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ASUS Z97-Deluxe Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS Z97-Deluxe motherboard is the flagship board in ASUS' channel line of Intel Z97 chipset boards. ASUS revised its entire motherboard line for the Z97 chipset launch with the Z97-Deluxe featuring the updated channel board aesthetics as well as many design innovations built upon the previous board generation. With an MSRP of $399.99, ASUS priced the Z97-Deluxe at the level of other flagship motherboards with a plethora of integrated features and performance that more than justifies the price.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS designed the Z97-Deluxe to be a serious competitor in the enthusiast space, integrating a 16+2 phase digital power system to drive the CPU and DRAM with 10k-rated Japanese capacitors used through the board. The board also features an updated heat sink and heat pipe design to optimize passive heat transfer away from the digital VRM chipset and the Z97 chipset.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Z97-Deluxe motherboard!

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Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS integrated the following features into the Z97-Deluxe's design: six SATA 3 ports; an M.2 (NGFF) 10 Gb/s port; two SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports; dual Intel Gigabit NIC - an Intel I218-V and an Intel I211; a Broadcom 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth controller; three PCI-Express x16 slot; four PCI-Express x1 slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, and MemOK! buttons; TPU, EPU, and EZ_XMP switches; Crystal Sound 2 audio solution; NFC Charger and NFC Connect modules; ThunderboltEX II PCIe add-on card; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

Technical Specifications (taken from the ASUS website)

CPU

Intel® Socket 1150 for 4th Generation and New 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7, Core™ i5, Core™ i3, Pentium® and Celeron® Processors
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0

* The Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 support depends on the CPU types.

Chipset

Intel® Z97 Express Chipset

Memory

4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 3300(O.C.) / 3200(O.C) / 3100(O.C) / 3000(O.C.) / 2933(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2600(O.C.) / 2500(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2200(O.C.) / 2133(O.C.) / 2000(O.C.) / 1866(O.C.) / 1800(O.C.) / 1600 / 1333 MHz Non-ECC, un-buffered memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

* Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs. Please refer to Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists) for details.

Expansion Slots

2 x PCI Express 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8/x8)
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot * (max. at x4 mode, compatible with PCIe x1 and x4 devices)
4 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

* PCIe x16_3, USB3_E56 and SATA Express_E1 connectors share the same bandwidth. The PCIe x16_3's default setting is in Auto mode that automatically optimizes the system bandwidth. f you use two of thse connectors, the system automatically disables the unused connector.

VGA

Integrated Graphics Processor - Intel® HD Graphics support
Multi-VGA output support: DisplayPort/Mini DisplayPort/HDMI port
Supports DisplayPort 1.2* with max. resolution of 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz (for DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort)
Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
Supports Intel® InTru™ 3D, Intel® Quick Sync Video, Intel® Clear Video HD Technology, and Intel® Insider™
Supports up to three displays simultaneously
Maximum shared memory 512MB

* DisplayPort 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport compliant; supports DisplayPort 1.2 monitor daisy-chain up to 3 displays.

Multi-GPU Support

Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology (with 2 PCIe x16 graphics card)
Supports AMD 3-Way/Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology

Storage

Intel® Z97 Express Chipset with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and Intel® Rapid Storage Technology 13 support
- 1 x SATA Express port (black at bottom, compatible with 2 x SATA 6 Gb/s ports)
- 1 x M.2 socket 3*
- 4 x SATA 6Gb/s ports (gray)
- Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Start Technology, Intel® Smart Connect Technology**

ASMedia® SATA Express controller***
- 1 x SATA Express port (black at top, compatible with 2 x SATA 6 Gb/s ports)

ASMedia® SATA 6Gb/s controller***
2 x SATA 6Gb/s ports (black)

* M.2 Socket 3 shares bandwidth with SATAExpress_1, and supports M Key and type 2260/2280 storage devices.
** These functions work depending on the CPU Installed.
*** These SATA ports are for data hard drives only. ATAPI devices are not supported.

