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Aorus AX370-Gaming 5: Well Worth the Premium

By Robert Baddeley on December 26, 2017 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Aorus AX370-Gaming 5: Well Worth the Premium

A number of people skimp on motherboard’s in favor of a more powerful CPU or GPU, something I’m guilty of as well.  I recently got my hands on a Gigabyte Aorus AX370-Gaming 5 and quickly learned why I’ll never do a budget motherboard again.  Between the boards extensive features list, gorgeous look, and use of premium parts I can’t deny that this is the best motherboard I have ever owned and - despite some rather clunky software - is likely the only motherboard I’ll recommend to friends and family for their Ryzen builds.  Read on to learn more about this fantastic motherboard in Gigabyte’s Aorus lineup.

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Specifications

  • MSRP: $194.99 (Amazon)
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen or AMD 7th Gen A-series/Athlon processor (AM4)
  • Chipset: AMD X370
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Memory: 4x DDR4 DIMM sockets up to 64GB; Dual Channel Architecture; Support for 2133Mhz - 3200Mhz memory modules; Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
  • Audio: 2x Realtek ALC1220 codecs w/ Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5 Support; High Definition Audio; 2/4/5.1/7.1 channel; Support for S/PDIF Out
  • LAN: 1 x Intel GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit); 1 x Rivet Networks Killer E2500 LAN Chip (10/100/1000Mbit)
  • Expansion Slots: 1 x PCI Express x16, running at x16; 1 x PCI Express x16, running at x8; 1 x PCI Express x16, running at x4; 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
  • Storage: 1 x M.2 connector w/ SATA and PCIe SSD support; 1 x U.2 connector (M.2 unavailable if U.2 is populated); 2 x SATA Express connectors; 8 x SATA 6GB/s connectors; Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10
  • Graphics: Supports NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI and 2-Way NVIDIA SLI; Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire and 3-Way AMD CrossFire
  • USB: 1 x USB Type-C port on back panel, USB 3.1 Gen 2 support; 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports; 10 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Ports (4 ports available through internet USB headers); 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (available through internal USB headers)
  • Hardware Monitoring: Voltage detection; Temperature detection; Fan speed detection; Overheating warning; Fan fail Warning; Fan speed control
  • Key Features
    • RGB Fusion / Multi-Zone Light Show Design (RGBW & RGBUV Lightstrip support)
    • Swappable Overlay for Accent LED (located on side opposite of back panel)
    • Support High-Performance EK Monoblock (EK-FB GA AX370)
    • Smart Fan 5 to control 8 Fan/Water Pump Connectors
    • Dual ALC 1220 120dB SNR HD Audio with Dual Smart Headphone AMPs + Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5
    • High-End Audio Capacitors
    • 6+4 Phase Digital Power Delivery Design
    • Diagnostic LEDs
    • Dual Armor DIMM and PCIe Metal Shielding
    • GIGABYTE APP Center
    • EasyTune™ (Fine tune system settings, clocks, voltages from inside Windows environment)
    • GIGABYTE Patented DualBIOS™ (UEFI) Design
    • Easy to Install "G-Connector" Design (for connecting chassis cables to motherboard)
    • 1 year XSplit Gamecaster + Broadcaster Premium License

I want to offer my congratulations if you’ll still with me after that exhaustive specification list.  That’s a lot of individual things to talk about so I want to apologize in advance if I don’t cover one you are specifically interested in.  

My Standout Features

The first things that is glaringly obvious about this board is it’s embracement of RGB.  There are multiple zones around the board that the user can control either through the RGB app provided by Gigabyte or directly from the BIOS.  There’s a really nice accent strip along the the side of the board opposite rear inputs and it’s very tastefully executed.  Gigabyte also provides the files to gives the user the ability to 3D print their own accent strip to further customize the board.  Combining this with my G.Skill RGB Ram, NZXT Aer fans and strips it was simple to create some loud and obnoxious lighting - just how I like it.  RGB is an addon feature, however, and isn’t usually a make it or break it deal for some.  Personally when searching for a motherboard there are a few things that are must have features. 

Firstly, there needs to be plenty of USB ports.  I have a lot of accessories (webcam, external drive, gamepad, bluetooth, etc) and I’ve been in a situation before where I didn’t have room for something I needed to plug in.  That’s not a problem with the Aorus AX370-Gaming 5.  There are nine standard USB ports on the rear alone and one USB-C style.  Combine that with the two to four that traditionally are located on the front panel of your case and there is no shortage of USB room.  The yellow ports are also DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) which a rare feature for most motherboards and is very enticing for some users.

