Mini-ITX is a battleground where manufacturers must make critical design decisions regarding features, layout, and product usage cases. With an industry that places more emphasis on smaller form factor chassis and watercooling solutions, does sacrificing motherboard features and connectivity for compactness make sense? Let's see what the Racing Racing ranks of Biostar tell us about this trade-off.
- AMD X370
- Form Factor
- Voltage Regulator
- 4+3 Phases
Biostar X370 GTN made it onto the bench with some deviations from our typical X370 reviews. Looking back at our Ryzen launch article, X370 is targeted at high-end fans who do not want to invest in TR4 and Threadripper. With more SATA paths, USB3.1 Gen2, and PCIe dedicated to the GPU, the X370 has a good blend of connectivity, development capabilities, and performance potential. Instead, the B350 still allows overclocking but lacks the rich connectivity I / O of processors and chipsets.
And it was rub with Biostar X370 GTN. With Mini-ITX, there is only enough physical planar that matches the I / O chipset arsenal to one board. Most of which make the X370 kanji sacrificed in the name of cohesiveness.
Looking at the backpanel, there is one PS / 2, DVI-D, HDMI 1.4, gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.1 Gen2 (1 Type-C, 1 Type-A), four USB 3.1 Gen1, five analog and one digital audio. It's similar to a larger X370 board. The only PCIe x16 connector spends the bottom of the board where we usually find additional headers and front panel pins. Just above the x16 slot is a USB 2.0 header, which is rather difficult to steer the chassis chassis cable to. Still looking at the GPU region, there are four available SATA ports (with RAID 0/1/10 support).
Side of the front panel host panel, USB 3.0, and 24-pin ATX headers. Only two DDR4 DIMM connectors are on the board, and they use one-sided DIMM latches. The single 12V 4-pin connector is located by VRegs to supply the processor with additional power. Cleverly hidden on the back of the board is the NVMe M.2 connector, so do not forget to plug in the high-speed storage device before securing the board on the chassis.
Biostar made some good decisions on this forum in the layout department. Two 5050 LED ports are located on the top side of the board, which helps remove some clutter from the front of the case while still providing builders with lighting options. Two fan headers are also located next to the LED header, so the top or front radiator attached would be ideal. We wanted to see a third fan header for the exhaust, but two fans could finish the job.
On the downside, the USB 2.0 header is in such a strange place that it can hardly be used again. It may be feasible to use flexible PCIe risers or clever cabling techniques, but our Thermaltake Suppressor front panel cabling is less than optimal (and wrapped around the board). SATA ports can only use a little attention because there is no connector that is tilted and propagated around the chaotic board segment.
The space surrounding the CPU for cooling solutions is also an afternoon point, although this is highlighted in the documentation. Installing Noctua NH-L9x65 SE AM4 is a smooth process, but installing the Corsair H110i is required to slide the cooling head to the left to provide sufficient distance for the DIMM. Although the water cylinder does not cause interference to the DIMMs, a thicker heatspreader DIMM can take you back to Newegg or Amazon to find a slimmer module.