Since Intel just launched their 8th Generation processors for desktops plus the need for new chipsets – specifically Intel z370 – we’ve got a number of brand new motherboards lined up for you but first, let’s go and focus on ASUS’ motherboard. The company has a lot of varying Z370 motherboards that are available today such as their high-end ROG (Republic of Gamers) to the more cost-efficient Prime series.
The Prime series from ASUS provides you with all the excellent features that you can expect from a top-notch motherboard without really having a ton of expensive extras that you don’t really need. So today, we’re going to take a look at the brand new Prime Z370 A Motherboard from ASUS – an ATX type of motherboard that is packed with excellent features including USB 3.1 Gen-2, dual M.2 slots, 3-way Cross-Fire support, 2-way SLI, as well as cool RGB LED lights.
So before taking a look at what this motherboard is all about, let’s check out what’s included in the packaging of the ASUS Prime Z370-A Motherboard.
Asus Prime Z370-A Motherboard Review – Whats in the Box?
The Prime Z370-A is kept in a nice and quite attractive box where the front portion has a large picture of the device, plus numerous emblems that detail the various features of the motherboard; the biggest emblem featured on the box specifically exhibits the Aura Sync of ASUS so you can be sure that the motherboard definitely has RGB LED lights.
Flip the box over to see the back portion were tons of information about the product is written; a number of the primary features of the Prime Z370-A are listed in detail on the right portion. Check out the left portion and you will see another shot of the Prime Z370-A, giving you a detailed list of the various sections of the motherboard and the rear I/O.
When we got everything out of the box, of course, we got the Prime Z370-A as well as other accessories such as the CPU installation tool, the three SATA cables, the two-way SLI HB bridge, the I/O shield, screws for the M.2 drives, the Q-connector, the installation and driver DVD, a user’s manual, plus a 20% off note for the Cable-Mod cables.
Now that we’ve detailed all the items that are included in the Prime Z370-A’s box, let’s get to know more about the board, its functions, and performance.
Asus Prime Z370-A Review – Asus Knows What it Takes
First glance at the Prime Z370-A and we noticed that it’s just like every other regular ATX motherboard. ASUS seems to be keeping the same colour theme from the previous X299 and Z270 Prime boards, displaying the black PBC together with silver and white accents; we also noticed a couple of cool-looking white etchings across the motherboard which gives it a nice and interesting appearance. Additionally, an adequately sized I/O cover is present which is specifically made to cover a portion of one of the board’s heatsinks.
Let’s begin with the CPU socket which is actually an LGA-1151 socket. The thing here is that this specific socket is already for the 8th Generation Core processors so you should remember that you can only utilize the Coffee Lake types with this specific socket. Surrounding this are the two silver heatsinks and the power delivery components which actually keep the board looking pretty cool; and by the looks of it, it seems like we do have the ten-phase power design. Also at the right top left portion of the board, you’ll see the 8-pin EPS connector.
As we move and focus on the right portion of the board, you’ll see the optional CPU fan headers and the two four-pin fan connectors which are specifically for your CPU. Next to these are the four DDR4 DIMM ports which support the DDR4 memory up to 4,000 MHz. Since these are non-reinforced slots, they are generally latch-less on the bottom part so you won’t have to go about removing your graphics card just to switch out the memory – something that we consider pretty convenient and advantageous. At the board’s edge, you will find another four-pin fan header, as well as the DRAM, status LED’s for booting, CPU, VGA, Power Button, Mem OK button, as well as the 24-pin power connector for the ATX. It’s actually nice to see that ASUS provided a dedicated power button for their Prime series, plus their Mem OK button is also really convenient on our part. Additionally, if you are having issues when it comes to booting with the memory, the motherboard will readily search for the right memory settings that works, allowing your system to boot properly into the BIOS.
