The ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) is one of the first 11 ASUS Z370 motherboards to hit the market in support of the new 8th Generation Intel Core (Coffee Lake) processors. In this review, we are going to take a close look at the ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming, and see how it performs with the Intel Core i7-8700K processor!
Don’t forget to check out the other ASUS Z370 motherboards in The 11 New ASUS Z370 Motherboards Revealed!
The ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming Specifications
|Specifications||ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming|
|CPU Socket||Intel Socket 1151 V2|
|CPU Support||8th Generation Intel Core Processors (codenamed Coffee Lake)|
|Memory Support||4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots - Up to 64 GB (16 GB x 4)|
|Standard Memory Speeds||2666 MHz / 2400 MHz / 2133 MHz|
|Overclocked Memory Speeds||4000 MHz / 3866 MHz / 3733 MHz / 3600 MHz / 3466 MHz / 3400 MHz / 3333 MHz / 3300 MHz / 3200 MHz / 3000 MHz / 2800 MHz|
|Integrated Graphics Support||Yes (With Intel HD Graphics), with up to 1 GB of shared memory
HDMI 1.4b, DVI-D and DisplayPort 1.2 ports
HDMI Max. Resolution : 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz
DVI-D Max. Resolution : 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
DisplayPort Max. resolution : 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz
|Multi-GPU Support||Supports 2-way NVIDIA SLI and 3-way AMD CrossFireX|
|Expansion Slots||2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16 or dual x8)
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot (x4)
4 x PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots
|Storage Options||1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Intel Optane Memory Ready
|Networking||Intel I219V LAN
- with Anti-surge LANGuard and ROG GameFirst Technology
|Audio Capability||ROG SupremeFX S1220A 8-channel audio codec
- Dual Headphone Amplifiers
- Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
- Supports Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
- High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input
- SupremeFX Shielding Technology
- Supports up to 32-Bit / 192kHz playback
|USB Ports||Intel Z370 Chipset
- 6 x USB 3.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
- 6 x USB 2.0 port(s)
ASMedia USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller :
- 2 x USB 3.1 ports (Type-A + USB Type-CTM, Support 3A power output)
|ROG Exclusive Features||ROG RAMCache II
ROG Aura Sync
- Aura Lighting Control
- Aura RGB Strip Headers
|Special Features||OC Design with ASUS PRO Clock Technology
- Full BCLK range for extreme overclocking performance
5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
- Whole system optimization with a single click! 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power Control, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo App together, providing better CPU performance, efficient power saving, precise digital power control, whole system cooling and even tailor your own app usages.
- Auto Tuning, TurboV, GPU Boost
- Fan Xpert 4 featuring Fan Auto Tuning function and multiple thermistors
- DRAM Overcurrent Protection
- Stainless Steel Back I/O
- Highly Durable Components
- DIGI+ VRM
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- AI Suite 3
- Ai Charger
- ESD Guards
ASUS EZ DIY :
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 3
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode
ASUS Q-Design :
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM
Gaming Aesthetics :
- 3D printing friendly
- AURA-RGB Lighting
Performance Optimization :
- DIGI + VRM
|Back I/O Ports||1 x DVI-D
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x LAN (RJ45) ports
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A + USB Type-CTM
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue)
2 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jacks
|Internal I/O Ports||1 x AAFP connector
2 x RGB Headers
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 connectors support additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
2 x USB 2.0 connectors support additional 4 USB 2.0 ports
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA mode & X4 PCIE mode)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x M.2_FAN connector
1 x CPU Fan connector
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector
2 x Chassis Fan connectors
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector
1 x System panel (Chassis intrusion header is inbuilt)
1 x CPU OV
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN (Extension Fan) connector
1 x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header
1 x 14-1 pin TPM connector
1 x COM port header
1 x T_Sensor Connector
1 x AIO PUMP Header
3 x 3D Mount screw ports
1 x ASUS Fan Holder
4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x M.2 Screw Package
1 x CPU installation tool
1 x Supporting DVD
1 x Strix door hanger
1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)
1 x ROG Strix stickers
1 x Cable ties pack(s)
1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)
1 x Extension cable for Addressable LED
1 x Thermistor cable(s)
1 x 3D printing mount package
|BIOS||128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0, ACPI 6.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information.|
|Manageability||WfM2.0, DMI3.0, WOL by PME, PXE|
|Size||30.5 cm x 24.4 cm / 12 inch x 9.6 inch|
Unboxing The ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming
Let’s take a quick look at the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) motherboard’s box and unbox it.
