Review Index:
Feedback

ASUS Z170-A Motherboard Preview

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Our Intel Skylake launch coverage is intense! Make sure you hit up all the stories and videos that are interesting for you!

Introduction

ASUS used the introduction of the Z170 chipset and Intel LGA1151 processors to revamp their new motherboard product lines, updating the aesthetics and features with the latest innovations. We are giving you a preview of what to expect from the ASUS Z170 chipset boards, using the Z170-A board provided for evaluation. A more detailed evaluation of the ASUS Z170-A will be released in the coming weeks as we receive evaluation samples from other manufacturers with which we can compare it.

View Full Size

Courtesy of ASUS

View Full Size

Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS updated the aesthetics of the channel series boards, changing the previous generation's black and gold design to a much more eye-catching black and white with blue accents. The Z170-A motherboard even comes with an integrated rear panel cover and large black-chromed heat sinks for its VRMs. The board offers full support for Intel's new line of LGA1151 "Skylake-S" processors, paired with dual channel DDR4 memory.

View Full Size

Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS integrated their latest overclocking technology into the Z170-A motherboard, giving their "entry-level" model the same overclocking potential as offered with their flagship board. ASUS uses a tri-chip design to ensure the board's overclocking capabilities - the Pro Clock control chip, the TPU chip, and the EPU chip. The three chips work in concert to unlock ultra-high frequencies for pushing you Skylake processor to its limits.

View Full Size

Courtesy of ASUS

The Z170-A motherboard also has the latest ASUS sound technology integrated - Crystal Sound 3. Like its predecessors, Crystal Sound 3 integrates the audio components on a isolated PCB from the other main board components minimizing noise generation caused by those other integrated devices. ASUS designed the audio subsystem with high-quality Japanese-sourced audio and power circuitry for a top-notch audio experience.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Z170-A motherboard!

Technical Specifications (taken from the ASUS website)

CPU LGA1151 socket for 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium® / Celeron® Processors
Supports 14 nm CPU
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0

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

Chipset Intel® Z170 Express Chipset
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 3400(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3100(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2933(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2600(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2200(O.C.) / 2133 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 PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 slots (Single at x16, dual at x8/x8)
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 slot* (max at x4 mode, compatible with PCIe x1 and x4 devices)
3 x PCIe 0.1 x1 slots
1 x PCI

* PCIe x16_3 slot shares bandwidth with SATA 6G_56. The PCIe x16_3 is default set at x2 mode.

Graphic Integrated Graphics Processor- Intel® HD Graphics support
Multi-VGA output support: DisplayPort / HDMI / DVI-D / VGA ports
Supports DisplayPort 1.2* with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz
Supports HDMI 1.4b with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
Supports DVI-D with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
Supports RGB with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
Supports Intel® InTru™ 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider™
Supports up to 3 displays simultaneously
Maximum shared memory of 512 MB

* DP 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport complian, supports DP 1.2 monitor daisy chain up to 3 displays.

Multi-GPU Support Supports NVIDIA® 2-way / Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology (with 2 PCIe x16 graphics cards)
Supports AMD 3-way / Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
Storage Intel® Z170 Express Chipset with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and Intel Rapid Storage Technology 14 Support:
- 1 x SATA Express port (compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports)
- 6 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s port(s) (gray, 2 from SATA Express)
- Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology* - 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key**, type 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode)***

* These functions will work depending on the CPU installed.
** Supports PCIE RAID configurations via onboard M.2 and PCIeX16_3 slots.
*** M.2 Socket 3 shares SATA mode with SATA Express. Change this item before installing M.2 SATA devices.

LAN Gigabit Intel Lan Connection - 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) appliance
Intel® I219-V Gigabit LAN - Dual interconnect between the integrated Media Access Controller (MAC) and physical layer (PHY)
ASUS LAN Guard
ASUS Turbo LAN Utility
Audio Realtek® RTL892 8-channel high definition audio CODEC featuring Crystal Sound 3
- Power pre-regulator reduces power input noise to ensure consistent performance
- Separatelayer for left and right track, ensuring both sound deliver equal quality
- Top notch audio sensation delivers according to the audio configuration
- Audio shielding ensres 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
- Unique de-pop cicuit to reduce start-up popping noise to audio outputs
- Premium Japan-made audio capacitors provide warm, natural, and immersive sound with exception clarity and fidelity
- Absolute Pitch 192 kHz / 24bit true BD lossless sound
- DTS Studio Sound
- DTS Connect
- Supports jack-detection, multi-streaming, front panel jack-retasking (MIC)
- Optical S/PDIF out port at back I/O
USB Ports Intel® Z170 Express Chipset - support ASUS USB 3.1 Boost
- 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (4 ports at mid-board, 2 ports at back panel, blue)
- 6 x USB 2.0/1.1 port(s) (4 ports at mid-board, 2 ports at back panel)

