ASUS Z170 Deluxe Skylake Motherboard Review
Published: 29th October 2015 | Source: ASUS | Price: £224.99 @ OCUK |
If you find yourself amongst the number who believe that only a high-end, all the Zs and Xs motherboard name is the only one that you should bother with then more fool you.
Without the red accents you might feel that the Z170 Deluxe looks like a standard motherboard. That's far from the case as it has the black PCB beautifully highlighted by the white shield around the IO section and the audio hardware. The heatsinks are lovely too, with a stacked design that maximises the surface area without being a boring hunk of alloy.
It's not only the design that whets the appetite either. ASUS have stuffed the Z170 Deluxe full of extras to allow you to squeeze the most of your hardware. Beyond the normal manual overclocking the Deluxe is equipped with HotKey overclocking, whereby you just press Ctrl-T during POST and it loads your overclocked profile, as well as a Launch button which automatically overclocks should you be unwilling to dip your toes into the water. It's important when overclocked to keep your thermals low, which is a large part of the reason why we've all moved over to all-in-one watercooling options, and the inclusion of the Water Pump header on the motherboard eliminates the need for you to fear that the motherboard will reduce the voltage on your pump because it thinks its a fan.
Bandwidth is one of the biggest growth areas in hardware at the moment. Our needs are endlessly demanding and the Deluxe comes equipped with plenty of options to ensure that your peripherals, and indeed the system itself, runs optimally. There is an NVMe M.2 socket to help your storage solution annihilate everything demanded of it. Perhaps the biggest news is the inclusion of five USB 3.1 sockets in both A and C specification. The USB 3.1 is so new that we've become accustomed to finding a couple squeezed into an existing design, so to find ASUS converting all the rear USB ports to 3.1 is excellent, and in keeping with the Deluxe name. Add to this WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and the ability to connect Android devices to the Z170 Deluxe, and it's clear that ASUS have thrown the kitchen sink at this motherboard.
All of which would be nice but meaningless if the performance wasn't up to snuff, but the Z170 Deluxe has that covered too. In all of our tests it was in the podium positions and regularly at the top. Whichever way you slice it the ASUS Z170 Deluxe might not have the obvious charms of something named a Maximus or Rampage but in every measurable regard is a stunning piece of kit and should be top of your list if you're looking for a Skylake motherboard.