LAN

Dual Gigabit LAN controllers-802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) appliance
- Intel® I218-V Gigabit LAN - Dual Interconnect between the integrated Media Access Controller (MAC) and physical layer (PHY)
- Intel® I211-AT Gigabit LAN controller

Wireless Data Network

Speedy Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac support dual frequency band 2.4/5 GHz
ASUS Wi-Fi GO! Utility

Bluetooth

Bluetooth V4.0

Audio

Realtek® ALC1150 8-channel high definition audio CODEC featuring Crystal Sound 2
- Separate layer for left and right track, ensuring both sounds deliver equal quality
- Top notch audio sensation delivers according to the audio configuration
- Audio shielding ensures precision analog/digital separation and greatly reduced multi-lateral interference
- EMI protection cover to prevent electrical noise to affect the amplifier quality
- Audio Amplifier to enhance the highest quality sound for headphone and speakers
- Premium Japan-made audio capacitors provide warm, natural, and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity
- High Quality 112 dB SNR stereo playback output (Line-out at rear) and 104 dB SNR recording (Line-in) support
- Absolute pitch 192 KHz/24-bit True BD Lossless Sound
- BS audio layer content protection
- DTS UltraPC II
- DTS Connect
- Supports jsck-detection, multi-streaming and front panel jack-retasking (MIC)
- Optical S/PDIF out ports at rear I/O

USB Ports

Intel® Z97 Express Chipset - supports ASUS USB 3.0 Boost
- 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports at rear panel (blue)
- 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports at mid-board, 4 ports at back panel)

ASMedia® USB 3.0 controllers - supports ASUS USB 3.0 Boost
- 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports at mide-board for front panel support
- 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports at rear panel (blue)

ASUS Exclusive Features

5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
- Whole system optimization with a single click! 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power Control, Fan Xpert 3, and Turbo APP together, providing better CPU performance, efficient power saving, precise digital power control, whole system cooling and even tailor your own app usages.
DIGI+ Power Control
CPU Power
- Industry leading digital 16-phase power design
- ASUS CPU power utility
DRAM Power
- Industry leading digital 2-phase DRAM power design
- ASUS DRAM power utility
TPU
- Auto Tuning, TPU, GPU Boost, 2-level TPU switch
EPU
- EPU, EPU switch
ASUS Fan Xpert3
- Featuring Fan Auto Tuning function and multiple thermistors selection for optimized system cooling control
Turbo App
- Featuring automatic system performance tuning, network priority, and audio scene configuration for selected applications.

UEFI BIOS
- Most advanced options with fast response time

M.2 and SATA Express onboard
- The latest transfer technologies with up to 10 Gb/s data transfer speeds

Special Memory O.C. Design
- Superb memory O.C. capability under full load by minimizing the coupling noise and signal reflection effect

Thunderbolt Ready (Optional
- Blistering-fast 20 Gb/s data transfer upgrades with ThunderboltEX II series

Interaction Home Cloud

Wi-Fi GO!
- Wi-Fi GO! Function: Cloud GO!, Remote Desktop, Remote Keyboard & Mouse, File Transfer
- Wi-Fi GO! & NFC Remote for portable smartphone/tablet, supporting iOS7 & Android 4.0 systems

Media Streamer
- Pipe music or movies from your PC to a smart TV
- Media Streamer app for portable smartphone/tablet, supporting iOS7 & Android 4.0 systems

NFC Express 2 support (Optional)
- NFC receiver and 2-port USB 3.0 hubs
- NFC one-touch features: Video-to-go, Photo Express, Remote Desktop, Quick Launch, Windows® 8 Login and Bluetooth pairing

Gaming Scenario

Turbo APP
- Featuring tuning system performance customization, network priority, and automatic audio scene configurations for selected applications

Turbo LAN
- Experience smooth online gaming with lower pings and less lags

Crystal Sound 2
- Feel the sound power with different usage scenarios

Steam Support
- Compatible with most fun gaming platform under Windows® system

ASUS EZ DIY

Push Notice
- Monitor your PC status with smart devices in real time

USB BIOS Flashback
- with USB BIOS Flashback Wizard for EZ BIOS download scheduling

UEFI BIOS EZ Mode
- featuring friendly graphics user interface
- ASUS O.C. Tuner
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2

Q-Design
- ASUS Q-Code
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM
- ASUS Q-Connector

Special Features

5X Protection featuring all-round protection provides the best quality, reliability, and durability
USB 3.0 Boost
USB Charger+
Ai Charger+
Disk Unlocker
Ai Suite 3
MemOK!
EZ XMP

ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution

Quiet Thermal Design
- ASUS Fan Xpert 3
- ASUS Fanless Design: Heat-pipe solution<

ASUS Exclusive Overclocking Features

Precision Tweaker 2
- vCore: Adjustable CPU Core voltage at 0.001 V increment
- iGPU: Adjustable CPU Graphics voltage at 0.001 V increment
- vCCIO: Adjustable Analog and Digital I/O voltage at 0.001 V increment
- vCCIN: Adjustable CPU Input voltage at 0.01 V increment
- vCCSA: Adjustable CPU System Agent voltage at 0.001 V increment
- vDRAM Bus: 144-step Memory voltage control
- vPCH: 88-step Chipset voltage control

SFS(Stepless Frequecy Selection)
- BCLK/PCIE frequency tuning from 80 MHz to 300 MHz at 0.1 MHz increment

Overclocking Protection
- ASUS C.P.R. (CPU Parameter Recall)

Rear Panel I/O Ports

1 x DisplayPort
1 x Mini DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth v 4.0)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
2 x LAN (RJ45) ports (2 x Intel® LAN)
6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (blue, bottom port of USB3_34 supports USB BIOS Flashback)
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
8-channel Autio I/O ports

Internal I/O Ports

2 x 19-pin USB 3.0/2.0 connectors support addition 4 USB ports
2 x USB 2.0 connectors support additional 4 USB 2.0 ports
1 x M.2 Socket 3
2 x SATA Express connectors (black)
6 x SATA 6 Gb/s connectors (4 x gray, 2 x black)
1 x 4-pin CPU Fan connectors for both 3-pin (DC Mode) and 4-pin (PWM Mode) CPU coolers control*
1 x 4-pin CPU Optional Fan connector (CPU_OPT)
4 x 4-pin Chassis Fan connectors for 3-pin (DC Mode) and 4-pin (PWM Mode) coolers control
1 x Front panel audio connector (AAFP)
1 x S/PDIF out header
1 x 5-pin Thunderbolt header for Thunderbolt add-on card support
1 x TPM connector
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector
1 x 8-pin EATX 12V Power connector
1 x Clear CMOS button
1 x USB BIOS Flashback button
1 x MemOK! button
1 x EPU switch
1 x TPU switch (with advanced two-stage ajustments)
1 x Power-on switch
1 x Reset switch
1 x EZ XMP switch
System Panel (Q-Connector)

* The CPU Q-Fan control setting is set as default in Auto Mode for detecting the type of CPU fan installed and switches to the control mode automatically.

BIOS features

64Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.7, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0, Multi-Language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Quick Note, Last Modified Log, F12 PrintScreen function, F3 Shortcut function, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information

Manageability

WfM 2.0, DMI 2.7, WOL by PME, PXE

Support DVD Content

Drivers
ASUS Utilities
EZ Update
Anti-virus software (OEM version)

Operating System Support

Windows® 8.1
Windows® 8
Windows® 7

Form Factor

ATX Form Factor: 12 inch x 9.6 inch (30.5 cm x 24.4 cm)
May 2, 2014 | 03:59 PM - Posted by Alex1232131 (not verified)

can never equality spread out pcie

May 2, 2014 | 07:04 PM - Posted by Martin Trautvetter

Short of using actual gold on those gaudy heatsinks, there's nothing that could justify the sort of premium these flagship boards command.

Just for reference, at $400 MSRP, this layer-cake of traces with a bunch of connectors is more expensive than the most expensive CPU using its socket. And it performs as well as any $60 1150 board.

Bonkers.

May 3, 2014 | 03:46 AM - Posted by SetiroN

Couldn't have said it better myself.
What's sillier is that fancy named boards are going to be priced even higher than than. Bonkers indeed.

May 6, 2014 | 01:41 AM - Posted by JJ (not verified)

The price for the Deluxe ( withoucthe Two Port Thunderbolt add in card, Wireless Charging box and NFC box is 289 )

Additionally if you check out the upcoming live stream I think you will see there is even more to the board to fully justify its value. Even more importantly you will see how the consistency of advance features and functions are present on more price aggressive boards like the PRO and -A.

I hope you tune in to get a better understand of the features and functionality.

