MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM Motherboard Review

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The MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM is quite a mouthful but it’s also an amazing-looking motherboard. The XPower line from MSI has, in recent years, been their “top of the line” offering. Add the Titanium for that silvery finish and you have a sharp-looking powerhouse to base your build on. It comes loaded with extras and has a unique styling which sets this board apart from its siblings. So let’s dig in and get a closer look at the board’s performance and features compared to some of the competition.

Specifications

The Titanium is built around the AM4 socket and sports the AMD X370 chipset supporting the current AMD Ryzen line of CPUs and upcoming AMD 7th Gen APUs and Athlons.  This board has support for up to 64 GB of dual channel DDR4 with speeds of 3200 MHz (OC). Officially, Ryzen supports speeds of DDR4 2666 since the launch but it is capable of higher speeds. This really depends on which DDR4 you purchase, so check the QVL linked in the table below.

On the graphics end we have three full length PCIe 3.0 slots for discrete cards which support NVIDIA SLI or AMD Crossfire for multiple cards. The XPower Gaming Titanium also has a DisplayPort and a HDMI 2.0 port to support the Ryzen-based A series CPUs with integrated Radeon graphics which should be launching soon.

For storage, there’s plenty of connectivity in a variety of flavors supported on the Titanium. We have two M.2 ports which support “M” Key type PCIe/SATA based NVMe drives located between the PCIe slots. One of these is equipped with the MSI “Steel Armour” cover. There are also six SATA 6Gb/s ports and one U.2 port located on the edge of the board. There’s support for up to eight drives in RAID configurations, refer to the manual for correct combinations.

MSI chose the Intel l211AT Gigabit LAN controller, not the latest and greatest but still very capable. They have also included their own “LAN Protect” to shield you from up to 15KV surges of static electricity or lightning strikes. For more control the MSI Gaming LAN Manager is included on the motherboard disc allowing you to prioritize applications for on-line gaming.

The audio section is driven by the Realtek ALC1220 Codec and delivers 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio. The Titanium is also equipped with MSI’s AUDIO BOOST 4 technology and high quality Chemi-Con capacitors to deliver “a high fidelity sound experience with exceptional acoustics and realism.”

Between the ASMedia ASM2142 Chipset, AMD X370 Chipset and the Ryzen CPU the Titanium offers up to 18 USB connections shared between the back I/O panel and on board connectors. This includes USB 3.1 type “A” and type “C” plus USB 2.0 type “A”. Reference the table below for specifics

All specifications in the table below are provided by MSI for the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM.

MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM Specs
CPU Supports AMD RYZEN series processors and 7th Gen A-series/ Athlon processors for Socket AM4
Chipset AMD X370 Chipset
Memory • 4 x DDR4 memory slots, support up to 64 GB
– Supports DDR4 1866/ 2133/ 2400/ 2667(OC)/ 2933(OC)/ 3200(OC)+ Mhz *
• Dual channel memory architecture
* 7th Gen A-series/ Athlon ™ processors support a maximum of 2400 MHz.
Please refer www.msi.com for more information on compatible memory
Expansion Slots • 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (PCIe_2, PCIe_4)
– RYZEN series processors support x16/x0, x8/x8 mode
– 7th Gen A-series/ Athlon™ processors support x8/x0 mode
• 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (PCIe_6, supports x4 mode)
• 3 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots
Graphics • 1 x HDMI™ 2.0 port, supports a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@60Hz*
• 1 x DisplayPort, supports a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@60Hz*
* Only support when using a 7th Gen A-series/ Athlon™ processors
* Maximum shared memory of 2048 MB
Multi-GPU Support • RYZEN series processor
– Supports 2-Way NVIDIA SLI Technology
– Supports 3-Way AMD CrossFire Technology
• 7th Gen A-series/ Athlon processor
– Supports 2-Way AMD CrossFire Technology
Storage AMD X370 Chipset
• 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports*
• 2 x M.2 ports (Key M)
– M2_1 slot supports PCIe 3.0 x4 (RYZEN series processor) or PCIe 3.0 x2 (7th Gen A-series/ Athlon processors) and SATA 6Gb/s 2242/ 2260 /2280/ 22110 storage devices
– M2_2 slot supports PCIe 2.0 x4 and SATA 6Gb/s 2242/ 2260 /2280 storage devices
• 1 x U.2 port
– Supports PCIe 3.0 x4 (RYZEN series processor) or PCIe 3.0 x2 (7th Gen A-series/ Athlon processors) NVMe storage
* Maximum support 2x M.2 PCIe SSDs + 6x SATA HDDs or 2x M.2 SATA SSDs + 4x SATA HDDs.• Supports RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 10 for SATA storage devices
LAN • 1 x Intel I211AT Gigabit LAN controller
Audio • Realtek ALC1220 Codec
– 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
– Supports S/PDIF output
USB ASMedia ASM2142 Chipset
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps) Type-C port on the back panel
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps) Type-A port on the back panel• AMD X370 Chipset
– 1 USB 3.1 Gen2 (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps) Type-C port through the internal USB connector
– 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (SuperSpeed USB) ports available through the internal USB connectors
– 7 x USB 2.0 (High-speed USB) ports (3 Type-A ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB connectors)• AMD CPU
– 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (SuperSpeed USB) Type-A ports on the back panel
Back I/O Ports – 1 x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse combo port
– 1 x Clear CMOS button
– 3 x USB 2.0 Type-A ports
– 1 x DisplayPort
– 1 x HDMI 2.0 port
– 1 x LAN (RJ45) port
– 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port
– 5 x OFC audio jacks
– 1 x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
Internal I/O Ports – 1 x 24-pin ATX 12V power connector
– 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
– 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
– 1 x 6-pin ATX 12V power connector
– 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
– 2 x USB 2.0 connectors (support additional 4 USB 2.0 ports)
– 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 connectors (support additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports)
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 connector (supports additional 1 USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C port)
– 1 x 4-pin CPU fan connector
– 1 x 4-pin water-pump-fan connector
– 4 x 4-pin system fan connectors
– 1 x RGB LED connector
– 1 x Digit Debug Code LED
– 1 x 2-pin Slow mode connector
– 1 x TPM module connector
– 1 x Front panel audio connector
– 2 x System panel connectors
– 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector
OS Support WHQL certified for Windows 10
Form Factor • 12 in. x 9.6 in. (30.5 cm x 24.4 cm)
• ATX Form Factor
Note [INSERT SPEC]

