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::>Motherboards > 2015 > 02 > ASUS H97I-PLUS

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03-02-2015


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Motherboard ASUS H97I-PLUS: review and testing

Compact Mini-ITX motherboards provide a high degree of freedom in building the system unit, as they allow to use a variety of different packages, regardless of their shape and size. The only limitation of this solution is technical features of the mainboard due to their compact dimensions. They usually include a small number of internal and external connectors, as well as a weak power system.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Model ASUS H97I-PLUS, which will be discussed in this material, is devoid of virtually all of the above features and has the necessary functionality for building a diversified system with a good level of performance.

The specs:

Producer

ASUS

Model

H97I-PLUS

Chipset

Intel H97

CPU socket

Socket LGA1150

CPUs supported

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

Memory frequency

1600 / 1333 MHz

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM- slots with support of memory up to 16 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (х16 mode)
1 x Mini-PCIe

Disk subsystem

Intel H97 chipset supports:
1 x M.2 (M.2 2260 и M.2 2280)
4 x SATA 6 Gb/s
Supports of arrays RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel I218V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

2 / 4 / 5.1 / 7.1-channel HD Audio based on codec Realtek ALC887

Power connectors

24-pin power socket ATX
8-pin power socket ATX12V

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)
2 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

External I/O

1 x PS/2 (keyboard and mouse)
4 x USB 2.0
4 x USB 3.0
1 x D-Sub
1 x DVI-I
1 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort
1 x LAN (RJ45)
1 x optical S/PDIF out
3 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

1 x USB 2.0 (with support of two USB 2.0)
1 x USB 3.0 (with support of two USB 3.0)
1 x connector of audio output to front panel
1 x set of front panel connectors
1 х S/PDIF Out
1 x TPM
1 x button «MemOK!»
1 x CMOS

BIOS

64 Мb UEFI AMI BIOS, ACPI 5.0, PnP, SM BIOS 2.8, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0

Form-factor

Mini-ITX

Dimensions

170 x 170 mm

Producer website

Product page

 

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

Packaging and content

ASUS H97I-PLUS

The motherboard is shipped in a package of thick cardboard. It is decorated in dark colors and contains the image of the chipset cooling system. Also on the front panel you will find information about support for technology 5X Protection, which implies:

  • digital power system DIGI+ VRM;
  • fuses for overcurrent and short-circuit current;
  • additional protection of internal components against electrostatic discharge;
  • reliable solid-state capacitors with a service life up to 5000 hours (105°C);
  • interface panel from a stainless steel with corrosion-resistant coating.

Do note the fact that ASUS motherboards have passed more than 7,000 hours of testing for compatibility with more than 1000 sets.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

The reverse side of the box contains comprehensive information about the main components of ASUS H97I-PLUS, its technical characteristics and other features. First of all, a qualitative sound system, this is equipped with an amplifier for headphones and speakers (TI R4580I), as well as Japanese audio capacitors. Additionally, the left and right audio channels are implemented on different layers PCB, which reduces crosstalk.

Also here is indicated about the presence of Gigabit Controller Intel I218V, which has low load on the CPU at operation (important for demanding network games).

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Package of ASUS H97I-PLUS consists of:

  • two SATA-cables;
  • interface board plug;
  • CD with software and drivers;
  • sticker on the computer case;
  • documentation set.

Design and features

ASUS H97I-PLUS

New product is made on the dark brown board in format Mini-ITX (170 x 170 mm). The layout of elements is typical for most mainboards for this form factor. Some criticism can cause only the proximity of the fourth SATA port to slot of expansion card PCI Express 3.0 x16. We were pleased due to the presence latches on memory modules on one side only, so they will not be blocked in case of installed graphics card.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

On the reverse side of the PCB you can find a few elements of the power subsystem, as well as slot M.2. It supports the installation of SSD-drives in formats M.2 2260 and M.2 2280. Also here there is a black metal plate, which is designed to strengthen the CPU socket and protect it against damage during installation of overall cooling system.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Now let's take a closer look at the layout of elements on the PCB. At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, S/PDIF out, CMOS, button of automatic adjustment of RAM modules parameters in accordance with system requirements («MemOK!») and module for two additional ports USB 2.0. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is six: four internal and two on the interface panel. Their operation is provided by chipset.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Closer to the interface panel is placed a module for connecting the front panel, and three 4-pin fan connectors for fans: one for processor and two for case.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

