The ASUS Z170I PRO GAMING is currently available from SCAN for just £131.96 and costs less than its nearest rival, the MSI GAMING Z170I PRO AC. Furthermore, this ITX version only incurs a £11.97 price increase compared to the larger ASUS PRO GAMING. This is astonishing value and exemplifies how viable the ITX form factor is becoming.
ASUS have excelled themselves in manufacturing an absolutely breathtaking ITX motherboard which fully complements Intel’s latest 1151 chipset. The red and black gaming colour scheme is accentuated by a striking heatsink design and looks phenomenal in a small form-factor chassis. Additionally, the PRO GAMING series has established itself as ASUS’ budget range which nails the price to performance ratio whilst offering enough visual exuberance to please core gamers.
The motherboard’s UEFI BIOS is beautifully laid out and offers functionality to please both novices and hardcore overclockers via the EZ/Advanced tab. Overclocking the i7-6700K was incredibly straightforward and managed to remain stable at 4.8GHz without any problems whatsoever. Inputting the voltage, multiplier, and BLCK takes a matter of seconds and the BIOS’ visual feedback makes it easy to monitor various parameters.
During the rigorous testing procedure, the motherboard consistently outperformed its larger brother. Furthermore, the astonishing gaming benchmarks indicates how amazing the experience can be when paired with a top-tier graphics card even at extreme graphical presets. The Z170I PRO GAMING reported astonishingly low power consumption when overclocked to 4.8GHz. As a result, the power to performance ratio is difficult to beat and demonstrates how amazing ASUS’ power regulation is.
The hard drive benchmarks could have reported better results especially in M.2 write tests. Although, the gap wasn’t a major cause for concern and within the confines of a margin for error during multiple runs. Similarly, the Ethernet performance felt a little underwhelming but I can probably pinpoint this down to a strange background task reducing the minimum networking speed. Once again, in real world scenarios, I highly doubt the average user will notice this.
ASUS’ software package contains a number of useful tools including Sonic Radar II, 5-Way Optimization and GameFirst III to prioritize network traffic. This collection of utilities is presented in an easy to understand interface and explains what each tool does. Additionally, the RAMCache tool is a fantastic way to reach amazing read/write speeds without having waste time looking for a free alternative. Many pieces of software which provide a similar service can cost between £10-£20.
In conclusion, the motherboard’s fantastic layout helps with cable management, and embeds a wonderful specification for the money. While it’s not perfect, ASUS have produced a marvelous, feature-rich motherboard which is accessible to the majority of PC gamers. This is certainly the best ITX package I’ve seen so far and deserves our Editor’s Choice for that reason alone.
- Attractive colour scheme
- Competitive price
- Comprehensive array of settings to suit the advanced overclocker
- Extensive software suite
- Intuitive BIOS
- Logical motherboard layout
- Low power consumption
- Relatively good sound across various bit-rates
- Superb gaming results
“The SupremeFX audio, ample connectivity and overclocking prowess makes the ASUS Z170I PRO GAMING one of the best choices for smaller builds and even encourages ATX fans to make the switch.“
ASUS Z170i PRO GAMING (LGA1151) motherboard Review
Thank you Asus for providing us with this sample.