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::>Motherboards > 2015 > 08 > ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING

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13-08-2015


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MotherboardASUS Z170 PRO GAMING: review and testing  

Continuing our acquaintance with the motherboard to work with the new family of processors Intel Skylake (Socket LGA1151 Platform), realized on the basis of the flagship chipset Intel Z170, we will talk about the model of the lineup ASUS PRO GAMER. ASUS did not create a separate lineup of gaming motherboards for the new family of processors, but renamed ASUS Gamer intp ASUS PRO GAMER including a model on the platform Socket LGA1150, for example, ASUS Z97-PRO GAMER.

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As for ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING, it is a logical continuation of earlier branded gaming solutions with a number of significant improvements, new proprietary technologies as well as more modern equipment, such as support for interface USB 3.1.

The specs: 

Producer  

ASUS

Model

Z170 PRO GAMING (rev 1.04)

Chipset

Intel Z170

CPU socket

Socket LGA1151

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 6th gen

Memory frequency

3400* / 3333* / 3200* / 3100* / 3000* / 2933* / 2800* / 2666* / 2600* / 2400* / 2133 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR4 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

 

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 / x8+x8 / x8+x8+x4)

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel Z170 chipset supports:

1 x M.2 Socket 3 (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280, M.2 22110)

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

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

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel WGI219V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec SupremeFX

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

1 х 24-pin ATX connector

1 x 8-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connectors (4-pin)

3 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Aluminum radiator on the elements of the processor power subsystem

Extenral I/O

1 x PS/2 Combo

1 x HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x D-Sub

1 x DVI-D

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-C)

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-A)

2 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

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

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

1 х ROG_EXT

1 x EXT_FAN

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express

1 х TPM

1 х COM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 х connector for temperature sensor connection

1 x CMOS

BIOS

128 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 3.0, DMI 3.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty card

Disk with drivers and utilities

1 х tool ASUS CPU Installation Tool

4 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 x 244 mm

Producer website

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

Package and content 

ASUS_Z170_PRO_GAMING

Motherboard ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING comes in a cardboard box. Central spot to the front panel is taken by the image of premium protected cruisers Diana, that with 15 days the status of a premium is a gift for motherboard buyers. Also here is the name of the model and the manufacturer, the type of processor socket and support for Windows 10.

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The reverse side of the box, in addition to the image of the motherboard and a short list of its characteristics, contains information about the support of a number of technologies:

  • GameFirst III - technology designed to optimize Internet traffic in order to increase the priority of online games, which should reduce the delays and, accordingly, make the gameplay more comfortable. You can select the priority media broadcast, VoIP or file sharing.
  • SupremeFX - preset codec offers support for eight channel audio and provides audio playback with a signal/noise ratio at the level of 115 dB. In order to avoid interference caused by electromagnetic interference, here is shielded audio codec technology, and audio capacitors ELNA are used to ensure maximum audio quality. Also note the presence of an amplifier TI R4580I enabled headphones with an impedance of 300 Ohms.
  • Sonic Radar II - during the game on the screen you can notice radar, which by analyzing the sound of footsteps, gunfire or requests for assistance displays information about the location of enemies and allies that will definitely give you a distinct advantage on the virtual battlefield.
  • DRAM Over-current Protection - special fuses protect the memory modules from the damage caused by the increased power of current or short circuit.
  • ESD Guards - are special fuses for protection against electrostatic discharges.
  • Stainless Steel Back I/O - interface panel is made of stainless steel with coated chromium oxide. It has an improved resistance to oxidation, making it three times more susceptible to breakage.
  • Higly Durable Components - a part of the element base of the motherboard uses only high-quality components such as Japanese solid capacitors and chokes with ferrite core. 
  • USB 3.1 - ports located on the interface panel have a capacity of 10 Gb/s, which is two times higher than USB 3.0.

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In the box with the ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING we found the following set of accessories:

  • drivers and utilities CD;
  • user manual;
  • four SATA cables;
  • tool ASUS CPU Installation Tool for quick and correct installation of the processor;
  • Bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI;
  • interface panel plug.

Design and features 

ASUS_Z170_PRO_GAMING

Being high-level ASUS gaming models, the new product is made on black circuit board, in format ATX, and differs quite stylishly decorated in black and red colors.

ASUS_Z170_PRO_GAMING

Despite the large number of on-board elements, engineers managed to place them almost perfectly. As a result, you will not have any problems with the assembly, and with the continued use of the system based on the tested model.

ASUS_Z170_PRO_GAMING

As you can see, the manufacturer made sure that the installed graphics card does not interfere with install and remove memory modules, equipping DIMM-slots with latches on only one side.

