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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 06 > ASUS H97-PRO

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22-06-2014


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Motherboard ASUS H97-PRO based on Intel H97: review and testing

In May 2014 the company Intel held a presentation of the new chipsets lineup intended to work in conjunction with the processors Intel Haswell, Intel Haswell Refresh, Intel Devil `s Canyon and Intel Broadwell. At the current moment it includes only two sets of system logic: the flagship Intel Z97 and more affordable Intel H97.

ASUS H97-PRO

Intel H97 chipset is slightly simplified version of Intel Z97. It is perfect option for the users who do not need to build systems with multiple graphics cards and do not think about overclocking.

ASUS H97-PRO

As you can see, unlike Intel Z97 Intel H97 version does not support the distribution of lines PCI Express 3.0 x8 according the schemes х8+х8 and х8+х4+х4 and Intel cannot overclock the CPU by increasing the multiplier. On the other hand, Intel H97 offers realization of technology package Intel Small Business Advantage and also has the support of the same set of ports and connectors including SATA Express and M.2 with a capacity  up to 10 Gb/s.

And since there are no more significant differences between the two chipsets, we offer to go directly to an acquaintance with the new motherboard - ASUS H97-PRO based on Intel H97.

ASUS H97-PRO

The specs:

Producer

ASUS

Model

H97-PRO (rev 1.05)

Chipset

Intel H97

CPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron of 4th and 5th generation: Intel Haswell, Intel Haswell Refresh, Intel Devil`s Canyon, Intel Broadwell

Memory frequency

1600 / 1333 MHz

Memory support

4 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 32 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

1 х PCI Express 2.0 x16

x16

x16+х4

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

3 х PCI

Disk subsystem

Intel H97 chipset supports:

1 x M.2 (M.2 2260, M.2 2280)

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s (4 standard + 2 compatible with SATA Express)

1 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 x SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel WGI218V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Realtek ALC892 codec

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power connectors

1x24-pin ATX main power connector

1x8-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

3 х system fans slots (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on the chipset

Aluminum radiator on power subsystem elements

External I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x DVI-D

1 x D-Sub

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

6 x audio jacks

1 х PS/2 (for mouse and keyboard connection)

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

3 x USB 2.0 USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express with connection of two SATA 6 Gb/s

1 х TPM socket

1 x COM socket

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x S/PDIF out

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS lumper

1 х MemOK! button

1 x GPU Boost switch

BIOS

128 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 2.8, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver and utility disc

1 x set of ASUS Q-Connectors

4 x SATA cables

1 х faceplate of interface panel

Form factor,

Dimensions

ATX

305 х 218 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page

Packaging and content

ASUS H97-PRO

Motherboard ASUS H97-PRO is shipped in a cardboard box of standard sizes, which is decorated by familiar to us style. The most of the front side is reserved for the image of the round radiator on the chipset. As for key information, in addition to names of the manufacturer and model of the device on the right side you can find the correspondence with brand concept 5X PROTECTION which includes:

  • Digital PWM controllers for control of power subsystems and memory modules that are used in accordance with the original concept of DIGI + VRM.  
  • Special fuses for increased protection against overcurrent and short circuit current.
  • Protection against electrostatic discharge.
  • Japanese solid capacitors with increased 2.5 times life (up to 5000 hours at 105°C).
  • Improved construction of interface panel, which is made of stainless steel coated with chromium oxide. It has high resistance to oxidation, which makes it three times more wear-resistant.

Separately note that the ASUS motherboards were tested for compatibility with more than 1000 different accessories, such as processors, memory modules, and other graphics. And  figure  7000+ indicates the total number of hours of testing.

ASUS H97-PRO

The reverse side of the package traditionally has the image of the motherboard, its brief specifications, as well as a list of key features and benefits:

  • TurboLAN - using the supplied software you can monitor PC network activity in real time, and set priority access to network resources of each program.  
  • Crystal Sound 2 - preinstalled audio codec Realtek ALC892 which uses special amplifier offers support for eight-channel sound. Additionally we note that the wiring of each audio channel a separate layer in the PCB is used. The PCB area with audio section is shielded from electromagnetic interference from other components. Also here is a support of technologies DTS Connest and DTS Ultra PC II, and the presence of connector S/PDIF out on the PCB.
  • Fan Xpert 3 - intelligent fan control system allowing the computer to achieve effective cooling at optimal noise level.
  • SATA Expess / M.2 (NGFF) - thanks to the capabilities of the chipset Intel H97 motherboard is equipped with two high speed connectors for drives.

