists of the usual manual, a Vivid LED DJ pamphlet, a driver & software DVD, four SATA 6Gb/s cables, and a rear I/O shield.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,141
Location
Montreal
A Closer Look at the X370GTN

A Closer Look at the X370GTN



Since the Biostar X370GTN is a cost-conscious model its design is fairly unremarkable, but that's not a bad thing. It has the customary black PCB, a small MOSFET heatsink with integrated RGB LEDs, and a tiny little chipset heatsink. Aside from a few minor differences, all Mini ITX motherboards have essentially the exact same layout. The only thing that stands out on this model - and regrettably it's a negative - is the fact that they shoehorned the 4-pin CPU power connector in between the MOSFET heatsink and one of the rear I/O modules. Its location isn't terrible, it is still relatively easy to access, but it almost looks like they decided to use a 4-pin instead of 8-pin connector solely because it would fit in that small space. Whether that is an issue is something we will address below.



Click on image to enlarge

As mentioned in the introduction, the X370GTN has a seven-phase CPU power design that utilizes an Intersil ISL95712 PWM controller and Nikos PK612DZ MOSFETs. Those seven phases are divided into a 4+ 3 configuration, with four phases dedicated to the CPU cores and three phases for the SOC. While four phases might seem insufficient to handle an eight-core processor, the simple fact of the matter is that it's the most common VRM configuration on AM4 motherboards at the moment and it is what Biostar uses on all of their AM4 motherboards, except the flagship X370GT7. Likewise, this model uses capacitors that are rated at 5K, which aren't as good as the 10K rated ones used by some of the competition, but are the same capacitors that Biostar uses on their aforementioned flagship model.

While the use of Nikos MOSFETs doesn't worry us - despite the fact that they aren't the best when it comes to power efficiency - the tiny little MOSFET heatsink that has been enlisted to cool them is a cause for concern. With our Ryzen 7 1800X at default core clocks and the memory set to DDR4-3200, we ran the AIDA64 System Stability Test for about 90 minutes and the heatsink got extremely hot, peaking at around 75°C / 167°F. That will burn you in about one second. The four power chokes reached about 60°C / 140°F. The three exposed MOSFETs and chokes that handle the SOC portion were all running in the 48-55°C / 119-122°F range, which is hot but not terrible. Our open test bench has no active or passive airflow, so it is a worst case scenario, but then again tiny Mini ITX cases don't have great airflow and they could theoretically trap even more heat. Overall, we recommend some type of additional airflow if you're using a Ryzen 7, while four-core or six-core processors shouldn't cause similar issues.

Our other area of concern is the 4-pin CPU power connector. A 4-pin ATX12V connector can handle between 192W (12V x 16A) to 288W (12V x 24A) depending if using standard or Plus HCS terminals. It's impossible for us to know what kind of Mini-Fit Jr terminals Biostar are using without ripping them out, but we'll assume they went with quality ones. If not, then things might get a little iffy when you throw overclocking into equation. An eight-core Ryzen processor running at 4.0GHz at 1.40V consumes about 160 watts, and that's without overclocking the SOC, which can easily add another 25-30 watts. That is getting a little close to the lower-end 192W limit. Having said that, given what we mentioned about the MOSFET heatsink temperature, you should not be overclocking that high (or at all) on this motherboard. Our overclocking section is going to be interesting...

While we are on the topic of cooling, there is a fan single CPU fan header to the left of the memory slots. If that is not enough, there is a system fan header on the right side of the memory slots. The two 5050_RGB headers are where you can plug in any 5050 RGB LED light strips and have them fully powered by the motherboard and controlled by the Racing GT utility.



Click on image to enlarge

As is the case with most Mini-ITX motherboards, this model only has two DDR4 memory slots, as well as a single-phase memory VRM. That limits the amount of system memory that you can install to 32GB, and given the particularities of Ryzen's memory controller those two 16GB modules will be officially limited to DDR4-2400. While Biostar have certified this model for memory speeds up to DDR4-3200, you will need single-rank 8GB Samsung B-die modules in order to hit that high.

