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  • pavlindrom - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Lovely tongue-twisting title. Reply
  • LancerVI - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Nice board here, as usual, from Asus. I must say though, being a shallow man, that I would love to see and end to this gold design scheme and a return of my beloved blue.

    Please, for the love of all that is holy; Asus, return the blue scheme.
  • LancerVI - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    *an end

    Also or all black
  • Antronman - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    The blue scheme was ugly, and far too bright. It was also a very cold color.

    I like this new dull, bronzed gold like on the TUF series, because it's a lot more neutral. You can make any color build you want with it.
  • LancerVI - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    If you want neutral, all black would be truly neutral. Gold is just terrible. Reply
  • pixelstuff - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    I was thinking this was one of the classiest looking color schemes they've ever made. Reply
  • Challenge - Monday, May 19, 2014 - link

    Artistically the color choices are perfect and conform with the principles of color choice. Reply
  • superflex - Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - link

    The 90's called. They want their brass and glass coffee table back.
  • Flunk - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Do you know what we really need from the next generation of Intel processor/chipset? More PCI-E lanes. Reply
  • SirKnobsworth - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Rumor has it that the chipsets accompanying Skylake will have 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes, as well as an upgrades DMI 3.0 path to the CPU. As we can already tell, they will be sorely needed. Reply
  • Pri - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Was this a real review or just an overview? No testing of its AC WiFi, NFC, Wireless Charging or Thunderbolt 2. All the main features of this board that differentiate it from other boards.

    You give us a graph that shows us DPC Latency, very few people even know what that is but don't test the Thunderbolt 2 add-in cards performance its WiFi performance or if the NFC accessory works properly?

    Usually I applaud your reviews but this is really poor.
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Yes, it is a full review. The benchmark results take a good 30-40 hours alone, along with a proper spectrum of overclocking tests and writing 10k+ words going through all the BIOS and software features.

    DPC Latency takes less than a minute to test and I often get emails glad that I do so from the users who find it relevant. I have added a description next to the benchmark results in case people do not know what DPC Latency is or why it matters.

    As stated in the review, this motherboard is available as a stand-alone ($290) or as the combination with the WLC/NFC/TB2 ($400). I don't have the facilities to test most of what you ask, which is solely for the $400 version and my conclusion is split accordingly to both versions. I have an AC router but being in a central London location surrounded by APs makes my results inconsistent. As mentioned in the review, I have no Wireless Charging or TB2 devices, given that like all editors at AT I work from home and not in a central office because we are dotted around the world.

    If you have constructive criticism, please feel free to email me. I am always open to suggestions.
  • Pri - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    I must apolagize for questioning if this was a real review. I know it must have taken considerable time to write what was in the review as it is.

    I was merely disappointed at not seeing the accessories that come with the board tested as the Thunderbolt 2 card was of most interest to me with it being quite new. For example I would have liked for it to have been tested with a dedicated graphics card.

    I was unaware that the editors for the site work from home with only the hardware they have available at their own expense, I was under the incorrect impression that the editors on the site are paid employees working from offices, this is based on my own ignorance.

    Please accept my sincere apologies for the curt way I dismissed the review as an overview, it clearly is a review that you put a lot of work in to.
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Hi Pri, no worries. If I had the equipment in to test I would do for sure, that's the way AnandTech works. If any time you have a question about our testing or suggestions, shoot me an email (click my name up top), a number of people do :)
  • sajara - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Yep I have to second this too. Maybe a follow up of the features in the near future, Ian? Reply
  • sajara - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    this commentary is rubbish i don't know how i missed a full page of the review, but that what has occurred. Apologies to Ian. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    My first thought is that at the $400 price point, a PLX instead of toggling features on/off should be mandatory. Picking and choosing what to actually use on an inexpensive feature grab bag board is justifiable to keep the cost down; but this board is priced as luxury item and shouldn't be loaded down with obnoxious gotchas and limitations.

    Something else I'm wondering is why two different Intel NIC controllers instead of either 2 of the same model or one Intel controller and a second from a low cost vendor.
  • PixyMisa - Saturday, May 17, 2014 - link

    Exactly my thought. On a low-end board that would be a no-go for me; on a top-of-the-line board it's just unacceptable.

    I'm very glad I read this review, though, because I was considering buying this exact board.
  • munkle - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    I'm confused on whether this has a plx chip or not? Your review states it doesn't, Hardocp's review states it uses PLX PEX8747, the pictures of the motherboard would make me assume that it does use the chip as only this mobo and the WS mobo have that center heatsink and you state the WS mobo uses a plx chip. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    A quick look at the specifications on the website shows:

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

    With this, and the fact that we can account for all the chipset lanes including the switches, dictates that no PLX chip is present. Without doing a quick headcount of PCIe lane allocation, one could be fooled by the heatsink in the middle of the board.

    That and the fact that ASUS has said that the PLX8747 variant for Z97 is limited to the WS motherboard for now.
  • aron9621 - Saturday, May 17, 2014 - link

    The Z87 Deluxe Quad uses a PLX switch (a PEX8608 I believe) for the PCI Express 2.0 lanes coming from the chipset. It's a shame given the price category the Z97 Deluxe doesn't do the same and limits the simultaneous usage of the SATA Express/M2/Thunderbolt ports. Reply
  • UltraWide - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Fan curve control from the BIOS, this is worth the GOLD color! WOW I have been waiting for such a feature for the past 10 years.

