Intel H370 motherboards are now available en-masse, further expanding the amount of choice consumers have when searching for a motherboard that’s compatible with Intel’s 8th Generation “Coffee Lake” CPUs. In some ways the amount of choice is mind boggling (B360, H310, H370, Z370) and being able pick the right motherboard for the job requires careful planning and research on the part of the consumer.
The ASUS ROG Strix H370-F Gaming, as the name implies, targets a gaming audience but using the more affordable Intel H370 chipset. That means in feature-for-feature terms this board is more affordable than Z370 counterparts, so long as the potential buyer is willing to sacrifice high-speed memory, CPU overclocking capability and multiple graphics card configurations.
Without getting into an in-depth chipset comparison, a rough method to differentiate between 300-series chipsets is as follows:
- if overclocking capability for CPU and memory and 2- or 3-way GPU configurations are desired, as well as everything below, then Z370 should be chosen
- if Rapid Storage Technology (RST) SATA or PCIe RAID or lots of PCIe lanes are required, as well as everything below but not above, then H370 should be chosen
- if USB 3.1 Gen2, 4 memory slots, Intel Optane, Intel RST or PCIe 3.0 are required, but nothing from above, then B360 should be chosen
- if nothing from above is required, then H310 should be chosen
In essence H370 is the second-rung chipset for the Intel 300-series mainstream platform with 8th Generation “Coffee Lake” CPUs. Consumers should consider H370 instead of Z370 if overclocking capability for CPU and memory and multi-GPU configurations are not required.
Likewise H370 is discernibly better than B360 which is important to note as many vendors are repurposing some H370 SKUs with the B360 chipset and selling them for slightly lower prices.
The ASUS interpretation of H370 is effectively the highest-spec motherboard a consumer might reasonably want who wasn’t intending to overclock. It is equipped with most features found on higher-end and more expensive Z370 motherboards, such as dual M.2, Intel Gigabit LAN, a decent VRM, USB 3.1 10Gbps Type-A and -C, high-spec audio, diagnostic LEDs and RGB lighting.
However, this isn’t a motherboard without its drawbacks. ASUS has made a significant oversight by choosing to provide M.2 cooling for the slower of the two M.2 slots, which limits the benefits of the M.2 cooling. ASUS should have provided M.2 cooling for an M.2 slot that supports PCIe 3.0 4X, rather than PCIe 3.0 2X.
In terms of pricing, ASUS has placed this motherboard firmly within Z370 territory, and some consumers might expect many more features than an equivalently priced Z370 model to compensate for the lack of overclocking support and fewer PCIe lanes. With that expectation in mind consumers may be disappointed by the absence of on-board WiFi and limited on-board RGB lighting zones. The grey text printed on both sides of the PCB may also be of questionable aesthetic value for some buyers.
At this price point there are some good specification Z370 motherboards from all vendors that are excellent value if the prospective buyer values overclocking capabilities. However, any buyers with an eye for overclocking should not be considering anything other than Z370, X299 or an equivalent AMD platform. The purpose of H370 is to provide performance desktop usage scenarios without overclocking and at a lower price point than Z370.
The ASUS ROG Strix H370-F Gaming is a well-equipped motherboard for a target market not requiring overclocking, though it is not without its faults.
The ASUS ROG Strix H370-F Gaming has a retail price of £139.99 from Overclockers UK and is sold with a 3 year warranty as standard.
- RGB Lighting and Optional Header.
- Capable CPU power delivery system.
- Ample USB 3.1 connectivity.
- Dual M.2 slots.
- Diagnostic LEDs.
- High quality audio solution with operational amplifiers.
- Integrated I/O shield.
- Cooled M.2 slot is only PCIe X2.
- Only one onboard LED lighting zone.
- Priced higher than many Z370 motherboards.
KitGuru says: The ASUS ROG Strix H370-F Gaming is a feature-packed motherboard for consumers not requiring overclocking support or multiple graphics card configurations, though it’s a shame the cooled M.2 slot only operates at PCIe X2.