The memory slots are clipless on the side nearest to the graphics card, which will come in handy when removing memory modules from this unavoidably cramped motherboard. Between the 24-pin ATX power connector and the two SATA port is where you will find the two front-panel headers, one for the usual buttons and activity LEDs and the other for the case speaker.


Click on image to enlarge

As on most Mini ITX motherboards, the SATA ports have been split into two locations, half of which are easy to access and the other half a little less so. There are four SATA 6Gb/s port on the X370GTN since that is technically how many the X370 chipset supports without repurposing the built-in SATA Express connectivity. All four of the SATA ports support RAID 0/1/10.

As we have previously seen before, an M.2 slot has been cleverly added one to the back of the motherboard. It is a full-speed PCI-E 3.0 x4 slot, with a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 4GB/s, and support for SATA, PCI-E, and PCI-E NVMe M.2 solid state drives. It can only handle 2260 and 2280 form factor M.2 drives, which are thankfully 99% of the models on the market at this point.

To the left of the two edge-mounted SATA ports is a USB 3.0 header, and behind that header is a clear CMOS jumper labelled as "JCMOS1".

The X370 chipset itself is cooled by a tiny little heatsink, which unsurprisingly doesn't do a great job of cooling the chipset and leads to surface temperatures of upwards of 70°C / 158°F. While anything under 75°C / 167°F is not a cause for concern, it's pretty close to our comfort limit. Once again, a little general airflow would help a fair bit.
 
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MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
1,141
Location
Montreal
A Closer Look at the X370GTN pt.2

A Closer Look at the X370GTN pt.2




Click on image to enlarge

Given the space constraints, the X370GTN obviously only has a single PCI-E slot and it operates at PCI-E 3.0 x16. Unlike much of the competition, this slot doesn't feature any type of mechanical reinforcement. Above the PCI-E x16 slot are two of the four SATA 6Gb/s ports, the X370 chipset, and the USB 2.0 header.


Click on image to enlarge

This motherboard's onboard audio is based on the familiar Realtek ALC892. This ten-channel audio codec was a high-end part back in 2010-2011, but it has been replaced by better performing codecs like the ALC1150 and ALC1220. Having said that, we understand that some corners needed to be cut in order to reach this model's price point, which is one of a lowest for an AMD X370-based motherboard.

Accompanying the Realtek codec is a pair of large "Hi-Fi Cap" audio-grade capacitors, but manufactured by who we don't know. The little chip to the left of the codec appears to be a sense amplifier, which can detect the impedance of a headphone plugged into the front-panel audio jack and adjust the output automatically.

There is also a small PCB isolation line that surrounds the audio section and protects it from external electromagnetic interference (EMI). All of this serves to help to preserve the signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio and thus ensure the highest possible sound quality. Ideally, we would have liked to see an EMI cover on the codec, but again that's an addition most often found on pricier models.


Click on image to enlarge

Unsurprisingly, the X370GTN does not have a ton of ports on its rear I/O panel. Starting from left to right, there is a combo PS/2 port, two USB 3.0 ports, DVI-D and HDMI 1.4 video outputs, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A and USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C ports, a gigabit LAN port, two USB 3.0 ports, and five gold-plated analog audio jacks and one S/PDIF output.

The only thing that we don't like here is that Biostar did not differentiate between the USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, they are all the same shade of blue which could be confusing. By the way, the HDMI 1.4 output can handle up up to 4096 x 2160 @ 24Hz or 3840 x 2160 @ 30Hz, while the DVI-D port can handle up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz.

