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ASUS Z170-PRO (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review (Page 11)

By Steven Bassiri from Mar 8, 2016 @ 8:36 CST
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ASUS

Here are key points about the ASUS Z170-Pro.

What's Hot

Intel USB 3.1 and LAN: The Z170-Pro has Intel's pricey USB 3.1 controller providing two USB 3.1 ports. Both Type-A and Type-C USB 3.1 ports can be found on the back panel IO. ASUS also uses the Intel i219v PHY on the Z170-Pro.

High-Speed Memory Compatibility: I was quite shocked to find that all my high-speed memory kits work quite well with this motherboard. My TridentZ 3733MHz and Corsair Vengeance 4000MHz kits worked perfectly with XMP.

Higher Quality: The Z170-Pro offers higher quality for a higher price. Compared to the Z170-A, quality is much higher. Manufacturers typically remove quality features such as extra copper in the PCB or higher-end power components as price goes down. In this case, the Z170-Pro provides that high level of product quality in line with its price. It is hard to see quality, but the thermal tests done on both the Z170-A and Z170-Pro revealed that the Z170-Pro had much better load temperatures, perhaps due to a higher quality PCB.

Great Fan Control: ASUS's Fan Xpert 3 in Windows, Q-Fan in the UEFI, and expansion port for more headers all work quite well and add value to the Z170-Pro. Each header can also work in either PWM or DC mode to support all types of fans.

What's Not

Some premium features missing: The first time I boot up any motherboard my eyes are glued to the POST Code display. If there is an issue, more times than not the POST code display saves me a lot of time. I was surprised to see the Z170-Pro does not have one, and I was surprised to find the motherboard does not have USB BIOS Flashback. I should mention that the board does have Q-LED, which lets you know which component isn't working correctly, but exact codes are more helpful.

Final Thoughts

ASUS's Z170-PRO is an interesting product. Having looked at the Z170-A, I was a bit surprised when I was working with the Z170-Pro. The Z170-A has almost identical VRM, more switches, some extra legacy features, and an almost identical modern feature set.

What the Z170-Pro offers over the Z170-A is quality. The USB 3.1 controller is Intel on the Z170-Pro and ASMedia on the Z170-A, the Z170-Pro uses the ALC1150 while the Z170-A uses the ALC892, the Z170-Pro has a much better looking and higher quality PCB, and the Z170-Pro has a better accessory package including a higher quality IO shield.

asus-z170-pro-intel-motherboard-review_103

Overall, the Z170-Pro feels like a high-end product, and specifications and hardware aren't the only things which make that true. Overclocking on the Z170-Pro was also much better than one might expect, especially when dealing with memory. But, at close to $200, the Z170-Pro is not a cheap motherboard. While you can find less expensive motherboards with almost the same feature set, the Z170-Pro offers higher quality in areas not readily apparent.

Product Summary Breakdown

Performance (including Overclocking)93%
Quality including Design and Build93%
General Features93%
Bundle and Packaging89%
Value for Money85%
Overall TweakTown Rating91%

The Bottom Line: The ASUS Z170-Pro provides a healthy amount of features with premium controllers and a good amount of hidden quality.

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