The second thing I like to see are fan headers.  I don’t know why but I absolutely HATE splitting a fan header between two fans.  With a total of 8 “hybrid” fan headers you’re going to have plenty of room for a full case of system fans, in addition to your CPU fan or water pump.  Something that I think is cool is that each of the fan headers are considered ‘hybrid’, which means each of them is capable of supporting a water cooling pump which makes cable management just a smidge easier.

Lastly, which is fairly standard for high end motherboards, are reinforced PCIe slots.  It’s easy to find boards that have at least the 16x slot reinforced, but less so for all of the slots to be reinforced.  As any PC gamer knows, GPU sag is a very real thing and the last thing you want is for your card to be slowly ripping the slot off your motherboard.  Setting up two-way SLI was worry free with these reinforced slots and if you’re looking to set up a three-way crossfire, the 4x slot at the bottom has the same reinforcement feature as well.

Software

Unlike other manufacturers, Gigabyte requires users to download their ‘App Center’ program to use the various apps that control motherboard features.  I’m not a huge fan of this method of delivery as it forces me to use a rather unwieldy piece of software to manage RGB, fans and tuning features.  That being said there are a number of apps that have an impact on quality of life when managing your PC.  The Aorus AX370-Gaming 5 allows a user to update the bios from within Windows.  This is a feature I’ve never personally seen but I quickly became a fan of it. I always get a little nervous when flashing my bios from the USB and the @BIOS app made it very simple to complete the flash. 

Other apps include EasyTune, which allows you to set overclock parameters similar to how the Ryzen Master Application does.  And of course, if you’re an RGB user, the RGB Fusion app is a must and I have to admit I was a little disappointed by it.  The app is sluggish and really lacks in the customization department.  You have a handful of presets to choose from, some of which are disabled, and the apps advanced mode refreshes the lights each time you try and make a change - making the process of changing your lights infuriatingly long.  A full list of the utility apps available can be found on the support section for the Aorus AX370-Gaming 5.

BIOS & Overclocking

The BIOS is a pretty standard PC bios with all the trimmings you’d expect to see on an X370 board.  You can control the CPU clock ratio and voltages, ram timings, frequencies and voltages, on-board rgb, fan speeds, etc.  I found the BIOS easy to navigate with both keyboard only and mouse control and for the most part had no trouble finding the settings I wanted to adjust - everything is labeled in a way that avoid confusion.  A feature missing that I’ve seen on other boards are the tooltip-like explanations of the feature you’re highlighting (something very useful to people diving in the first time) and I was surprised to see that it wasn’t there.  Something I did appreciate, however, is the default values being listed when changed frequencies and voltages.  

Overclocking my RAM was amazingly simple and is the first time on a Ryzen set up that I didn’t have to bang my head against the wall fine tuning timings to get what I wanted.  It just worked, right out of the box.  I didn’t even have to update the BIOS to get it to work. The board comes compatible with Extreme Memory Profile(XMP) and as soon as I switched it to Profile 1 it detected my RAM was suppose to be running at 3000Mhz and set it to the closest multiplier of 29.33.  I have had ZERO issues with my RAM since, marking the first time ever for me on a Ryzen system.  I can’t stress enough how amazing this was and tip my hat at Gigabyte for a job well done.

I did, unfortunately, run into some problems on my first attempt to overclock my Ryzen 7 1700.  I was experiencing something that has never happened to me before where the BIOS would report the correct clock and voltage information, but upon booting up Windows 10 every hardware monitoring software I had would report my clock at 1.5Ghz instead of the 3.9Ghz I was expecting. (Note: I already knew the frequency and voltage my specific CPU was capable of running at. If you’re actually attempting a first time overclock, make sure you increment by small amounts). It took quite a bit of frantic google searching to find my answer.  The solution was to set my Vcore value to ‘Normal’, which enabled the adjustment of the Dynamic Vcore(DVID).  After some quick math and a few clicks of the ‘+’ key, I was in the ballpark of my known good frequency and the overclock stuck without a problem.

Final Thoughts

I could go on and on about this board and how much I love it.  I’ve definitely become an instant fan of the Aorus line and, unless there’s a bargain price I can’t beat, it will be my go to for future gaming and high performance builds.  From it’s gorgeous design with stylized heat sinks and shrouds to it’s laundry list of features and specifications this board has something for everyone.  If you’re thinking of upgrading your Ryzen system, or starting a fresh Ryzen build, don’t count out the Aorus… I wouldn’t.

Pros

  • Gorgeous Design
  • Incredible amount of features
  • Easy overclocking

Cons

  • Poor software
  • Dual LAN w/o teaming is questionable

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.