The gigabit LAN port is powered by a Realtek Dragon Ethernet controller. Technically known as the RTL8118AS, this Dragon series controller is aimed at gamers and is said to offer better small packet performance traffic, lower latencies, and lower power consumption than competition. Whether it's actually better or even equal than the Intel i219-V or even the Killer E2500 doubtful - at least with respect to UDP network performance - but it is still a welcome upgrade over the RTL8111 series chips that have been around for years.



Click on image to enlarge

There are relatively few third-party controllers on this motherboard, starting with the aforementioned Realtek RTL8118AS gigabit LAN controller. An ELAN eKTF5832 is responsible for controlling the RGB LEDs in the MOSFET heatsink and the two RGB LED 5050 headers, an ASMedia ASM1543 switch provides the USB Type-C port functionality, and an ITE IT8613E SuperI/O controller handles system monitoring, fan control, and provides legacy support for the PS/2 port.


Click on image to enlarge

Since this is a simple motherboard there is only a small handful of additional components on the back of the motherboard, the most notable of which is the aforementioned ITE IT8613E SuperI/O controller. You can also see the PCB isolation lines that surround the entire audio section, and protects it from electromagnetic interference (EMI).

While the MOSFET heatsink is kept in place with metal screws - a wise choice since it needs as much contact pressure as it can get - the chipset cooler features plastic push-pins, which we don't particularly like.

As we mentioned on the previous page, the M.2 slot is also located on the back of the motherboard. Since this is such a small motherboard there was no easy option when it came to mounting it topside.

 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,141
Location
Montreal
Hardware Installation

Hardware Installation


In the Hardware Installation section we examine how major components fit on the motherboard, and whether there are any serious issues that may affect installation and general functionality. Specifically, we are interested in determining whether there is adequate clearance in all critical areas.


Click on image to enlarge

Much to our surprise, after installing our Corsair Hydro H110i and trying to install our memory kit, we realized that the hoses actually intruded onto the nearest memory slot. This made is impossible to install both memory modules. The simple - though inconvenient - solution was simply to install the unit with the hoses on the other side.


Click on image to enlarge

With a relatively wide open CPU socket area and a very low profile MOSFET heatsink, installing a heatsink on this motherboard should be a trouble-free affair. Having said that, when it comes to installing your memory modules afterwards, you might not have it as easy as you will see below.


Click on image to enlarge

As has been the case on every AM4 motherboard so far, while we can install standard height memory modules without issue, very tall modules like those of our G.Skill Trident Z memory kit interfere with the installation of our Prolimatech Mega Shadow's fan clips. The solution has thus far been to find another way hold the fan in place, or to mount it on the other side of the heatsink, both of which are less than ideal.


Click on image to enlarge

As you would expect, there is little room between the back of the graphics card and the memory slots, but the fact that they are clipless on one side means that there is no need to take out the GPU before installing/removing the memory modules. While the 24-pin ATX power connector is placed in its usual convenient location, the 4-pin CPU power connector has been sandwiched in between the MOSFET heatsink and one of the rear I/O modules.


As you can see, a full-size graphics card will overhang the motherboard by quite a lot on the right side, and a little bit on the bottom edge as well. Investing in a mini variant of a graphics card would be wise if trying to build the smallest possible system.


Click on image to enlarge

While the two SATA ports on the right side of the motherboard are easily accessible, the other two ports are obviously more difficult to reach, especially if you install a large heatsink. You will also need to remove the graphics cards whenever you want to unplug a cable. We definitely think that round instead of flat SATA cables would be beneficial for a build given their greater flexibility.


Installing an SSD into the rear-mounted M.2 slot is also easy, but obviously you will need to remove the motherboard in order to uninstall the drive from a fully built system. While that is not really convenient, especially if you have complex liquid cooling installed or did a bunch of cable management, it is the only way that Biostar would easily fit an M.2 slot on this motherboard.
 