    ASUS you got my money and vote. :thumbsup: x 2
  • OuchIAteMyself - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    It has been worth it for me to pay more for these premium motherboards. I'm using a P5B Deluxe bought in 2006 to post this comment and it's still going strong. ASUS even released a BIOS update that allowed me to upgrade to a Q9550 processor which is fairly modern. I'll buy ASUS again when I build a new system within the year. Reply
  • pt2501 - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    LOL I had that the P5B Deluxe for 5 years and thought it was simple, powerful, and rock solid. For the price it offered up the best overclocking and when I built it in late 2006 I paired it with the lowest of the then new core 2 duo (1.6 GHz model). It received a plethora of updates that allowed it to later upgrade to use the top the Cord 2 Duos/Quad cores. I later put in a 3.0 Ghz duo core with the added cache for better performance and maxed out the Ram capacity without any loss of stability. The board never failed I eventually recycled it for lack of anyone wanting a desktop. Now i run an older P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3 with an i5 2500K. The support from Asus for all my boards has been outstanding.

    I felt like I ponied up alot more cash for this board but the difference in all the features more than pays for itself over time. UEFI, 4 way SLI/Crossfire/TPU/EPU: you can literally do anything with this board and I have never felt like I was missing out on anything.

    Most likely unless Asus starts making garbage, if you buy one of their boards my experience has been that you can use it until the subsequent technology becomes completely obsolete.
  • AssBall - Sunday, May 18, 2014 - link

    The DELUXE set from Asus has always been top notch and rock solid. My first build ever was Lots of overclocking and tweaking options. The power delivery is some of the best in the industry, IMO. The new UEFI BIOS's are sweet to work with. Now they also put some decent integrated sound processors on the boards too, which adds a ton of value in my book.

    Their Pro stuff is really good too if you want a simple overclock system or a 24/7 workstation. The only thing better than an ASUS board is a new ASUS board, heh.
  • jibz - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Nice review. I like the fact that you added audio benchmarks. What I'd like to see included are the numbers for a good add-on card, if only to establish some kind of upper echelon. I understand that it's not fair to compare a 300$ sounds card to the one included on a 300$ motherboard, but it'd help to put the numbers in perspective. Reply
  • cjs150 - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Lovely looking board but someone needs their head examined on the storage.

    This is a top end board it should be capable of having a big GPU, m2 drive as boot drive and ultra fast storage via thunderbolt
  • xeizo - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    You could say I use only Asus DeLuxe mobos as I have both the P5Q-DeLuxe and the P8Z68-DeLuxe/G3 currently up and running ;-)

    The P5Q-DeLuxe has been running since 2008 and 24/7 for the last three years(web/music/movie/nas-server). The P8Z68 is the gaming/development/music production/workstation and performs admirably with dual SSD:s, 16GB RAM and a single GTX770(as I only use 1080P). Very happy with these mobos, 4xUSB3 and 4xSATA6 is very usable on the P8Z68, good for being from 2011 ... It also has no problems remaining stable above 5GHz on water with 8x100% load like forever ....

    However, next mobo will be made for Haswell-E with ZX99(?), Z97 is too much of a sidegrade and more cores is good to have when compiling. Higher clocked Xeons are only damned expensive :(
  • wwwcd - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Board Features
    ASUS Z97-Deluxe (NFC + WFC)
    Chipset Intel Z87

    WoW :D
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    AHA! Re-using old table templates, thanks for the catch :D Reply
  • Eidigean - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    First off, This is a great review Ian. The in-depth details of shared PCIe lane distribution between the x4 slot, x2 M.2, and x2 SATAe helped me make a decision...

    I'm looking for Thunderbolt 2 and two x4 M.2 SSDs. The only board that seems like it will fit the bill is the GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD7 TH. Reason being, it's the only board that provides x8/x4/x4 from the CPU while also providing x4 from the Z97 for the Thunderbolt controller. This will allow for a GPU and two Samsung XP941 M.2 SSDs in a RAID 0.

    An alternative I'm kicking around is the Asus Z79-WS with its PLX switch; allowing x16 for the GPU, two x4 M.2 SSDs in two x8 slots, and the ASUS Thunderbolt 2 controller in the x4 slot from the Z79.

    Ian, could you get your hands on the two Samsung XP941 sticks that Kristian was testing?
  • Eidigean - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    The ASUS Z97 lineup would be better if ASUS put a x4 slot in place of the middle or bottom x1 slot and shared 4 lanes from the x8 slot when needed, allowing for x8/x4/x4 in addition to x8/x8. Intel allows for it, and only one vendor (GIGABYTE) is doing it. Reply
  • Eidigean - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    There's actually another vendor that *almost* meets my requirements, the ASRock Z97 Extreme6. From their user manual:

    * If M2_1 slot is occupied, PCIE2 slot will run at x8 mode, and PCIE4 slot will run at x4 mode.