ASUS H97-PRO

The box with ASUS H97-PRO has the following set of accessories:

  • CD with drivers and utilities;
  • user's guide;
  • four SATA-cables;
  • set of ASUS Q-Connectors;
  • interface panel plug.

Design and features of the board

ASUS H97-PRO

A product is implemented on a printed circuit board of dark. It has a very pleasant design in dark colors, which perfectly complemented the golden color of radiator of cooling system. A key element in the design of the device is the round radiator for cooling the chipset, which has become a trademark of ASUS Motherboard from mid-2014.

As for the layout, the only nuance is the absence of holes for retaining screw at the right side of the circuit board that requires from the user a little more care when connecting the 24-pin main power connector and SATA-devices.

ASUS H97-PRO

Reverse side of ASUS H97-PRO has standard base plate of the socket and plastic clips for fastening of both radiators.

ASUS H97-PRO

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in sockets, S/PDIF Out, COM and TPM ports, as well as front panel leading-in socket. Additionally here are three leading-in sockets for activation of USB 2.0 ports. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is eight: six are internal and two on the interface panel.

ASUS H97-PRO

ASUS H97-PRO

ASUS H97-PRO

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by socket M.2 (support of SSD drives of M.2 2242, M.2 2260 and M.2 2280 formats and carrying capacity up to 10 GB/s) with four ports SATA 6 Gb/s and one SATA Express compatible with two SATA 6 Gb/s. The operation of all interfaces is implemented by chipset. There is a support of SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.

Due to the lack of free chipset lines SATA Express ports shares the carrying capacity with slot M.2 and their simultaneous usage is impossible. 

ASUS H97-PRO

Main board ASUS H97-PRO is equipped with four DIMM-slots for memory modules DDR3, which are equipped with latches on both sides. RAM can operate in dual channel mode. To implement it the modules must be installed either in the first and third or second and fourth slots. Modules operating at frequencies up to 16000 MHz are supported. Maximum memory capacity may be up to 32 GB which is enough for almost any tasks.

Leading-in socket with ports USB 3.0 is placed on the right side of the PCB. The total number of USB 3.0 ports is six: two internal and four on the interface panel.

Also note the button MemOK! which allows you to automatically pick up the necessary parameters of the memory for a successful start.

ASUS H97-PRO

Note the switch GPU Boost. Using it you can activate the automatic overclocking of the integrated graphics core.

ASUS H97-PRO

ASUS H97-PRO

Cooling system of the product includes two aluminum radiators: one for heat removal from chipset Intel H97 while the other covers elements of power subsystem. 

In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 40°C;
  • radiator for cooling of processor elements power – 36.7°C.

The received results can be considered as good.

ASUS H97-PRO

ASUS H97-PRO

Processor power supply is performed via 6-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP1252 with integrated power consumption control subsystem DIGI+VRM. All power components of CPU have high reliability level: solid capacitors, as well as chokes with ferrite core. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.     

ASUS H97-PRO

To extend the functionality the motherboard ASUS H97-PRO has seven slots:

  1. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  2. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (х16);
  3. PCI;
  4. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  5. PCI Express 2.0 x16 (х4);
  6. PCI;
  7. PCI.

Despite the presence of two expansion slots for graphics cards, as well as support of AMD CrossFireX the novelty is most predisposed to install only one graphics accelerator as the scheme of distribution of lines x16 + x4 during installing two graphics cards is not the most optimal for realizing the potential of such a bond.

Also note that the PCI Express 2.0 x16 shares the lines with two slots PCI Express 2.0 x1, so by default its capacity is limited to only two lines.

ASUS H97-PRO

Since chipset Intel H97 does not support bus PCI, the functioning of three corresponding connectors is implemented using a bridge PCIE-PCI based on the controller ASMedia ASM1083.

ASUS H97-PRO

If you decide to take advantage of the integrated on the CPU graphics core then you have three video outputs: HDMI, DVI-D and D-Sub, switching is carried out by chip ASMedia ASM1442K.

