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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 08 > ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

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Republish review

24-08-2014


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ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC) motherboard review and testing

Let's face it, that when purchasing the flagship solution, it would be nice to always get a complete set of additional bonuses and accessories. Apparently, this is the idea of the company ASUS, launching to the market modification of an excellent motherboard ASUS Z97-DELUXE with an expanded set of delivery, that will appeal to fans of modern gadgets, particularly smartphones and tablets. Also ASUS Z97-DELUXE (NFC & WLC) has the advantages of the original model, such as an integrated two-way wireless interface module Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0, two network controllers and a number of other features which will be described in this review.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

The specs:

Producer

ASUS

Model

Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC) (rev 1.03)

Chipset

Intel Z97

SPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

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

Memory frequency

3300* / 3200* / 3100* / 3000* / 2933* / 2800* / 2666* / 2600* / 2400* / 2200* / 2133* / 2000* / 1866* / 1600 / 1333 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

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

Expansion slots

2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

1 х PCI Express 2.0 x16

x16

x8+х8

x8+x8+x4

4 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

Disk subsystem 

Intel Z97 chipset supports:

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

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

ASMedia ASM1061 controller supports:

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

ASMedia ASM106SE controller supports:

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

LAN

1 x Intel WGI218V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

1 x Intel WGI211-AT (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Wi-Fi

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2,4 / 5 ГГц)

Max data transfer rate up to 867 Мb/s

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 4.0

Sound subsystem

Realtek ALC1150 codec

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power connectors

1x24-pin ATX main power connector

1x8-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

4 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on the chipset

Aluminum radiators on power subsystem elements connected by heat pipe

External I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x Mini DisplayPort

2 x LAN (RJ45)

6 x USB 3.0

4 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

6 x audio jacks 

2 x sockets for antennas Wi-Fi и Bluetooth

Internal I/O

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

2 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA Express

1 х TPM socket

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x S/PDIF out

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 х «MemOK!» button

1 х DRCT socket

1 х module TB_HEADER

1 x power button

1 x reboot button

1 x «Reset CMOS»

1 x diagnostic LED-indicator

1 x «TPU» switch

1 x «EPU» switch

1 х «EZ XMP» switch

1 x button «USB BIOS Flashback»

BIOS

64 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 brochure

Driver and utility disc

1 х set ASUS Q-Connectors

6 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х combined antenna Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

1 x ASUS NFC EXPRESS with NFC- identifier

1 х DisplayPort cable

1 х Mini DisplayPort cable

1 х USB 3.0 cable

1 x micro-USB cable

1 х expansion card ThunderboltEX II/DUAL

1 х interface panel plug

Form factor,

Dimensions

ATX

305 х 244 mm

Producer website

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

Packaging and content

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Motherboard ASUS Z97-DELUXE (NFC & WLC) is securely packed in cardboard box, decorated with the corporate style. The box has a flip-up cover with view opening under it. On the front side, in addition to the already familiar image of a cooling radiator of the chipset, which indicated the use of technology Dual Intelligent Processors 5 with 5-Way Optimization, the support of the technologies NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX is noted, as well as the use of audio technology and DTS Connect DTS UltraPC II.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

On the reverse side of the cover you can find a description of the key benefits of new item, namely:

  • Dual Intelligent Processors 5 with 5-Way Optimization - motherboard is equipped with two smart chips: energy processor (Energy Processing Unit - EPU) and TurboV-processor (TurboV Processing Unit - TPU). The fifth generation of the chips work with a digital power system DIGI+VRM and technologies Fan Xpert 3 and TurboAPP that lets to provide fine-optimization of the system depending on the current needs of the user.
  • NFC Express 2 – is a remote module with two USB 3.0 ports and technology NFC designed to provide a wireless file transfer from portable devices. Using supplied indicator you can realize the fast Windows 8 log-in.
  • Wireless Charger is an additional module that provides wireless charging of tablets and smartphones according technology Qi.
  • Thunderbolt Ready – using supplied expansion card ThunderboltEX II/DUAL you can get the support of two Thunderbolt 2 ports and two DisplayPort.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

On the reverse side of the box in addition to the image of the motherboard, as well as a short list of its characteristics, it is possible to pay attention to support a range of technologies:

  • Wi-Fi Go! -integrated two-way wireless interface module of Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0 can be speed up to 867 Mbit/s. This will allow you to connect to wireless networks and use the PC as an access point for other multimedia devices. Also there is a support PC by using a smartphone, transfer files between computer and portable devices, synchronization of information between the various cloud storage, as well as function Media Streamer (to play media files over a wireless network). In this case, the support for the two frequency ranges (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) allows you to use the first one for browsing the web, and the second to download HD- video.
  • TurboLAN - using the supplied software you can monitor network activity PC in real time and set each program priority access to network resources.
  • Crystal Sound 2 - pre- audio codec Realtek ALC1150 with a special amplifier offers support for eight-channel sound and provides audio playback with a ratio signal/noise at the level of 112 dB. In order to avoid interference caused by electromagnetic interference a special screening technology EMI Protection Covering is applied. To ensure maximum audio quality Nichicon audio capacitors are used. In addition, the left and right audio channels are formed on different layers of the PCB that accompanies to minimize crosstalk. Also here is a support of technologies DTS CONNECT and Users DTS Ultra PC II, as well as the presence of the port S/PDIF out on the interface panel.
  • TurboAPP - allows you to select the required level of performance for each individual application. Company software ASUS AI Suite 3 allows you to customize not only performance, but also to choose audio profile for each application, as well as configure the prioritization of network traffic.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

The box of ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC) has the following set of accessories:

  • user's guide;
  • warranty booklet;
  • CD with drivers and utilities;
  • six SATA-cables;
  • 2-Way NVIDIA SLI bridge;
  • combined Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antenna;
  • module ASUS NFC EXPRESS 2 with NFC-indicator;
  • module ASUS Wireless Charger for wireless charging of mobile devices;
  • DisplayPort cable;
  • Mini DisplayPort cable;
  • USB 3.0 cable;
  • micro-USB cable;
  • extansion board ThunderboltEX II/DUAL;
  • interface panel plug.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC) ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Some components of this list deserve more attention. Let's start with an expansion card ThunderboltEX II/DUAL. It is based on the controller Intel DSL5520 that enables two ports Thunderbolt 2 with a capacity of 20 Gb/s per channel in two directions. PCI Express 2.0 x4 is applied as external interface, but the board can be installed in the unused slot PCI Express x16. Note that to properly operation you need connect it additionally to the connector TB_HEADER on the board.

 ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Next, go to the module of wireless charging ASUS Wireless Charger, which is compatible with the standard WPC Qi 1.1 / 1.0. To connect to a power source it uses the interface micro-USB that is why the set package includes the appropriate cable. The parameters of its input is 5 V and 2 A. The output parameters are 5 V and 1 A.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

The list is non-standard accessories closes the module ASUS NFC EXPRESS 2 with special NFC-key. Additionally, it provides the user two interfaces USB 3.0. For what it is intended? Using complete utility ASUS NFC EXPRESS the user can configure the module operation with the following actions:

  • authorization in OS Windows 8;
  • start of any program or games;
  • streaming video from your PC to compatible mobile devices;
  • automatic backup of photos and videos from a connected mobile device to your PC;
  • remote control of your PC with a compatible mobile device;
  • play music from a connected mobile device through the sound system of the computer.

Design and features of the board

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

The first thing to note when you look at the motherboard itself, is a great combination of black PCB with bronze radiator cooling system, which fully corresponds to its considerable cost and positioning as a top model. We point out the excellent on-board layout elements from ASUS Z97-DELUXE (NFC & WLC), which does not give you any problems during assembly of the system. Manufacturer tried to take into account all the nuances and equipped DIMM-slots latches on one side only, as well as the SATA ports arranged parallel to the surface, so that even the longest expansion board is not hampered connection drives. The only thing that is worth considering, it is a bit congested ports, the bottom edge of the PCB.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

The reverse side of the motherboard has not only with the usual support plate of the CPU socket but also with radiator mounting screws as well as two support plates placed under the elements of processor power subsystem. They serve as low-profile radiators and increase the cooling efficiency. Also there are some chips which did not have enough space on the front side.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, S/PDIF out, block TB_HEADER (to realize Thunderbolt interface), power and reboot button, CMOS reset button and USB BIOS Flashback; diagnostic LED-indicator, TPM port, DRCT socket (allows to connect additional button to BIOS transition and place it on the front panel), one 4-pin socket to connect case fan, as well as front panel leading-in socket. Additionally here are two leading-in sockets for activation of USB 2.0 ports. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is eight: four are internal and four on the interface panel.

A special note is given to two small switches: “TPU” and “EPU”. The first has three positions: "Off", "1" (automatic overclocking of the system by increasing the multiplier) and "2" (automatic overclocking by increasing the system bus frequency and CPU multiplier). The second toggle switch has only two positions and is responsible for the activation of the power saving function (EPU).

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by socket M.2 (support of SSD drives of M.2 2260 and M.2 2280), six ports SATA 6 Gb/s and two SATA Express compatible with two SATA 6 Gb/s. There is a support of SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.