Inside the box, you should find the following items :
- One ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming motherboard
- One ASUS ROG CPU installation tool
- One set of user manual, driver DVD and documentation
- One set of ROG Strix stickers and door hanger[adrotate group=”2″]
- One ASUS Q-Shield (I/O shield)
- One SLI HD Bridge card (2-way)
- One extension cable for RGB LED strips (80 cm)
- One extension cable for addressable LED strips
- One thermistor cable
- One ASUS fan holder
- Four SATA 6 Gb/s cables
- One pack of cable ties
- One pack of M.2 screws
- One pack of 3D mounting screws
Now, let’s go take a closer look at the motherboard, and check out its key features!
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The ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming Up Close
The ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) is a full-sized ATX motherboard, built around the new Intel Z370 chipset. This is their premium model for the mainstream enthusiast / gamers market. Hence, it boasts premium features like Aura Sync RGB lighting, SafeSlot reinforcement, and SupremeFX audio.
CPU Power & Overclockability
The ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) boasts the ASUS Pro Clock technology for greater overclocking capabilities. It combines a dedicated base clock generator, the ASUS DIGI+ VRM design and the ASUS TurboV processing unit.
The base clock generator is designed for the 8th Generation Intel Core processors, extending the base clock frequency up to 432 MHz. The ASUS TurboV processing unit (TPU), on the other hand, delivers enhanced voltage and base clock overclocking controls.
Finally, the ASUS DIGI+ VRM design features a 8+2 digital architecture that is designed to increase overclockability, while reducing electromagnetic interference with minimal power loss. Although high quality (and expensive) analog PWM exists, digital PWM allows for more accurate control of the power frequency and modulation.
The MOSFETs and inductors are kept cool by large aluminium alloy heatsinks, which help to increase reliability and longevity of the VRM. Just in case you plan to operate this in extreme climates, the inductors and capacitors are rated to work within an extended temperature range of -55 ℃ and 105 ℃.
To support CPU coolers with two fans, the ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) has two CPU fan headers placed behind the DIMM slots.[adrotate group=”2″]
There is even an optional fan holder, with its own fan header, that can be installed to help increase air circulation, or to blow away fumes while using LN2 (liquid nitrogen) cooling.
If you’re planning to use an AIO water cooler, you will be glad to know that there is even a dedicated PWM / DC header for your AIO pump fan.
If there are any enthusiast-grade features that we regret were not included in this motherboard, it would be the Power and Reset buttons, or an debugging LED display.
DDR4 Memory Slots
The ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) has four DDR4 DIMM slots. The Intel Z370 chipset only supports DDR4 memory up to 2666 MHz, but the Z370-F Gaming allows for overclocked memory clock speeds of up to 4000 MHz, with all four slots populated.
To achieve such high headroom for overclocking, ASUS used their OptiMem design. This combines the optimal routing of memory traces and vias through the optimal PCB layer, and the T-Topology layout which ensures “time-aligned signalling” by balancing trace lengths between the memory slots.
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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 :[adrotate group=”2″]
- 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.
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Back I/O Ports
The ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) did not have quite as many back I/O ports as we hoped for. It has three different display ports (DVI-D, DisplayPort and HDMI) that can all be active simultaneously when used with an Intel processor with HD Graphics.
To the left are two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports – the red Type A port, and the smaller Type C port below it. To the right are two USB 2.0 ports, two blue USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports with the Intel I219V LAN port. Finally, we have the five audio ports and the optical S/PDIF out port.
ASUS used a stainless steel I/O panel that was chromium-plated for corrosion-resistance. The ports are also shielded with a cover that prevents static damage. This is useful if you plan to use this motherboard outside of a chassis. When installed in a chassis, that job is fulfilled by the I/O shield (also included) that is installed into the chassis.
