With the single thread performance of Zen 2 inching closer and closer to Intel’s, it is hard to argue with the value for the dollar presented by AMD’s Ryzen line up as top contenders for gaming and beyond. Last month, we looked at an entry-level motherboard from ASUS, the TUF Gaming X570-Plus, but today we are kicking things up a notch into the mid-range with the Prime X570-Pro from ASUS.
Let’s take a look at what’s under the hood.
Specifications (click to enlarge)
Falling in between their TUF (The Ultimate Force) Gaming and ROG (Republic of Gaming) lines, the Prime line of motherboards from ASUS are meant to serve as a balance of performance, power, and aesthetic. Where the TUF Gaming series offers a no-nonsense approach to components for beginning builders, the Prime series offers a little bit richer of a taste of the ASUS pedigree of quality with a monochromatic style and understated RGB lighting.
For system builders looking to put together a “Stormtrooper” or white-out build, the ASUS Prime Pro is one of the few motherboards on the market with dominant white and silver accents. The built-in I/O shroud is a stunning, glossy white with the Prime branding in silver which mirror the ASUS branding on the chipset heatsink as well. That isn’t the only thing mirrored between the two, a sliver of RGB lighting runs along one of the textured ridged of the I/O shroud as well as along the outside edged of the chipset heatsink. The silver text accents pop against the white shrouds, enhanced by the power section and M.2 heatsinks. All of this mounted on a black PCB with white striping, creating one of the most visually stunning motherboards of its class.
The Prime X570-Pro isn’t all monochromatic flash. It uses alloy chokes to deliver steady power to the CPU while pulling heat away from the chokes by thermal pads into the heatsinks. According to ASUS, the capacitors on the Prime X570-Pro are engineered to provide up to 110% better performance over industry standards.
Speaking of the VRM and power delivery, this motherboard uses 12+2 power stages using DrMOS or driver/MOSFET modules to deliver efficient, clean power conservation to your components. The AM4 socket is reinforced with a stainless steel backplate on a 6-layer PCB to ensure a secure CPU cooler mounting. Like the TUF Gaming X570-Plus, there is a heatsink included for one of your M.2 sockets. This heatsink, however, in only usable with one slot.
As for interfaces, the Prime X570-Pro has three PCIe 4.0x16 that support 2-way SLI or 3-way CrossFireX, three PCIe 4.0x1 slots, two M.2 PCIe 4.0x4 slots, and six SATA 6GB/s ports. Internally, there is a USB 3 3.2 Gen 2 connection for the front panel as well as two USB 3.2 Gen 1 connections for internal hubs or front panel I/O. You will also find seven connections for cooling solutions (AiO, Water Pump, fans), three RGB headers, and a connection for an ASUS node device.
On the rear I/O, there are four USB 3.2 Gen 2 (including one USB type-C connection), four USB 3.2 Gen 1, DisplayPort and HDMI (if you’re using an APU), eight channel audio connections, and Realtek 2.5G LAN port with Intel I211AT controller. Like the TUF Gaming X570-Plus, there is also a PS/2 port.
With all of these details in mind, let’s see how it performs!
Before we get into the numbers, here are the system specifications for our test bench:
- CPU: Ryzen 7 3800X
- Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H100i RGB Platinum SE (Closed loop cooler), 4x LL120 fans
- RAM: 16 GB Patriot Viper Gaming RGB, 16 GB Silicon Power Gaming Turbine
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime X570-Pro
- GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080 Founder’s Edition
- Storage: 1TB WD_Black SN750, SeaGate FireCuda 2TB
- PSU: NZXT E850
- Case: NZXT H510 Elite
- Case Fans: 4x Corsair LL120
Even pushing higher end components, the Prime Pro kept performance steady while keeping its cool. Aside from this battery of benchmarks, we put it through AIDA64’s stress test. This tests lasted over an hour and we observed the same thing we saw throughout the rest of our benchmarking: the motherboard kept stayed lower than 36 C with peak temperature only lasting for around ten minutes of the test. (38.6 C to be precise). Case fans were operating at an average of 2296 RPM to help maintain these temperatures, but all told, things stayed within a safe operating range, even under load.
We were able to see some marginal improvement of the TUF Gaming X570-Plus. In PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike we saw the score jump a bit - up to a hundred-plus points - but it was 7-Zip where we the biggest jump between the two in multi-thread performance. Remember, we are talking about marginal improvements, considering that the only component changed in between tests was the motherboard itself.
The Prime X570-Pro delivers a mid-tier motherboard with some improvements over ASUS’s entry-level offerings. With the Prime X570-Pro, we have two reinforced PCIe lanes with a third 16-lane PCIe 4.0 slot available at the bottom of the board. This setup provides options for slotting multiple PCIe cards in different arrangements.
This is great news for content creators looking to include an internal capture card as well as a GPU. Having to choose between slotting your GPU into a slot that is not reinforced or pushing all of the hot air from your GPU directly into your capture card is not a great choice; however, this won’t impact all users considering this board.
While there are notable quality of life improvements like these and the inclusion of front panel USB-C, there are still a few issues that we pointed out on the TUF Gaming X570-Plus. These might be issues of taste, but worth pointing out. I am not a fan of ASUS’s design for RAM sockets or the release tabs for the PCIe slots. The release levers do not seem to carry the same quality that the rest of the board is built with. RAM slots only have a release on the top side of the board which makes slotting RAM feel a little bit odd. Again, this could be a matter of personal choice; they just are not my favorite design.
There is also that matter of the chipset heat sink and fan. The design is meant to draw air in, pushing air down and away from the chipset. If users socket a GPU into that top reinforced PCIe slot, the GPU partially blocks the fan, sucking in hot air expelled from the card. We could not get a reading on just what kind of impact this had on the chipset during our testing, but, long-term, extra heat being pumped into the chipset can’t be good for it. This is hardly an issue unique to the Prime Pro, however.
Coming in at $249.99, the ASUS Prime X570-Pro falls into the middle of the price point pack in the X570 chipset-based motherboards. While touted as a midrange board, for the price, it offers some high class features. The VRM heatsinks keep components cool under load and while providing the power needed to push your CPU to its potential.
Whether you are using this as the foundation for gaming or creating content, there is a versatile amount of connectivity both internally and externally. The enclosed I/O shield is both beautiful and function, creating a seamless connection to the case. There are plenty of RGB heads for extra flash and USB headers for internal controllers and case I/O. Add on top of that enough fan headers with smart placement on the motherboard and you have a platform that is a joy to build on.
If you are looking for an X570 motherboard that does not sacrifice function for form (or vice versa), this is an AM4 board worth considering. From power delivery to temperature stability, accents to illumination, the Prime X570-Pro is as beautiful as it is a powerful platform to build on.
- Stunning aesthetic
- Mid-tier motherboard for the X570 platform
- Power and temperatures steady under load
- Internal fan/CPU header positioning makes sense make sense
- Chipset fan is partially obstructed by 2 slot GPUs, airflow could be a problem
- Inclusion of a PS/2 connection seems odd
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.