|by MAC | August 22, 2017|
MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium AM4 Motherboard Review
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Since we have already reviewed two of the three motherboards that AMD handpicked to send to reviewers for the Ryzen launch, it only makes sense for us to review the third, the ASUS Crosshair VI Hero. However, while that day will come, today we are focused on reviewing the most expensive AMD AM4 motherboard on the market right now, the MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium.
While "most expensive" is often not a great position to be in, it really all depends on whether you can backup the asking price with sufficient value-added features. Historically, MSI's XPower motherboards have distinguished themselves from the pack not only by their iconic metallic coated PCB, but by adding unique features and using very high quality components at every level. However, given the fact that this model is currently retailing for $300 USD / $400 CAD - a $50 to $100 USD price premium over other flagship AM4 motherboards - our expectations are understandably very high.
Looking at the fundamentals, we see that this model has a promising 10-phase CPU power design, two steel-reinforced PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots with support for 2-way SLI or CrossFireX, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and one mechanical PCI-E x16 slot that actually operates at PCI-E 2.0 x4. When it comes to connectivity, there are six SATA 6Gb/s ports, one U.2 port, and two M.2 slots, though only one can operate at full-speed PCI-E 3.0 x4. With USB capabilities built into both the CPU and the chipset, that form of connectivity is well-represented with two full-speed USB 3.1 Gen2 ports (one Type-A and one Type-C), one USB 3.1 Gen2 header, four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 3.0 headers, three USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 headers for a grand total of nineteen possible USB ports.
The Audio Boost 4 onboard audio solution is based on the latest Realtek ALC1220 codec, and is paired with a Texas Instruments op-amp and Nippon Chemi-Con audio-grade capacitors. As has become an industry standard, there is also physical PCB-level audio separation line that protects the audio components from EMI. Given the gaming focus of this motherboard, MSI have also licensed the feature-rich Nahamic 2 audio suite, which will give gamers and budget audiophiles a great deal of tweaking capabilities. Speaking of gamers and budget, those who plan on installing a Bristol Ridge or upcoming Zen-based APU will be able to do so, since this motherboard has DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0 video outputs, this latter feature is a truly unexpected bonus. Frankly though, we would implore you to find a cheaper motherboard if you're planning an APU-based system.
Unsurprisingly, MSI's Mystic Light LED lighting feature has been implemented on this model, but not in RGB form. Instead, the onboard LEDs are only one color - white - and can be manipulated with a choice of eight effects. Not only that, but you can't control the various lighting sections independently, they are all linked together. This is a bold choice from MSI for such a pricey motherboard. Having said that, there is an RGB LED header that supports two RGB light strips, so users can definitely take matters into their own hands and create a multi-coloured system if desired.
Last, but not least, this is the first X370 motherboard that we have reviewed that comes with voltage read points, which is a great addition for serious overclockers. For those with more down-to-earth ambitions, this model also features a physical Game Boost Knob that allows users a quick and easy way of literally manually overclocking without ever having to enter the UEFI or using any piece of software. It's a pretty great idea, especially since it has eight performance profiles, some of which are very aggressive.
We will be testing all of these features and more in the coming pages, so if your pockets run deep and you're interested in this motherboard, definitely keep on reading!
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