• Socket: LGA 1151
  • Chipset: Intel Z370
  • RAM Slots: 2
  • Memory: 4333(O.C.)/4200(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3866(O.C.)
  • /3600(O.C.)/3333(O.C.)/3300(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)
  • /3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)
  • /2133(O.C.) MHz DDR4
  • Ports: 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 1x LAN, 1x ASUS 2x2 WiFi Module, 1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C, 3x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A, 4x USB 2.0, 5x Audio port, 1x Optical (SPDIF), 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 4x SATA 6Gb/s, 2x M.2
  • Pros:
  • Compact
  • Can overclock well
  • Cons:
  • Less USB ports
  • Benchmark Results
  • PCMark 10 Essentials: 8,140 points
  • PCMark 10 Productivity: 5,736 points
  • PCMark 10 Digital Content Creation: 7,097 points

Quality In Small Packaging

The mini-ITX form factor is really getting a lot of attention from brands like ASUS. One of the models is the successor to one from 2016 – the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming.

As a mini-ITX motherboard, the ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming is quite compact. This means that there are less components on board and they’re cramped into a limited space. For instance, there’s two RAM slots instead of the four we’d normally see in a standard ATX motherboard. In addition, the board has a single x16 PCIe slot that will likely be used for a GPU, so you won’t be able to use an internal sound card or other PCIe add-ons.

What ASUS didn’t cut out was option for fast storages. Two M.2 slots can be found on the board, with the front slot covered by a unique two-layer heatsink and thermal pad, allowing you to quickly cool your NVMe M.2 SSD. Another M.2 slot can be found at the back, but it only supports SATA speeds. Since this motherboard is meant to be used with ITX cases, it doesn’t have much support for fans. It has three headers in total, with one for the CPU fan, the second for a chassis fan, and the last for an AIO pump. In addition, you get one addressable RGB header on this board, which you can use with the Aura Sync feature to synchronise every component you have – including your gaming keyboard and mice.

When it comes to setup and installation, some users like to attach the motherboard to their chassis first then install their components, but it’s better not to do so here. For example, the AIO pump header can be hard to reach since it’s squeezed into a tight area, so it’s best that you plug your AIO’s cable in first before attaching the motherboard to your case. If you intend to use the second M.2 slot at the back, the same thing applies.

After benchmarks and tests, we can safely say that this motherboard that this board won’t lose to ATX boards in terms of CPU overclocking. It’ll overclock relatively well and stay stable, but Coffee Lake chips will use more power and generate more heat, which means the standard Intel CPU fan won’t be ideal at all; you’ll definitely need at least a good air cooler for the setup, if not an AIO liquid cooling solution.

CHIP CONCLUDE: If you’re looking to have a top-notch gaming PC with a small footprint, this motherboard will provide you with a good platform to start.

(previously published in issue January 2018)