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ASUS Z97-WS Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Testing Configuration and Benchmarks Used

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To verify that the motherboard works as advertised, the board was run through our standard benchmark suite. In most cases, the results are presented for the motherboard under review as well as a different similar-class motherboard for performance comparison purposes. The benchmark tests used should give you a good understanding of the board’s capabilities for both office and gaming use so that you, the reader, can make a more informed purchasing decision.

Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K
(3.5GHz, 35 x 100MHz Base Clock)
Motherboards ASUS Z97-WS
ASUS Z97-Deluxe
MSI Z97 XPower
GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1-WIFI-BK
EVGA Z97 Classified
MSI Z87 XPower
Memory Stock Testing
Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 modules
(1600MHz, 9-10-9-27-1T, 1.525V)

Z97 Overclock Testing
Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-2400 modules
(2400MHz, 11-13-13-31-1T, 1.65V)

Hard Drive Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA III HD
Sound Card On-board sound
Video Card NVIDIA GTX 570 1.25GB
ASUS Poseidon GTX 780 3GB
CPU Cooling Corsair Hydro Series™ H100i Extreme Performance CPU Cooler
Video Drivers NVIDIA 335.23
Power Supply Corsair HX750
Operating System Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Test Setup Explanation

The 64-bit Windows 7 based test bench used for Intel Z87 LGA1150 board testing includes an Intel Core i7-4770K CPU, 16GB of DDR3-1866 memory, an NVIDIA GTX 570 1.25GB video card, and a Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD drive. For the Z97-based board testing, an ASUS Poseidon GTX 780 3GB video card was used for testing - both it and the GTX 570 had no effect on the benchmark tests run. Using the selected components gives us the ability to demonstrate the motherboard's capabilities rather than that of the components themselves.

Benchmark Tests used for evaluation:

  • SoftPerfect Research NetWorx Speed Test
  • LanBench v1.1.0
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.47
  • SiSoft Sandra 2012
  • LinX Intel Linpack Benchmark v0.6.4
  • Maxon Cinebench 11.5
July 14, 2014 | 03:00 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why is "Lack of accessible PCI-Express x1 slot with all PCI-Express x16 slots populated" a weakness? What motherboard allows you to do 4 way sli with a slot left over?

July 14, 2014 | 04:26 PM - Posted by YTech

I understand your point :)

Maybe Morry wants to add a sound card in there too, but just can't because the GPU cards are taking away 2 slots.

I see the same issue with Micro-ATX with 2xSLI support, not sure how I'll manage to add another PCIE x1 card in there... :(

Maybe something to point out to others and the vendors to read these.

Morry > What's your reason behind this?

July 14, 2014 | 10:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If you're up for it then you can remove the second slot's display connectors, the stock heatsink/fan, and then cut the second slot off the GPU and install a water block and only use the top 3 display outputs per GPU. However, this voids the living crap out of your warranty and requires custom watercooling.

July 14, 2014 | 04:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The motherboard and case would have to have 9 expansion slots to accept an additional single slot card. That’s a different form factor altogether and this shouldn’t be a weakness.

July 14, 2014 | 04:52 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

There are some boards that design the PCIe layout with a PCIe x1 card to the left of the primary PCIe x16 slot.  This is a minor nitpick issue on my part (kind of like the CMOS battery placement that y'all always nail me for), but not a major detractor from the board.  It was a very nice board that tested well...

July 15, 2014 | 09:04 AM - Posted by YTech

Morry > Would you have a reference link or something for that board design you're referring to? I'd like to see it for comparisons :)

Thanks.

July 18, 2014 | 07:00 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

The MSI Z97 Gaming board has a PCIe x1 slot to the right of the primary x16 slot, though it does not have a PLX chip integrated:

http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Motherboards/MSI-Z97-Gaming-7-Motherboard-R...

July 14, 2014 | 03:32 PM - Posted by Areus

AI Suite III looks much improved over II. I'm sure this isn't news, but it is the first I am seeing of it.

July 15, 2014 | 08:11 AM - Posted by Hirogen6 (not verified)

Aww man, I went right to the conclusion looking for a mention of the CMOS battery location, and was left wanting!

July 16, 2014 | 12:38 AM - Posted by elgrandeburro

Micro Center, which has many other boards priced extremely well, has this one priced $63 more than most other retailers. Oddly enough, they've also incorrectly listed it as the "ASUS Z97", leaving out the"-WS". Would dig picking it up from them, but not at their current pricing.

July 18, 2014 | 12:52 AM - Posted by SolarAxix (not verified)

Microcenter will price-match the board.

I was able to get it for a great price at Microcenter.

Check out my post here:

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2390681

July 18, 2014 | 12:59 AM - Posted by SolarAxix

I should have mentioned that I got it for $239.99 plus taxes which is a great price for a motherboard with a PLX PCIe multiplexer.

July 16, 2014 | 03:46 AM - Posted by PapaDragon

Thanks for the review Morry!

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