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MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,141
Location
Montreal
UEFI Explored

UEFI Explored


Biostar uses the same UEFI BIOS across all their contemporary Racing series motherboards, and while it may not be a spectacle for the eyes, it still offers just about every feature and setting that you would expect. The exception to that is in the overclocking department, but that may be an intentional decision in order to limit the amount of strain that a user can place on this specific motherboard. Transitioning between menus is fast and fluid, while cursor movement is fast but not quite fluid due to what appears to be low framerate animation.

We like the fact that the left side of the screen displays static system information like CPU frequency, CPU core voltage, memory speed, memory voltage, fan speeds, and CPU temperature.

The BIOS Screen Capture feature is slightly annoying since it requires the user to manually enter a filename, which is something this reviewer had to do over one hundred times...


When you first enter this UEFI you are brought to the Main section, which displays some rudimentary information like the motherboard number, the BIOS version, the build date, and what user access level you have. It also reveals that amount of system memory that is currently installed, which is always useful. You can also set the system language, and adjust the system date and time.








Click on image to enlarge

The Advanced section is where you can tweak countless esoteric motherboard settings and enable or disable all the onboard components like audio, SATA ports, etc. You can also tweak CPU-specific settings like Cool 'n' Quiet, virtualization, and C-state control. The really cool settings are found in the AMD CBS menu, which is where you will find a ton of CPU options to fool around with, but you probably shouldn't.

The Hardware Monitor is half-decent, with two temperature and four system voltages readouts . Thankfully, the left side of the screen in this UEFI always displays the CPU core voltage, the memory voltage, the fan speeds, and the CPU temperature.

The Smart Fan Control menu gives users full manual or preset-based control over any 4-pin PWM fans. It allows users to set at what temperature the fans should stay at their lowest RPM, at what temperature they should start ramping up, and at what speed they should start at.



Click on image to enlarge

The Chipset section is where you can enable/disable the IOMMU virtualization feature, enable/disable the onboard Realtek LAN controller, and enable/disable whether the onboard HDMI video output will output audio when a processor with an integrated GPU is installed.


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The Boot tab is essentially where you set storage device priority, select the boot drive, enable/disable the full screen logo, and ton of other boot settings that can help with the installation or troubleshooting of various OS installations.


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The Security tab is where you can set the Supervisor Password, as well as a subordinate User Password. By doing so, you can enable the Secure Boot option.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,141
Location
Montreal
UEFI Explored pt.2

UEFI Explored pt.2




Click on image to enlarge

Overclocking is performed in the O.N.E menu, which is an acronym that we can't quite decipher (Overclocking N.... E....?). Compared to the competition, this overclocking menu is incredibly bare and surprisingly it is the same even on their flagship X370GT7 model. While that model might offer a few extras like Load-Line Calibration settings, overcurrent protection, and a few switching frequency options, everything else is identical.

Selecting the CPU Clock setting will open up a BCLK frequency list, which we can't show you because the screen capture feature won't work when there's a dropdown menu open. However, there are 15 options in that list, ranging from AUTO to 107.3MHz. Now you might be thinking that since this motherboard doesn't have a BCLK chip/external clock generator that this feature is useless anyways, but no it actually works fine thanks to the AGESA 1.0.0.4a update that must have unlocked that functionality.

The Memory Clock Mode menu will either allow you to select your memory kit's XMP profile, or when placed into Manual mode allow you to select your desired memory frequency (up to DDR4-3200).


Click on image to enlarge

As its name suggests, the DRAM Timing Configuration menu is where you will find all of the memory timings that you can tweak. We say "all", but there are only five adjustable memory timings on all AM4 motherboards right now. That will change when AMD's AGESA 1.0.0.6 microcode is released, and it will expand by about a dozen additional timings.

The AMD Pstate Configuration menu is where you can create one custom Core P-State, which is the only way to overclock on this motherboard. Be aware that attempting to set a Vcore about 1.35V (Core VID = 90) will not work, and will result in the motherboard setting a 3.2GHz core clock and 1.276Vcore no matter what you other settings are.