    That would allow me to run one XP941 stick in the motherboard's M.2 socket, and the other in the PCIE4 slot. The missing feature is Thunderbolt 2; which is only offered by ASUS and GIGABYTE.
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Hi Eidigean,
    I have the Z97 Extreme6 in for testing, should have a review (with a single XP941) incoming. I've got some data regarding the impact an x4 M.2 has on GPU performance, stay tuned for that.
  • Taurus229 - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Considering this is a $400.00 board, I feel that no one should have to play musical chairs with Sata inputs! Asus missed the boat here! Reply
  • austinsguitar - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    one does not just simply pay 400+ dollars on just a motherboard with thunderbolt 2's.... this is a little bit overkill and stupid to the common consumer/ marketing executive. This premium doesn't make much since.... Reply
  • DMCalloway - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    Great review! Unfortunately, one of the best selling i7 chips (2600k) isn't in the benchmarks. I do like the progress being made with the UEFI BIOSs. Thanx for the review Ian. Reply
  • EricPraline - Saturday, May 17, 2014 - link

    Many high-end motherboards these days use special audio capacitors for 'better' sound in the audio area of the motherboard. The amount of capacitors used in the audio portion of newer motherboards seems to vary using anywhere from 6 to 14 or more depending on the motherboard. Does using more capacitors for audio roughly correlate with a better sound? Why is there a difference in the number of audio capacitors used among high-end ALC1150-based motherboards, even by the same manufacturer (e.g., Asus) Reply
  • Haravikk - Saturday, May 17, 2014 - link

    I find the selection of SATA ports and the juggling act of connecting them a bit weird; I thought that one of the advantages of SATA Express was that you could still use it as two ordinary SATA ports, only getting the increased speed when you connected a full SATA Express cable? With that in mind I don't see why this really needs so many additional, regular SATA ports anyway; an extra two would be enough for most people, as that gives you either six regular SATA drives, or two SATA Express and two regular SATA. Or they could even have gone for four SATA Express which would be even better as it gives you four to eight ports.

    I dunno, it just feels a bit like an odd in-between standards kind of mixture; since Intel will most likely be pushing to increase PCI lanes on future processors then it just seems like if you need so much connectivity you're still better going for a dual processor motherboard, or waiting a year for more Thunderbolt friendly processors.
  • Laststop311 - Monday, May 19, 2014 - link

    Seems to me Intel needs to stop cheaping out on the pci-e lanes for its mainstream line. Now that sata express needs 4x pci-e 3.0 lanes to function to it's maximum. Asrock Extreme 9 is the only board right now that allows you to connected an SSD directly to the CPU using 4 pci-e 3,0 lanes and surprise those drives function the best. With skylake and Z107 intel really needs to step up its pci-e lane game. Reply
  • Tchamber - Monday, May 19, 2014 - link

    Asus have come a long way since my last Asus board... for my old Pentium 4 CPU. This looks good, I want to upgrade when SATA Express becomes mainstream. I should think all us Star Wars fans would love this board/chipset! Reply
  • prophet001 - Monday, May 19, 2014 - link

    Did you try booting the XP941 with this motherboard? Would love to see a Windows installation boot on it and get some benchmarks out. Reply
  • RamCity - Monday, May 19, 2014 - link

    We just got some feedback from a customer this morning who has installed the XP941 in the ASUS Z97-Deluxe. These are the results with the latest bios dated 16th May (0901)

    1. With UEFI mode enabled, it's possible to begin a Windows 8 installation from DVD, but on the first reboot, the XP941 drive is not recognised, so the install couldn't proceed.

    2. Customer was able to use the XP941 as storage once Windows 8 was installed to a different drive, but it doesn't show up in the list of bootable devices in the bios. He hasn't yet benchmarked the drive to see what sort of transfer speeds he can get out of it.

    3. With the previous version bios, he couldn't even begin the windows installation, so it seems ASUS are working on this. Feedback we have from ASUS HQ in Europe is that they are working on getting the XP941 to boot in legacy mode.

    4. The customer actually bought an ASRock Z97 Extreme6 as well and had no issues booting and installing Windows on the XP941 (installed in the M.2 socket), and confirmed it operated at full 1200/950MB/s transfer speeds.

    My feeling is that it's only a matter of time before ASUS has a bios update which will allow the XP941 to have the OS installed and be bootable, but at this point it's not possible (at least from one customers point of view, and he seemed very technically astute)

    Rod (vendor rep for
  • prophet001 - Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - link

    Thank you for the reply. Sounds exciting. Surely the floodgates are about to be opened on this technology. Reply
  • Timur Born - Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - link

    How does audio sound once connected to speaker with 3-prong (earth line) speaker system? Like the ones that really would benefit from the audio specs written on paper, not the cheapish 2-prong desktop speaker systems.

    It's troubling how hard it is to find a modern mainboard that does not amplify all kinds of electronic noise (voltage) over its ground lines (anything made of metal metal), which affects both internal and external audio (PCIe, USB, FW). This is not really a ground-loop issue, but one of noisy ground lines on motherboards (while the PSU and interestingly SATA port ground remains rather clean/unamplified).

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