- About the AORUS Z370 Gaming 7...
- Motherboard Design
- Motherboard Design Continued...
- Installation Experience, BIOS and Utility Overview
- How its tested??
- PCMark 8 and Memory Profile benchmark
- SATA Performance Testing
- Boot Load Timings
- Transfer Test
- Online Purchase Links
There is a total of seven USB Type A ports out of which 5 of them are USB 3.1 Gen 1- yellow marked for DAC 2 which can provide up to + 0.3V from them when selected manually from its utility and the standard blue marked ports. The Red and the USB Type C are Gen 2 spec. Other ports are for PS/2, one HDMI and one DisplayPort, two gigabit LAN and the audio ports with SPDIF out. Personally, I would have liked to see a total of Eight USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A towards the rear I/O. Contrary to the marketable naming scheme, people don’t just use computers mainly for gaming, but for other versatile uses. You connect keyboard and mouse which takes two USB ports (three if a keyboard has a pass-through), microphone, headset, printers, card readers, smartphones or tablets (or both). My Z97 Gaming GT has eight. Yes, it does have a Type A and C USB 3.1 Gen 2, but other accessories are yet to use USB 3.1 Gen 2 specification- such as microphones, headsets and many printers.
There are two gigabit LAN but they use two different LAN chips- Intel and Killer. It would be nice both used the same chip and also enabled network teaming. Notice there’s that tiny little fan behind HDMI/DVI ports.
M.2 and PCIe slot Area
PCIe X16 slots still have those metal rim jobs! But it does have that additional pin support which is placed through these slots and soldered on the other side. I am uncertain of the significance of the metal frame around the x16 slots, but the soldered peg support does give a good assurance. Gigabyte (Now AORUS) have been doing this for a while.
There are three PCIe x16 slots and three PCIe x1 slots. The first two are meant for graphic cards- x16 in single GPU setup and x8/x8 in dual GPU setup. The last has x4 PCIe bandwidth which allows you to use any card between PCIe x1 to PCIe x16 which only need x4 lanes (if such a PCIe x16 to take x4 bandwidth exists).
The Gaming 7 has three with the first having a ‘heatsink’ for one side of the M.2 PCB. We’ve seen a similar setup with MSI, but that was a flat metal strip. We’ll talk more about that later. Two of its M2 supports up to 22110 SSDs while the other supports up to 2280 size M.2. As a result, the motherboard provides six SATA 6 ports connected from its native Intel Z30 chipset. The age of additional and non-native SATA ports are over? Natively, it supports Optane memory.
AUDIO PCB Area
There’s this piece of plastic on the lower left side of the motherboard. I am not too fond of it as it creates a depth for installing screws. Sucks to be the person with small flat head screws with a non-magnetic screwdriver or the one with a thick gripped thumb screw! The motherboard screws of my old and sane Lian Li A70F have a thinner gripped thumbscrew, with some having a longer head.
You’ll notice the capacitors made by WIMA and Nichion.
Headers, SATA and Front Panel Options
AORUS has enough internal headers to use- from fans to USB front panel headers and others. Front panel audio headers, the second DLED jumper and digital LED connector, a TPM module connector, two USB 2.0 ports to power up four USB 2.0 ports, a debug display, three sets of 4-pin system fan headers and the front panel connectors. Above it, you’ll find the CMOS clear header, second temperature sensor connector, and the thunderbolt add-in card header.
Above the debug LEDs, you’ll find LED indicator for CPU, VGA, DRAM and Bootable drive. If any of the lights are one, it means there’s a problem with it. The BOOT LED comes on if there is not an operating system.
Next to the six native SATA III ports, you’ll find the first USB 3.1 Gen 1 header and Gen 2 header. So you get Four USB 2.0, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 1 Gen 2 for the front panel. I still believe having one of them for rear I/O makes more sense. Or else just add two more on the rear, whichever is convenient and feasible.
You need to take a little care if you plan to dismantle this section of the motherboard as there are three wires routed underneath- two for the LED illumination for the heatsink and I/O shell. Another for the fan.
The fan under the Rear I/O plastic shell is a 35 x 35 x 10mm Everflow R123510BH two ball bearing fan with a three-pin header that uses the sys_fan 2 which is placed between the rear I/O and the eight-pin EPS ATX connector. it blows through the rear I/O shield which also has some punched holes to let the air out. Many have tried such similar cooling which I doubt does anything significant to justify occupying one of the four pin system headers, but you can unplug and use them, unlike the other ones from other brands that use some other type of connection.
As said earlier, the 22110 M.2 sink is the one side of the M.2’s PCB, same as what MSI did. Yes, this has a low profile sink which has a metal foil over it. I am not convinced this would be effective as this covers only one side of the M.2’s PCB. Only one is provided. If M.2 SSDs of the near future still will have the heat issue, its best to look towards PCIe x1/x4 add-in cards with two-sided effective heatsink solution and some fan to drive the heat away and through the vented rear PCIe bracket.
Sub Component Overview
AORUS Z370 Gaming 7 uses 10+2 choke design with 60a rated Smart Power Stage ICs controlled by a digital controller and a digital PWM.
The main chips behind the rear I/O area. The motherboard has an ASMEDIA ASM1442K IC for HDMI and DVI to provide level shifting operation up to 3.4 Gbps per lane better colour depths and minimizing EMI. The ASMEDIA ASM3142 USB 3.1 Gen 2 are placed for the rear and for the front. The Realtek RTS 5411 USB 3.1 Gen 1 controller is used for the front USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A. The Gen 2 powers up the Type C for the rear and the second chip powers a single Type C for the front.
The rest of the audio sub-components such as the ESS SABRE DAC, LME49720 Analog Power and TXC Oscillator were under the plastic hood. AORUS still dual UEFI BIOS chip support.