In our laboratory, we visited many motherboards for AMD Ryzen processors based on the “300” series of hubs. The flagship product from Gigabyte will be a good example when studying the overclocking of the updated CPU series on “obsolete” motherboards. The top positions in the list in terms of functionality are occupied by products from the Aorus series, but they also occupy the first places in the catalogs of trading platforms. The oldest version has a strong VRM node, a POST code indicator and a set of auxiliary indicators, there are also a number of buttons, an external clock generator that allows you to change the reference frequency. It is possible to connect remote temperature sensors. In a word, the concept of a model designed, among other things, for overclocking experiments is clearly visible here.
For the rest of the audience of enthusiasts, the fact that there are two wired network controllers from different manufacturers will be pleasant. Literally every section of the board is equipped with a backlight, there are two SATA-E outputs and one high-speed U.2. For compact M.2 drives, only one seat was left. Let’s take a closer look at the device nodes further, the general set of features is presented in the summary table.
|Model||Gigabyte GA-AX370-Gaming K7 (rev. 1.0)|
|Official product page on the Web||gigabyte.ua|
|Processor socket||AMD AM4|
|Processors||AMD Series: Athlon X4, A6, A8, A10, A12, Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7|
|Memory||4 DIMM DDR4 SDRAM 2133/2400/2667*/2933*/3200*/3400*/3600*(OC), 64 GB maximum|
|PCI slots||2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16+x0, x8+x8) — CPU
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x8) — APU/Athlon
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (x4) — X370
3 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 — X370
|M.2||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4, SATA (Key M, 2242/2260/2280/22110) — CPU
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x2, SATA (Key M, 2242/2260/2280/22110) — APU/Athlon
|Integrated video core (in APU)||Radeon Series: Vega, R7, R5|
|Video connectors||HDMI 1.4|
|Number of connected fans||8x 4pin|
|PS/2 ports||1 (keyboard/mouse)|
|The port is USB||2 x 3.1 Gen2 (2 connectors on the rear panel (A and C), ASM1143)
2 x 3.1 Gen2 (2 connectors on the rear panel, X370)
4 x 3.1 Gen1 (4 connectors on the rear panel, CPU/APU/Athlon)
6 x 3.1 Gen1 (2 connectors on the rear panel, X370)
4 x 2.0 (no connectors on the rear panel, X370)
|Serial ATA||8 x SATA 6Gb/s (X370)|
|RAID||0, 1, 10 (SATA, X370)|
|Built-in sound||Codec — 2x Realtek ALC1220 (7.1, HDA)|
|S/PDIF||Optical (output), on-board connector (output)|
|Networking||Intel I211-AT (Gigabit Ethernet)
Rivet Networks Killer E2500 (Gigabit Ethernet)
|Dimensions, mm||305 x 244|
|Additional features||Two SATA-E sockets, U.2 port, 2x Thermal sensor connector, buttons: power, OC and others; support for AMD 3-Way CrossFireX and NVIDIA 2-Way SLI, POST indicator, Diagnostic LEDs (CPU, DRAM, VGA, BOOT), a pair of headers for connecting LED strips (RGB and RGBW), dedicated USB (DAC-UP 2) for external DAC connection|
|Retail price, $||207|
Packaging and equipment
The packaging dimensions are no larger than those of a conventional ATX format product. The board is located in a separate upper tray, and a set of accessories is located at the bottom of the box.
A copious number of distinctive features were designed in the form of a collage of pictures, supplementing them with short phrases. All of this is on the back. There is also a photo of the product (with activated LED-backlight) and a schematic representation of the panel with I / O ports.
The scope of delivery is as follows:
- user manual, which illustrates and describes in detail the sub-items of UEFI (in English), provides a brief overview of the capabilities of proprietary software;
- multilingual quick installation guide;
- Aorus logo sticker;
- disk with drivers and proprietary software;
- a set of fourteen labels for labeling SATA cables;
- double hard bridge for organizing SLI;
- two external thermocouples (with a drop-shaped compound at the end);
- five-wire extension cable for connecting LED strip;
- a pair of branded Velcro ties that can be used for cable management in the case;
- “holster” for convenient connection of body connectors G Connector;
- anodized plug for the housing with a one-color symbolic designation of all sockets. The reverse part is pasted over with noise-absorbing material;
- four SATA 6Gb / s cables, two of which have an L-shaped connector on one end.
The device is made within the ATX standard. There are nine fixing holes in the case. Black color is used everywhere, only the shielding elements give off the sheen of metal. There are LEDs literally everywhere – at the top and bottom edges of the overlay, among the VRM elements, at the slots for RAM modules and near the PCI-E, and the right end is equipped with a separate light guide (it can be replaced using a self-made sample of a similar format, examples and blanks are posted on the official product page).
The back of the board is almost completely free of electronic components. Screws are used to fasten the radiators.
The huge cooler hub represents reliability. You definitely don’t need to think about overheating this area.
M.2 type devices can be up to 110 mm long. There is no pre-installed cooler here.
All other ports for drives are made longitudinally, there are: four regular SATA outputs, two SATA-E that have not gained popularity (eight SATA in total) and one U.2. At the same time, all these interfaces will not be able to work, the user manual will help you figure out the distribution of system resources.
Surprisingly, there is no balanced USB output for a case cable here! There are only two pads for the outputs of the second generation and two more for the third.
The first and second reinforced PCI-E slots can work with lines from the CPU, the rest are connected to the hub. Two firmware chips are located above the topmost of the expansion slots. The currently active one is highlighted with an orange LED.
The sound system is built with the participation of not one, but two codecs at once. According to the developer, the work of one of them is related to the equipment connected to the rear panel, and the second – to the case sockets. At the same time, there are no external operational amplifiers, but there are hardware switches that in previous years were responsible for gain correction. Now for Realtek products it will be enough to select any of the three profiles in the proprietary configurator.
Buttons – power on, reboot, select a chip with firmware and activate the profile with overclocking – are located at the upper right corner of the device. Two of them are illuminated with red light.
The illumination system on the board, including the panel on the starboard side, is equipped with multi-color LEDs. I would also like to note the light guides, including three pieces, mounted between the slots for DRAM modules.
The light from the POST code indicator, as well as from the four LEDs from the Diagnostic LED system, is red.
At the bottom of the device there is a block for an RGBW LED strip, and closer to the socket you can find another one prepared personally for the cooler.
The radiators in the VRM cooling system are not interconnected by a heat pipe, and experiments will show that it would not be superfluous there. They can’t be called high either, so there shouldn’t be any problems with installing cooling systems.
The power stabilizer is based on an eight-channel PWM controller IR35201. Six “phases” will be involved in shaping the CPU voltage. Two “phases” through a pair of IR3599 doublers form a four-channel regulator for SOC (NB) Voltage. All ten power elements are assembled with IR3553 assemblies. It is easy to note the fact that there is a seat for more powerful elements, but the final version turned out the way we see it. Here, next to the power elements, four-pin LEDs are soldered.
It turns out that each processor voltage has a separate heatsink. It’s too late to subject Gigabyte to obstruction, but the engineers did not sit idly by, rethinking the approach to organizing heat outflow in a number of new models (based on the X470). There are no problems with the area of thermal pads.
All USB outputs on the rear panel are third generation. The fastest ones are highlighted in red, including the symmetrical nest. There are also five gold-plated audio jacks, digital and optical outputs. It’s probably fair to point out that the flagship model lacks a DisplayPort class interface, and a pre-installed wireless adapter would be appropriate here (and it’s not offered even with an abstract version of the board – with some additional WiFi suffix). You can also complain about the lack of a button on demand for CMOS settings.