May 8, 2014 | 11:08 AM - Posted by Martin Trautvetter

Bad timing on the live stream, unfortunately.

I still remember how glad I was when GPUs started coming out with two DVI outs, and I gladly payed for a Ti 4600 over the 'good enough' 4200 just for that, so I'm sure you'll find some people who're just waiting for this very board and its specific mix of features, whatever the price may be.

I on the other hand am just having a great time playing around with, and torturing an i7 4771 on the cheapest B85 board I could find (which will eventually go into a Haswell Pentium build), and the only reason this wouldn't go into my personal system is the lack of front USB 3.0 connector.

What would you rather have for the same money - i7 + entry level board, or high-end board (be that $300 or $400) and whatever Pentium you could find for what little cash remains? ;)

May 23, 2014 | 10:44 PM - Posted by Mark Jones (not verified)

Gentlemen in the forum, I'm gonna build a new computer and I was looking at this motherboard.
Please shoot me your specific suggestions for a motherboard and entire system. I'm willing to spend around $1700 or so.
I would like to build a good gaming system.
Thanks for your help.
You can email me your suggestions at jonesytv@gmail.com

Thank you.
Mark

May 2, 2014 | 08:39 PM - Posted by Samuel Aldrich (not verified)

This board has lots of features but why does a $400 board not have at least 4 PCI-E x16 slots capable of running full x16, x16, x16, x16 or at least x8 across. Freak, $400 mobo but I can't run decet 3 way or 4 way GPUs?

And speaking honestly, the look is pretty ugly compared to previous offerings for Haswell mobo's. Both Asus and Gigabyte produced much better looking mobo's last gen. If this board was $250 or so, I'd understand the compromise/non-flagship look but for $400? Give me a break.

May 2, 2014 | 09:17 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

It is a limitation of the number of PCI-E lanes supported by Haswell LGA 1150 processors. The mobo makers could use a PLX chip to support four x16 slots but they would still be effectively limited electrically.

May 2, 2014 | 11:20 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

As of what we've heard about the ASUS offerings, only the Z97-WS board will have an in-built PLX chip for PCIe x16 slots at launch.  There may be other board offerings in the future though.

Also, part of the price premium comes with the bundled in ThunderboltEX 2 PCIe card, WIFi, and the NFC modules included.  Without those, the board MSRP drops to $289...

May 3, 2014 | 09:38 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yup, it absolutely does drop to $289...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813132127

There is a Deluxe version with and without those pricey accessories.

May 5, 2014 | 11:04 AM - Posted by OctaveanActually (not verified)

Indeed,.....

However, Newegg also has the Asus ThunderboltEX II expansion card (single Thunderbolt port not dual version) for $57.80 (open box) and $68 (new) respectively.

They also have the previous gen Asus NFC Express / USB module for $23.99 (after rebate / $43.99 before) and $35.19 respectively (open box).

Not sure how the last gen NFC Express / USB module differs from the new version but I think the newer version added wireless charging of devices:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995015

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995015R

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995027

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995027R

So anyway, my point is that you could just spend the ~$289.99 on the Asus Z97 Deluxe (non NFC / WLC / Thunderbolt II version) and just add these two features at a lower cost either at the time of purchase of the motherboard or at a later date.

Honestly I am more interested in Haswell-E though and I fully expect those motherboards will be in the $400 range,.....to start.

May 5, 2014 | 11:04 AM - Posted by OctaveanActually (not verified)

Indeed,.....

However, Newegg also has the Asus ThunderboltEX II expansion card (single Thunderbolt port not dual version) for $57.80 (open box) and $68 (new) respectively.

They also have the previous gen Asus NFC Express / USB module for $23.99 (after rebate / $43.99 before) and $35.19 respectively (open box).

Not sure how the last gen NFC Express / USB module differs from the new version but I think the newer version added wireless charging of devices:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995015

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995015R

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995027

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995027R

So anyway, my point is that you could just spend the ~$289.99 on the Asus Z97 Deluxe (non NFC / WLC / Thunderbolt II version) and just add these two features at a lower cost either at the time of purchase of the motherboard or at a later date.

Honestly I am more interested in Haswell-E though and I fully expect those motherboards will be in the $400 range,.....to start.

