Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Today is the day that the Z170 chipset and Skylake overclocking processors are here and we can finally show off these great products. The Z170 platform has taken a somewhat minor upgrade to the untrained eye, but to those who know what to look for will notice many subtle changes. Probably the most notable is the addition of DDR4 memory and obviously the socket change to 1151 over 1150. Beyond that, you also have very subtle connectivity upgrades such as the possibility of up to 10 USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 Type A and Type C as standard and up to 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes; yes 20! What this means to the end user is the possibility of having multiple M.2 ports being featured onto a single motherboard and much more.
ASUS are currently one of the largest motherboard companies in the world, just outselling the closest competitor by a few hundred thousand units. With motherboards ranging from the budget pleasers all of the way up to the renowned Republic of Gamers variants; there is a bit of ASUS for everyone. This includes the brand new Pro Gaming motherboard that we’re looking at today.
Something that ASUS has done with the Pro Gaming motherboard is to take key features from the RoG series and incorporate them onto a motherboard at a reduced price. One of the key features is the RoG Extension header, which enables the ability to utilise the RoG Front base; a dual bay monitoring and overclocking piece of hardware. With RoG features at a cut price, would the performance be lower or are we looking at another GTX 980Ti vs Titan X scenario? Let’s take a look at the benchmarks and put all of the puzzle pieces together.
Manufacturers nowadays need to find innovative ways to stand out from the crowd, ASUS is no exception and has crammed a huge array of features into this motherboard.
- Gamer’s Guardian II
- DIGI+ VRM
- DRAM Overcurrent Protection
- ESD Guards On VGA, LAN, Audio, KBMS and USB 3.0/ 2.0
- Highly Durable Components
- Dual Intelligent Processors 5
- 5 Way Optimisation:
- DIGI+ VRM
- Fan Xpert 3
- Turbo App
- 5 Way Optimisation:
- Media Streamer
- EZ DIY
- Push Notice
- UEFI BIOS EZ Mode
- O.C. Tuner
- CrashFree BIOS 3
- EZ Flash 3
- AI Suite 3
- Disk Unlocker
- AI Charger+
- ASUS CPU-Z
Packaging and Accessories
As the Pro Gaming motherboard series is new to Z170, the box styling had to recreated. The feature image is a snippet of the World of Warships game which has a premium account bundled with this motherboard. The styling is very ROG-esq thanks to the ROG heritage and features incorporated within this motherboard.
The back of the box has a small diagram of the board and the key features in detail.
Inside the box is a conservative amount of accessories, driver disk, manual, and cable labels
Along with those are 4x SATA 6Gb/s cables, SLI bridge, I/O shield and an additional M.2 screw and riser.
ASUS has designed a great solution for the Z170 range. This new CPU holder enables the user to handle the CPU as minimal as possible. This holder aids the prevention of bent pins and can be left on when the socket latch is secured.
Insert the CPU by whatever your usual handling means; I found it easiest to push the CPU by the centre until it latched.
Simply place it onto the CPU socket, there is only one way you can do this.
And finally close the socket. You may hear some slight creaking of plastic, that is to be expected on some installations.