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Supermicro SuperO C7Z370-CG-IW : King of Servers delivers Mini-ITX

We like a number of points about the Supermicro SuperO C7Z370-CG-IW but consider it to be a slightly confused product. Positioned as a gaming motherboard, the only real evidence of this intent is the inclusion of some RGB LEDs. When you consider the workstation/server roots of Supermicro you might argue that any inclusion of overclocking features also leans towards gamers. We are not so sure about that point as gamers can be distinct from overclockers and mainstream enthusiasts.

You can certainly use the SuperO C7Z370-CG-IW to build a gaming PC, but you could also use those graphics outputs for a compact PC, or an HTPC or … anything really.

The I/O panel includes a decent number of ports and connectors and the board itself is fairly well covered with components and headers. In an ideal world the two USB 3.0 ports next to the Wi-Fi might be stacked higher to offer two more ports and it would be good to see a USB 3.1 Gen.2 header on the board to offer front panel Type C. Neither of those points is a deal breaker, so let’s put those in the Supermicro suggestion box.

 

We like the way the SuperO Booster Utility looks and behaves (in a very similar fashion to the BIOS set-up screen), and we also appreciate the use of a unified utility. Certain Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers offer an App centre that is loaded with a dozen or more pieces of software that each perform a specific function. By contrast SuperO Booster Utility is a one stop shop that works very nicely.

The hardware used in the SuperO C7Z370-CG-IW appears to be first rate and we like the software. We have minor issues with some aspects of the design such as the front panel headers and the jumpers below the graphics slot. The larger question is SuperO’s approach to the BIOS, for example the way they set the power limit to the TDP and the fact that the XMP was initially incorrect for our G.Skill DDR4.

We are quite sure that as SuperO gets further into the Gaming/Enthusiast sector and builds up a large user base that they will be able to develop their BIOS to better serve the market.

As things stand SuperO customers are heading off the beaten path and are venturing into new territory. For example, are Monolithic Power Systems VRMS any good? We honestly have no idea although initial impressions are very favourable. How often will SuperO update the BIOS? Again, we have no data. We wouldn’t like to say that SuperO is treating its customers as guinea pigs but perhaps we can agree they need to act as intrepid explorers and while that may be rewarding, it also means you are pretty much on your own.

Pros:

  • Impressive Monolithic Power Systems VRMs.
  • Aluminium heat sinks are good pieces of work.
  • SuperO Booster Utility works well.
  • Graphics outputs include DisplayPort as well as HDMI.

Cons:

  • Overclocking presets are modest.
  • Jumpers below the PCIe slot are inaccessible with graphics installed.
  • The BIOS required an update for XMP to work correctly at 3600MHz.
  • Front panel header connections use a novel layout.

KitGuru says: Supermicro SuperO C7Z370-CG-IW is an interesting Mini-ITX motherboard that gives us great hope for future SuperO boards.

 

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Rating: 8.0.

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