We analyze the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING Titanium motherboard, a motherboard for AMD Ryzen processors specially prepared for overclocking and multi-graphics card configurations.
[nextpage title=”INTRODUCTION” ]
The arrival of AMD Ryzen processors requires quality platforms that can offer good support to these processors and allow them to squeeze their characteristics. MSI is aware that not everything goes with these processors and that is why it has developed the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING Titanium motherboard, a plate with great characteristics with the most powerful chipset from AMD, the X370. Designed to offer the best support to AMD Ryzen processors and especially to AMD Ryzen 7 processors, although we have used it for the AMD Ryzen 5 1400 processor.
Its design, in silver, is really beastly, although the design is as impressive as its completely unique features, designed to support all the high-end hardware we need. Obviously we can install what we need, as in our case, we have used it for the AMD Ryzen 5 1400 analysis, which has been exclusive worldwide, but we have also installed a KFA2 GTX 1080 EXOC and one as RAM memory we have used the KFA2 Kit Hall of Fame 32GB @ 3600MHz.
Thanks to the X370 chipset, this motherboard offers support for 2-Way SLI / CrossFireX configurations and additionally this motherboard offers 3-Way CrossFireX support. It is not only this, the two PCIe 3.0 x16 ports and the DIMM sockets for the RAM memory are shielded to improve their strength and durability. It has no less than two M.2 SSD ports and has the interesting MSI M.2 Shield, whose mission is to cool the M.2 SSD drive to improve the performance of these drives.
The AMD chipset that implements this motherboard is characterized by offering excellent support for overclocking, although we well know that at the moment this possibility is not at its best, since there is still a lack of optimization for excellent overclocking support in AMD processors. Ryzen. Thinking about when this can be carried out without problems, MSI has implemented the buttons for the boot and the reset, necessary when we are going to use this motherboard in a benchtable. Additionally, it has a rotary button that activates different automatic overclocking profiles, without the need for us to have to modify parameters. In addition, this motherboard has a system of 12 + 2 power phases so that the overclocking is stable and we do not have restart problems due to lack of voltage in the processor.
[nextpage title=”CHIIPSET” ]
The main features of the AMD Ryzen processors will directly support PCIe 3.0 x16 connectivity or two PCIe 3.0 x8 lanes. Regarding the connectivity of PCIe 2.0 lines, AMD Ryzen processors have two support for SATA 3 and one x2 NVMe, two SATA 3 ports and one PCIe x2 port or one x4 NVMe port. For USB connectivity, this motherboard supports up to four USB 3.1 Gen1 ports. The AMD Ryzen processors, we know that they will support DDR4 RAM, with a Dual Channel memory system.
AMD Ryzen also requires new chipsets and the most powerful will be the X370 chipset, which has been considered by AMD as a chipset for the enthusiast segment. The main characteristic of this chipset is to offer support for overclocking, since all AMD Ryzen processors allow the modification of the multiplier, as we well know. The X370 is currently the only AMD Ryzen chipset that supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX configurations.
The X370 offers support for expansion of one PCIe Gen3 x16 lane or two PCIe Gen3 x8 lanes and also supports up to x8 PCIe Gen2 lanes. Regarding the connectivity ports, we have that this chipset supports two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, ten USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and six USB 2.0 ports. It offers support for six SATA ports and one NVMe x2 port, although this can be modified by four SATA ports and one NVMe x4. It has support for two SATA Express ports.
The lower version of the X370 chipset is the B350, which offers us slightly inferior characteristics, but which has also been designed for the entire range of AMD Ryzen processors. Like the X370 chipset, the B350 chipset offers support for overclocking, a feature that, as we have already said, all processors support. The chipset of the Performance range, such as this B350 chipset, offers support only for AMD CrossFireX and will not support NVIDIA SLI.
As with the X370 chipset, the B350 offers support for one PCIe Gen3 x16 lane and also offers support for a maximum of x6 PCIe Gen2 lanes. We move on to connectivity, where the B350 chipset offers support for two USB 3.1 Gen3 ports, six USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, and six USB 2.0 ports. The rest of the connectors of this chipset are divided into four SATA ports and one NVMe x2 or two SATA ports and one NVMe x4, in addition to offering support for two SATA Express ports.
[nextpage title=”ON-BOARD CONNECTIVITY” ]
ON BOARD CONNECTIVITY
Any high-end motherboard must have, among others, great internal connectivity, which allows us to install all the storage units that we need, as well as great features in terms of connectivity and others. MSI is aware of this and has implemented on this MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING Titanium motherboard a large number of ports for connecting storage units as well as ports for front panels.
