ASUS Z97 A, WS & Deluxe Preview
Published: 28th April 2014 | Source: ASUS |
Finally the ASUS Z97 Deluxe, which we think will be the one that most intrigues you all. It certainly comes with plenty of features and addons that we expect to spread across the whole motherboard market.
The gold has been toned down on the Deluxe when compared to the Z97A and Z97 WS models. With the contrasting black and a black PCB we think it looks very cool, especially with these rounded heatsinks. Gold is rapidly becoming the next big thing in colour schemes, so whatever your thoughts it's probably best to get used to it.
As the majority of the Z97 Deluxe follows the trends we've seen in the first two here, let's focus upon the extra elements included in the Deluxe. Certainly there are plenty of them. This isn't one of those motherboard boxes you open up and realise that you just get an IO shield and a manual.
There is a staggering amount of connection options on the ASUS Z97 Deluxe. Six SATA 6Gb/s ports stop you having to stare at your motherboard trying to make sure you don't plug your shiny new SSD into a SATA II port. Next to them are the four SATA Express ports which, if they perform in the real world as well as they do on paper will quickly lead to us all upgrading our storage devices. Who doesn't want a 10Gb/s transfer rate. Especially without the fiddling about of a RAID setup. Round the back it's like a dream come true with plenty of display outputs, 10 (count em) USB ports, twin LAN and the usual audio jacks. This certainly lives up to the Deluxe name.
Two of the adaptors supplied with the ASUS Z97 Deluxe neatly encapsulate how some technologies have captured the imagination and others haven't. Firstly there is the WiFi Go!. WiFi is now absolutely everywhere in our lives, to the point that when you're somewhere and can't get a wireless signal it comes as a surprise. Anything that can remove the spaghetti from behind our towers has to be a good thing, and equally saving us having to buy an adaptor is good news for all.
The second one is the ThunderboltEX II technology card, which is one of the recent developments from Intel that has all the potential to be amazing, without grabbing the attention in the same way that USB did. It has enormous bandwidth, plenty of chaining potential and can provide a good amount of power for your devices. We still can't think of anything we've come across that utilises it though. Hopefully as the 4K displays become more common then the need for Thunderbolt will mean that ASUS are ahead of the game.
Two other things that take wireless technologies to the next level are the Wireless Charger, which does exactly what it says on the tin, and hte NFC Express 2. With more and more devices (televisions, smartphones etc) supporting Near Field Communication (NFC) then it makes perfect sense to include something that allows us to connect our devices in the easiest possible manner. We definitely take our hat off to ASUS with this one. It's fun to get something you didn't realise you needed until it was in front of you.
So there we have it. The triumvirate of ASUS Z97 motherboards that support both the 4th Generation Haswell CPUs and the soon to be released 14nm Broadwell ones too. Let us know your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.