Features

I’ll start this off with one of my favorite features which I think all motherboards should have: BIOS FLASHBACK+ on the MSI Titanium. This has to be one of the handiest features for clearing up BIOS issues. I regularly push my hardware to the limits and even beyond those limits every once in a while. That’s where the FLASHBACK+ can be a real life saver. Memory tuning can easily corrupt your Operating system and occasionally the BIOS. The ability to flash a clean BIOS to the board without having to have it boot is priceless. FLASHBACK+ works without a CPU installed so if you happen to have a CPU that isn’t supported without a BIOS update, you can do it yourself without the hassle of taking it to a shop.

Next we have the CLEAR CMOS button on the rear I/O panel. This too in my opinion should be on all motherboards. There are times that we can set parameters in BIOS that might be a bit too aggressive and you’re left with a PC that refuses to boot without being reset. No more crawling on your knees, opening up your case and looking for that tiny jumper in the darkness. You simply power off the computers power supply, hold the Clear CMOS button for 10 seconds and then power back up. Easy and convenient.

Another handy addition is the DEBUG LED. This readout will display post codes during normal start up and CPU temperature during operation. It will also display error codes if the system fails to boot normally. Very convenient for problems solving and identifying the cause of the failed boot.

MSI went all-out with the addition of their “Steel Armour”. For NVMe drives, it doubles as a heatsink to help prevent throttling due to temperature. You’ll also see the Steel Armour on the PCIe slots, U.2 port and DRAM slots. Not only does it look good but offers a level of protection against accidental damage and shields the data signals from electromagnetic interference (EMI).

For the Virtual Reality buffs, MSI hasn’t forgotten about you with the addition of “VR Boost” and their “VR Ready” software. VR Boost is a dedicated chip to ensure a clean, strong signal over a dedicated USB port. While the one click VR Ready software preps your PC for your VR headset. “A single click sets all your key components to their highest performance and makes sure other software applications won’t impact your virtual adventure.”

As I said earlier the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM is packed with features, I have a few more listed below, but for full details follow the link to MSI’s website.

The next table lists the high-level feature set of the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM. All images and descriptions provided by MSI.

MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM Features

PREMIUM POWER PHASES

High quality components used in MSI motherboards ensure a stable and optimized power delivery for the best performance.

DEBUG LED

Run into trouble? The digital LED display will indicate the source of the problem so you know exactly where to look to get up and running again.

DIGITALL MEMORY POWER DESIGN

An all-digital power design offers lower power consumption and precise voltage delivery for enhanced efficiency for a non-stop gaming experience.

