ASUS ROG Z390 Strix-E Preview
Published: 8th October 2018 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
We've barely recovered from the launch of the nVidia RTX range of graphics cards than the new Intel 9th Generation CPUs are due to appear. If you've been following the market for any length of time at all you'll understand that a new CPU always comes with a new chipset to go alongside it, and as the newest Intel CPUs are even beefier than their 8th Generation forebears the Z390 is the very thing.
As you can gather from the fact that the Z390 is similarly labelled to the Z370 that is currently supporting the Coffee Lake CPUs, this is more of an evolution of the already excellent Z370, than a full on rejig. The Z370 motherboards haven't been around all that long and in the time between that launch and this one the market hasn't seen any major new technological additions. The cynical might suggest that the Z370 was only ever intended as a stop gap product, hence its brief moment in the sun. However, the Z370 had a strong enough feature set that the Z390 should be a refinement of the current motherboards and should see a stronger commitment to those features that have proven their worth. That's the best thing about market forces, ideas which prove untenable get left by the wayside whilst those which prove useful are retained.
The primary changes to the Z390 chipset are; the addition of support for 2nd Gen USB 3.1 at a chipset level. We've seen the 10Gbps USB continue the rapid adoption rate that USB has always managed, so much so that most people forget how complicated it used to be to connect any peripheral at all. Secondly Intel have their own WiFi AC dual support. The World is swiftly going wireless, and being able to easily have all our devices centrally connected is a boon. Those of you who prefer the reliability and speed of hard wired networking still have a RJ45 connector. It's nice that Intel aren't going down the Apple "we've removed it, deal with it" idea that has plagued iPhones.
ASUS ROG Z390 Strix-E
The ROG Strix range continues to wow us. What we particularly like is that the main "red box" ROG range has a tendency to be more conservative, but the Strix is ASUS designers let off the leash. If you're reading through all our Z390 previews you'll have noticed that the main ROG boxes are no longer red, but it's such a touchstone that it's a piece of handy visual shorthand. We'll be taking a closer look at it in the flesh in a moment, but we did have to quote you a small snippet from the ASUS press blurb;
"The Strix Z390-E sheds the flashier guise of its Z370 counterpart, slipping into darker attire to compliment the expanding ROG ecosystem. Flourishes of cyber-text sit on top of a neutral canvas that allows easy component matching and customisation with Aura".
In other words, it's a bit more black than the Z370 was to better show off your RGB lighting. All previews are much better when we show as well as tell, so let's take a quick tour of the Z390 Strix-E.
The Strix packaging is up to their usual high standards with the attention grabbing multi-hued ROG logo and clear product shots a common feature of the Strix ideology. Lifting the lid reveals the Strix itself, all wrapped up and ready for attention. We'll show you that on the next page. Until then, let's have a quick run through what other delights are held within these cardboard confines.
Once you've lifted the motherboard out you can see the quality of the underneath packaging. Everything in its place and a place for everything. It's nice to see the 'cyber-text' echoed on the box art too.
As you would expect from a ROG branded motherboard there are plenty of accessories to be found within the packaging. WiFi antennas, SATA cables, RGB strip extension cables, cable ties, M.2 screws (possibly the easiest thing to lose in the world after watch springs) and a hard SLI bridge. There is also a 40mm fan, more of which later.