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ASUS Z97I PLUS Mini-ITX (Intel Z97) Motherboard Review

By: Shawn Baker | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Jun 3, 2014 9:02 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: ASUS

Close up with the ASUS Z97I PLUS

 

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Taking a look at the board, you can see just about everything in clear detail due to the small size of it. While small, we do have a fair bit going on with the black on black motherboard, which does indeed look quite nice with the simple ASUS heat sink being seen down the bottom. Let's move in a bit closer and see just what exactly we're dealing with here today.

 

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Like all Mini-ITX boards, we find ourselves with just a single PCIe expansion slot. This is a PCIe x16 slot that you'll want for the high-end video card you'll hopefully be installing. Above that slot, we have our heat sink, and to the left, you can see our Wi-Fi card supporting 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.

 

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Turning the corner, you can see we've got two DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 16GB of DDR3, ranging in speed from 1333MHz to 3200MHz via overclocking. Below that, you can see we have our main 24-Pin ATX power connector, front panel header connector and, on the far left, a USB 3.0 header. Between all this, we have two SATA III ports with an additional two being seen above the DIMM slots. All four of these ports run off of the Intel Z97 chipset.

 

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Moving around to the CPU area, you can see our 8-Pin CPU connector. Moving out, we get a look at the heat sink and CPU area. While the board is quite small, you can see that ASUS continues to keep a pretty clean CPU area. We've got a really nice heat sink sitting at the top of the board, and you can see we've got some fan headers and our BIOS battery. Overall, though, everything looks good.

 

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Before we move onto the I/O side of things, we want to just quickly flip the motherboard over. While we normally don't venture back here, it's important in this instance. You can see on the other side that ASUS has managed to squeeze in an M.2 Socket. We're seeing this connector on most of the new Z97 motherboards, and it's great to see that ASUS has been able to make use of one of the main features that is bought to the table via the Z97 chipset.

 

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Finishing our look at the motherboard, we look the I/O side of things. We find a Combo PS/2 port along with two of the four USB 3.0 connectors that run off of the Z97 chipset. We've got a bunch of video out options, including DVI-D, VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort.

 

Continuing to move across, we've got four USB 2.0 ports running off of the Z97 chipset along with Gigabit networking via the Intel I218V chip. Finally, we end our look at the motherboard with an optical port and three auxiliary ports, all of which run off of the ALC892 HD Codec.

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