SUPER STABLE GAMING WITH THE HIGHEST QUALITY COMPONENTS

MSI uses Military Class 5 components, which is the latest evolution of the industries’ highest quality standard. These high quality components are shielded by the best protection to make sure your system runs smoothly under the most extreme gaming conditions.

SHIELD YOUR SSD & MEMORY WITH STEEL ARMOR

MSI Steel Armor protects your DDR4 modules, U.2, M.2 SSD’s and slots from physical harm. It also ensures a clean data signal between the motherboard and connected components by shielding against electromagnetic interference (EMI). Steel Armor helps to deliver a smooth gaming experience.

HANDY CLEAR CMOS BUTTON

Conveniently placed on the IO panel, the Clear CMOS button lets you instantly reset the BIOS if needed. Saving you the hassle of opening your case and removing the jumper.

BIOS FLASHBACK+

Simply flash an old or new BIOS version and start overclocking within minutes. BIOS Flashback+ even works without a CPU, memory or graphics card installed!

PERSONALIZE YOUR GAMING RIG

Customize and set up your own color scheme with RGB Mystic Light Sync. Select any of the colors from the palette using your smartphone or the MSI Gaming App to match your system style. Bored of the same colors? Simply change the complete look of your system in 1 second!

FULLY CONTROLLABLE FAN HEADERS

MSI motherboards let you manage speeds and temperatures for all your system and CPU fans, giving you full control to set up a cool & silent system. The fan headers are conveniently placed with the most popular CPU coolers in mind.

OPTIMIZED FOR WATER COOLING

Designed to support the most popular All-In-One & custom water cooling solutions on the market. A dedicated water pump PIN header supports up to 2 amp, giving you full control of the water pump speed. A clearly marked ‘keep-out-zone’ allows for easy and safe installation and a perfect fit.

WANT MORE PERFORMANCE? TRY MULTI GPU!

Gaming enthusiasts are always looking for more performance to get the ultimate experience. Using multiple graphics cards is a great way to find out just how good it gets. MSI GAMING motherboards fully support multi GPU technologies and have optimal PCI-E slot placement for the best thermal performance.

*works best with MSI graphics cards

A DIFFERENT VIEW ON GAMING

MSI Dragon Eye allows you to watch a YouTube video or Twitch Stream while playing a game simultaneously. Simply add a link or stream to the Dragon Eye application and select the size, position, volume and transparency and start gaming. The hotkeys allow you to start/pause your video or set the volume.

NEXT-GEN HIGH DEFINITION AUDIO PROCESSOR

Audio Boost 4 is powered by an EMI-shielded High Definition audio processor with built-in DAC, making sure you enjoy the purest sound quality in both stereo and surround sound.

  • 120dB SNR / 32-bit
  • Supports DSD Super Audio CD playback & recording (64x better than regular CD quality)

NAHIMIC: SOUND THAT PUSHES THE LIMITS OF REALITY

Nahimic Sound Technology has been famed for its quality and precision in projects undertaken by the Military and the Aeronautics Industry. Their experience in reflecting surround sound at the most immersive level allows you as a gamer to experience the next level in sound & gameplay. Unique features, including a sound tracker which visually shows where the enemies are making noise in game, truly allow you to get the upper hand on the battlefield.

Only MSI products are equipped with VR Boost. When using a VR headset, you want to have a smooth experience. Traditional USB ports can suffer signal drops, significantly impacting performance of connected devices. VR Boost is a smart chip that ensures a clean and strong signal to a VR optimized USB port, giving you an enjoyable VR experience.

Retail Packaging

As you can see, the packaging is quite eye catching in a shiny silver. The front shows a nice picture of the board and a few details about chipset and CPU line. Very good for the shelf, all the info you need and easy to see. Turning it over gives a lot more detail, with a layout of the board and rear I/O panel. There’s a convenient front cover that opens to a list of some features on the left and gives you a peek at the motherboard on the right. Easy to tell if the Titanium will meet your requirements for performance and connectivity by reading the box.

Retail Package- Front

Retail Package – Rear

Retail Package- Open

Retail Package- Inside

Accessories

Once inside you’ll find it’s divided into two separate boxes. One for the motherboard and one for the accessories. The board sits snugly in its box on top of a thin piece of foam. There is no anti-static bag but there is a hard plastic cover that keeps the board from jostling around during transport. One thing though, MSI didn’t skimp on the accessories – along with the usual suspects like a manual and installation disc, they have included an SLI bridge and six very good-looking SATA cables. They’re clear with bright silver colored wire which goes with the Titanium theme very well. Another nice addition is the fold out leaflet that details the motherboard and rear I/O panel. I actually used it a few times, my bench is setup with the rear I/O to the wall and with the plastic shroud on I had a hard time locating the USB ports. This at least gave me a place to start.