ASUS Aura Sync
As its name suggests, the ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) is designed to appeal to gamers. Hence, it supports the ASUS Aura Sync technology, which allows you to control and sync the RGB LED lighting on the motherboard and other ASUS Aura Sync-compatible devices. You can change their colours in unison, or set dynamic modes to change the illumination effects across all devices.
The ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) also comes with a pair of onboard 5050 RGB headers, and an addressable RGB header. They can be connected to compatible lighting strips, fans, coolers and PC cases.
The addressable RGB header supports WS2812B addressable RGB LED strips (5V/Data/Ground), with a max power rating of 3A (5V) and a max of 60 LEDs.
The Aura RGB-strip header supports 5050 RGB LED strips with a max power rating of 3A (12V). For maximum brightness, strip length should not exceed 3 meters.[adrotate group=”1″]
3D Printing Support
The ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) has dedicated 3D mount holes cut into the motherboard. This allows you to easily mount your 3D-printed parts using the same screws for the M.2 drives. ASUS even provides three downloadable 3D printable files for a cable cover, custom nameplate and an M.2 fan holder.
ROG RAMCache II
The ROG RAMCache II is a disk caching software that copies the most frequently-used data from your drives into a portion of your system memory. This allows the cached data to be accessed very quickly. This version introduces support for NVMe devices, in addition to standard SATA drives.
It is simple enough to use – just set how much system memory you want to allocate as the disk cache. RAMCache II will automatically cache all of your attached storage devices, according to your usage patterns. Of course, Microsoft Windows already has its own disk cache that dynamically uses free system memory and releases it whenever your apps need more memory.
Now, it is possible that RAMCache II uses better, faster caching algorithms, but it cannot dynamically release the allocated memory. So you best use it only if you have a lot of spare memory.
Next Page > Our Verdict & Award, Reading Suggestions
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Our Verdict & Award
ASUS has decades of experience designing and building excellent motherboards, and that is evident in the ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check). It melds the key overclocking features ASUS is well-known for, with the bling factor that gamers and modders love so much.
Hardware enthusiasts will like the enhanced CPU overclocking features that include a base clock frequency of up to 432 MHz, and the combination of a digital VRM design and the ASUS TurboV processing unit. Impressively, the ASUS OptiMem design allows the possibility of overclocking the DDR4 memory modules to 4000 MHz, with all four slots populated!
The ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) also comes with support for a variety of cooling options. You can use an air cooler with dual fans, or an AIO water cooler. ASUS even provides an optional fan holder in case you want to try liquid nitrogen cooling!
Gamers and modders, on the other hand, will love the inclusion of the ASUS Aura Sync technology, with two RGB headers as well as an addressable LED header. Let’s not forget the support for 3D printed parts. That gives them a lot more flexibility in modding and adding bling to their system.
Audiophiles will also appreciate the ASUS SupremeFX audio technology. Not only does it improve the signal-to-noise ratio on both input and output, it has dual headphone amplifiers that can drive a wide variety of headphones with its impedance range of 32 to 600 ohms.
The inclusion of two M.2 sockets is nice, but do note that using them may disable up to three SATA ports. That’s not a big deal if you only intend to run two SSDs and a hard disk drive or two. Also limited are the back USB ports – there are only six of them on the rear I/O panel, and two are USB 2.0.[adrotate group=”2″]
There are also no onboard Power and Reset buttons, or a debugging LED display. Of course, these enthusiast-grade features are only useful to those who intend to use this motherboard without a PC case. It’s just odd because the motherboard seems to be targeted at those who want to use LN2 cooling…
That oddity aside, the Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) is a solid Intel Z370 motherboard that offers a nice blend of overclocking and modding features that will really appeal to gamers who enjoy overclocking and/or modding. It is also affordably priced at US$ 194.99.
For those reasons, we think the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming (Price Check) deserves our Reviewer’s Choice Award. Great job, ASUS!
Don’t forget to check out the other ASUS Z370 motherboards in The 11 New ASUS Z370 Motherboards Revealed!
Here are other Intel Coffee Lake-related articles you should read!
- Everything You Need To Know About The Intel Coffee Lake CPUs!
- The 11 New ASUS Z370 Motherboards Revealed!
- The Intel Core i7-8700K Hexa-Core Processor Review
- Thank The Ryzen Effect For Better Intel Processors!
- The 8th Gen Intel Core Desktop CPU Tech Report
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