Review ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

Review ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

So it’s time another new LGA1151 socket is powered by Intel. From his distinguished predecessor, LGA1150, it would seem, one extra pad. We certainly remember the process of changes in the technical architecture Skylake, supported RAM standard DDR4, the built-in power converter transfer back to the motherboard and DMI bus upgrade to version 3.0.

But, despite these changes, without any broader Reformation ordinary people are no longer possible to leave the idea of ​​continuity of generations of motherboards. Of course, we know all the pitfalls encountered engineers to Intel, may change the socket is very justified, but still …

One of the points of the new platform can definitely be called a chipset Intel Z170. It is worth noting support for PCI Express 3.0 bus and the ability to support six ports SATA 3.0 connectors and 10 USB 3.0. The most interesting fact is the presence of 20 unclaimed lines PCI Express 3.0, it is their presence should enable manufacturers to “solder” tab on the Z170 a variety of third-party controllers. In this context it is interesting to find out what approaches will be used by manufacturers to expand. A typical block diagram of an Intel Z170 Express is given below.

Now propose to study the features of the execution of the motherboard ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming, it was she who was the first on board Intel Z170 as part of our test bench. Z170 Pro Gaming supplied in conventional packaging, visual component, which is entirely devoted to the game World of Warships. On the front side there is also an obvious name, available models, and settled down on the back of a detailed description of the main features and technologies.

At first glance it looks very supplied normally. Here, as always there was a place for the user’s manual, CD with drivers, a set of SATA-cable plug on the rear panel and SLI- bridge. No attention was not already familiar set of markers for the drive – this time they are more colorful and have small logos on the connection type.

Review ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

Chip set for this card, maybe this item will also be applied to other ASUS boards based on the LGA1151, is set ASUS CPU Installation Tool. It is a small plastic guide, which is designed for the safe installation of the processor in the socket. Of course, many will say that this is absolutely not the attribute, but I found it a couple of advantages, which are just below the J. Oh, the ship depicted on the box are not specifically for sailors, it suggests the possibility of getting a premium account for 15 days game and a unique ship.

ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming refers to representatives of full ATX form factor, hence the corresponding dimensions of 305 × 244 millimeters. If we talk about the visual component, PCB and almost all board connectors are made in strict black, of course, there are small design touches of red in the radiators, and connectors used in some shade of gray.

The general layout ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming, in more detail.

On the connector there was a place for an extensive list of ports, it includes: a universal PS / 2 one S / PDIF, one LAN, five audio connectors mini-jack. In the list of video outputs: one DVI-D, DisplayPort and HDMI, with additional solutions derived and D-Sub. Set USB, with your permission, I will reflect the list:

  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x USB 3.1 (Type-C);
  • 1 x USB 3.1 (Type-A).

To implement the USB 3.1 controller uses an additional ASMedia ASM1142. As one of the features of ASUS announces the implementation of protection against static electricity and surges.

LGA1151 processor socket new look, which is designed for use with Intel Core 6th generation. Undoubtedly, Intel engineers work done to optimize the location of the “legs” of the socket, but ordinary users will never leave a question, and perhaps went to the old LGA1150? Perhaps they will be right. In any case, we have a connector with an auxiliary contact and one mutated keys for setting the processor. Visually, the pressure on the structure of the frame and the size differences are hard to find.

Review ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

To install RAM soldered four DIMM-slots for the standard DDR 4. As we have said, the chipset also supports Intel Z170 memory DDR3L. But personally, I’m not sure that the eminent manufacturers will use this approach in the mass market segment in this chipset. And the cost of these solutions will certainly be unduly inflated. Planck for setting the maximum available RAM doubled relative to Intel Z97 and now accounts for 64 GB. Single-phase power supply system, lock the keys located on only one side.

In this section, you can pay an extra note the presence of four LEDs, which carry an indication of the start of the system. In the terminology of ASUS is a technology is called Q-LED. Their presence certainly pleased, but as practice shows complete POST-indicator is more functional and intuitive.
On the ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING includes six expansion slots. They are arranged in the following order:

  • PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  • PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 or x8);
  • PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  • PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x8);
  • PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  • PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x4).

The first two full-length PCI Express 3.0 x16 originate from the line CPU and graphics cards using tandems Nvidia SLI and AMD CrossFireX 16 lines divided by sex.

All other connectors are implemented by means of chipset Intel Z170. The layout of the ports is very successful, for example, even when using two graphics cards are available to the user a couple of PCI Express 3.0 x1 and one full-length PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x4).

Review ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

As part of the sound path is always used as the ASUS proven achievements. Of course, there is the technology to the implementation of a separate area of ​​the PCB for the entire audio path. As part of the component base includes companies from ELNA capacitors Nichicon and 300-ohm amplifier TI R4580I. Final complex called SupremeFX, manufacturer of finished illumination and cover shielding audio codec. And here the codec we clearly mark – a Realtek ALC1150.

A set of connectors for storage looks pretty strange, the whole thing the appearance of SATA Express, which is not so familiar to the eye. Without its use, the user gets six standard SATA 6Gb / s connectors.

Expansion M.2 also continues with its use there are some limitations in the involvement of SATA-port mode SATA_1 is not available, well, in the case of PCI Express x4 bus it does not affect the other connectors.

Himself connector M.2 is now located at the corner area of ​​the board and not between the expansion slots. The manufacturer get it positioned in this area thanks to the “lifting” of the execution area of ​​the board. I would like to compliment ASUS separately for a small detail, namely the regular bolt securing the drive. He finally allows secure storage, all the boards that have been in my hands before, was not allowed to perform this operation (bolt was short and did not fix the drive).
For cooling the heating elements meet the board three totally separate radiator. Two of them are used to cool the batteries. The third is for chipset. All radiators are pretty simple: made of aluminum alloy and a heat pipe in his set.