May 5, 2014 | 04:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That's exactly why I'm jumping to the Z97 chipset right now. The Haswell-E stuff will be very pricey along with DDR4. I'm coming from an old 1366 system, so jumping to the z97 from 1366 will a fantastic upgrade for me. Then, I can wait for Haswell-E prices to drop and stabilize.

May 3, 2014 | 09:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I ain't buying, unless it comes with a Bass-O-Matic an' a big ice chest full-o big mouth!

May 4, 2014 | 03:49 AM - Posted by Haswell (not verified)

So Z97 is compatible with Haswell afterall? There was some talk about electrical incompatibility with 4th gen but it seems I can put my i5-4670K on that board afterall?

May 5, 2014 | 11:57 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Yes, Z97 is compatible with existing Haswell parts...

May 5, 2014 | 01:50 PM - Posted by Haswell (not verified)

Thank you! I've seen the unveiled Z97 motherboards to have the mentions of supporting 4th generation CPU's but I wasn't sure at all a couple of days ago when they started appearing.

May 7, 2014 | 10:32 PM - Posted by goeimuanho (not verified)

Why you not checked the boards pcb layer? It shows on the back of the board arround the corner

May 7, 2014 | 11:54 PM - Posted by mikelbivins

Please tell JJ, Michael Bivins says hello!

May 18, 2014 | 02:32 PM - Posted by Kingofkats

Want. Built Z87-Pro system 9 months ago, so no can get, but can't blame a guy for coveting. Can't help noticing also that to make this board sing, you need to start from scratch with 4-Channel DRAM, PCI-E 10GBps-worthy SSD, and all the other pricey stuff. Can't see doing that anytime soon. Didn'r expect Asus to come up with anything this year that might make we wistful, but they did!

June 9, 2014 | 01:53 PM - Posted by markymerlion (not verified)

I bought the new ThunderboltEX II and the Asus Z-97 PRO (wifi-ac) motherboard. The ASUS site showed it was compatible with the new Z-97 series but never mentioned the 9-pin to 5 pin adapter was required. I contact Asus Customer Service and on how to obtain the 9-pin to 5-pin TB Header cable/adaptor. I was told to contact the retailer (Newegg) to go about getting the cable. It’s been 2 weeks now and still info no news on how to buy the adaptor. Anyone have this experience or knows where to buy this adaptor

The email I received from Tech Support: The part NO. of the cable is 14003-00380000. Please contact your retailer to order. To me it is just a ruse to get rid of me asking now for a week on how the get the cable. The newer ThunderboltEX II have the adaptor cable with their orders and the Asus Z-97 Deluxe has it bundles with it components the dual Thunderbolt EX II Dual card.

June 26, 2014 | 07:56 PM - Posted by Eli (not verified)

Doesn't this motherboard come with the Thunderbolt card and cables all in one package? I have the sabertooth z97 mark2 and it is missing the 5-pin to 9-pin cable adapter, "adaptor" needed.

June 26, 2014 | 07:52 PM - Posted by Eli (not verified)

That sucks...I have to opposite problem...I have the cable but need the 5-pin to 9-pin adapter. you have the right number for the cable...do you have the part number for the 5-pin to 9-pin? Gave me the same run around to contact the vendor Amazon or Asus estore which knows nothing either.

Thanks

July 9, 2014 | 04:28 PM - Posted by markymerlion (not verified)

Well the only part number I have is 14003-00380000 for the 9pin-5pin TB_header converter for connecting the TB_header cable to the TB-header port on the MB.

I hope you have better luck in getting the cable. I asked ASUS but they don't seem to give a shit once they have your money. I asked if I can return the whole card and components to get a new one and as usual they are closed mouth and never replied so I am sitting here with a $70.00 expansion card I can’t use or even return for a new one.

July 9, 2014 | 04:16 PM - Posted by markymerlion (not verified)

Got the following email from Asus Technical Support:

My name is Carter and it is my pleasure to help you with your problem.

Unfortunately I am afraid to say that generally we don't directly provide this adapter.

The part number of this adapter is the P/N : 14003-00380000, you would need to contact your retailer to see if you could order it.

If you continue to experience issues in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Hell. Newegg doesn’t carry the part and told me to contact ASUS. ? I have been trying almost 2 months get this problem resolved. I only need the TB_header converter

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