The ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming Motherboard Review

Page 3 : PCI Express Slots, Dual M.2 Sockets, Limited SATA Ports, ASUS Supreme FX Audio

PCI Express Slots

The ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) motherboard has seven PCI Express slots – three full-sized PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, and four smaller PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots.

The first two PCI Express x16 slots are sheet metal reinforced – what ASUS calls SafeSlot. They greatly increase the rigidity of the PCI Express slots, allowing them to support heavy graphics cards. The third PCI Express slot lacks this SafeSlot reinforcement.

The top-most PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot (PCIE_x16/x8_1) operates at full x16 speed with a single card.

If you have two graphics cards, you will need to install them in the first and second PCIe x16 slots; and they will both run at x8 speed. The third PCIe x16 slot only runs at x4 speed.


Dual PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 Sockets

The ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) motherboard has two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 sockets. They support M.2 solid state drives, with lengths of 42 mm, 60 mm or 80 mm. The third PCI Express x16 slot (which runs at x4 speed) can be used to add a third SSD. You can run them in RAID 0, 1, 5 or 10.

Due to space constraints, only one of the M.2 sockets have a heatsink (seen in the PCI Express picture). The second M.2 socket (seen in the picture above) is “naked”, although you can always install a DIMM cooler to help keep both the memory modules and this drive cool.


Limited SATA Ports

The ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) has six standard SATA 6Gb/s ports. There are no SATA Express ports. But what’s really problematic is the stacked side-facing design. They may prove to be troublesome to access in tight cases. If only ASUS made a few vertical in orientation.

Do note that the first M.2 socket (M.2_1) uses the SATA_1 port, if you opt to use it in the SATA mode. In addition, the second M.2 socket (M.2_2) uses both the SATA_5 and SATA_6 ports.

What this basically means is you have limited support for SATA drives with the ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming. It’s not the end of the world, but don’t expect to run two M.2 SSDs with six SATA drives. That’s not happening.


ASUS SupremeFX Audio

The ASUS SupremeFX audio technology is a combination of five components :

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  • the ASUS SupremeFX S1220A codec (now with a low-dropout regulator)
  • a shield for the SupremeFX chip – preserves the integrity of audio signals
  • dual op amplifiers – one op amp adds voltage gain, while the second works as a buffer, to drive 32-600 Ω headphones
  • premium Nichicon audio capacitors – produces warmer, more natural sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity
  • audio line shielding – blocks electromagnetic interference from the motherboard and add-on devices, for cleaner audio

ASUS claims that the SupremeFX audio technology delivers 113 dB signal-to-noise ratio on the line-in input, and 120 dB on the line-out output.

Next Page > Back I/O Ports, ASUS Aura Sync, 3D Printing Support, ROG RAMCache II


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