Accessories

Accessories

The MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM

The Xpower Titanium has a very typical layout. I was surprised at the lack of additional LED/RGB anywhere on the motherboard. Aside from the EZ Debug LEDs and the sound section border the board is pretty dark. With the RGB demand the way it is, I was somewhat expecting the “flagship” X370 motherboard would have at least the PCH and IO shroud lit in some fashion. The board does have LED connectivity for additional RGB strips or peripheral control just nothing on the board itself.

MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM Front

MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM Rear

A Closer Look

The PCIe area houses the two M.2 M Key type connectors. The upper one with the Steel Armor supports PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA 6Gb/s NVMe drives while the bottom has support for PCIe 2.0 x4 and SATA 6Gb/s. You’ll see two of the three full size PCIe 3.0 slots have the Steel Armour as well. These two slots support the SLI or CrossfireX in a PCIe3 x8/x8 configuration. There’s also an additional 6-pin PCIe power connection here. This helps deliver extra voltage to the PCIe slots when running a multiple-card setup. I should also mention, the top most PCIe 3.0 slot is well spaced to accommodate large air coolers.

Here’s a couple more angles of the Titanium showing off the Debug LED readout. As I said earlier, it’s a very nice addition to any motherboard. One thing that’s very eye catching is the Steel Armour on the DIMM slots. These ones are what appear to be chrome. They’re very shiny and reflective compared to the PCIe armor. In the upper-right side of the board we see the 8-pin CPU power connection along with an additional 4-pin. The extra 4-pin connection isn’t necessary for operation. It’s there for additional power when really pushing things past their limit.

Motherboard – Upper Left

Motherboard – Upper Right

 

Moving from left to right across the bottom of the motherboard we find many of the onboard I/O connections such as the front panel audio, a couple of USB2 and even a USB3.1 Gen2 type C connector. Alongside the power and reset buttons we find the “Game Boost” hardware control knob. Just like Nigel’s amp in the classic movie Spinal Tap “this one goes to 11.” Giving you the ability to OC by simply turning the dial for that extra boost when you need it. Located on this corner we’ll also find the BIOS Flashback+ button. Using the appropriate USB slot and a properly labelled BIOS file you can flash the BIOS without even having a CPU in the motherboard.

Motherboard – Lower Left

Motherboard – Lower Right

Here we have the rear I/O panel. Moving from left to right we have a PS2 and two USB2.0 connectors for mouse and keyboard connections. Next up is the Clear CMOS button and the designated Flashback+ USB2.0 port. This motherboard also supports video out when using one of the upcoming AM4 APUs with an HDMI and Display Port. Next we have four USB 3.1 Gen1 ports with the two under the Intel LAN port being the VR Ready ports to support your virtual reality headset. Between them and the Audio ports on the far right we have two more USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports in type “A” and type “C”connections. Spinning the motherboard 180° will finish off our internal I/O connections with 6 SATA 6Gb/s, a U.2 connector and two more USB 3.1 connectors. The second one is just out of the frame to the right, next to the 24-pin EATX power connection.

Rear I/O

SATA, U.2 Port and USB3

Stripping the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM

The MSI X370 XPOWER has a 10-phase power section as you can see here. I didn’t have any overheating issues or throttling running at 4.0 GHz with 1.4 V. The heatsinks and thermal pads made very good contact with the MOSFETs and did a great job of transferring the heat. MSI is using Nikos PK616BA and PK632BA MOSFETs with five IR (International Rectifier) doublers located on the back of the motherboard. To control this power there’s a Dual Phase IR 35201 Digital Controller near the 12 V EPS connectors.

VRM, Socket Area

Heatsink Contact

Digital Voltage Controller

NIKOS High/Low Fets

For Audio we have the Realtek ALC1220 CODEC and a handful of Gold Chemicon caps isolated from the board by the LED strip for improved signal integrity.

Chemicon Caps

Realtek ALC1220

 

Below is a slide show of the other miscellaneous integrated circuit chips on the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM.

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UEFI BIOS and Overclocking Software

MSI’s Click BIOS5 is very smooth and the mouse is quite responsive. Even though I’m not as familiar with MSI’s BIOS setup I found it quite easy to navigate. Below you’ll see the Easy and Advanced screens along with some of the main screens off the Advanced section.

