Board Features

As might be expected with a mini-ITX form factored motherboard, the size limitations clearly hinder the number of controllers and circuitry which can be implemented. That hasn’t stopped Biostar doing the best they can though with limited spacing. The X470GTN targets the lower end of an already crowded budget-focused AM4 motherboard market, and the inclusion of mid-range controllers such as the Realtek ALC892 HD audio codec and Realtek networking helps balancing competitiveness with cost effectivenes.

The Biostar X470GTN looks very suitable on paper for a small form factor based gaming system either usingthe multi-core power of the Ryzen desktop processors with a single graphics card, as well as being equally apt for use with one of the great value amalgamated Ryzen and Vega APUs such as the Ryzen 5 2400G ($169) or Ryzen 3 2200G ($99) due to the inclusion of a HDMI 1.4 and DVI-D output.

Biostar X470GTN Mini-ITX Motherboard
Warranty Period 3 Years
Product Page Link
Price $130
Size Mini-ITX
CPU Interface AM4
Chipset AMD X470
Memory Slots (DDR4) Two DDR4
Supporting 32 GB
Dual Channel
Up to DDR4-3200+
Video Outputs 1 x HDMI 1.4
1 x DVI-D
Network Connectivity Realtek RTL8118AS Gigabit
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC892
PCIe Slots for Graphics (from CPU) 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16
PCIe Slots for Other (from PCH) N/A
Onboard SATA Four, RAID 0/1/10
Onboard M.2 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA
USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) 1 x Type-A Rear Panel
1 x Type-C Rear Panel
USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) 4 x Type-A Rear Panel
1 x Header (two ports)
USB 2.0 1 x Header (two ports)
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX
1 x 4pin CPU
Fan Headers 1 x CPU (4-pin)
1 x System (4-pin)
IO Panel 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A
4 x USB 3.0 Type-A
1 x Network RJ45 (Realtek)
1 x HDMI 1.4
1 x DVI-D
1 x Combo PS/2
5 x 3.5mm Audio Jacks (Realtek)
1 x S/PDIF Output (Realtek)

The addition of two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports due to a single Type-A and Type-C port further enhances Biostar intent to offer users with a decent quality but more importantly, a highly affordable route onto the X470 chipset. The question could be asked why Biostar went with the X470 chipset over the B450 chipset as there are no specific X470 features that this board would benefit from over B450 due to the mini-ITX form factor, but from a marketing point of view, X470 comes across as a higher end chipset and from this aspect, it would make a lot of sense. As already mentioned numerous times in this review, the X470GTN and the X370GTN are totally identical in terms of specifications and componentry used.

Test Bed

As per our testing policy, we take a high-end CPU suitable for the motherboard that was released during the socket’s initial launch, and equip the system with a suitable amount of memory running at the processor maximum supported frequency. This is also typically run at JEDEC subtimings where possible. It is noted that some users are not keen on this policy, stating that sometimes the maximum supported frequency is quite low, or faster memory is available at a similar price, or that the JEDEC speeds can be prohibitive for performance. While these comments make sense, ultimately very few users apply memory profiles (either XMP or other) as they require interaction with the BIOS, and most users will fall back on JEDEC supported speeds - this includes home users as well as industry who might want to shave off a cent or two from the cost or stay within the margins set by the manufacturer. Where possible, we will extend out testing to include faster memory modules either at the same time as the review or a later date.

Test Setup
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 1700, 65W, $300,
8 Cores, 16 Threads, 3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo)
Motherboard Biostar X470GTN (Bios X47AK807)
Cooling Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 360
Power Supply Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200W Gold PSU
Memory 2x16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2400
Video Card ASUS GTX 980 STRIX (1178/1279 Boost)
Hard Drive Crucial MX300 1TB
Case Open Test Bed
Operating System Windows 10 Pro

Readers of our motherboard review section will have noted the trend in modern motherboards to implement a form of MultiCore Enhancement / Acceleration / Turbo (read our report here) on their motherboards. This does several things, including better benchmark results at stock settings (not entirely needed if overclocking is an end-user goal) at the expense of heat and temperature. It also gives, in essence, an automatic overclock which may be against what the user wants. Our testing methodology is ‘out-of-the-box’, with the latest public BIOS installed and XMP enabled, and thus subject to the whims of this feature. It is ultimately up to the motherboard manufacturer to take this risk – and manufacturers taking risks in the setup is something they do on every product (think C-state settings, USB priority, DPC Latency / monitoring priority, overriding memory sub-timings at JEDEC). Processor speed change is part of that risk, and ultimately if no overclocking is planned, some motherboards will affect how fast that shiny new processor goes and can be an important factor in the system build.

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19 Comments

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  • Marlin1975 - Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - link

    Thanks for the Power Delivery Comparison. That's something that is hard to check for if not in a good review. Keep up the good work. Reply
  • gavbon - Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - link

    Thanks Marlin, appreciated! We're looking to further add to this going forward Reply
  • MrCommunistGen - Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - link

    I actually really appreciate this as well because this kind of information has been hard to come by in the past. I had some questions regarding the included table.

    The ASRock B450 Gaming ITX/ac is listed in the table as using the same controller (ISL95712) in "6+2" mode. The spec sheet for ISL95712 states that it is up to a 4+3 controller. The table also doesn't list any doublers. Doesn't this make the board a "big 3+2" rather than a 6+2?