The right side of the motherboard has a connection block of the front panel and system speaker, four SATA 6 Gb/s ports and block for two additional ports USB 3.0. The total number of USB 3.0 is six: four external and two internal. All of them are running due to chipset.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Nearby there are two DIMM-slots for RAM installation. As mentioned previously, for convenience they are equipped with a latch with only on one side. Modules DDR3, which operate at 1333 and 1600 MHz are supported. The total maximum amount of RAM is up to 16 GB.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Cooling System of ASUS H97I-PLUS consists of one radiator mounted on the chipset Intel H97. During operation the temperature was 43,4°C, which is quite normal figure. Due to the absence of fan on power system, we have measured temperature of MOS transistors and chocks. The temperature of the first component does not exceed 45,1°C, and the second - 51,5°C. These indicators are also quite low, especially given the complete absence of cooling system.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Processor power supply is performed via 6-phase scheme under control of digital PWM-controller DIGI+VRM ASP1257. Solid-state capacitors that have increased lifetime (up to 2.5 points) are applied.  

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Here are two available sockets for expansion cards: 

  • PCI Express 3.0 x16 operates in mode x16 and can be used both for the installation of modern graphics accelerator, and for mounting other compatible expansion cards;
  • Mini-PCIe is designed to installe WiFi-modules.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

The performance of video outputs D-Sub, DVI-I, HDMI and DisplayPort is provided by controller ASMedia ASM1442K. They are activated only when using the built-in graphics core.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

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

ASUS H97I-PLUS

To support network connection there is gigabit LAN-controller Intel WGI218V.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Sound subsystem is based on HAD codec of 8-channel sound Realtek ALC887. It includes audio amplifier for headphones and speakers (TI R4580I) as well as Japanese audio capacitors. Left and right audio channels are placed on different layers of textolite that reduces cross talks. Audio system formats 2/4/5.1/7.1 are supported.  

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Interface panel of ASUS H97I-PLUS model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x PS/2 (keyboard and mouse);
  • 4 x USB 2.0;
  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF out;
  • 3 x audio jacks.

Such a large number of ports USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, as well as the presence of all major video outputs are the advantage of the product, especially given its miniature form factor. The positive features also include a complete interface panel of stainless steel with corrosion-resistant coating (thin layer of chromium oxide).

ASUS H97I-PLUS

ASUS H97I-PLUS

This motherboard is equipped with the necessary set of connectors for the organization of the cooling system. It consists of three 4-pin fan connectors: two for case and one for CPU. All of them are located along the top left corner of the PCB and maintain control of the rotation speed of the blades by PWM method.

UEFI BIOS

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Mainboard ASUS H97I-PLUS is equipped with modern preloader UEFI BIOS with a comfortable and functional shell. It supports mouse control and allows you to take screenshots.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

There is a wizard for acceleration using preset profiles «EZ Tuning Wizard». This section allows you to raise system performance without learning overclocking features, by optimizing work under your existing equipment.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

If you are an advanced user, then you may be interested in the section «Ai Tweaker». It allows you to fine-tune the operation of the main components, for example, to make changes in the operation of the processor cores.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

ASUS H97I-PLUS

The second important component of the acceleration is to raise the frequency and delay adjustment of RAM. This functionality is also available in this section.

ASUS H97I-PLUS

Control of power subsystem DIG + VRM allows to provide extreme overclocking and maintain system stability in case of a significant increase of stresses on the key components.

Adjustments required to overclock and optimize the system:

Parameter

Menu

Range

Step

RAM frequency

Memory Frequency

800 - 3400

 

RAM timing

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, Minimum Pulse Width, Write Latency

 

 

CPU Load-line Calibration

Auto, Level 1 – Level 9

 

 

Min. CPU Cache Ratio

8 – MAX

1

 

Max CPU Cache Ratio

8 – MAX

1

Operation frequency of PWM-controller in CPU power converter

Fixed CPU VRM Switching Frequency(KHz)

300 – 500

50

 

CPU Current Capability

100% – 140%

10%

 

CPU Power Thermal Control

120 – 141

1

 

DRAM Current Capability

100% – 130%

10%

 

Fixed DRAM Switching Frequency(KHz)

300 – 500

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

 

Frequency Tuning Offset

5% – 6%

 

 

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

CPU Input Voltage

0,800 – 2,700

0,010

RAM voltage

DRAM Voltage

1,200 – 1,920

0,005

 

PCH VLX Voltage

1,185 – 2,135

0,005

 

PCH Core Voltage

0,735 – 1,105

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 H97I-PLUS

The control of built-in fans and monitoring can be done via the tab «Monitor». Here you can explore the temperature and the frequency of the processor, as well as indicators of RAM voltage. Additionally, there is a sidebar displayed in all tabs that focuses key performance of CPU, RAM and main lines of voltage.


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