Our first X370 motherboard review is on the motherboard that AMD provided inside our Ryzen reviewer's kit. The Crosshair VI Hero is ASUS's current top offering for the AMD AM4 platform and uses AMD's X370 chipset. The X370 chipset and Ryzen CPU ecosystem is no longer similar to that of Intel, or anything we have seen before.
The chipset, be it X370 or B350, are IO extensions of the CPU, they are basically South Bridges without system management capabilities. Things such as the BIOS and HD audio connections, which have almost always been on another chip, are now integrated into the CPU. In fact, the one reason the motherboards require a chipset is to authenticate the CPU and provide secure operation. AMD even has chipsets that have almost no IO, such as the X300, that allows overclocking and multi-GPU capabilities.
AMD’s new X370 chipset, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero is able to tick a number of boxes that will appeal to mainstream enthusiasts and prosumers. There’s support for a pair of high-bandwidth graphics cards in CrossFire and SLI, a dozen power delivery phases for the CPU and SOC rails, and controllable RGB lighting alongside two 4-pin strip headers. On the storage side, the Hero sports a single 32Gbps PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 connector, 10Gbps USB 3.1 from multiple sources, and eight SATA 6Gbps ports for media junkies.
USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C ports are provided by an ASMedia controller. All in all, the rear panel is bulging with USB ports and you get considerably more than the Maximus IX Hero, too. This due to the CPU providing the means for four USB 2.0 and four USB 3.0 - most likely the minimum we'll see from any AM4 board using a Ryzen CPU. You then get additional ports via the X370 chipset plus any third-party controllers.
A new processor series will need a new chipset as the motherboard needs an infrastructure as well. This has been outsourced and at launch you will see multiple product stacked motherboard chipsets. For Ryzen, you probably want a high-end / enthusiast class chipset with lots of features and tweaking options, this will be the X370 chipset that went along with the launch of the processor series release. X370 will give home to the new socket AM4 and will provide DDR4 memory support (as well as all other modern usual suspects like USB 3.1 gen 2, SATA Express, as well as NVMe protocol based M.2 support and surely PCI-Express Gen 3.0).
- Aura Sync RGB LED: Stunning synchronised effects and two Aura 4-pin RGB-strip headers
- SupremeFX: Exclusive new codec plus intuitive Sonic Studio III and Sonic Radar III
- Compatible with both AM3/AM4 coolers and LN2 pots
- ROG Water Cooling Zone : Dominate your cooling system
- 5-Way Optimisation: One-click system-wide overclocking.
- Best gaming networking: Intel® Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard and GameFirst technologies
- Best gaming connectivity: M.2, USB 3.1 front-panel connector and both USB 3.1 Type-A/C
- Best gaming durability: Safeslot and premium components for maximum durability.
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