ASUS H97-PRO

Multi I/O capabilities are based on NUVOTON NCT5538D chip which controls the operation of system fans, ports COM and PS/2 and provides the monitoring. 

ASUS H97-PRO

To support network connection there is gigabit LAN-controller Intel WGI218V. Distribution of network resource and traffic prioritization can be carried out by utility TurboLAN.

ASUS H97-PRO

Sound subsystem is based on HAD codec of 8-channel sound Realtek ALC892that supports 2/4/5.1/7.1 sound systems and has several proprietary features (concept Crystal Sound 2).

ASUS H97-PRO

Interface panel of ASUS H97-PRO model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 1 x PS/2 for mouse and keyboard connection;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 6 x audio jacks.

This layout of interface panel can be called as excellent because it includes frequency used video outputs, a large number of USB ports, convenient connection of multichannel acoustic and ability to use periphery with interface PS/2. Also using inner socket you can place COM port on the reverse side. Also here is a support of HDMI video output with resolution 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K Ultra HD).

ASUS H97-PRO

ASUS H97-PRO

The possibility of organizing the cooling system inside the case is quite standard. There are four 4-pin fan connectors, one of which is used for the cooling CPU system, while the other three are for system fans.

UEFI BIOS

ASUS H97-PRO

Model ASUS H97-PRO uses modern preloader based on UEFI. To provide the setting is possible via mouse control. It proposes two main scenario of the usage.

ASUS H97-PRO

ASUS H97-PRO

EZ Mode where all required settings are grouped in one screen and overclocking can be performed using EZ Tuning Wizard.

ASUS H97-PRO

Or standard Advanced Mode where all settings should be done manually.

ASUS H97-PRO

All overclocking parameters are in section “Ai Tweaker”.

ASUS H97-PRO

Frequency multiplier allows to set module connection speed within 800-3000MHz.

ASUS H97-PRO

If necessary you can get the access to memory delay adjustments.

ASUS H97-PRO

Top increase the stability during overclocking you can use settings of digital power subsystem DIGI+VRM.  

Adjustments required to overclock and optimize the system:

Menu name

Range

Pitch

Memory Frequency

800 - 3400

 

DRAM Timing

CAS Latency, RAS to CAS, RAS PRE Time, RAS ACT Time, DRAM COMMAND Mode, RAS to RAS Delay, REF Cycle Time, Write Recovery Time, READ to PRE Time, FOUR ACT WIN Time, WRITE to READ Delay, Write Latency

 

Min. CPU Cache Ratio Limit

8 – MAX

1

Max CPU Cache Ratio Limit

8 – MAX

1

Fixed CPU VRM Switching Frequency(KHz)

200 – 300

50

Long Duration Package Power Limit

1 – 4096

1

Package Power Time Window

1 - 127

1

Short Duration Package Power Limit

1 - 4096

1

CPU Integrated VR Current Limit

0,125 – 1023,875

0,125

Power Current Slope

Auto, Level -4 – Level 4

 

Power Current Offset

Auto, -100% - 100%

12,5 %

Power Fast Ramp Response

0,00 – 1,50

0,001

Power Saving Level 1 Threshold

0 – 80

1

Power Saving Level 2 Threshold

0 – 50

1

Power Saving Level 3 Threshold

0 – 30

1

CPU Core Voltage Override

0,001 – 1,920

 

0,001

CPU Cache Voltage Override

0,001 – 1,920

0,001

CPU System Agent Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

CPU Analog I/O Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

CPU Digital I/O Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

CPU Input Voltage

0,800 – 2,700

0,010

DRAM Voltage

1,200 – 1,800

0,005

PCH Core Voltage

0,735 – 1,500

0,005

PCH VLX Voltage

1,185 – 2,135

0,005

DRAM CTRL REF Voltage

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

DRAM DATA REF Voltage on CHA

0.39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

DRAM DATA REF Voltage on CHB

0.39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

ASUS H97-PRO

ASUS H97-PRO

“Monitor” section provides the access to information about rotation speed of installed fans. Additionally in this section you can check the voltage on CPU cores and power lines +12V, +5V and +3,3V.

The ability to monitor memory voltage is implemented in the right column which can be seen in other sections. Also it is possible to take screenshots.  


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