Asus Z97

ASUS is known for manufacturing some of the best motherboards in the market ranging from entry-màn chơi, affordable motherboards to lớn high-over, over-the-top enthusiast boards. With the release of Intel’s Haswell-based chipsets, ASUS has released their wide array of Z97 motherboards which include the very affordable Z97-Pro Gamer motherboard which we used for our new gaming & editing rig lớn see how well it performs in spite of its relatively lower price tag.

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Design and Packaging

The packaging of the Z97-Pro Gamer is fairly simple with the usual array of logos, labels, specifications, & images. There’s nothing fancy going on here which is quite fine và acceptable given that the Z97-Pro Gamer an entry-level motherboard so keeping the packaging simple helps in keeping the price of the board lower. Aside from the motherboard itself, the box contains a User Guide, a DVD with drivers và software, safety information, a motherboard layout print out, the I/O panel cover, two straight SATA cables, two right-angled SATA cables, & an SLI bridge.


The Z97-Pro Gamer features a fairly simple thiết kế with not much of the flair that you would usually see on the company’s higher-kết thúc boards such as its ROG và TUF series. It does keep the company’s signature red & blaông chồng colors with the blachồng PCB & components as well as the red accents on the chipmix shroud và heatsinks. Overall, the kiến thiết of the Z97-Pro Gamer is pretty straightforward và purposeful without any bells and whistles which also helps keep its price down.

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As its name implies, the Z97-Pro Gamer is equipped with Intel’s Z97 chipset và as such supports Intel’s LGA1150 socket processors which include 4th, New 4th và 5th Generation Hãng Intel Chip Core, Pentium, và Celeron processors which includes Haswell, Haswell Refresh, & Broadwell CPUs. The Z97-Pro Gamer also has four dual-channel DIMM slots that support DDR3 RAM sticks up to lớn 3200MHz.

There are slew of expansion slots và I/O ports on the Z97-Pro Gamer including two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots that support either SLI or CrossFireX which gives PC builders access to dual graphics card setups at a lower budget. There is also one PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, two PCIe x1 slots, và one PCI slot for other expansion cards such as a Wi-Fi card or PCIe-based SSD.

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For storage, there is one SATA Express port which can also be used as two SATA 6.0Gb/s ports, an M.2 Socket 3 slot, and four standard SATA 6.0Gb/s ports. So up khổng lồ 7 different storage drives, either SATA-based SSDs or SATA-based HDD, may be installed on the Z97-Pro Gamer not including PCIe-based SSDs that may be installed via the aforementioned PCIe expansions slots.

The rear I/O panel of the Z97-Pro Gamer features an array of ports including a PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Combo Port, two USB 2.0 ports, an Optical S/PDIF-Out port, an full-sized HDXiaoMi MI port, an analog card VGA port, a DVI-D port, four USB 3.0 ports, one LAN port, và an 8-port, 8-channel (7.1) HD audio hub that uses the motherboard’s SupremeFX công nghệ.

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Features and Performance

The ASUS Z97-Pro Gamer comes with company’s phối of exclusive sầu features that not only make using & setting up this motherboard easier but also increases its performance and reliability in several ways.

The first of the Z97-Pro Gamer’s features that you’ll be able lớn access is the company’s award-winning UEFI BIOS. The utility is divided into an EZ Mode and an Advanced Mode. EZ Mode allows even those who are mostly unfamiliar with BIOS or motherboard settings to quickly set up some of the motherboard’s most basic options such as the boot order, người speeds, XMPhường. profiles, & adjust the motherboard date and time, aước ao others. EZ Mode also displays basic real-time system monitoring information & gives access lớn an EZ Tuning wizard which will guide & let users adjust automatic overclocking & RAID configurations.

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On the other h&, the Advanced Mode gives users access to lớn a slew of customization & tuning for the motherboard & the computer’s different components which include access to advanced overclocking features such as adjusting memory timings and voltage. While it doesn’t have sầu the same amount of options & customization that higher-kết thúc ASUS motherboards bởi, it has enough lớn allow users to give their rigs a decent enough boost in performance. Additionally, the UEFI BIOS features CrashFree BIOS 3 and EZ Flash 2 which let users restore & update the BIOS using just a USB drive sầu.

Customizing và tuning our rig with the Z97-Pro Gamer was fairly easy using the UEFI BIOS. We were able khổng lồ overclock both our rig’s CPU và RAM without much effort. We were able to lớn slightly overclochồng our CPU to 4.4GHz from 3.5GHz & we were able lớn boost our RAM’s frequency from 1866MHz khổng lồ 2133MHz by simply adjusting voltage and timings, respectively.

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As the Z97-Pro Gamer is built specifically for gamers, it isn’t a surprise that ASUS has packed it with a couple of features designed for gaming. The first, and probably most impressive, is the motherboard’s GameFirst II which uses cFOs network traffic shaping technology to lớn adjust your computer’s bandwidth usage và give priority khổng lồ your chosen applications such as online games & VoiP software lớn improve your ping and reduce lag. Like the motherboard’s UEFI BIOS, GameFirst II also has EZ & Advanced modes for both beginners & advanced users.

