ASUS has been at the forefront of the high performance mini-ITX revolution since it became popularised by small form factor mini-ITX cases like Bitfenix’s Prodigy. Today we have one of those innovative mini-ITX solutions of which ASUS now have numerous for the Intel Haswell LGA 1150 socket. ASUS’ mini-ITX solutions include the Maximus VI Impact for Z87, the Q87T for Q87, the H81I-PLUS for H81, the H87I-PLUS for H87, the Z87I-DELUXE for Z87 and the Z87I-PRO for Z87 which we have with us today. In terms of the product segmentation both the Z87I-DELUXE and Maximus VI Impact are “better” motherboards than the Z87I-PRO that we have, but the Z87I-PRO is a more cost effective solution.
You’d think that smaller size means less features but it certainly does not as ASUS have done a great job to cram in as much as possible to the Z87I-PRO. Other than the inevitable loss of 2 DIMM lanes and all PCI connectivity except the main PCIe X16 lane ASUS have managed to preserve pretty much everything. You’ve got the full 6 SATA III ports from the Z87 PCH, 8 USB 3.0 ports and 6 USB 2.0 ports. They’ve even managed to cram in a 12 phase VRM with a vertically placed VRM daughter-board at the top. Below you can see more detailed specifications:
Like with many other high-end Z87 motherboards the Z87I-PRO retains all the high-end features you’ve come to expect such as:
- ASUS WiFi GO! which provides a wireless antenna through the rear I/O and supports hotspot functionality
- ASUS UEFI BIOS with EZ Mode
- ASUS Fan Xpert 2 for comprehensive fan controls of up to four fan headers (impressive for a mini-ITX motherboard)
- ASUS USB 3.0 Boost with UASP protocol support
- ASUS 5X Protection (Digi+ VRM, Overcurrent protection, ESD Guards, 5K-hr Solid Caps and a Stainless Steel Back I/O)
- ASUS EZ DIY (USB BIOS Flashback, MemOK!, Q-Shield, Q-Cable and Q-LED)
- ASUS Windows 8 features (ASUS Boot Setting and Probe II Sense)
- ASUS AI Suite 3, DTS Connect, DTS UltraPC II, EPU, USB Charge+ and BIOS Maintenance
- 4K Ultra HD support, 3 full HD display support, multi-monitor support and Intel Collage Display (all via the onboard graphics ports with Intel HD Graphics)
Of course if I were to go into any more detail(s) on the above features I’d sound like an ASUS marketing representative, so I will stop here. However, if you do want to read more details on any of the aforementioned features you can do so here. We will of course pick up on some (but not all) of the motherboard’s features as we move through this review, so let’s get on with that now!