In recent years, there’s been a trend away from full-tower cases in favour for smaller, more portable PCs. This means full size motherboards have to make way to Mini-ITX boards, which are more difficult to produce, but gamer’s don’t accept compromises with the smaller form factor. With little real estate for slots and ports, and airflow, Asus Gaming brand Republic of Gamers (ROG) believe they’re up to the challenge with their new ROG Strix X370-I Gaming and Strix B350-I Gaming motherboards.
These support Socket AM4 for small-form-factor AMD Ryzen builds. Despite being smaller, they match the cutting-edge features of their full-sized siblings, including liquid-ready cooling and addressable RGB lighting, and combine an M.2 SSD heatsink with amped-up audio on an innovative riser card. You’ll also get 802.11ac Wi-Fi, USB 3.1 Gen 2 and the latest Fan Xpert technology.
Asus ROG don’t just aim for performance, they want to look good doing it, so there’s some pretty interesting lighting options with Aura Sync, so make sure you’ve got that perspex side panel in your case ready.
Backlighting on the motherboard makes it easy to differentiate between the audio ports in the shadows behind your PC, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for onboard illumination. The M.2 heatsink is backed by four LEDs, bringing color cycling and a range of other effects to the central ROG logo. A second lighting zone runs RGB LEDs under the right side of the motherboard to create a glowing edge that looks especially slick with linear effects.
Onboard LEDs highlight the motherboard, headers support LED strips that extend illumination across your entire system. The Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming both have an RGB strip header that lets you connect up to two meters of lighting—more than enough for Mini-ITX rigs. They also feature another header for addressable RGB devices that offer individual control over each LED. Addressable lighting opens up exciting possibilities for new functional and cosmetic effects, and Asus say they’re working with partners to integrate them into strips, fans, chassis, and other hardware.
The Republic of Gamers has a history of working around Mini-ITX limitations by going vertical with additional circuit boards. Our Maximus Impact series made room for upgraded audio with a dedicated riser card, and the Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming go one step further with an M.2 Audio Combo card that contains both SupremeFX sound and M.2 storage. This small PCB is sandwiched between isolated heatsinks for an M.2 drive and the platform chipset, ensuring effective cooling without taking up too much space.
Unlocked multipliers make Ryzen overclocking accessible for everyone, and the Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming take full advantage. They feature the same six-phase VRM design as our full-sized ATX boards for AM4, ensuring stable power delivery well above stock speeds. They’re also built for the higher memory clocks required to fully unleash the platform’s potential. The shorter traces used for the dual-DIMM configuration improve signaling, enabling DDR4-3600 speeds that surpass what’s supported by competing motherboards.
With an exclusive 5-Way optimization technology, the process of overclocking is simplified for beginners and experts. This intelligent auto-tuner automatically overclocks the CPU and configures the cooling based on the individual characteristics of components in your build. First-timers can overclock easily with a single click, while veterans can quickly find a stable baseline before moving to more aggressive manual tuning. And both benefit from 5-Way’s ability to test connected fans and calibrate their response curves accordingly.
All but identical twins, the ROG Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming series set the standard for Mini-ITX AM4 motherboards.
Availability and Pricing
The ROG Strix X370-I Gaming and B350-I Gaming will be available from mid-November in Australia for an RRP of A$319.00 and A$229.00 respectively.