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MSI X370 GAMING PRO CARBON Review - Armchair Empire

MSI X370 GAMING PRO CARBON Review

  • 8/10
    Overclocking - 8/10
  • 6.5/10
    Compatibility - 6.5/10
  • 9/10
    Performance - 9/10
  • 6.5/10
    Stability - 6.5/10
  • 9/10
    Expansion - 9/10
7.8/10

Our Rating

We Recommend the MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon For

X370 chipset is the one you should get if you plan on overclocking your Ryzen processor. All Ryzen processors are unlocked and can be overclocked using an X370 motherboard. The MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard is the cheapest and most reliable X370 chipset currently on the market with excellent support for overclocking and several current generation technologies. But that is not why you should buy this motherboard. If you have a limited budget of less than $200 or so for a motherboard, then get this. Otherwise, there are two better boards in the market that we suggest.

MSI Gaming AMD Ryzen X370 DDR4 VR Ready HDMI USB 3 SLI CFX ATX Motherboard (X370 GAMING PRO CARBON)
  • Supports AMD RYZEN Series Processors and 7th Gen A-series/Athlon processors for Socket AM4
  • 4 x DDR4 memory slots supporting up to 64GB
  • Supports 3-Way AMD CrossFire Technology

Introduction

If you haven’t yet read the review of the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero, do so now! You will appreciate the MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon more if you first read up on the Asus X370 motherboard. In all regards, the MSI Gaming Pro board is more affordable because of cost cutting measures.

First off, the design of this motherboard isn’t as heavy duty as with the Asus X3470 or even the MSI X370 Xpower Titanium. However, it will handle multiple GPU setups with ease and overclock just as well. This board too accommodates 64GB of DDR4 ram and comes in Standard ATX form factor. It looks sleek has sufficient reinforcement and heatsinks to justify the Gaming Pro tag. However, it isn’t as capable or vetted like the two other AM4 boards we have reviewed thus far.

Specifications

Almost immediately what stands out with the Gaming Pro Carbon is the use of heatsinks and layout of the motherboard. Being ATX form factor, it has ample space to distribute each element without building up the heat. Maybe that’s why we always prefer an ATX form factor. Build quality isn’t that important with ATX motherboards as it is with Micro-ATX or even Mini-ITX.

Now, for cooling during gaming, this motherboard packs in sufficient fan headers with complete controls. There is a total of 6x Fan headers, a full fan control and it is even water cooling ready with the DC/PWM mode. As with any X370 motherboard, this one too features full RGB lighting. Called as RGB Mystic Light by MSI, it lets you choose your own color scheme from a beautiful palette either using your MSI Gaming App or even your smartphone!

What surprised us was the Audio Boost Hi-Fi sound. This motherboard uses Audio Boost 4 with a built-in DAC that ensures high-quality sound with low noise interference. Best of all, the motherboard comes with DDR4 Boost technology that allows you to maximize the juice from your memory without worrying about system crashes under heavy load.

When we said that the motherboard isn’t as reinforced as other more expensive X370 boards, we were being honest. However, this MSI product still gets a tad bit of Steel Armor reinforcement. It is found on the PCIe slots that protect your graphics card from EMI while strengthening the joints.

Our Review

Almost all negative reviews about any X370 motherboard is to do with quick updates and untested BIOS versions. The good news is that MSI pumps out BIOS updates regularly for the X370 Gaming Pro. The bad news is that a BIOS update can brick your motherboard! Unless you are a tech savvy person who has experience overclocking and does not mind fiddling with the peripherals to find out what is causing the issue, we would not advise getting the MSI X370 Gaming Pro.

The hardware on this motherboard is just amazing. It has everything a gamer needs and then some more. In fact, the difference between the hardware on this beauty and the one from Asus is negligible at best. However, ASUS has a more stable BIOS and is better suited to new updates whereas this MSI motherboard feels less trustworthy.

Why in the world are we then reviewing this motherboard? Well, it is because of its potential. We agree that current BIOS updates are a bit of a hit and miss. However, if you can troubleshoot, this is a fantastic motherboard for the price. You simply will not find another X370 board for lower cost offering the same package.

A rigid design with Steel Armor and a lovely DAC together give this motherboard a premium feel. The RGB Mystic Light adds to this feel and gives it the gamer’s appeal. Our only concern though is whether MSI will finally manage to produce a stable BIOS. By the way, if you do not see the POST screen immediately after rigging up the motherboard, download the manual from MSI on your phone or a separate computer, go through it and troubleshoot the motherboard. Also, please update your BIOS to the most recent stable release (not BETA releases!) This seems to fix the issue for most.

Performance wise, we found the motherboard stayed relatively under acceptable temperatures though the stock BIOS was pushing the processor idle temperatures close to 45 degrees C. After a stable BIOS update though, idle temps went down to 30-degree C. Overclocking the processor on a stock Ryzen cooler can push temperatures under load to 65-degree C and higher. For those living in hot and humid climates, this can be a problem, but it is not the fault of the motherboard. Get yourself a liquid cooler, and you can easily overclock to 4.2GHz with the MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon (with some amount of practice) and even reach 3200 MHz on DDR4 memory kit.

Pros

  • Least expensive packed X370 motherboard currently on the market.
  • Has a lot of different gamer-centric features without costing as much.
  • 4 DDR4 slots capable of handling 3200 MHz memory modules. Please read up on preferred brands and models before buying a memory kit.
  • Realistic RGB lighting and controls.
  • A total of 6 fan headers on the motherboard for superior control.

Cons

  • Unstable BIOS updates can brick the motherboard.
  • The motherboard is unforgiving with unsupported components, you must check with the vendor before buying the memory kits, M.2 and graphics card.
  • Software needs major overhauling.

Conclusion

The MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon is a decent motherboard, but it needs a lot of hand-holding. We are confident that future iterations of this motherboard will improve on the software front. The chances are that in the coming months MSI might just pump new versions of all their software to improve the overall performance. For a serious overclocker this may not be the ideal board though if you are on a tight budget, there isn’t another motherboard for Ryzen processors quite as capable under $200.