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With the Z87 launch, Asus made a few big changes with their mainstream motherboard line, the biggest being the change to the gold color scheme. That change came with a mixed response but the high quality and big feature set that Asus includes on all of their boards they were still very popular. With the Z97 launch, they have stuck with the gold theme but they have softened the color slightly to make it a little less polarizing. Today I will be taking a deeper look at the Z97-A, one of Asus’s mid ranged mainstream boards. I can’t wait to see what they changed for the Z97 launch and to see how the softer gold looks as well.

Product Name: Asus Z97-A

Review Sample Provided by: Asus

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

Specifications

CPU

Intel® Socket 1150 for the 5th/New 4th/4th Generation Core™ i7/Core™ i5/Core™ i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors

Supports Intel® 22 nm CPU

Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0

Chipset

Intel® Z97

Memory

4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 3200 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory

Dual Channel Memory Architecture

Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

Graphic

Integrated Graphics Processor- Intel® HD Graphics support

Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DVI-D/RGB/DisplayPort ports

- Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz

- Supports DVI-D with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz

- Supports RGB with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz

- Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4960 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz

Maximum shared memory of 512 MB

Supports Intel® InTru™ 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider™

Supports up to 3 displays simultaneously

DP 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport compliant, supports DP 1.2 monitor daisy chain up to 3 displays

Multi-GPU Support

Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology

Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology

Expansion Slots

2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)

1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x2 mode)

2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 *1

2 x PCI

Storage

1 x SATA Express port, compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports

1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode)

4 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), gray

Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10

Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Start Technology, Intel® Smart Connect Technology *2

LAN

Intel® I218V, 1 x Gigabit LAN, Dual interconnect between the Integrated Media Access Controller (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY)

Gigabit Intel® LAN Connection- 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) appliance

Audio

Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC featuring Crystal Sound 2

- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel MIC Jack-retasking

Audio Feature :

- Absolute Pitch 192kHz/ 24-bit True BD Lossless Sound

- DTS Ultra PC II

- DTS Connect

- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel

- Audio Shielding: Ensures precision analog/digital separation and greatly reduced multi-lateral interference

- Dedicated audio PCB layers: Separate layers for left and right channels to guard the quality of the sensitive audio signals

- Audio amplifier: Provides the highest-quality sound for headphone and speakers

- Premium Japanese-made audio capacitors: Provide warm, natural and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity

- Unique de-pop circuit: Reduces start-up popping noise to audio outputs

- Top notch audio sensation delivers according to the audio configuration

- EMI protection cover to prevent electrical noise to affect the amplifier quality

USB Ports

Intel® Z97 chipset :

6 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)

Intel® Z97 chipset :

8 x USB 2.0/1.1 port(s) (2 at back panel, , 6 at mid-board)

Special Features

5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5

- Whole system optimization with a single click! 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power Control, Fan Xpert 3, and Turbo App together, providing better CPU performance, efficient power saving, precise digital power control, whole system cooling and even tailor your own app usages.

ASUS 5X Protection :

- ASUS DIGI+ VRM - 8 Phase digital power design

- ASUS Enhanced DRAM Overcurrent Protection - Short circuit damage prevention

- ASUS ESD Guards - Enhanced ESD protection

- ASUS High-Quality 5K-Hour Solid Capacitors - 2.5x long lifespan with excellent durability

- ASUS Stainless Steel Back I/O - 3x more durable corrosion-resistant coating

ASUS TPU :

- Auto Tuning

- GPU Boost

- TPU switch

ASUS EPU :

- EPU

- EPU switch

ASUS Digital Power Design :

- Industry leading Digital 8 Phase Power Design

- CPU Power Utility

ASUS Exclusive Features :

- Remote GO!

- AI Suite 3

- Anti-Surge

- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface

- USB 3.0 Boost

- Disk Unlocker

- Turbo LAN

- Crystal Sound 2

ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :

- Stylish Fanless Design Heat-sink solution

ASUS EZ DIY :

- Precision Tweaker 2

- ASUS O.C. Tuner

- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3

- ASUS EZ Flash 2

- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode

- Push Notice

ASUS Q-Design :

- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)

- ASUS Q-Slot

- ASUS Q-DIMM

- ASUS Q-Connector

Special Memory O.C. Design

Overclocking Protection :

- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)

Media Streamer

Turbo App

Fan Xpert 3

Operating System Support

Windows® 8.1

Windows® 8

Windows® 7

Back I/O Ports

1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)

1 x DVI-D

1 x D-Sub

1 x DisplayPort

1 x HDMI

1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)

4 x USB 3.0 (blue)

2 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x Audio jack(s)

Internal I/O Ports

1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)

3 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 6 USB 2.0 port(s)

1 x SATA Express connector: , compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports

1 x M.2 Socket 3 for M Key, type 2260/2280 devices

1 x TPM header

4 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)

1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)

1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)

4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 x 4 -pin)

1 x S/PDIF out header(s)

1 x Thunderbolt header(s)

1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)

1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)

1 x EZ XMP switch

1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)

1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)

1 x DRCT header(s)

1 x MemOK! button(s)

1 x TPU switch(es)

1 x EPU switch(es)

1 x Power-on button(s)

1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)

Accessories

User's manual

I/O Shield

3 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)

1 x SLI bridge(s)

1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.7, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.8, ACPI 5.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Quick Note, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, F3 Shortcut functions, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information

Support Disc

Drivers

ASUS Utilities

EZ Update

Anti-virus software (OEM version)

Form Factor

ATX Form Factor

12.0 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

 

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 17:06 by L0rdG1gabyt3 #35725
L0rdG1gabyt3's Avatar
I built a CAD workstation on one of these boards last week, and the performance is very good.
Posted: 28 Sep 2014 22:23 by Phreedom #35724
Phreedom's Avatar
Awesome...thanks!
Posted: 28 Sep 2014 22:08 by garfi3ld #35723
garfi3ld's Avatar
Actually in later testing I found this to be a specific issue only with the model of switch that we do our testing on. You can find a little more information here

lanoc.org/review/motherboards/6927-asus-...uxe?showall=&start=8
Posted: 28 Sep 2014 21:58 by Phreedom #35722
Phreedom's Avatar
Hello...you stated, "I was a little disappointed in the network performance of the Intel NIC on the Z97-A...this is to be expected at a price point like the Z97-A’s though". I've been looking at getting the ASUS Z97 Deluxe which is almost twice as much as the -A version @ $275 and it uses the same Intel I218-V NIC. Even the $350 Z97 Deluxe NFC/WLC uses the same NIC as the Z97-A. Soooo...no matter what price point I'm at in this line of ASUS motherboards, I can't get very good network performance???
Posted: 12 May 2014 19:41 by garfi3ld #34719
garfi3ld's Avatar
We started off our Z97 coverage yesterday, today I take a look at a second motherboard. This time the Z97-A from Asus. Have a great day

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