At the lower portion of the motherboard we have the six SATA 6GB/s slot and the USB 3.0 header which are all fixed at a 90° angle; of course, the SATA ports are all regulated by the chipset, as well as supported by the RAID 0, 1, 5, & 10 modes. At the bottom of the Prime Z370-A motherboard, you can find the other headers that are available: from the left to the right, you will find the HD audio header, the four-pin RGB header, the front panel headers, the COM port header, the EXT fan header, TPM header, four-pin fan header, the two USB 2.0 headers, and the Gen 1 USB 3.1 header. At the far edge of the motherboard is where ASUS set their audio solution – specifically the Realtek S122-0A that features the Crystal Sound 3. These are driven by original Japanese capacitors to provide immersive, crisp, and warm sounds; of course, the whole audio portion of the board features the PCB isolation from the rest of the board and also, the left and right tracks are located on PCB layers.
For the expansion slots, there are three PCI-Express 3.0 x 16 slots as well as four PCI-Express 3.0 x 1 slots – where the bottom two are x 8 electrical while the two primary PCI-Express slots are reinforced with steel. With just one graphics card installed, the Prime Z370-A can run at x 16 speed, two cards installed can let the board run at x8 speed, and three cards installed can let it run at x 8, x 4, and x 4. With that setup, we will be able to have the official support of two-way SLI and the three-way Cross-Fire.
Above the PCI-Express 3.0 x 16 slot, you will find the M.2 slot that supports the M.2 drives up to 80 mm; and above that, there are two other four-pin fan headers – one that specifically functions to connect to your AiO. The other M.2 slot is concealed behind the bottom portion of the PCH heatsink, and removing three screws will reveal another M.2 slot that actually supports the M.2 SSD’s up to 80 mm. Finally, we are at the rear I/O: from the right side, there are two USB Gen-2 USB 3.1 ports (specifically one Type-A and Type-C ports), the Display Port Out, DVI out, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI out, the audio connections, and the Gigabit Ethernet. The Prime Z370’s Ethernet connection is also powered by the I219V controller from Intel.
- Intel® Socket 1151 for 8th Generation Core™ Processors
- Supports Intel® 14 nm CPU
- Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
- Intel® Z370
- 4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 4000(O.C.)/3866(O.C.)/3733(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/3466(O.C.)/3400(O.C.)/3333(O.C.)/3300(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
- Dual Channel Memory Architecture
- Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
- Integrated Graphics Processor- Intel® HD Graphics support
- Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DVI-D/DisplayPort ports
- Supports HDMI 1.4b with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
- Supports DVI-D with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
- Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz
- Maximum shared memory of 1024 MB
- Supports up to 3 displays simultaneously
- DP 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport compliant, supports DP 1.2 monitor daisy chain up to 3 displays
- Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology
- Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
- 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8) *
- 1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)
- 4 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1
- For 2 SSD on CPU support, install a Hyper M.2 X16 card (sold separately) into the PCIeX16_2 slot, enable this card under BIOS settings.
- ** For 3 SSD on CPU support, install a Hyper M.2 X16 card (sold separately) into the PCIeX16_1 slot, enable this card under BIOS settings.
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3, , with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA mode & X4 PCIE mode)*1
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3, , with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)*2
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), gray
- Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
- Intel® Rapid Storage Technology supports
- Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology
- Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
- Intel® I219V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
- ASUS Turbo LAN Utility
- ASUS LAN Guard
- Realtek® S1220A 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC featuring Crystal Sound 3
- ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller : 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (1 at back panel, teal blue, Type-A, Support 3A power output)
- ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller : 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (1 at back panel, , USB Type-CTM, Support 3A power output)
- Intel® Z370 Chipset : 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (2 at back panel, , 4 at mid-board)
- Intel® Z370 Chipset : 6 x USB 2.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, , 4 at mid-board)
Back I/O Ports
- 1 x DVI-D
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB Type-CTM
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
- 5 x Audio jack(s)
Internal I/O Ports
- 1 x Aura RGB Strip Header
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (19-pin)
- 2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA mode & X4 PCIE mode)
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
- 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
- 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
- 2 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (2 x 4 -pin)
- 1 x Thunderbolt header(s)
- 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
- 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
- 1 x EZ XMP switch
- 1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
- 1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector) (Chassis intrusion header is inbuilt)
- 1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector
- 1 x MemOK! button(s)
- 1 x CPU OV
- 1 x Power-on button(s)
- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
- 1 x 14-1 pin TPM connector
- 1 x COM port header
- 1 x T_Sensor Connector
- 1 x AIO PUMP Header
- 2 x 3D Mount screw port(s)
- 1 x M.2 Fan Header
Here are the set of features for the Prime Z370-A Motherboard from ASUS.
