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ASUS Z170-WS (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Mar 4, 2016 2:40 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: ASUS

Z170-WS Circuit Analysis Continued

 

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The Avago Technologies PEX8747 provides 32 PCI-E 3.0 lanes from just 16 PCI-E 3.0 from the CPU. The motherboard supports up to 4-way SLI and CrossFireX because of the PEX8747. The chip is not limited to only supporting GPUs, so you can use the slots for other PCI-E devices. ASUS also equipped the Z170-WS with dual Intel Gbit NICs. The first is an i210AT, which is a fully integrated NIC. The second NIC consists of an integrated MAC in the PCH and the i219LM PHY.

 

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ASUS's Macro IC provides unique macro-key abilities using their software and your keyboard. I assume the PIC32 microcontroller provides POST-code logging capabilities, which is very handy if you are trying to see what problems are arising during POST.

 

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An ASMedia ASM1142 provides USB 3.1 ports and an EJ179V provides USB PD 2.0 and is a Type-C switch. The Z170-WS supports HDMI 2.0, but the integrated iGPU output only supports HDMI 1.4. To get HDMI 2.0 capabilities, ASUS is using a MegaChips MCDP2800BB.

 

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An ASMedia ASM1074 is a USB 3.0 hub and provides many of the USB 3.0 ports on the backpanel IO. The audio section of the Z170-WS is perhaps the most underwhelming; there is an ALC1150 with some Nichicon audio capacitors but no differential or amplifiers.

 

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The TPU chip is found near the center of the motherboard and most likely provides extra fan control or other ASUS features. There are many more ASMedia ASM1480 around the motherboard, but these switch 8x of PCI-E between two PCI-E 16x slots. The main SuperIO is a nuvoTon NCT6793D, and it provides fan control and monitoring of system parameters.

 

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Another TPU chip is located on the back of the motherboard; perhaps it helps with ASUS's OC features. ASUS provides a single 128Mbit BIOS ROM from Winbond in a DIP socket for easy replacement. The chip that is labeled "BIOS" is there to support USB BIOS Flashback for easy corrupt BIOS recovery.

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