ASUS Z370i Strix Gaming Review
Published: 26th February 2018 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
It is one of the curious quirks of hardware purchases that the majority of us overbuy in the hopes of providing ourselves with upgrade paths for a future that never arrives.
We think it's probably fair to say that most of us own a full size ATX motherboard as the cornerstone of our system, yet how many of us only run a single GPU? Those other slots which we told ourselves we'd take advantage of in the future when our graphics card became old enough and affordable enough for us to run SLI/Crossfire just sit there gathering dust. To a small degree there are benefits in overclocking because a full size motherboard generally has better cooling capabilities, but again the large proportion of us don't run our CPUs on the ragged edge anyway, if we overclock them at all.
So you have to ask yourself, why don't I own an ITX motherboard?
Perhaps the historical nature of them means that we're still stuck with the idea that they are a compromise. You don't get enough drive connectors, you're short of USB ports, the overclocking isn't there. Whatever it is, the most recent ITX motherboards put paid to this idea by being everything their physically bigger brothers are, but without the cost. The ASUS Z370i Strix Gaming definitely can count itself amongst this sea change as it is every bit as capable as anything you care to bring to the party if you're running it at stock, and not too far behind the serious Godlike and Maximus X options of this world when overclocking.
Naturally there are some compromises made either by dint of the compact dimensions or the low price point. Vertical SATA ports have never lent themselves to neat-freak satisfying cable management, but it's not the end of the world. There might only be two DIMM slots, but the bandwidth they produce is more than enough and with the high density memory sticks you'll never be found wanting unless you're a power user in the truest sense of the word, in which case you probably wouldn't be looking at this anyway. With two M.2 sockets and umpteen USB ports the Z370i Strix has you covered in the connectivity terms, and with both HDMI and DisplayPort outputs sitting alongside LAN and AC WiFi options it suits those who want something affordable but still flexible too.
Lastly whilst there might only be a single PCI Express slot we saw that the results were more than satisfactory for gaming, which is the task to which most of us will assign the Strix. Credit is definitely due to ASUS for going all in on making sure the power phases are kept cool too, as the Z370i Strix Gaming gives fantastic VRM temperatures; indeed they are low enough that if you plan on running your system at stock you could passively cool it without issue.
All in all the ASUS Z370i Strix is a perfect blend of capability and cost effectiveness and would be perfect for those of you who want good performance and don't really care about how many e-points your forum signature gives you. It's a blue collar motherboard and worthy of our OC3D Gamers Choice Award.