As the thermal interface, finally, for all elements used thermal pads. In the case of a set of system logic, which is typically used tverdenkuyu “chewing gum” is a uniquely practical. Although for the user who does not plan to completely dismantle its charge – any approach will be the same :).

Review ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

Crystal chipset Intel Z170 is very difficult to distinguish visually from its predecessors.

I hope before I forget to mention that now the voltage controller for processors Skylake again returned to the side of the motherboard. I think, many manufacturers will emphasize this factor in more detail. Of course, ordinary users are unlikely to notice the difference, but enthusiasts should get a little freedom in terms of control voltages, plus using a motherboard with a “pump” element base, there is a margin of safety. Speaking directly about the Z170 Pro Gaming, then it uses desyatifaznaya system, which is based on the controller ASP1400. The element base used NTMFS4C09N transistors and driver IR3598.

Another important point is the location of fixing holes for the installation of the cooling system. Fortunately for LGA1151 and LGA1150 they are completely identical, compatibility issues on the market of cooling systems will not arise.

Now a few words about my the bundled ASUS CPU Installation Tool. Frankly, during the presentation of the line of motherboards, many students jokingly embraced his presence, I, too, was among them. But after the installation of the CPU into the socket, I can say that the thing is completely useless.

Firstly, generation processors Skylake a really reduced substrate, whereby, the processor seems to be less massive, and the entire weight of the heat distribution is concentrated in the cover. Therefore, the excess part clearly does not interfere with the installation – simply more convenient to hold in your hand.

But the most important advantage that I found is to protect the socket space from possible residues of thermal grease. With no established framework, the socket can definitely get a small layer, but as we know from the legs to clean the thermal paste is not the most pleasant experience. But here again, for users focused on one or two assembly – is not the most critical factor, and for my colleagues and enthusiasts can definitely be significant.

Next, we turn to the launch of the board.

Review ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

Shell UEFI BIOS, as well as on many other motherboards from ASUS has two modes: EZ Mode and concise expanded Advanced Mode. The first user is presented with a small excerpt of basic settings: You can change the boot order of the device into the setting for fans and use the automatic overclocking of the basic criteria.

Section automatic overclocking EZ Tuning Wizard prompts the user to select the type of use of its system and the kind of CPU cooling system. Further, based on this selection, the profile will be applied at a certain acceleration percentage.

Turning to the advanced mode Advanced Mode, you can find more familiar (as for me) a list of options. The main set of tabs has not changed. On the familiar tab favorite bookmarking original list appeared most likely used settings, such did not notice before.

Ai Tweaker tab as it always offers the user a complete set of options to control the processor, memory, and the frequency of BCLK. Now there is the possibility of changing the frequency of BCLK in 1 MHz steps, between 50 to 650 MHz.

I can not forget about the possibility to create notes, a screenshot of the window was not made, in some cases, very interesting and necessary functionality. Management of all fans is provided by the board under Monitor, available preset settings Standard, Silent, Turbo and Full Speed.

In the more information there were sometimes very, very necessary items, namely the possibility of removing information about SPD memory and data on the video card.

To test the character of this review, we used the testbed with the following configuration:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 6600K (Turbo – off);
  • Motherboard: ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming;
  • Memory: Corsair VENGEANCE LPX CMK8GX4M2A2666C16 8 GB (2X4 GB);
  • Hard disk: Transcend MTS600 TS256GMTS600 (for the system);
  • Power Supply: Corsair RM1000.

So, overclocking potential Skylake, as before the procedure depends on scalping and of course from the luck of the CPU (including the use of high-performance cooling system). The process of scalping processor, and verify its overclocking potential has already been described previously.

Review ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

The overclocking potential of Intel Core i5 6600K is tested on ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming. After performing scalping and use of water cooling system, the board allowed the processor to operate at frequencies reflected in the chart.

When conducting stress testing Z170 Pro Gaming, i5 6600K processor was overclocked to 4700 MHz, used for cooling water cooling kit EKWB EK-KIT X240. A blowing elements of the motherboard is completely absent in this mode temperature sensors recorded the following temperatures:

  • The upper radiator power – 56,7 ° C
  • The lower radiator power – 62,1 ° C
  • Coils of power – 79,3 ° C

As you can see, Z170 Pro Gaming allows overclocking to a very good frequency. However, even in stress mode, the temperature of the power supply system, though improved to a very significant level, but the stability of this factor is not affected, the processor continued to hold the load. Here we must mention the automatic acceleration when using EZ Tuning Wizard in the “installed water-cooling” system automatically dispersed to our specimen frequencies reflected in the screenshot.

At the time of publication of the article, according to the price of Yandex.Market ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING in the metropolitan area was about 13,000 rubles, which generally relate to the price bar competitors from this range. Of course, a detailed comparison can be carried out only at the time of testing of other options – this fee was the first representative on the Z170.

In summarizing just want to say that the Z170 PRO GAMING allowed to squeeze out all the CPU overclocking potential, and when checking in stress mode, continued to work steadily. Additional advantages include a balanced package, the availability of USB 3.1 connectors and thoughtful layout of expansion slots. There are no disadvantages for testing and exploring the platform has not been revealed. Soon we will know the worth of other boards on this platform!

Review ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming updated: October 5, 2015 author: Jonathan Davis