ASUS ROG Z390-I Strix ITX Review
Published: 19th October 2018 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
If you've read our Core i9-9900K review then you'll be familiar with what you can expect from the new 9th Generation of Intel CPUs and the new Z390 chipset.
Whenever a new CPU comes out there are always some motherboard revisions to look at, and the launch of the Z390 is no exception. One area in which the swift turnaround from the Z370 to Z390 has allowed to blossom is the commitment to the monochrome hardware/RGB lighting ethos which has rapidly come to dominate the market in everything from motherboards to memory and graphics cards. If it is possibly to make it black or grey and attach RGB LEDs to it then manufacturers have. When the Z370 was launched it was an element which seemed like the way the market was heading without it wholly moving in that direction, but now everyone is on board and it means that the Strix ITX we have here is fully pledged to that ethos.
Whilst the Z390 is only a mild revision of the Z370 chipset the new features are things that we have been wanting for a long time. USB is so dominating in the hardware world that it is easy to forget how bad it used to be before that format was introduced, and now we all have so many USB devices and needs to move data around quickly that the Gen2 USB 3.1 ports are a massive boon. If you've got the hardware to take advantage of it then it's almost worth the price of admission on its own. Secondly, Intel have finally worked out that most of us connect to our life source - AKA the Internet - wirelessly and so introduced a full 5Gb AC WiFi dual connection to the Z390 chipset. It's something that is important on the average sized desktop but given that ITX motherboards are usually found in smaller cases then that portability is even more vital.
Unquestionably the biggest element to the Z390 Strix ITX is how well it overclocks. We thought that the Strix-E was impressive pushing our Core i9-9900K to 5 GHz across all eight cores, and indeed it is, but ASUS successfully obtaining this level of overclocking on a motherboard that has a greatly reduced footprint and thus smaller power phase area and heat sink capability to keep them cool is nothing short of spectacular. The results also bear out this impressive level of performance with almost nothing to pick between the two Strix motherboards. There might only be a single PCI Express 3.0 slot on the Strix-I but it has a full amount of PCI lanes to power it and performed beautifully in our 3D benchmarks.
If you have had your eye caught by the new eight core 9th Generation Intel CPUs and want one in your system, but require the smaller form factor in your chassis, then there is no doubt that the ASUS ROG Z390-I Strix will tick all your requirements boxes and wins our OC3D Gamers Choice.