As chipset Intel Z97 cannot provide the operation of above mentioned interfaces, to function two additional ports SATA and one SATA Express (on chip SATAExpress_E1) controllers ASMedia ASM1061 and ASMedia ASM106SE are used.

Due to the lack of free chipset lines, interface M.2 (NGFF) shares carrying capacity with one SATA Express (scheme SATAExpress_1 ), that’s why its simultaneous usage is impossible.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Main board ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC) is equipped with four DIMM-slots for memory modules DDR3, which are equipped with latches only on one side. 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 from 1333 to 1600 MHz in nominal mode and up to 3300 MHz in overclocked mode are supported. Maximum memory capacity may be up to 32 GB which is enough for almost any tasks.

Also here are two leading-in sockets with ports USB 3.0 and button MemOK! which allows you to automatically pick up the necessary parameters of the memory for a successful start, as well as switch “EZ XMP” which is designed to activation of proper Intel XMP profiles of RAM.

As for the support of USB 3.0, the tested model has ten ports: four external are realized by chipset while four internal and two additional on the interface panel operate due to controllers ASMedia ASM1074 and ASMedia ASM1042АЕ.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Cooling system of the product includes four aluminum radiators: one for heat removal from chipset Intel Z97 while the other two cover elements of power subsystem. One of them is connected by heat pipe with additional radiator in the center of board. All of them are securely fixed by screws.

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

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 38°C;
  • radiator for cooling of processor elements power – 33.2°C.

The received results indicate a high efficiency of the installed cooling system which specifies the correct choice of materials and design.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Processor power supply is performed via 16-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP1257 with integrated power consumption control subsystem DIGI+VRM. All power components of CPU have high reliability level: solid capacitors with increased lifespan in 2.5, as well as chokes with ferrite core. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.      

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

To extend the functionality the motherboard ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC) has seven slots:

  1. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  2. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (х16 or х8 mode);
  3. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  4. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  5. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х8);
  6. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  7. PCI Express 2.0 x16 (mode х4).

Due to the support of technologies NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX this configuration offers the user to organize the graphics subsystem of one or two graphics cards. The third PCI Express x16 slot is connected to the chipset. Its bandwidth is limited to a maximum of four lines, so it is best to use to install other expansion cards. Separately we note that the location of the slots will allow easily connect two graphics cards with three slot cooling system. In this case, you will have access to one connector PCI Express 2.0 x1.

Due to the presence of several additional controllers there is a lack of free chipset lines; respectively there is a number of limitations. Thus, the slot PCI Express 2.0 x16 shares the line with two USB 3.0 ports on the interface panel (on the scheme USB3_E56) and one SATA Express (scheme SATAExpress_E1), so the simultaneous use of all three components is not possible.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

If you decide to take advantage of the integrated on the CPU graphics core then you have three video outputs: HDMI, DisplayPort и Mini DisplayPort, switching is carried out by chip ASMedia ASM1442K.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Multi I/O capabilities are based on NUVOTON NCT6791D chip which controls the operation of system fans and provides the monitoring. 

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Two additional SATA 6 Gb/s ports are implemented using controller ASMedia ASM1061.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Optional interface SATA Express operates thanks to the controller ASMedia ASM106SE.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Six USB 3.0 connectors are controlled by the controller ASMedia ASM1042AE and ASMedia ASM1074.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

To support network connection there are two gigabit LAN-controllers: Intel WGI218V and Intel WGI211AT. Distribution of network resources and traffic prioritization can be carried out by utility TurboLAN.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Sound subsystem is based on HAD codec of 8-channel sound Realtek ALC1150 that supports 2/4/5.1/7.1 sound systems and has several proprietary features (concept Crystal Sound 2) that offer:

  • presence of protective shroud on the audio codec to protect it against magnetic pickups;
  • the use of audio amplifier TI R4580I to improve the sound quality in headphones;
  • application of high quality Japanese audio capacitors;
  • the use of protective strip for shielding of area with audio subsystem;
  • the realization of left and right audio channels on the separate textolite layers.

 

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

Interface panel of ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)model contains the following ports:  

  • 2 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 6 x USB 3.0;
  • 4 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x Mini DisplayPort;
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF out;
  • 2 x socket for Wi-Fi и Bluetooth;
  • 6 x audio jacks.

This layout of interface panel can be called as excellent because it includes: three video outputs, a large number of USB ports, as well as integrated module Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 4.0. According the official information it can provide data transference on a speed up to 867 Mbit/s which is three times higher than standard IEEE 802.11n. At the same time the support of two frequency ranges (2.4 and 5 GHz) allow to use the first one for web browsing, and the second to download high quality HD-content. Also don’t forget about functions Cloud GO!, Remote Control and Media Streaming Hub, which will simplify file exchange in home network between compatible devices.

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)

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


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