ASUS ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming Motherboard Review

ASUS has another mini-ITX powerhouse on its hands, and this time its for AMD’s 2nd Generation Ryzen processors. The ASUS ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming promises a lot, and frankly we expect a lot from these motherboards. ASUS practically set the standard for enthusiast class mini-ITX motherboards and it has set the bar very high in the past.

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Overclocking

So far, ASUS’ ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming motherboard has been just about the easiest X470 based motherboard to overclock I’ve used thus far. All it takes to achieve this CPU’s apparent maximum clock speed is the correct CPU voltage. SOC and other voltage levels were left completely stock. At a setting of 1.425, I was able to hit 4.2GHz with ease and absolute stability. The voltage shown in CPUz hit 1.472v to 1.480v under full load. Otherwise the voltage shown was normally around 1.38v or less. When overclocking, the MOSFET coolers hit temperatures of 107-110F making the heatsinks some of the coolest I’ve seen on any AMD X470 based motherboard. The motherboard behaved very well when overclocking without any issues recovering from settings the system didn’t like. Of course, the only thing I tried that it didn’t really like was going to 4.3GHz. The system would handle basic desktop work at 4.3GHz but not pass stress testing.

4.20GHz (100MHz x42) DDR4 3400MHz

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Achieving DDR4 3400MHz speeds was a simple matter of enabling XMP and choosing the clock speed. I’ve been continually amazed by the 180 degree turn around I’ve seen on AMD processor based motherboards in a single generation. So far, compatibility has been fantastic. I have yet to be subjected to searching through my inventory of DDR4 memory kits to find just one that works with manual tuning and a whole lot of trial and error.

When overclocking goes this well, there isn’t much to talk about. This is essentially the expectation these days as there are a ton of motherboards on the market that overclock extremely well without any behavioral issues or quirkiness. Both AMD and Intel have done a good job of taking most of the guess work out of the platforms and anything else has been streamlined and simplified by the motherboard manufacturers. Any motherboard that doesn’t meet the bar set by so many others falls short. When that happens, there is a hell of a lot more to say about the overclocking.

Conclusions

Dan's Thoughts:

My experiences with the ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming were nothing short of exquisite. You make some trade offs with the mini-ITX form factor, but not many. The ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming is outstanding regarding the integrated features. The integrated audio was a high point as is the ability to run a RAID0 array with NVMe drives. Naturally, people with a bunch of SATA drives will find the layout frustrating but that’s par for the course with the mini-ITX form factor. Aesthetically, the ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming is quite captivating. ASUS’ attention to detail really shows. The RGB LED color coded audio jacks are a fantastic touch. The M.2 audio combo setup is innovative and works well in terms of packing features into a small space. ASUS was among the first companies to think of using vertical and horizontal space in the mini-ITX form factor. That’s what it has done here, and it shows as you get a lot of quality and integrated features in an extremely small package.

There are always concessions with smaller form factors, but the ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming makes very few of them. You lose a couple of SATA ports and the ability to run super long 110mm M.2 drives. I rarely see those anyway, and the limitation Is understandable. You do give up the ability to run SLI, but that isn’t the limitation it once was. I’ve always a huge fan of mini-ITX motherboards. While I don’t use one as my primary gaming machine or workstation, I enjoy the form factor and like a lot of the systems I’ve seen built around it. I do have a mini-ITX based system in my house and I’m considering upgrading it with this very motherboard.

Many motherboards are good or even excellent. However, there are even fewer motherboards I would put in my own machines. When you fix systems and deal with problems for well over 40 hours a week you want nothing but absolute stability and reliability from any hardware you put in your own machines. I spent a lot of time with the ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming and that’s precisely what it provided. I think it goes without saying that the ASUS ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming is a motherboard that should be on your shortlist if you want to build a small form factor socket AM4 system.

Kyle's Thoughts:

The ASUS ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming set up perfectly out of the box and loaded the Windows 10 OS without issue and took all the recent updates with no issues. The DOCP RAM timing settings and voltages were accepted and updated properly in the UEFI as well and it ran my 3400MHz RAM exactly to spec. I did have issues twice with the system rebooting and showing a bad overclock when initializing the DOCP RAM profiles. Dan has no issues with this at all, but the UEFI had been updated when I handed the board off to him and I was using v0601 during my testing. I have to assume that this was addressed with the new UEFI, but there are no notes outlining this on the new UEFI file.

Given the smaller mini-ITX format and more diminutive VRM setup, I wanted to very much focus on fully loaded stability over time. Using Precision Boost 2, I saw sustained 3.76GHz core clocks with a 126 watt package power which is exactly what it should be according to the specified TDP. The vCore ran at 1.14v and our maximum core temperature showed to be 53.1c using our XSPC water cooling system. I ran the system for a full 24 hours using Precision Boost 2 under a Prime95 SmallFFT load.

Hand overclocking our 2700X to 4.2GHz/3400Mhz was successful as well. Under full load our package power was 190 watts using a manually set vCore of 1.3125v in the UEFI. However, under full Prime95 load, the vCore showed to reach 1.406v. You have to keep in mind here that the manual vCore setting is very critical here. Say bumping it to 1.45v actual, will result in package powers exceeding 225W. So depending if your CPU requires more vCore, I would highly suggest keeping an eye on cooling. I was able to run the 4.2GHz overclock for 12 hours successfully under full Prime95 load. At that point I considered the overclock "good."

I did find an odd bug with the USB on this motherboard. Just so happens, ASUS and a couple of its engineers happened to be by for a visit and I got to show them the bug first hand. They identified the bug and fixed it in the latest UEFI update, and given that Dan never experienced this, it seems to have been remedied. Worth mentioning is that the bug was not present in v0402, so it was presented in v0601. The bug was manifested as lagging mouse input.

It would seem that ASUS is certainly on the ball when it comes to addressing the issues we found with the ASUS ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming and certainly that is to be commended. Outside what has already been fixed, I had zero issues with the board and I went out of my way to try to break it. Given that it has such a small footprint and smaller VRM setup, I was trying to find the limits with it, but it pushed through me pushing back on it and performed like a champ.

We also did an unboxing to show you the board a bit more close up and some of its unique features.

The Bottom Line

Despite the small form factor of the ASUS ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming, the motherboard performs on parity with its larger brethren, even when overclocking. Of course you likely know whether the mini-ITX form factor is something you want to consider for your next build or not. However, if you are considering going small with a new Ryzen 2000 series processor, you would be remiss if you did not give it a look. The ROG STRIX X470-! Gaming is selling for $210 at Amazon with Prime Shipping. In terms of features and overclocking stability, the price matches the form factor.

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ASUS ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming Motherboard

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