Biostar Racing X370GT3 review: pole position?

Small board with large concessions

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Features

You'll immediately be able to tell why Biostar has chosen for the name ''Racing X370GT3'', when you take a look at the PCB. The front of the board mostly features a finish flag accents. The term racing can be found in several places, and the chipset and VRM cooling blocks features a carbon-like pattern.

Graphics cards

In terms of connectivity options for graphics cards, we're looking at two full PCI-Express slots with support for CrossFire. However the second PCIe slot only supports the 2.0 version of the standard, and it runs through the chipset, instead of being directly connected to the processor. This means that you're not able to run two graphics cards at PCI-Express 3.0 x8 speeds on the X370GT3, even though this is one of the distinctive features of the X370 chipset. And even though the second PCIe slot seems to support the full x16 connection, it unfortunately runs at x4 speed in practice. In fact, it even dials back to x1 speed when one of the PCIe x1 slots on the board is also in use. These limitations will come as an unwelcome surprise for those who were expecting to get all features with this X370 motherboard.

USB

At first sight, it seems like Biostar has kept the USB connections relatively simple: the X370GT3 features six USB connections that are all blue. This makes the difference between the ports quite confusing: this is because two of the ports are USB 3.1 Gen2, while the other four, which are placed under the PS/2 port and ethernet connection, are first generation USB 3.1 ports. The difference in speed between these connection is considerable: Gen2 is capable of a theoretical 10 Gb/s, whereas Gen1 can't go any higher than 5 Gb/s. It would be nice if Biostar had indicated the faster USB connections with a different colour or if they had made the ports stand out in a different manner. Of course it's nice to see that 'true' USB 3.1 is present, however you can wonder whether it's more desirable to have a USB Type-C and a Type-A connection, or as Biostar has implemented it, two times Type-A.

Biostar Racing X370GT3

Storage

The storage features of the X370GT3 are realized in the form of a single M.2 slot and six SATA ports. Four of these SATA ports have been placed in a right angle to the board, to allow for easier cable management. The other two connectors are placed very closely to the 24-pin ATX plug, which might make it hard to make adjustments close to these connectors in the computer case.

Biostar Racing X370GT3

Audio and networking

All sound is provided by a Realtek ALC887 chip. This audiocodec has been on the market for a couple of years now. Many other motherboards come with newer sound chips, such as the ALC1220 that is found on 16 of the 27 X370 motherboards in our price comparison tool. Even though the ALC887 audiocodec of the X370GT3 does support 7.1 channel sound and Biostar also advertises 8 channel sound on their website, the motherboard only features three analog connections on the back, which means that you can only at most drive 5.1 sound.

Biostar has opted for a single network connection from Realtek, the RTL8118AS. It supports up to 1 Gbit of throughput speed.

Power circuit and overclocking features

If we look at the power circuit of the Racing X370GT3, we directly find that Biostar hasn't placed too many phases for a motherboard with this chipset. It's true that the total amount of phases is 7, however there are also 4 of them purely for the CPU cores. This won't be a problem for entry-level Ryzen CPUs, however an overclocked 1800X will probably stress this power circuit, at the very least. Considering the number of available power phases for the CPU cores, overclocking won't be a very good idea, even though the power circuit for the cores features a cooling block, which limits the damage.

An interesting feature of the motherboard is the dual bios. With a switch on the bottom of the board you can easily switch between BIOSes, in order to for example more easily restore your old settings after an overclock.

Biostar Racing X370GT3

 


Product discussed in this review

  Product Lowest price

Biostar Racing X370GT3

Micro ATX, Socket AM4, AMD X370, DDR4

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