- The board can be utilized with the latest Intel processors: the LGA-1151 socket for the 8th Gen Intel Core CPU’s (desktop)
- ASUS’ Opti-Mem: Careful and secure routing of vias and traces to maintain the signal integrity for better memory overclocking.
- Five-way Optimization: Single-click, system-wide tuning provides intelligent cooling and optimized overclocking for GPU or CPU-intensive tasks.
- Next Generation Connectivity: Excellent flexibility with the Intel Optane memory-ready, dual M.2 Support, and Thunderbolt 3.
- Flexible Cooling Control for Liquid or Air: With ASUS’ Prime Z370-A motherboard, you will have complete control over the water pumps, fans, as well as the AIO coolers all via the UEFI or the Fan Xpert 4.
- Aura Sync from ASUS: Controllable RGB lighting that can readily be synced with the continuously growing portfolio of the device’s hardware that is Aura-capable.
- The M.2 Heatsink: the highly efficient heatsink decreases the temperature of the M.2 SSD by 20°c to acquire continuous transfer speed and improved reliability.
Software and Firmware
ASUS never failed to give us great software and BIOS to back-up all the features of their motherboard since their Ai Suite lets you completely tune your fans, motherboards, and a lot more. What’s great about this is that you can also easily update the software, drivers, and even the BIOS; and as for Aura Sync, this lets you readily control the LED lights on the motherboard, as well as the RGB header – something that would be for setting up your own RGB strip. Another great feature of the BIOS is the My Favorites menu which allows you to save all the settings that you have mostly utilized.
With the Prime Z370-A Motherboard, you’ll be able to get the new UEFI BIOS which is an EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) that complies with the architecture of the UEFI. It provides you with an interface that is user-friendly and goes beyond the classic BIOS controls that is considered to be keyboard-only. With that, you will be able to set a more convenient and flexible mouse input at the BIOS level.
Now let’s focus on the motherboard’s software: when you turn on the power of the ASUS Prime Z370-A, you’ll instantly notice a set of RGB LED lights that brighten up the board’s front edge. We think it’s actually nice since it created a pretty cool glow along the edges; by default, the RGB section gives off a rainbow-like effect which is also cool and quite interesting in our opinion. You can easily download the Aura Sync software of ASUS to be able to customize the lighting and the header’s RGB lighting that can be located at the bottom part of the board.
The company’s Turbo LAN software lets you customize and tune your LAN connection simply by providing the applications with varying types of priorities. One thing we noticed is that the Turbo LAN and Aura Sync of ASUS aren’t really included in the Ai Suite; it really isn’t that much of a big deal but it would’ve been nice if we could simply download and open a single application and not three.
The primary screen that will appear is the Dual Intelligent Processor 5; you can easily utilize the five-way optimization to readily do a power saving setting or do a full-system optimization; additionally, you will also be able to get a live and clear view of what is happening in the PC. Once you get into the TPU, you will be able to set your BCLK frequency, CPU cache ratio, and the CPU ratio; plus, you can also tune one or all the cores simultaneously. It is also possible for you to set your DRAM, CPU, as well as other voltages that are available.
As for the Fan Expert 4, it lets you tune all the fans that are connected. There is also an option for auto-tuning that will instantly calibrate your fans to provide the best performance during usage; also, you can easily customize the fan curves or run one of the four preset fan curves. Within the DIGI + VRM, you can also setup the load line calibration, the CPU Power Phase Control, as well as other power-related settings.
EZ Update is basically what it is – it allows you to easily update and download your drivers, software, and BIOS. All of the provided system information will give you details about your CPU, motherboard, and the SPD information.
When it comes to the capabilities, performance, and features of the Prime Z370-A, it is definitely a powerful motherboard that we highly recommend. Although the motherboard is slightly on the pricier side, we would still recommend this since it is extremely competent and has all the essential features, as well as complete overclocking support; additionally, it also features hints of appealing visual flairs thrown in.
Where to Buy
You can purchase the Asus Prime Z370-A for around $279AUD from your favourite PC retailer. For more information check out the product page over at the Asus website.