Pros: A plethora of USB 3.0 and 3.1 ports, more than enough fan headers, dark, subdued colors, overall awesomeness!
Cons: No USB 2.0 ports (needed for installing Windows 7), only 1 M.2 SSD port, no WiFi/Bluetooth module.
This board is simply beautiful! I mean… “Look at it!” said in Arnold’s voice. :)
So many fan headers to use as well as USB 3.0 and 3.1 ports. You even have options to expand the ports with the 2 TPM connectors for even more USB 3.0 ports via PCIe.
This motherboard fantastically and aesthetically pleasing to the eye… a literal work of art! I love the combination of the glossy and matte black finish as it’s my favorite color scheme. The one thing I do not care for, though not a con, is all of this RGB LED business! I have no desire for lights of any kind on my computer and I always disable every one that I can. I am not trying to impress anyone with my PC build, I just want it to work how I want for ME; I couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks about it! So much trying to show off and impress others in this society, we’ve lost sight of functionality and usability instead of appearances and looks.
Yes, I know that sounds contradictory after I mentioned the black finish, but that’s exactly why I like black… it’s in the background, it’s not ostentatious or obnoxious. It’s just calm and blankets everything in muted serenity! :D
I wish Gigabyte would keep at least 1 USB 2.0 port on this board for those of us who'd like to install Windows 7. This by far was the biggest headache for me, hands-down! Windows 7 doesn't recognize USB 3.0 since it was 10 years ago that it debuted and Microsoft has no interest in supporting it any further. So I was greeted with no mouse and keyboard functionality when it came to the Windows 7 Setup Installation. I even bought a PS/2 keyboard since there is a port on the board for it, but even that didn't work!
After 2 days of googling and trying to slipstream the USB 3.0 drivers into the USB ISO flashdrive, and I tried several different methods and sources, I realized I should try Gigabyte. Now don't get me wrong, the first thing I did was look for the driver download for this specific motherboard, but they weren't working. What I'm talking about is a Windows 7 DVD/USB ISO Installation Tool which didn't appear under this particular motherboard on the Gigabyte website. I had to google it separately and found a tool from last year that actually worked and I could use the USB keyboard I had!
But I wasn't out of the woods, yet... it would freeze at the Starting Windows boot animation logo, which would stay animated, but wouldn't go any further. After many many hours of research, I found that there are very particular settings on each motherboard that enable Legacy OS's like Windows 7 and disable UEFI settings that interfere with the OS loading completely. After hurdling this roadblock in a long line of tribulation, I was finally in. By the way, after getting to a certain point of the initial installation when it reboots several times, it would still hang on the boot logo and I'd have to manually restart and select the Boot Override function to finally get it completely installed. Geez!
And by the way, I was installing this on a Samsung 960 EVO 250GB M.2 NVMe SSD, which the Windows 7 installation disc didn't have the proper drivers for it, either! So I had to make sure I got the correct drivers from Samsung and I slipstreamed those into the USB bootable ISO along with the USB 3.0 drivers.
I wish this motherboard would have a WiFi/Bluetooth module for being the flagship Gigabyte motherboard for the Ryzen platform. I mean, for the price point it's at, I don't think it's too much to ask for this and possibly another M.2 SSD port. The only other con I can think of is the lack of an integrated video interface, which isn’t necessarily the fault of this motherboard, but rather a deficit of the AM4 Ryzen processors. It would be nice to hook everything up initially and not have to worry about installing a GPU just to be able to see something on the monitor.
I highly recommend this motherboard and have been singing it and Newegg’s praises ever since I received it. Allow me to chronicle my journey in discovering about this particular board and actually ordering and receiving it.
I set up my Ryzen build on Newegg via the custom, saved Wishlist and had been researching for around a month as to which parts I should get to make the perfect Ryzen PC build. So I settled on the Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 motherboard, but as soon as the release date of the Ryzen processors arrived, this motherboard was on backorder! I guess everyone preordered them. But my entire build was centered around this board, because as you know, you have to be very specific with the DDR4 RAM you choose as they have specific models that can be used with it.
Almost 3 weeks after I received all of my parts for this Ryzen build from Newegg, the only thing that was missing was the Gaming 5 motherboard. I couldn’t test any of the other parts until I got the motherboard so I wouldn’t know if any of them were defective before the 30-day return window closed. I was so impatient waiting for it and I called Newegg near the end of the 3rd week to ask them when they expect it to be in stock. And to my chagrin, they replied they didn’t know when it would be back in stock! I was crestfallen! Everyday was a test in patience as all of the higher-end AM4 motherboards were out of stock on backorder everywhere I looked.
So one day at work, as usual, I was combing the internet for the Gaming 5 to be in stock and I found one in Sunnyvale, CA. I’m in Phoenix and I was seriously considering driving out there for the weekend just to get that board! I knew how crazy it was, but I didn’t care as I was desperate to test my components out to make sure they weren’t defective as well as being eager to overclock the Ryzen 7 1700 chip. But I persevered and stayed where I was, finishing the day, gritting my teeth in anxiety.
I decided to visit, once more, the review area on the Gaming 5 motherboard and the most popular negative review caught my eye. One guy was complaining that it had a BIOS update, but it was for the Gaming 7 motherboard, not the Gaming 5. That’s the first I had ever heard of the Gaming 7! I googled it and discovered an article on Tom’s Hardware that called it “Gigabyte’s AM4 Flagship” motherboard. Again, I didn’t even know it existed so I decided I wanted to see if Newegg listed it, but I knew there was no possibility of it being in stock. So I looked and lo and behold... IT WAS IN STOCK!!!
I was actually shaking, because I knew it could disappear if I delayed too long so I quickly tried to see if the Corsair Vengeance 2666MHz DDR4 RAM I already bought was compatible with it and it was. So I added it to my cart and went to checkout where I had to choose the shipping method and pricing. 3-day shipping was the soonest I could get it to me and that was $17.00. But since I had already spent well over $1,400 on this Ryzen build, I felt it prudent to patiently wait for it to arrive, so I selected the 4-7 day $0.99 shipping option. To my surprise, it came 2 days later via FedEx!!! I was ecstatic and thanked Newegg graciously, reminding them if they keep this up, they will surpass Amazon; because this was even faster than their Prime shipping service!