ASUS MITX Motherboard Roundup
Published: 15th April 2016 | Source: ASUS | Price: £66 £135 £190 |
ASUS Z170I Pro Gaming
Moving down the ASUS range we have the Z170I Pro Gaming. This very much sits in the midrange sweet spot from which the majority of us will choose our motherboard. It provides nearly everything that you get from the Maximus VIII Impact. High memory overclocking, two USB 3.1 ports (albeit of the type A style), support for M.2 socket, SATA Express and even the Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN which has overtaken the Killer NIC as the network weapon of choice.
Packaging nearly follows the standard ASUS model of a red box, but because of the inclusion of the ancient Russian Cruiser Diana from World of Warships we have the curious scenario of a 100 year old steam ship dominating the front of a motherboard that bristles with the latest technologies. Sure the Maximus VIII Impact has the same included code, but in a far more subtle style. Once out of the box and you can see from the included accessories that the Pro Gaming sits in a very different price bracket to the Impact. That isn't to say that they are bad, just of the more common "IO Shield and some SATA cables" variety.
Despite the massive price difference between the Impact and this Pro Gaming the actual motherboard itself still looks the business. You can tell that it is a more affordable option because it hasn't got the power phases on a separate daughterboard, unlike the Impact. It still has a decent range of power phases though so that the overclockers in the audience can squeeze some more performance from their system.
When you compare the Impact with the Z170I Pro Gaming you can tell that they are both still running Intel's Z170 chipset. The majority of items are where you would expect to find them. If anything the Pro Gaming feels slightly more cramped because ASUS have, for cost purposes, dispensed with the two daughter boards for the power and SupremeFX so there is more on the horizontal plane and less vertical stuff. Round the back though and it's very much business as usual. Normally with an affordable motherboard the IO area is where the holes, quite literally, appear to give away the value ethos behind it. With the Pro Gaming there is no such issue as every stack is well filled with USB ports and WiFi aerials.