The MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM is quite a mouthful but it’s also an amazing looking motherboard. The Titanium line from MSI has, in recent years, been their “top of the line” offering. It comes loaded with extras and has a unique styling which sets this board apart from it’s siblings. Currently it’s sitting in the upper price range of the AM4 X370 motherboards at $259.99 from newegg.com.
Today we have the MSI X370 SLI Plus on the test bench. This sample is one of the lowest priced motherboards equipped with the AMD X370 chipset in the retail market. Just at a glance you can see that it’s a bit stripped down from its bigger brothers but still appears to have everything you might need to get your Ryzen CPU up and going, even overclocked, and at a reasonable price. The AM4 platform is still relatively new and with that comes a few growing pains. This leaves some of the memory options a bit limited and just finding the right memory for your motherboard can be a challenge since there’s still some compatibility issues on all boards at the moment. There’s another AGESA update scheduled for May, hopefully this will open things up a bit for us enthusiasts.
Today we’ll have a look at the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero which, at this time, is ASUS’ top of the line performance board for the AM4 socket. From the early days of socket AM2/AM2+ with the introduction first ASUS Crosshair, in AMD land, the name has always been synonymous with performance. Over the years, I have had four different Crosshair motherboards and can say I have never been disappointed. Today I have my fifth Crosshair sitting in front of me and just by the look and feel of it, I can tell the quality is there.
The AMD Ryzen CPU and AM4 platform are still new and as such you should expect a few growing pains. That being said, I’m certain given a bit more time most, if not all, of the bugs will be worked out and setting up this platform will be as easy as any other. At present there are some limitations with memory timings, this is driven by AMD not the motherboard manufacturers. This will be addressed in future AGESA updates delivered with your motherboard’s BIOS.
It feels like it has been years since we’ve had an AMD CPU on hand for a review, because it has! The last part we saw was an APU back in 2014. Since those years ago, AMD has come out with a completely new architecture, moved to a 14nm process, gotten rid of those “modules” we’ve grown accustomed to, and are boasting a self-proclaimed 52% IPC gain over their previous CPU. Desktop processors now range from four cores without SMT (Simultaneous Multi-Threading) all the way up to eight cores with SMT. All of the processors have a vastly reduced TDP with the highest SKU coming in at 95W (just four watts higher than the i7-7700K). This is a huge improvement of the 220W the top Vishera CPU pulled down and the 125W of the FX-8580.
Today, specifically, we’ll be talking about the Ryzen 7 series, the flagship 1800X CPU in the lineup. IPC improvements are huge over Excavator, thread count is up (depending how you view modules the core count is up also), and I know all of us enthusiasts are excited to see the new challenger who has been looming. That said, enough from me, let’s get to the chip.