It is useless since a motherboard has a large number of SATA ports, today much more is necessary. The motherboard is well nourished in terms of SATA ports, since it has six SATA 6Gb / s ports, but in addition to these, it has a U.2 SSD port, to connect SSD units and work at speeds higher than those supported by the SATA ports. Additionally we find two M.2 SSD ports, something essential in any high-end motherboard. The M.2_1 is PCIe 3.0 x4, which shows that it will allow us to work at high speeds and also offers support for NVMe (Non Volatil Memory) and 2242/2260/2280/22110 drives (these numbers express the length in millimeters of the M.2 drives) and the M.2_2 is PCIe 2.0 which supports 2242/2260/2280 drives.
There are two things to keep in mind about storage. The first is the combination of units. We can choose either two M.2 SSD PCIe units together with six SATA Gb / s units or two M.2 SATA SSD units and four SATA Gb / s units, something to take into account when selecting the units that we are going to install, so as not to lose ports or features at any given time. The second item to consider is the M.2 Shield, which is used to cool M.2 SSD drives and improve performance. This has covers up to 2280 units, therefore if we install a 2 unit in the M.1_22110 we will not be able to use it in this unit, well, we can use it, but it will not be efficient.
In addition, on the motherboard we can find a connector for the fan / s of our cooler, a connector specifically for the water pump of a liquid cooling and additionally four connectors for fans. This motherboard is RGB LED and the use of RGB LED strips is becoming popular and manufacturers to synchronize them choose to install specific connectors for this purpose. Finally, this motherboard has two USB 2.0 connectors for a total of four SATA 2.0 ports, it has two SATA 3.1 connectors for a total of four USB 3.1 ports and finally a USB 3.1 Gen2 connector for exclusively one USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C port. .
[nextpage title=”EXPNATION PORTS” ]
It is important to know everything that our motherboard supports or does not support, since a wrong choice in the end can bring us headaches, which we surely will not have with this excellent motherboard. We will start with the RAM, since the AMD Ryzen are the first AMD processors that support DDR4, therefore we will have four DIMM slots to install the memories. Ryzen supports Dual Channel configurations, which, explained in a simple way, is that two RAM modules will work as if it were one (it is not like that at all, but it is explained quite well that way).
We have to bear in mind that right now the RAM modules are not working at the correct frequencies. For the analysis of the AMD Ryzen 5 1400 we have used this same motherboard, the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING Titanium with BIOS 1.22 and after trying everything, it has been impossible for us that the RAM works at more than 2133MHz, even, activating the AMP profile, even a Kingston HyperX LED memory did not detect the manufacturer and did not start. This is not MSI's fault, it is a problem with some processors, such as the Ryzen, which have come out early.
What we care about is knowing what frequencies this motherboard supports. Well, the minimum that it supports is 1866MHz, but we will not find this frequency anywhere since the minimum standardized by JEDEC, which is a conglomerate of manufacturers that is responsible for the standard of RAM memories, does not support less than 2133MHz. Furthermore, this MSI motherboard should recognize 2400MHz memory without problems and from this frequency on, we would need to use the AMP profiles, supporting a maximum of 3200MHz (OC).
We went to the expansion ports. In this case we have two PCIe 3.0 x16 ports that support 2-Way SLI / CrossFireX. If we connect only one graphics card, it will use the sixteen lines of the PCIe port, but if we connect two graphics cards, the lines are distributed and it will go to a x8 / x8 configuration. Additionally, this motherboard has a PCIe 3.0 x16 which works in x4 mode, with which we can make a 3-Way CrossFireX in a x8 / x4 / x4 configuration. Everything automatically, of course. Finally, this motherboard has three PCIe 2.0 x1 ports to connect WiFi network cards, more USB ports or whatever we need.
[nextpage title=”OVERCLOCKING” ]
MSI has developed this board with overclocking in mind, at all levels. He has made it quite easy in this sense, since we can install it on a benchtable and with the power and reset buttons on board we can start it. I still remember when that was done with a screwdriver and the pins that go to the buttons and LEDs on the front panel. This method is simpler. Next to these buttons is a rotary knob, similar to a potentiometer.
This button is rotary and has several levels or profiles that allow scalar overclocking, according to MSI parameters. A display has also been installed that, according to the number, will indicate where the fault is and what type of fault it corresponds to. The motherboard on the I / O panel has two interesting elements, one is a specific USB to install a new BIOS easily and the other is a button that replaces the inconvenient jumpers to reset the BIOS when necessary.