    I didn't look at any of the other boards in the table closely, but I was just doing a bunch of reading on the ASRock ITX boards recently and so I was looking very closely at that line in the table.

    Thanks for the review!
    Reply
  • TeutonJon78 - Monday, October 29, 2018 - link

    It would help more if it was accurate.

    The ISL95712 maxes out at 4+3 phases, so it can't run in 6+2 as listed in the chart. On the ASRock boards, then run a 3+2 setup but with two sets of MOSFETs and chokes in parallel, but not doubled. There is only one capacitor per phase. It helps keep the temps down by splitting the current, but it's still only a 3 phase design.

    Plus, it would be more meaningful if the chart was for similar style boards rather than a smattering of different form factors.In this case, the other m-ITX boards.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - link

    Just thinking about POST times, when UEFI was the next big thing we'd been repeatedly promised that it'd allow 1-2s POST times because unlike BIOS it could start components up in parallel instead of 1 at a time.

    While current boards do post faster than their predecessors the speedup never came close to meeting the hype. Does anyone know why reality fell so short of the promise?
    Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - link

    likely because there is so much crud to siphon through before it completes the process
    the same from going to post to OS log screen to fully booted OS

    am sure there are ways to "speed it up" but often those methods come with chance of something terrible happening and not knowing what took place.

    be happy the new stuff is WAY quicker and more energy efficient then the old 9/10 so even if it takes a wee bit longer to boot up, patience come to those whom wait.

    SSD helps that much I know, but as far as only 1 to 2s to finish post..umm I personally never heard of such promises, the board I am using is AM3/3+ M5A99X EVO (v1) which uses a UEFI based bios design and just going from HDD to SSD made post much quicker and a few changes I made as well to speed it up also helped.

    I personally have more issue with how long it takes to shut down then be fully booted up ^.^
    Reply
  • Vatharian - Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - link

    As fun as it sounds there are 10 year old systems that run on UEFI. I must say, that boot times are much quicker on them, while supporting much wider range of hardware. Feature-wise it's hit or miss, I have 9 year old board that's capable of booting from NVMe, thanks to drivers being easy to punch in, but it won't allow user mode to write to boot manager area, thus linux bootloader installation will fail (I just have to point the path manually from the UEFI setup). Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - link

    Ahmdal's Law, in a way. There is a relative speedup to be had, but desktops don't need to be shutdown/restarted extremely often. Often just letting it go into sleep mode is adequate for me, and leaves my workspace in exactly the same place it was before.

    For laptops or other mobile devices, shutting down is more necessary when moving between work environments, (given that sleep mode will drain battery life over time anyways, hibernate isn't ideal and can clog the main storage disk with a file equal in size to your capacity in memory, etc.). For mobile PC devices, I have personally noted that boot times are appreciably fast.

    Also, personal anecdote, but I've had boards that when set to options for "fast booting", not only would it refuse to take in DEL or F11 prompts to get into BIOS screen when booting up, but it would go from a stable (normal) bootup, to a blazingly fast crash/reboot cycle for 5 loops before landing me back on the BIOS page with stock settings. This is before and after BIOS updates.

    Personal opinion, but I just think it's intentional that for the enthusiast PC market that vendors don't _want_ to speed up boot times because the same users buying these motherboards are enthusiasts likely willing or needing to occasionally go into BIOS and change boot order of disks, or do overclocking features, etc. and making sure users can actually get into BIOS easily and reliably (hence a slow boot with ample time to opt-in to boot to BIOS) may have been one of their intended design goals.
    Reply
  • Vatharian - Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - link

    There is reverse effect in action: amount of stuff that is set to initialize during boot is staggering. I'd asku you to find 1MB legacy BIOS, while 16MB UEFI is not uncommon, and I am in a possession of motherboard that has 512 MB SPI flash for it (not 512 megabits - half a gigabyte). Then, amount of stuff you can boot from went trough the roof. On top of drivers for everything that need to start up and register, there are at least three different frameworks that monitor hardware and need to set up.
    Then, every damn power controller, voltage regulator, thermal zones, OC chips are smart need to boot up too.

    Then, amount of memory skyrocketed - if you remember old BIOS happily running memcheck kilobyte after kilobyte, until it reaches that 64MB, and compare to you 64GB system, that still gets a cursory check, despite memory NOT being 1024x faster.

    You can cut your boot time down, if you properly disable CSM, disable external controllers (or at least disable their boot rom), properly set up boot sequence to UEFI bootloader, and use GPU with a BIOS that supports GOP, and finally enable fast boot, your PC WILL boot in ~2-3 seconds plus OS.

    On the other hand, while handling servers I am accustomed to boot times on the orders of 20 minutes at extreme case.
    Reply
  • npz - Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - link

    My laptop actually meets that superfast 1 or 2 sec UEFI POST time. But the desktop boards don't. Server boards are worse.

    If I select the fast boot options on the desktop boards or NUCs, while it will POST fast, it will also skip most of the initialization so you can't boot from external devices, and only from select internal devices, nor even get into the firmware screen without resetting CMOS, so I never select that.

    My laptop however, still allows me to enter UEFI while booting superfast though
    Reply

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