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Five Z97 Express Motherboards, $160 To $220, Reviewed

Z97 Pro(Wi-Fi ac) Software

Asus Ai Suite hasn’t changed noticeably from our previous discussion, though the combination of wireless controller and a new test processor give us a few things to discuss in this Z97 Pro(Wi-Fi ac) review.

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The firm’s five-way optimization protocols brought our processor to 4.6 GHz at 1.33 to 1.35 V, which slightly exceeds both our recommended 1.30 V limit for continuous operation of fully-loaded Haswell-based cores, and our CPU cooler’s capability. Your processor and use scenario may make these settings more agreeable.

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Ai Suite still offers fan speed and voltage regulator controls to save noise and/or energy as the user desires.

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Software controls are available within firmware limits for base clock, CPU ratios, and most of the Z97 Pro(Wi-Fi ac)’s voltage levels. Better still, all of the adjustments we made (within our CPU’s capabilities) worked.

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EZ Update links AI Suite directly to Asus’ driver servers. EZ Update’s “USB BIOS Flashback” tab to puts the latest Z97 Pro(Wi-Fi ac) firmware onto your USB thumb drive.

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Asus Wi-Fi Engine let you turn your 802.11n Wi-Fi transceiver into an AP, using gigabit Ethernet to reach the Web.

 

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Asus continues to provide a quick-charging USB port option for BC1.1-compliant portable devices, turbo mode for USB 2.0, UASP performance enhancements for USB 3.0, and traditional quick-charge mode for non-BC1.1 devices.

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A Web extension for Ai Suite system monitoring, Asus Push Notice is accessible through downloadable iPhone and Android apps.

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More than just a basic status report, Asus System Information also provides the most comprehensive memory programming information we’ve seen. Ai Suite’s software version tab is similarly complete.

  • Memnarchon
    At this price Asus could send a ROG product (Maximus VII Hero). I wonder why they choose to send the Z97-Pro instead...
    Reply
  • bigshootr8
    At this price Asus could send a ROG product (Maximus VII Hero). I wonder why they choose to send the Z97-Pro instead...

    My thoughts you can find the hero board within that price range quite easy. http://pcpartpicker.com/part/asus-motherboard-maximusviihero
    Reply
  • bigshootr8
    -snip- duplicate post silly tomshardware.
    Reply
  • Drejeck
    I'd like some ITX Z97 and H97 with M.2 reviewed.
    I'm buying the Asus Z97i-plus because it just mount a 2x M.2 2280 and 2260, and all other connectivity goodness, uninterested in overclocking unless the broadwell i5 K consume less than 90W :D
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    I recently bought a Z97I-Plus. Being so used to EATX boards as of late, I was a tad
    stunned at how tiny even the packing box is. :D Just pairing it up with a G3258
    initially to see how it behaves. Pondering a GTX 750 Ti, but kinda hoping NVIDIA
    will release a newer version in Sept.

    Ian.

    Reply
  • Crashman
    13953852 said:
    At this price Asus could send a ROG product (Maximus VII Hero). I wonder why they choose to send the Z97-Pro instead...
    They probably wanted to win based on features for the money? We know that the Wi-Fi ac has A $50 WI-FI CONTROLLER, what does the Hero add that's worth $50?

    Reply
  • lp231
    The Asus ROG boards have a red line that lights up showing the audio path through it's build in LEDs, but the mainstream Z97 don't. I had a chance to take a look at one of the Asus Z97 board and took my phone's flash to shine in on it. The color was somewhat yellowish green and it looks really nice.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    I have a Z97 Extreme 6, it's a very nice board and it's definitely worthy of the approval award.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    Nice boards!! I love the gigabyte model but I like asus more because yellow heatsinks just don't fit in my opinion.
    Reply
  • Memnarchon
    13956156 said:
    13953852 said:
    At this price Asus could send a ROG product (Maximus VII Hero). I wonder why they choose to send the Z97-Pro instead...
    They probably wanted to win based on features for the money? We know that the Wi-Fi ac has A $50 WI-FI CONTROLLER, what does the Hero add that's worth $50?
    Hello. I think there are more reasons to buy a ROG product, instead of a Wi-Fi controller...
    Better audio quality.
    Better MOF-SETs.
    Better inductors.
    ROG BIOS.
    Generally ROG boards have better quality parts.
    But in the end we need the reviewers (like you) to review as many products as they can, so we can see the performance difference between them.
    Reply