If P-State overclocking is foreign to you, not to worry, Biostar have taken some of the difficulty out of it. Basically, you can just use the plus or minus key to increase the CPU core frequency (Core FID) or the CPU core voltage (Core VID). Don't touch the Core DID.


Click on image to enlarge

The Memory Insight menu just gives you a per-module profile of the memory frequency and all of the timings, most of which you cannot yet adjust, as discussed above.

The VIVID LED Control menu is where you can enable/disable the onboard RGB LED feature, and select the desired effects and colors. It is quite rudimentary compared to the competition, and we instead recommend using the VIVID LED DJ menu in the Racing utility.


Click on image to enlarge

The Save & Exit section is pretty self-evident, however there is also an option to save or load BIOS profiles from within this area.

This last screenshot - which is actually a picture because the screenshot feature doesn't work outside of the regular UEFI - is of the Bio-Flash Utility which is accessed via the F12 key. This tool can read files directly from a USB flash drive, so flashing is a simple and quick procedure. Remember that your USB flash drive must be formatted in the FAT16/32 file system in order to be supported by the Bio-Flash Utility, otherwise the utility won't allow you to update the BIOS.
 

MAC

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Joined
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Messages
1,141
Location
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Included Software

Included Software



Racing GT

The Racing GT utility is the main system management for Biostar Racing series motherboards, and it replaces the previous T-overclocker software. This program provides basic system information, Smart Ear volume adjustment for the onboard audio, RGB LED lighting control, hardware monitoring, and some overclocking functionality.


The System Information tab is where you will find basic information such the CPU core speed, multiplier, and frequency, motherboard model name and BIOS version. There is also some more in-depth processor feature details, and some memory module information, namely module size, clock speed, manufacturer and model number, and a handful of the memory timings.


The Smart Ear tab allows you to easily adjust the system volume, and you can also increase or decrease impedance setting (Low/High Gain) to optimize headphone performance.


The Vivid LED DJ tab allows for the simultaneous or independent control over the RGB LEDs that are integrated into the MOSFET heatsink, or the two RGB LED light strip headers that Biostar calls the "5050 LED Fun Zone". Within Vivid LED DJ, users select a color via the color wheel, and either have static lighting or choose between one of the three effect modes: breathing, sparkle, or synced with your music.


The Hardware Monitoring tab is divided into Temperature, Voltage, Fan, and Fan Control sections. While the temperature, voltage, and fan speed readouts are visible with your own eyes, the Fan Control portion is a little more interesting since there is a calibration feature that can detect and manage the performance characteristics of any 4-pin PWM fans attached.


The OC/OV tab is where are you can do any manual overclocking adjustments. There are both overclocking and overvolting tabs, however we didn't have the best experience with either one. Starting with overclocking, whenever we did try to change the CPU multiplier, it just didn't work. There would be a black screen (our background) with the mouse cursor still movable, and then eventually a light grey screen with the cursor still movable, and then we would just shut off the power supply because our patience ran out. Upon reboot, we noticed that it always changed the power setting from High Performance to Balanced, which was slightly annoying. Moving on to overvolting, it shows real-time voltage for the Vcore and the memory voltage, but when the core voltage is at idle, increasing the voltage from 0.858V to 0.880V doesn't really tell me much about what the top-end full load voltage actually is. Overall, we don't see any reason to use this functionality when the AMD provided Ryzen Master utility is so much better in every possible respect.

FLY.NET



The onboard Realtek DRAGON RTL8118AS LAN controller was designed to compete with the Killer NIC for online gaming traffic priority shaping. With that in mind, Biostar has included FLY.NET bandwidth management software which automatically detects the best settings for your bandwidth, maximizing priority to those that need it the most meaning games will receive a smoother experience with improved lower latencies and an ultra-stable network connection when running multiple programs that are all heavily utilizing the network.

BIOScreen


The BIOScreen utility allows users to change the BIOS startup screen during to any 800x600 image of their choosing.

