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ASUS Z170-A (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Jan 7, 2016 2:40 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ASUS

Here are key points about the ASUS Z170-A.

 

What's Hot

 

Fan Control Galore: The Z170-A has excellent fan control, and offers the most extensive fan support in its price range. Not only does it support seven fans of either DC or PWM design, but it also provides intricate control. Are seven headers not enough for you? Then you can purchase ASUS's fan extension card that can be controlled through the UEFI. Want to add a temperature sensor? Sure thing, a header is located on the board for you to do so. Overall, the Z170-A has fan control suited for an ROG board, but without the premium price.

 

Solid Performance: The Z170-A offers solid CPU and GPU performance that keeps up with that of higher-end ROG motherboard. IO performance is also excellent, and there aren't any noticeable pitfalls.

 

Intel NIC: Intel's NIC isn't a cheap part, and ASUS has done their best to provide an Intel NIC on almost all of their latest motherboards. At this price range, you don't expect an Intel NIC, but the Z170-A has one.

 

The Legacy is Strong: Many people demand legacy IO support, and at this price range it might not be common for manufacturers to add in extra controllers for additional functionality and legacy IO usually comes from existing controllers. However, ASUS has added a Realtek chip to provide D-SUB on the IO and an ASMedia chip to provide PCI for older sound cards and such. Extra resources had to be expended to support these features; it's not free for ASUS. PS/2 is also present, but that is through the SuperIO, which already exists.

 

What's Not

 

It's still a value segment motherboard: I might be nitpicking, but there are some parts of the board I feel could be better, and that is probably due to the board's low price point. The first is the IO shield that has huge hanging grounding fins that make it hard to install. The fins that stick out can easily slip into a slot, and they did, I had to mount the board twice with multiple tries to get it right. There are also only three LEDs that illuminate the PCB divide, which doesn't provide great illumination; you have to kind of stick your head in the case to see the lighting.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

ASUS's Z170-A is a nice entry-level Intel Z170 motherboard with a few premium features. I like the fan control, and ASUS has done an excellent job of providing ROG level fan control. The support for legacy devices is a wise move on ASUS's part since people looking to spend a modest amount on a motherboard are more likely to save older hardware to use later.

 

This motherboard is priced to target wallet-conscious consumers who might be willing to give up some premium features they might not use and some bling for a more affordable product. That same consumer is also likely to save their older PCI sound card and D-SUB (VGA) 1080 monitor instead of buying a newer versions of these products that offer only slight performance gains if that.

 

asus-z170-intel-motherboard-review_115

 

Any issues I had with the motherboard were not big enough to cause performance issues. The UEFI of the Z170-A was top notch, just as good as higher-end ASUS motherboards for the Z170 platform, so you aren't getting a cut-down version or anything like that. Overall I was quite pleased with the Z170-A, I felt that ASUS has done a good job of balancing cost and features, and the inclusion of higher-end features on an entry-level product is a nice touch.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking)91%
Quality including Design and Build88%
General Features92%
Bundle and Packaging89%
Value for Money95%
Overall TweakTown Rating91%

The Bottom Line: The ASUS Z170-A is an excellent value buy motherboard, offering some premium features for the wallet wise consumer.

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