MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon AM4 Motherboard Review
Packaging and Closer Look
The MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard comes in a decent packaging with a nice box art and layout. Don’t let the carbon fiber-skinned car fool you though, there’s no (toy) car included in the box and the motherboard doesn’t look like that either. Instead, check the print at the back side of the box; it gives you an overview of how the motherboard looks like and the set of features it offers. The AMD Ryzen logo printed on the box ensures that you won’t mistook this for an Intel motherboard.
The package includes a decent amount of accessories. You get a manual, quick installation guide, some reading materials, a driver CD and some sticker labels. You also get SATA cables, an RGB connector/cable, an SLI bridge and I/O shield. I think they should have included an HB SLI bridge instead. I don’t think you can use the included SLI connector for the newer GTX 10 series cards. Also, it could use two more SATA cables.
Above you see the front and rear view of the MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard. Not really the “carbon-skinned motherboard” that I expected; but at least it features an all-black color scheme with matte finish. The silver linings give it a little bit of highlights, but the real highlights are the RGB LEDs located on the Gaming Pro and MSI logos, and underneath the motherboard.
On the upper portion of the motherboard, you can see the 8-pin CPU power connector, the 24-pin motherboard power connector, 5 fan headers including the CPU and water pump, EZ debug LED; and obviously the socket AM4 and four DIMM slots. Check out the manual or the reading materials included for the proper way of installing a 2 stick RAM or 4 stick RAM.
On the lower portion of the X370 Gaming Pro Carbon, you can see 3x PCIe x16 slots, 3x PCIe x1 slots, two M.2 slots, and more headers for LED, system fan, audio, USB and front panel connectors. There are also two up-right SATA connectors. You also have to take note that if you install two graphics card, it would run at x8/x8 and three graphics card would run at x8/x8/x4. If there are three graphics cards installed, only one M.2 slot can be used. Using both M.2 slots with PCIe NVME SSD and all SATA ports will disable the third PCIe x16 slot.
The rear I/O shroud is made of plastic and the “Gaming Pro” logo has RGB lighting on it. The lines on the MOSFETs’ heatsinks don’t have any RGB lighting though. I thought they have RGBs but they are just solid chunks of aluminum heatsinks with stickers on them. However, the line separating the audio components does have RGB lighting.
No SATA express ports on this motherboard; who needs one anyway? Instead you get four SATA 6Gbps ports (the other two are on the lower portion), and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 header. On the rear side, you get a PS/2 combo, two USB 2.0 ports, a DVI-D port, and HDMI port, 4x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, an Ethernet port, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (one is Type-C) and the audio connectors with S/PDIF optical out. It’s nice to see that the audio ports are gold plated and comes with a black/red color shielding.
Removing the MOSFETs’ heatsinks reveal an 8+2 power phase design. If I am not mistaken I think MSI is using VRMs from Richtek; and they are also using PK632BA PowerPAK and Nikos PK616BA MOSFETs. It’s more or less the same design and components used on their X370 SLI Plus motherboard as well.
On the lower portion, you can see AMD’s X370 chipset; where the USB 3.1 Gen 2, PCIe and SATA 6Gbps are connected. The MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon has the essential things that you need, including RGB. However, it doesn’t have an on board power and reset buttons as well as a debug LED. I think these are equally important features that should be present on a motherboard with a caliber like this.