In our time with the Z97-Pro Gamer, GameFirst II has proven very useful for us in a number of situations. It allows us to play online games, use VoiPhường software, stream music, và download files all at the same time without suffering from higher ping or increased lag. It must be noted though that the performance & capability of GameFirst II is very dependent on the chất lượng & tốc độ of your mạng internet connection so your mileage may vary with it.

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The second gaming-centric feature ASUS has bundled with the Z97-Pro Gamer is Sonic Radar II which is designed specifically for first-person shooter games. When used, Sonic Radar II display an in-game overlay that gives visual cues based on the precise direction and origin of in-game sounds such as gunshots, footsteps, and more which will allow you khổng lồ pinpoint where you opponents are & give sầu you an edge. The Sonic Radar II software lets users customize the look of the overlay as well as adjust the cấp độ of in-game sounds with its GameEQ menu.

ASUS has also included the company’s AI Suite III software with the Z97-Pro Gamer. AI Suite III is a one-stop utility for tuning your motherboard và computer, looking up your rig’s specifications, và update your BIOS. The key feature of AI Suite III is its Dual Intelligent Processors 5 with 5-Way Optimization which automatically và dynamically adjusts your rig’s TPU, EPU, và Digi+ VRM module for maximum performance or power efficiency. It also has Fan Xpert 3 & Turbo App features which let you control your rig’s fans và give sầu processing priority lớn specific applications, respectively. Lastly, AI Suite III comes bundled with the company’s USB 3.0 Boost giải pháp công nghệ which increases the transfer rate of the Z97-Pro Gamer’s USB 3.0 ports by up to lớn 33%. AI Suite III is an extremely useful utility for both beginner and enthusiast users as it provides a convenient platsize for fine-tuning your rig. Its features make it easy for users lớn get either a bit or a lot more performance from their rig with minimal risk.

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Aside from its slew of exclusive sầu software features, the Z97-Pro also comes with a hefty amount of hardware features that not only improve its performance but also improve its reliability & durability. These include the company’s LANGuard giải pháp công nghệ, SupremeFX audio system, & Gamer’s Guardian components.

With LANGuard, ASUS has created their own RJ45 LAN port which features improved signal-coupling công nghệ & surface-mounted capacitors that improve the port’s throughput and connection reliability. It also features surge protected as well as electrostatically-guarded components that protect the motherboard và the rest of the rig’s components from power surges & static electriđô thị by increasing the port’s tolerance to both by up lớn 100%.

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The Z97-Pro Gamer also features the company’s SupremeFX technology which is the company’s own audio system that compliments the motherboard’s built-in Realtek audio chipmix. SupremeFX comes with features that are meant to improve sầu the audio unique of the Z97-Pro Gamer khổng lồ eliminate the need for additional dedicated sound cards. These features include red-line shielding which separates the SupremeFX components from the rest of the motherboard to lớn eliminate electronic interference. It also comes with an EXiaoMI cover that protects và isolates the chipmix from electromagnetic interference.

The SupremeFX system also includes a tai nghe amplifier which features a load impedance of 300? as well as ELNA audio capacitors to lớn give the audio a chất lượng, warm, & natural sound signature. All of these features in addition to lớn its signal-to-noise ratio of 115db make the Z97-Pro Gamer’s SupremeFX audio system quite adequate for any bạn và is definitely a step up from the generic on-board audio systems usually found on many other motherboards in the market.

Lastly, ASUS has kitted out the Z97-Pro Gamer with its Gamer’s Guardian set of premium components which include a DIGI+ VRM voltage-regulator, DRAM overcurrent và short-circuit protection via onboard resettable fuses, 10k Japanese Nichibé GT blaông xã metallic solid-state capacitors that are said lớn last five times longer và are 20% more durable than generic capacitors, a stainless steel baông xã I/O panel, and ESG Guards for the motherboard’s keyboard và mouse connectors, đồ họa connector, USB 3.0/2.0 ports, the aforementioned LANGuard RJ45 LAN port, and the SupremeFX-powered front & bachồng audio ports.

Conclusion

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Overall, the Z9-Pro Gamer is an exceptional motherboard choice especially for those who want decent performance và quality at a very affordable price. It may not have the looks of ASUS’s higher-end ROG & TUF motherboards but it makes up for it with an impressive sầu array of great và useful features that improve the performance of the components that are attached khổng lồ it và increase its value way over its price tag. We recommover the Z97-Pro Gamer khổng lồ both budget builders & gamers who want to lớn save sầu money on their motherboard choice to put more into lớn their rig’s other components lượt thích the CPU or graphics thẻ or those who just want a great performance motherboard at an affordable price.