If you’re looking for a good quality X670E board, you’re likely to find a lot of them set back in price. The platform’s electrical complexities, in addition to wider economic issues, have driven prices up to levels that would have been considered laughable just a few years ago.
But let’s not forget that there are two versions of the X670 chipset. The X670E has either x16 or two x8 PCIe 5.0 expansion slots, while the non-E version sticks with PCIe 4.0. However, both versions may have PCIe 5.0 M.2 slots depending on the motherboard. The high-end motherboards will be the X670E models. Part of the reason the X670E boards cost so much is because of the high-quality signaling required for PCIe 5.0 expansion and M.2 slots.
PCIe 5.0 x16 for graphics cards doesn’t mean anything right now, so if you don’t need to tick that feature box (and you really don’t), the X670 board is a perfectly viable option. We have the Gigabyte X670 Aorus Elite AX for review. At $289 / £349 / AU$599, it’s significantly lower than the higher-end X670E boards. But does the Elite AX have to sacrifice a little or a lot to fit in at that price point?
As a non-E board, the X670 drops PCIe 5.0 slot support, but retains a single PCIe 5.0 x4 M.2 slot. It’s not just that you could expect to save hundreds of dollars. It still has four M.2 slots, along with quality connectivity, I/O and a capable VRM for cooling. The Elite AX is not a cheap bone.
X670 Aorus Elite AX Specs
Plug: AMD socket AM5
CPU Compatibility: AMD Ryzen 7000 desktop processors
Form factor: ATX
Memory support: Up to DDR5-6666 (OC), up to 128 GB
Storage: 4x M.2; 4x SATA
USB: Up to 2x USB 3.2 Gen2x2, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 10x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 8x USB 2.0
Screen: 1 x HDMI 2.1
Networks: AMD RZ616 Wi-Fi 6E; Realtek 2.5G LAN
Audio: Realtek ALC897 7.1 channel HD Audio
Price: $289 / £349 / AU$599
The board is not what I would describe as pretty. It looks like it has different metal accents that oddly match, as if Gigabyte rummaged through the factory to find the internal flashers. But they do not lack functionality. The coolers are efficient, especially the VRM, which would have been considered great just a few years ago, although unfortunately Gigabyte chose not to include their excellent heatsink design in this model.
The main M.2 heatsink isn’t as big and chunky as the ones you’ll find on high-end boards. Time will tell if it’s adequate enough to keep the PCIe 5.0 SSD warm, especially if it’s next to a heat-pumping GPU. There are a total of four M.2 slots consisting of the aforementioned PCIe 5.0 x4 first, plus three more PCIe 4.0 x4 slots, which are cooled by a single large heatsink. Rounding out the additional storage are four SATA ports.
And get this, there are no RGB LEDs on the board itself! We’ve definitely hit peak RGB. Even if you love a lighting fixture, the board has a mix of RGB and ARGB headers, five in total.
Other highlights include a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C header, power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons, and a Thunderbolt 4 header.
Image 1 of 7
The board comes with a 16 + 2 + 2 phase VRM with 70A power stages. As you’d expect, it’s not as refined as boards twice the price, but it’s no secret that the average user doesn’t need to put 1000W or more into a CPU. Throw in a Ryzen 9 7950X (Opens in a new tab) PBO enabled in Elite AX and you won’t have any problems. Your cooling will reach the 95C operating temperature of the 7950X long before stressing the VRM.
Even if the Zen 5 or Zen 6 CPUs take a step up in TDP, it’s hard to imagine the Aorus Elite AX struggling to power them.
So the cooling, storage and VRM is enough to suit most users. Is the I/O missing then? unlikely The Aorus Elite AX features AMD’s RZ616 Wi-Fi 6E and Realtek 2.5G LAN. You’d miss out on USB 4 at this price, but the rest of the USB count is great. You get a 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C port, two Gen 2, six Gen 1 and four 2.0 ports. This is the 13 USB ports on the back! There’s an HDMI 2.1 port for use with the Ryzen 7000’s new integrated graphics, along with a BIOS flashback button.
The audio is nothing special, with an aging Realtek ALC897 codec taking care of things. An S/PDIF output would also be nice, but other than that, there are no complaints in terms of connectivity.
Although the benchmarks don’t show much unless something is particularly wrong, it’s good to see the Aorus X670 Elite AX consistently topping the benchmark charts. Even if it’s just a percentage here or there, it’s always better to lead the team than to follow.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
Graphics: Zotac GeForce RTX 3080 Ti AMP Holo
RAM: 2x 16GB G.Skill Trident Z5 DDR5-6000 C30
Storage: 2TB Seagate FireCuda 530
Cooling: Cooler Master PL360 Flux 360mm AIO
PSU: Corsair AX1000
All in all, the X670 Aorus Elite AX feels like a mature offering. Not every motherboard manufacturer can say that for all of their motherboards. We must remember that we are at the dawn of the AM5 platform. There will be years of updates and adjustments to AGESA. Comparing the first generation X370 boards to the Zen 1 launch now, I think AMD is in a much better position this time around.
Like every other motherboard manufacturer since the debut of UEFI BIOS interfaces, aesthetic changes to the X670 Elite AX are minimal. If I have a criticism, it’s that it’s a small light feature. For most users it won’t matter. We’re not talking about Gigabyte’s extreme Aorus Tachyon here. After enabling XMP and installing your Windows, many gamers will never go back into the BIOS, and most of us don’t need to.
The attractive price of the X670 Aorus Elite AX is a bit surprising when you see too many high-priced X670/E boards. It doesn’t have all the features of high-end motherboards, but if you’re someone running an M.2 drive or two and a GPU or two, you’re missing out on little.
If you must have a PCIe 5.0 slot for a GPU, the Asrock X670E Pro RS (Opens in a new tab) it’s an option worth considering, even if its VRM and cooling aren’t as good as the Aorus.
In fairness to other manufacturers, they have very competitive boards in this price range, and they should not be overlooked. But, if nothing else, the Elite AX shows that manufacturers are getting a little greedy at the high end of the market. If you need to have USB4, 10G LAN or Thunderbolt, you will have to pay a lot more. For the mainstream market, there is a board like the Aorus Elite AX where.