BIOS Update


Despite looking like a program from the 1990s, the BIOS Update utility is obviously handy, since it allows users to flash and/or backup the BIOS from within Windows. It can also download the latest BIOS file directly from Biostar's servers.

eHot-Line


The eHot-Line utility is an easy way to send troubleshooting requests directly to Biostar's technical support agents. The Window on the left side of the program displays all of the information that is being sent to the tech support staff.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,141
Location
Montreal
Test Setups & Methodology

Test Setups & Methodology



For this review, we are going to be testing the performance of the ASRock X370 Taichi four configurations: default settings @ DDR4-2133, default setting @ DDR4-2666, default setting @ DDR4-3200, and manual overclock settings. The components and software are the same across all five configurations, and aside from manually selecting the frequencies, timings, and voltages in the manual overclock configuration, every option in the BIOS was at its default setting.

AMD Ryzen AM4 Test Setup​

For all of the benchmarks, appropriate lengths are taken to ensure an equal comparison through methodical setup, installation, and testing. The following outlines our testing methodology:

A) Windows is installed using a full format.

B) Chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) are installed.

C)To ensure consistent results, a few tweaks are applied to Windows 10 Pro and the NVIDIA control panel:
  • UAC – Disabled
  • Indexing – Disabled
  • Superfetch – Disabled
  • System Protection/Restore – Disabled
  • Problem & Error Reporting – Disabled
  • Remote Desktop/Assistance - Disabled
  • Windows Security Center Alerts – Disabled
  • Windows Defender – Disabled
  • Screensaver – Disabled
  • Power Plan – High Performance
  • V-Sync – Off

D) All available Windows updates are then installed.

E) All programs are installed and then updated, followed by a defragment.

F) Benchmarks are each run three to ten times, and unless otherwise stated the results are then averaged.


Here is a full list of the applications that we utilized in our benchmarking suite:
  • 3DMark Vantage Professional Edition v1.1.3
  • 3DMark11 Professional Edition v1.0.132.0
  • 3DMark 2013 Professional Edition v2.2.3491
  • AIDA64 Engineer Edition v5.80.4098 Beta
  • Cinebench R15 64-bit
  • FAHBench 1.2.0
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward Benchmark
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • HEVC Decode Benchmark (Cobra) v1.61
  • LuxMark v3.1
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • PCMark 8
  • SuperPi Mod v1.9 WP
  • Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark v1.0.0.0
  • WinRAR x64 5.40
  • wPRIME version v2.10
  • X3: Terran Conflict Demo v1.0
That is about all you need to know methodology wise, so let's get to the good stuff!
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,141
Location
Montreal
Feature Testing: Vivid LED

Feature Testing: Vivid LED




While we aren't entirely sure if there is an overarching name for Biostar's RGB LED lighting feature, Vivid LED is as good a name as any. On the Biostar X370GTN, this feature consists of RGB LEDs integrated into the small MOSFET heatsink and RGB LED light strip headers that Biostar calls the 5050 LED Fun Zone. These two headers are where you can plug in any 5050 RGB LED light strips and have them fully powered by the motherboard and controlled by the included software. The software in question is the Vivid LED DJ tab in the Racing GT utility. Within Vivid LED DJ, users can simultaneously or independently control the various LED zones, select a color via the color wheel, and either have static lighting or choose between one of the three effect modes: breathing, sparkle, or synced with your music.


Above is the "5050 LED Fun Zone" next to the CPU fan header, which are the two headers on which you can plug 5050-type RGB LED light strips. Below is a few pictures demonstrating what the MOSFET heatsinks looks like with a small selection of colors.



Click on image to enlarge

Overall, this is a rather simple RGB LED lighting feature. It certainly doesn't match up with GIGABYTE's RGB Fusion implementation, but then again we wouldn't expect it to given the price tag of the X370GTN.
 

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