October 9, 2017 // 10:55 a.m.
UK price (as reviewed): £206.99 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $209.99 (exc. tax)
Asus has a huge lineup of motherboards for Z370 catering to all sizes and budgets, but today we're looking at one of several new Strix-branded boards, the ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming.
There's actually very little difference between this board and the Z370-F model, but Asus mentioned to us recently that the latter was created mainly for system builders due to the fact it's slightly cheaper and lacks Wi-Fi, allowing them offer a custom Wi-Fi card if necessary and bumping up those slim margins that they have to deal with.
The Z370-E is also includes a USB 3.1 Gen 2 header, which also adds to the cost, but the difference between the two is very slight and works out to less than £10 at retail.
Of course, there is a slightly more obvious difference, which is that the Z370-E includes silver heatsinks, and in the flesh these do actually look pretty good and make a change from the dark grey or black colour schemes we've been seeing of late while still managing to maintain a colour-neutral scheme to complement RGB lighting.
Speaking of lighting, it's similar to previous ROG Strix boards with a multi-LED strip and fascia on the I/O shield that can dish out some funky rainbow effects or just your favourite colour. There are two 12V RGB LED headers on the board as well as a further 5V addressable header, with which you can take control of individual LEDs as well as the whole strip.
Despite retailing for a little over £200, overclocking tools and storage options aren't as lavish as you might expect. In fact, you get none of the former, which does smart a little given the price tag, but you get the bare essentials with regards to storage: six SATA 6Gbps ports and a pair of M.2 ports. This time, one M.2 slot sports a large aluminium heatsink whereas the Z270 model didn't - another reason the board costs a little more. The new USB 3.1 Gen 2 header, meanwhile, is conveniently located next to the 24-pin ATX connector.
The heatsink is much larger than any of those on the MSI Z370 Godlike Gaming, but there is one issue here in that the top of the heatsink rises all the way up to the first PCIe slot, meaning the side exhaust from our graphics card blew directly onto it. We'll be testing its performance in the storage section, so it will be interesting to see if a larger heatsink, versus a smaller but more thermally isolated one is the best option.
The rear panel is a tad sparse, especially when it comes to USB ports. You only get two USB 3.0 and one USB 3.1 with the other Type-A ports being made up of USB 2.0 ports. That's only five Type-A ports in total, which in our eyes is borderline lacking, and Asus has also cut the USB 3.0 port count in half from the Z270 board as well. Audio is pretty much the same as the previous generation, with Asus using its Realtek-based SupremeFX S1120A codec along with a dual headphone amplifier and Nichicon capacitors. As well as 3D printing support via several mounting locations on the PCB, a small 40/60mm fan mount is included that can sit in any of the usual mounting holes to provide a bit of extra cooling, although no fans are included.