ASUS_Z170_PRO_GAMING

Looking at the back of the ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING, you can notice only the standard base plate of the socket, as well as the fact that radiator of chipset is secured by means of screws, whereas the other two are fastened using plastic clips.

ASUS_Z170_PRO_GAMING

In the lower left corner of the PCB you can find: the front panel audio connectors, ports COM and TPM, one 4-pin socket for case fan connection, module for connection of temperature sensor, socket EXT_FAN, as well as front panel connation module. Do note three blocks to activate ports USB 2.0, one of which is jointed with socket ROG_EXT. In total, the new product supports eight USB 2.0 ports: six are internal and two on the interface panel. 

ASUS_Z170_PRO_GAMING

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The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by socket M.2 Socket 3 with bandwidth of 32 Gb/s (SSD-drives M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280 and M.2 221100 are supported), as well as four ports SATA 6 Gb/s and one SATA Express compatible with two SATA 6 Gb/s

There is support for arrays SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10. There is one restriction: if the connector M.2 Socket 3 will be used in SATA-mode, the port SATA_1 will not be available.

ASUS_Z170_PRO_GAMING

Mainboard ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING is equipped with four DIMM-slots for memory modules of the standard DDR4, which are equipped with latches on one side. RAM can operate in dual channel mode. Its implementation is realized by installation either in the first and third or second and fourth slots (or takes all available ports). Modules operating at frequencies up to 3400 in overclocking mode are supported. The maximum amount of memory can be up to 64 GB, which is enough for almost any tasks.

Also note the presence of connection module for ports USB 3.0 ports. In general, the board supports six ports USB 3.0: two are internal and four external.  

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The cooling system of this motherboard consists of three aluminum radiators: the first removes the hot air from chipset Intel Z170, while other two cover the elements of the processor power subsystem. In the process of testing we’ve recorded the following temperature:

  • radiator for cooling the chipset – 31.1°C;
  • top radiator of processor power subsystem cooling elements – 42.5°C;
  • bottom radiator for cooling elements of the power subsystem processor – 35.9°C.

These results clearly indicate the higher efficiency of the cooling system, indicating the proper selection of materials and design.

ASUS_Z170_PRO_GAMING

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Processor powering is carried out on 10-phase scheme for cores and additional nodes. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP1400B with integrated power consumption control system DIGI+ VRM. All components of the power CPU have a high degree of reliability: used solid capacitors and chokes with ferrite core. The main 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are used to provide supply voltage.

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The possibility of expanding the functionality of the motherboard ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING  is presented by six slots:

  1. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  2. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х16 or х8);
  3. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  4. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х8);
  5. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  6. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х4).

Due to the support for technologies NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX, this configuration provides the user to organize the graphics subsystem of the two or three video cards. Also note that the arrangement of the slots will allow easily connect two video cards with three slot cooling system. And you will have access to one connector PCI Express 3.0 x1.

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If you decided to take advantage of the integrated graphics core into the CPU, you have four video outputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI-D and D-Sub, service which is provided by chip ASMedia ASM1442K.

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Multi I/O opportunities are based on chip NUVOTON NCT6793D, which controls the operation of the system fan, ports COM and PS/2, and provide monitoring.

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Correct operation of the two USB 3.1 ports on the interface panel is provided by the chip ASMedia ASM1142.

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In order to support network connections there is a gigabit LAN-controller Intel WGI219V. The distribution of network resources and prioritization of traffic is realized by proprietary utility GameFirst III.

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The audio subsystem of the motherboard is based on the 8-channel HDA-codec Realtek ALC892, which supports audio formats 2/4 / 5.1 / 7.1. It has a number of proprietary features. The codec uses audio amplifier TI R4580I with headphones with an impedance of 300 ohms and high quality audio capacitors ELNA. The codec is protected from electromagnetic interference by special casing.

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The interface panel of model has the following ports:

  • 1 x PS/2 Combo;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 х USB 3.1 (Type-C);
  • 1 х USB 3.1 (Type-A);
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF out;
  • 5 x audio jacks.

This configuration can be described as excellent, because here is not only everything you need, but even more: four video outputs, a large number of ports USB (including two high-speed USB 3.1), as well as easy connection of multi-channel speakers and support the periphery PS/2. Also do note that using the appropriate modules on the PCB, you can put ports COM and Thunderbolt to the rear panel.

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ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING has standard opportunities for the organization of the cooling system inside the body. Here are five 4-pin fan connectors, two of which are for cooling the CPU, while the other three are for system fans. 


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