Everything has been designed for overclocking, especially the 12 + 2 power phases that this motherboard incorporates. Twelve are for the processor, so that it has a stable voltage when we do extreme overclocking and we do not have problems of lack of voltage that cause a reset of the equipment because the processor cannot work due to not reaching enough voltage or an excess, protecting the processor . Two of the phases are exclusive for RAM, since it is another of the critical elements that we need to feed in a stable way, to avoid blue screens.
[nextpage title=”I/O PANEL” ]
I / O PANEL
Having a well-nourished I / O panel is essential, because we will need it to connect our devices, whether they are external hard drives, peripherals and other elements. Today's motherboards have plenty of USB ports, high-quality video and audio connectivity. This MSI motherboard was not going to be less and it has some interesting extras ideal for all types of user.
The first thing we are going to highlight is the PS / 2 port, for either keyboard or mouse, despite the fact that it is a completely obsolete port. Below this port we have two USB 2.0 ports. Next to these we find the BIOS reset button and the USB port to load a BIOS quickly and easily. Along with this we find the two video outputs, composed of a DisplayPort and an HDMI 2.0. The next set is made up of two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports.
We are going to continue to the next block, consisting of an RJ45 port controlled by the Intel I211AT Gigabit chip and just below this we have two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports. Next we have a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port and a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port. We finally have the sound system, based on the Realtek ALC11200 chip that allows 7.1 video output and has an S / PDIF port. It is also common for all high-end motherboards to have improved components, such as specific capacitors that allow quality sound filtration.
[nextpage title=”MSI GTX 1070 AERO ITX” ]
MSI GTX 1070 AERO ITX
We have used several graphics cards with this MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING Titanium, to see the performance of the motherboard and the AMD Ryzen 5 1400 processor. The one that caught our attention the most is the MSI GTX 1070 AERO ITX 8G OC, a graphics card which is 40% smaller than the original GTX 1070 and 50% lighter. This graphics card is mainly intended for HTPC and small gaming equipment that makes use of micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards.
The truth is that it is an impressive graphics card, since MSI has managed to reduce the size of a GTX 1070 without sacrificing performance and without increasing temperatures, what's more, this graphics card is very efficient and silent, since below the 50ºC the fan does not activate. This is an achievement especially if we consider that the working frequency is 1531MHz (1506MHz reference) and a frequency in Boost mode of 1721MHz (1683MHz reference).
Nothing has been sacrificed in this graphics card, since it continues to implement the 8GB of GDDR5 memory with a working frequency of these memories of 8GB / s and a memory interface of 256bits. As video outputs, this graphics card has a DVI-D, two HDMI 2.0 and two DisplayPort 1.4. The consumption of this graphics card is still 150W and is powered by an 8-pin PCIe connector. Regarding the dimensions of this graphics card, it measures 175mm, which is less than the 266.7mm that the GTX 1070 measures in its full size.
[nextpage title=”CONCLUSION” ]
MSI has developed an impressive platform for AMD Ryzen processors. Undoubtedly, this MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING Titanium motherboard is very high in the motherboard market. It has high quality details, such as the shielding of the PCIe 3.0 x16 ports and the DIMM slots for DDR4 memory, something that is becoming mandatory for any motherboard that is considered high-end. It has two M.2 SSD ports, which is ideal to make a RAID of two of these drives and gain in benefits in an incredible way.
As always MSI has taken care of all the details on this motherboard and we can guarantee that the silver design of the motherboard together with the RGB LED combination gives a really impressive look to the whole. The overclocking buttons on a motherboard of these characteristics are essential, especially for those who want to use it on a test bench. The wheel that has nine positions for overclocking using pre-loaded profiles is very interesting and a novelty that could be expanded without problems and that would be useful for the average user who does not dare to overclock.
Despite the fact that the motherboard that MSI has kindly given us has BIOS version 1.22, we continue to have problems with respect to RAM memories, something that does not happen only with MSI, it happens with all manufacturers and with all modules that they have not been certified by AMD, which at the moment are few. We have used the Corsair Dominator and the KFA2 Hall of Fame and we have not managed to raise them in frequency, since activating the AMP mode it did not start and with the Kingston HyperX it started from time to time, but the BIOS did not recognize the manufacturer. All of these problems stem from the problems motherboard manufacturers have had with Ryzen coming to market early.