ASMedia® USB 3.1 controllers - supports ASUS USB 3.1 Boost and 3A power output
- 1 x USB 3.1/3.0/2.0 port at back panel (teal blue, Type-A)
- 1 x USB 3.1/3.0/2.0 port at back panel (Type-C)

Rear Panel I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x DVI-D
1 x RGB
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
1 x Intel LAN (RJ45) ports
1 x USB 3.1/3.0/2.0 ports (teal blue, Type-A)
1 x USB 3.1/3.0/2.0 ports (Type-C) 2 x USB 3.0 (blue)
2 x USB 2.0
8-channel Audio I/O ports
Internal I/O Ports 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 connectors support additional 4 USB ports (19-pin)
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 connectors support additional 4 USB ports
1 x M.2 Socket 3 (for M Key, type 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 storage devices)
1 x SATA Express connectors (gray)
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (gray)
1 x CPU Fan connector (4-pin) for both 3-pin (DC mode) and 4-pin (PWM mode) CPU coolers control with auto detection support
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector (4-pin)
1 x Water Pump header (3-pin)
4 x Chassis Fan connectors (4-pin) for both 3-pin (DC mode) and 4-pin (PWM mode) coolers control
1 x Front panel audio connector (AAFP)
1 x BIOS Flashback Card connector
1 x S/PDIF out header
1 x Thunderbolt header (5-pin) for ASUS ThunderboltEX series support
1 x TPM connector
1 x COM port
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector
1 x 8-pin EATX 12V Power connector
1 x System Panel(Q-Connector)
1 x MemOK! button
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
1 x DRCT (Direct Key) connector
1 x TPU switch (advanced two-stage adjustments)
1 x EZ XMP switch
1 x Power-on button
1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN (Extension Fan) connector
BIOS 128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI 2.0, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.8, ACPI 5.1, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Quick Note, Last Modified Log, F12 PrintScreen function, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information
Manageability WfM 2.0, DMI 2.0, WOL by PME, PXE
Accessories 3 x Serial ATA 6.0Gb/s cables
1 x ASUS SLI bridge conncector
1 x 2 in 1 Q-connector
1 x M.2 screw package
1 x CPU installation tool
1 x User's manual
1 x Z170 Series Exclusive Feature manual
Support DVD Drivers
ASUS Utilities
EZ Update
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
Form Factor ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch (30.5 cm x 24.4 cm)

August 5, 2015 | 10:08 AM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

No HDMI 2.0 or HEVC support? Grrr.

August 5, 2015 | 01:13 PM - Posted by nevzim (not verified)

Would that be CPU or motherboard constraint?

August 5, 2015 | 02:39 PM - Posted by Senpai (not verified)

Most likely both.

The IGP needs to support HEVC to a degree. Has/Browadwell had a hybrid CPU/IGP implementation for HEVC and no true GPU only en/decoding like Nvidia's Maxwell does.

As for HDMI v2, this is also dependent on how Intel implemented the IGP. On one hand, 4k 60hz monitors are rare, but are emerging into the enthusiast market. On the other, Intel might not felt it was worth the cost for R&D to implement that.

Right now, we know very little about Skylake's architecture and thus we cannot say for certain (until IDF) if the IGP does in fact support HDMI v2 and full GPU accelerated HEVC en/decode or if the motherboard manufactures just did not implement HDMI v2 port on the board. I doubt the latter.

January 7, 2016 | 08:39 PM - Posted by Kelvin (not verified)

The Z170-A does NOT include BIOS Flashback. It only has a header and a separate card is required which does not yet appear to be available to the public. BEWARE!

January 14, 2016 | 08:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I am also in the BIOS Flashback boat. I flashed the bios to get more current and now it just beeps 6 times. Bad A20 gate. If I just had this header it could be fixed in minutes. Now I have to wait for Asus to get back to me.

Another thing that seems stupid is the crashfee Bios option from the DVD. It is supposed to help if there was corruption during the flash process. If it can't boot, then what good does that do????

April 27, 2016 | 04:07 PM - Posted by Miguel Vazquez (not verified)

Same BIOS corruption problem after a standard BIOS upgrade, it froze and now the motherboard is not bootable.
Thanks Asus for once again a super buggy BIOS. I'm not gonna bet again on this brand for MB.

May 23, 2016 | 05:03 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

what change bios setting at starting Window stop in window 7?why?
please explain.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.