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On to the OC section which needed a few more pictures. Here we have all the main ingredients for overclocking your CPU and memory. The OC section contains most options and voltages you need on one page from multipliers and memory speed to the main voltages. There’s also a great addition that is labelled “Memory Try It” a very easy way to set up your RAM without using XMP. This is great when your DDR4 XMP doesn’t really suit the parameters of the CPU.  In the OC section you’ll also find the “DIGITALL” power section for LLC and some of the higher power settings as well as the DRAM timings section. This last section has been greatly expanded since the early days of AM4.

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I’ve included some pics of the software included with the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM. As always we have the MSI command center for In-Windows overclocking and system monitoring. MSI has also included a utility for creating Windows 7 installation media with the needed USB3 and XHCI drivers.

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Test Setup, Benchmarks, and Overclocking

I will be comparing the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM’s performance to the following motherboards which have been previously reviewed here at Overclockers.com.

ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VI HERO

GIGABYTE AX370-GAMING 5

MSI X370 SLI PLUS

Listed below is the test system used for benchmarking.

Test Setup
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
Cooler -Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4
Motherboard -MSI X370 XPOWER GAMNING TITANIUM
RAM – G.Skill 2×8 GB 3600 CL17 DDR4
Graphics Card – EVGA KPE GTX 980 Ti
Solid State Drive – Samsung 950 Pro NVMe
Power Supply – Superflower Leadex 1000 W Platinum
Operating System -Windows10 X64 Professional

We’ll perform our usual set of benchmarks which tests rendering, memory performance, and single/multi-threaded CPU performance. For 2D benchmarks we’ll use SuperPi 1M and 32M and wPrime 32M and 1024M. For rendering it’s Cinebench R11.5 and R15. Memory performance is checked against AIDA64. For encoding, we use x265 (HWBOT Version) and PoV Ray. A more real-world test is included in 7zip. Testing is performed with the CPU at 4GHz to eliminate any inherent differences in stock BIOS options. Memory speed is DDR4 2933 MHz, unless otherwise specified.

As you’ll see below the MSI Xpower performance level is right where it should be. No real surprises here. You’ll have to take some of the numbers from the Gigabyte board with a grain of salt. They were run before AIDA64 had proper support for Ryzen.

Memory Bandwidth and Throughput Benchmark –AIDA64 CPU, FPU and Memory tests

AIDA64 Cache and Memory Benchmark

 

CPU Rendering an Multi-Threaded Benchmarks – Cinebench R11.5 and R15, x265 (HWBOT Version), PoV Ray R3.73, 7Zip

Cinebench R11.5

Cinebench R15

POVRay

HWBot X265

7Zip

Legacy CPU Benchmarks – Super Pi 1M and 32M, WPrime 32M and 1024M

SuperPi 1M

SuperPi 32M

WPrime 32M and 1024M

Judging by the numbers above the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM is within a few percent of the competition and performs as it should. Choosing an X370 motherboard will really come down to the features you want and price since to date, performance wise, there really hasn’t been a clear leader.

Pushing the Limits

Like most other boards I’ve reviewed, the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM hit 4025 MHz on the Ryzen 1700X. It seems to be fairly stable at this level, running Cinebench R15 without issue. Booting at 4050 MHz happened, but I couldn’t complete Cinebench R15 at this speed and keep the voltage within limits. I also worked the RAM speed up to 3333MHz just to show it can be done.

Cinebench R15 and R11.5 at 4025 MHz

Here’s something you might find interesting. I worked the sub-timings down for the 3333MHz DRAM clock and at 4.0 GHz on the 1700X I scored better than I did at 4025MHz .

DRAM 3333 tight timings

Firestrke, before and after.

Firestrike 4,000 MHZ DRAM 2933MHz

Firestrike 4025 MHZ DRAM 3333 MHz

Conclusion

The MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM is a well-rounded board with a lot of features. The power section is robust enough to push any AMD Ryzen 7 CPU to its limits on ambient cooling and remain cool while doing so. Tons of storage and USB connectivity as well. My only reservation is the price point. At $259.99 currently at newegg.com which puts it in the top price range for the AMD AM4 X370 motherboards.

Being in the upper price range and comparing it to its competition, I felt there were a couple of things missing. The lack of LED lighting on the motherboard seems so out of place with today’s market. Just about everything has RGB lighting from power supplies to fans I’m surprised the Titanium was left so dark. Next on my list is an external baseclock generator. This isn’t something that is necessary for overclocking the AM4 platform but it’s still nice to have and useful for fine tuning memory speeds.

Overall it’s still a great motherboard and unique in its own right with the silver finish and chrome accents. Even though I feel the price is a bit high for what you get, the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM will get the job done and I can still give it the Overclockers approval !

ocapproved

Click the stamp for an explanation of what this means.

Shawn Jennings – Johan45

 

 

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