Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Since the popularisation of mini-ITX motherboards a few years ago (if I remember correctly they took off with the Intel 6 series chipset) the price of mini-ITX motherboards has been falling sharply. However, combined with that falling price has also been rising quality, increasing innovation and more features – particularly with ASUS mini-ITX motherboards. Irrespective of which motherboard vendor you prefer it would be fair to say ASUS have driven a lot of the mini-ITX innovation over the past few years. Today we’re looking at the culmination of some of this innovation, but for a respectably low price of just $160. Enter the ASUS Z97I-PLUS which is one of the new ASUS Z97 motherboards that has ingenious ways of taking advantage of all the great features we’ve come to expect from a fully fledged PC. ASUS have managed to cram M.2 on the board by moving it underneath, they’ve added a WiFi AC and Bluetooth 4.0 module, equipped four SATA III ports, included fairly high quality ALC 892 audio and offered up the latest Intel Gigabit LAN. Despite the motherboard’s size you still get a fully fleshed out rear I/O and an impressive 6 phase VRM. On paper the ASUS Z97I-PLUS looks like a very impressive Z97 mini-ITX motherboard so let’s proceed on with our review to see what the product and its performance has in store for us!
Packaging and Accessories
The flagship selling point of the ASUS channel series is the quality of the motherboards: this is clearly denoted in terms of compatibility, reliability and protection mechanisms.
Moving round to the back of the box and we can see the specifics of those claims made on the front. If you’re looking for even more details you can find those on the product page right here.
Included with the motherboard is well laid out and presented user guide, a driver and software DVD and an ASUS case badge.
The accessories include the wireless antenna for the AC module with connecting cables, two SATA cables, a labelled black rear I/O and a revised version of the “Q connector” which is essentially an extension cable for the front panel connectors.