UK price (as reviewed): £323.99 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $329.99 (exc. tax)
The ROG Strix range has yielded some excellent motherboards for Asus over the years and has already spanned both Intel and AMD sockets successfully. However, you'd be right in thinking that, while this is one of the cheaper X570 boards we've tested, it's still on the pricey side given its Intel Z370 equivalent cost just £207 when we reviewed it less than two years ago. That's a hefty price hike in anyone's books, but it's plain to see that this board is at least much better-equipped than its Intel predecessor.
As well as PCIe 4.0 support across all PCIe slots and the upper M.2 slot, this board is a premium offering in numerous other ways. It has 16 power phases with 12 of those dealing with the CPU, which is admittedly two fewer than the MSI Prestige X570 Creation dishes out, and it's good to see two large heatsinks linked with an 8mm heat pipe for VRM cooling. The top and rear load VRM temperatures here were measured at 47°C and 49°C, although the top side was quite tricky to measure due to the tightly-packed chokes - both decent results, nevertheless, although there was no VRM thermal sensor on the board itself for extra comparison.
The Delta-made chipset fan remained inaudible throughout testing, which is just as well, as there didn't appear to be any way to tweak its speed. It's tiny compared to those on MSI's X570 boards, but here at least the fan is shielded.
Unfortunately, Asus hasn't thermally linked the fan and chipset heatsink to the nearby M.2 heatsinks, which might have allowed for extra SSD cooling. Still, the load temperature result of 57°C with the Aorus PCIe 4.0 SSD is only a touch warmer than what you'd expect when using the SSD's own heatsink, so if you plan on doing away with it when marrying it up to your motherboard, the ROG Strix X570-E Gaming's heatsinks do a reasonable enough job.
Asus offers a generous eight SATA 6Gbps ports too, and all of these run off the X570 chipset. The lower M.2 slot does not support PCIe 4.0 SSDs (PCIe 3.0 limit instead), but both slots do include support for SATA SSDs and full-size 22110 drives too, so the board is still flexible when it comes to storage.
Sadly, similar praise cannot be attributed to the layout. The need to remove the entire lower cooling contraption to get at each M.2 heatsink is a particular nuisance. As a result, you also need to remove any PCIe devices that block its removal before you can get at your SSDs, and there appears to be no reason for this other than aesthetic appeal.
We were also sad to see a lack of the majority of the usual overclocking and testing tools, with just an LED POST code display and USB BIOS Flashback being added to the specifications. ROG Strix boards have often disappointed here, but we still expect power, reset, and CMOS clear buttons on boards costing more than £300. There are seven fan headers, and thankfully, despite our initial concerns, there is a rear case fan header buried in front of the I/O shroud. The board has a smattering of RGB lighting on the I/O shroud and mid-board heatsink, but it's far from retina-burning, and you get a quartet of three-pin addressable and four-pin RGB headers for further expansion.
As you'd expect, you get a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C header for cases that support it, and the rear I/O panel offers a reasonable seven Type-A ports. Pleasingly, all of these adhere to the same USB 3.1 Gen 2 standard (now otherwise known as USB 3.2 Gen 2), as does the lone Type-C port. You also get Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with a pair of LAN ports offering the usual Intel Gigabit LAN as well as a Realtek 2.5 Gigabit port. Asus uses Realtek's ALC1220 audio codec and dual op-amps, with which it claims to offer slightly better performance than bog standard ALC1220.
Overall, this is an impressive specification for the cash compared to the competition, and it's worth remembering that the high price is evident across the X570 spectrum, so we can only comment within that remit.
December 11 2020 | 17:30