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ASUS Z170-PRO (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Mar 8, 2016 2:36 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ASUS

Packaging and Overview

 

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The Z170-PRO's box is very similar to other ASUS Z170 motherboards. Packaging is also very similar to other ASUS Z170 motherboards, and the product is well protected from the elements.

 

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There are plenty of accessories: 4x SATA 6Gb/s cables, SLI bridge, IO shield, Q-connector, M.2 screws, CPU installation tool, and software DVD/user manuals. The IO shield of the Z170-Pro is much better than that of the Z170-A in both aesthetic appeal and durability.

 

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The ASUS Z170-PRO has five fan headers circled in red. The CPU fan header automatically detects if the fan plugged in is a PWM fan or DC mode fan. All fan headers can be set to either mode in the UEFI and Windows. Full control over all the fans and those from the optional fan extension panel (header circled in blue) is offered in the UEFI and Windows. There is a temperature input header circled in green.

 

Compared to the Z170-A, the aesthetics are similar, but there is one glaring difference. The PCB of the Z170-PRO is significantly better looking than that of the Z170-A because it is black instead of a black/brown mixture. The black PCB contrasts much better with the white shield and the heat sinks. The back of the motherboard is bare except for some minor components and LEDs to illuminate the audio PCB divide.

 

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The IO panel on the Z170-PRO has two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 3.1 Type-C, DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, RJ-45 LAN, and S/PDID with 7.1 audio TOSLINK.

 

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The PCI-E layout is straightforward. The first two full sized 16x slots are wired to the CPU and can work at 16x/0x or 8x/8x and support SLI or CrossFireX. The last slot is wired to the PCH and shares two high-speed IO (HSIO) ports with SATA6G_56, it also support RAID with an add-in card and the onboard M.2 slot. The PCI-E 1x slots are wired to the PCH.

 

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The SATA Express port can operate as two SATA ports. If an M.2 SATA drive is installed, it will use the SATA Express connection. One thing I do like is how ASUS marks which SATA ports to use for your main OS drive. A USB 3.0 internal header is located right below the 24-pin power connector for easy access.

 

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The M.2 slot is a full speed 32Gb/s slot, but you should configure the type of M.2 device you are using in the UEFI to properly allocate bandwidth. A second USB 3.1 header is located toward the rear panel area for rear facing USB 3.0 ports. There are also two internal USB 2.0 headers and a fan expansion device header. Jumpers for DRCT (easy BIOS access) and Clear CMOS are located near the front panel header.

 

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A "MemOK!" button is located above the 24-pin header. The motherboard also provides a TPM header, Thunderbolt 3 GPIO header, and an external temperature sensor for fan control.

 

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Heatsinks make great contact with the PCB. The VRM heat sinks are held down by push pins while the PCH heat sink uses screws.

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