ASRock Z370M Pro4

The last few boards from ASRock will be of the small form factor variety. We normally do not see too many options in this space, especially close to the chipset launch. ASRock got a head start with shrinking the ATX sized Pro4 to the micro-ATX format and calls it the Z370M Pro4. The Z370M Pro4 uses the same power delivery setup as the full-sized twin, albeit on a shorter board. Even though its smaller in size, there are two full-length PCIe slots as well as two M.2 slots. It looks to have very similar features, just in a smaller package.

For aesthetics, a gray color runs across the board from the top of the audio section through the PCIe area and past the chipset to the edge of the board. The chipset heatsink gets much smaller on the micro-ATX version due to the less free real estate on the smaller board. Outside of that, we get the same single VRM heatsink, the same capacitors, and the same vanilla appearance. Users will not find an RGB LED on the board, nor a header to add one.

Even in mATX form, we get four memory slots which handle up to 64GB, with a rated supported speed up to DDR4-4300. There are two full-length PCIe slots, the first from the CPU at x16 and the second from the chipset at x4, and two open-ended x1 slots to round out PCIe connections. 

Six SATA ports can be found on the board, with four mounted horizontally and two vertically a bit further up the board. All the SATA ports support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10. The Z370M Pro4 also has two M.2 slots, with both able to fit an 80mm module. The first M.2 slot is SATA only while the second supports PCIe. Due to lane sharing, if the first M.2 socket is occupied by a SATA type M.2 device, SATA 0 will be disabled.

The board has four fan headers, two for the CPU (1 x 3-pin, 1 x 4-pin) and two 4-pin chassis fan connectors that auto-detect if a three or four pin fan is in use. Audio duties are taken care of by the Realtek ALC892 codec and uses ELNA audio caps. Network support is handled by a single Intel I219-V GbE. Thunderbolt support is not found on the Z370M Pro4.

USB support on the back panel consists of four USB 3.1 (5 Gbps) Type-A ports and one Type-C port. Additionally, there is one USB 2.0 port. The rest of the back panel IO contains separate PS/2 ports for mouse and keyboard, D-Sub/DVI-D/HDMI video outputs, Intel gigabit Ethernet, and the three-jack audio stack. 

ASRock Z370 Taichi ASRock Z370M-ITX/ac and Z370 Gaming-ITX/ac
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  • rocky12345 - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - link

    Great article and a lot of work put in to get it out for us to read thank you.

    My only issue is and it is nit your fault is why these companies feel the need to totally blanket the market with basically the same boards just a different model number and basically a few tiny changes and spray paint it a different color and use the word gaming and put something x or x1 or k,k3 etc etc. For crap sakes just release three models not 7-10 models of the same crap it is pretty much just greed I guess.

    The whole market is like this now with anything computer related of and if it has the words GAMING or RGB in it's got to be good for sure. My fav is that gaming mouse pad next it will have RGB lighting in it...lol
    Reply
  • CitizenZer0 - Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - link

    Agreed Reply
  • carldon - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - link

    Excellent summary and table in the last page. Good work!!! Reply
  • imaheadcase - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - link

    I got a few questions:
    1. Why do they put USB 2.0 ports if USB 3.0 is backward compatible anyways? Why not just all USB 3.0 ports..it can't be price.
    2. Why do they have such a vary in memory timings? For %99 of people memory timings are not really a big deal right? Maybe in old PC days it was.
    3. Mini-ITX vs Micro-ITX..isn't it silly both exist in first place? Any reason for this..the diminsions are really close to the same. In fact, most Micro-ITX is simply removing lots of stuff from mobo that you really want to begin with.
    Reply
  • lordsutch - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - link

    I'd imagine they want to offer as many ports as they can without taking away too many PCIe lanes. The other option would be to embed a USB 3.x switch (or a PCIe switch) but of course now each port wouldn't simultaneously be able to operate at peak speed and 3.x switches are probably more expensive than USB 2 controllers. Reply
  • imaheadcase - Sunday, October 22, 2017 - link

    Ahh didn't think about that aspect. Reply
  • DanNeely - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - link

    Some USB audio and 2.4ghz wifi/bluetooth devices have had interference problems in 3.0 sockets. Dunno if they're fixed on new hardware (supposedly onboard hubs were a lot worse than chipset ports in this regard so room for QC to make it better); but even if they are there's going to be problems with once burned customers not trusting them.

    As pointed out elsewhere USB3 competes with PCIe lanes/SATA ports on the southbridge. Especially on full ATX boards if you go to max out the number of PCIe lanes to expansion slots and m.2 ports in addition to the lanes used on board for networking and audio you can get down to only a half dozen or so 3.0 lanes left from the chipset; but still able to hit 14 USB ports total by going USB2 with the rest.

    People using older OSes (Windows 7 says hi) can't use USB3 ports to install the OS without jumping through a lot of hoops (the OS sees them as not USB2 and can't talk to them).

    If any board size is at risk of going away it's probably full ATX; although for enthusiast sales I suspect it'll hold on better than mini ATX due to bigger is better irrationality.

    MiniITX still has a decent capability gap vs mini ATX; but it's much smaller than it was a half dozen years ago when it only made sense if you were making a tiny box and were willing to accept major performance compromises to do so. Now as Mini ITX's capability continues to goes up and the need for expansion cards other than a single GPU goes down it's eating into an increasing chunk of Mini ATX's marketshare.

    On the high side mainstream chips don't really have enough PCIe lanes to make good use of the extra 3 cards of space possible on the bigger boards/ Meanwhile multi-GPU gaming - the main reason an enthusiast would need a full size mobo is steadily going away (fewer games supporting it each year, no support for 3/4way at all in the newest cards from either company); and unless you need 2 GPUs + something else or extra space around the CPU for crazy OCing Mini ATX does almost everything that could be needed.
    Reply
  • MadAd - Sunday, October 22, 2017 - link

    > If any board size is at risk of going away it's probably full ATX; although for enthusiast sales I suspect it'll hold on better than mini ATX due to bigger is better irrationality.

    Irrationality indeed. I would have thought by now instead of a measly 5 mATX choices out of 50+ that it would be instead maybe 5 fullsize ATX with the main battleground being the two slot mATX market.

    Its just laziness on the manufacturers side, with nobody steering the market to innovate on size. Theres nobody driving form factors, the CPU companies are present on all form factors so they dont need to drive change, the board partners are all set in their ways just slapping new images on mildly reworked designs so they dont have any need to innovate, weve seen video card manufacturers can shrink designs to better fit smaller factors but we still get chunky easy to produce cards for mainstream use as retooling would be an added cost, its just rolling train of new but nothing new generation after generation.

    PC design is falling into mediocrity and I just wish the main players (intel+amd/board partners/nvidia+amd) would all get together to drive SFX/ITX and force retire ATX to the strictly enthusiast market, and maybe appeal to a more contemporary home user community (rather than just gamers which is where the marketing all seems to be these days) again too.
    Reply
  • Liltorp - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - link

    It is really true that the MSI PC Pro has a legacy PCI connector? I could use this for my TV tuner. But I thought PCI was not supported by newer boatds/CPU`s? Reply
  • Morawka - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - link

    Has anyone noticed how cheap these new Z370 motherboards are? Most are under $180 and there are several sub $130. Reply

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