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  • DanNeely - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Is the ASMedia USB3 controller a PCIe based controller or just a USB3 hub? Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Controller, ASM1042AE
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Excellent. This board looks closer to my perfect spec than anything else I've seen reviewed so far. Add a PLX instead of toggling stuff off to run the 4x slot above 1x electrical, and 2 more USB ports in the empty space on the back and I'd call it perfect. Reply
  • Cellar Door - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Really??? No m2.sata - ASUS are not very forward thinking at the moment, sure they are pushing sataexpress but this is A DEAL BREAKER for me. Reply
  • Cellar Door - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    My bad, I have no idea how I missed it... Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    1042 or 1142? The manual has no mention of a 1042 controller but does mention an ASMedia 1142 in the IRQ table. Google turns up ASmedia USB3 drivers for the 1142 but the chip itself appears to be missing from ASmedia's site so I can't confirm it's still a PCIe-USB3 chip and not a hub. I took a look at the full resolution top down image of the board to see if I could find it; but it fell just short of being high enough resolution to read the marking on the chips. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Found an article elsewhere claiming the 1142 controller does USB3.1. With Asus not advertising that feature I'm leaning toward the manual being in error...
  • mapesdhs - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    I helped a friend build a system using this mbd model last week, with a 4790K,
    16GB/2400 TridentX, two GTX 580s, EVO 120GB, etc. He was thoroughly delighted,
    said he'd never seen Windows fly so fast, from the initial install to the pace of updates.
    By all accounts, a good board.


  • willis936 - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Interesting choices. Did you get a good deal on the 580s? Reply
  • mapesdhs - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Sure, because my friend bought them from me. :D I have lots of them,
    bought about 20 in the last year or so.

    He uses them for accelerated rendering in Blender, for which two 580s
    is quicker than a Titan but a lot cheaper (VRAM limits not withstanding).
    My own system has four, faster than two Titan Blacks (AE/CUDA, Arion, Cycles).

    I want to build a newer system for driving a 4K display in a few months' time,
    but I'll probably get the Maximus VII Ranger instead. I also want to build an HTPC
    for the same display, more for video and light-3D like Google Earth, will probably
    get an ASUS Z97I-Plus for that as the price looks good for the features provided.
    Might wait for Maxwells in both cases though.

  • Samus - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    I'm running a system based on the Asus Z97I-Plus (ITX) with a i5-4690K @ 4.5GHz 1.3v its been rock solid for the month I've had it.

    Coming from an Asus H81I ITX i5-4670K @ 4.2GHz. There are some mild BIOS improvements but the addition of M2 on the Z97I was what got me. That, and my H81 wouldn't run the Haswell refresh (chipset was old version) so I was pretty much locked into Haswell with no Broadwell/Skylake options for the future.
  • mapesdhs - Saturday, July 19, 2014 - link

    Sounds good! I'm curious though, how are you cooling your 4690K? I've been pondering
    whether a K CPU with a moderate oc is viable given I want minimum noise (for the HTPC
    build that is).

  • p1esk - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    How could 2x580 be possibly quicker than Titan Black? It's 2x512 cores vs 2,880 cores at higher clock, and Titan has twice memory bandwidth. Reply
  • ZeDestructor - Thursday, July 17, 2014 - link

    The cores perform differently. Similar to how clock for clock Haswell is faster than IVB. In this case, the 580 has more powerful, but slower and hotter cores than the titan black.

    By the looks of it, the blender code isn't memory bound either, which explains why it makes do with the lower bandwidth.
  • mapesdhs - Saturday, July 19, 2014 - link

    As ZeDestructor says, the shader structure is very different in the 500 series, but to
    clarify: after the 500 series, NVIDIA halved the shader clock speeds in order to make
    power delivery & heat easier to deal with, but this means a lot more shaders are
    required to give the same performance (almost 3X as many), eg. I've tested a K5000
    which has 3X more shaders, but it's slower than a 580 for CUDA. This is why, for CUDA
    tasks, a 580 beats all of the 600 series and most of the 700 series. Also, the 580 has a
    lot of bandwidth, so the available bandwidth per core is very high compared to later
    designs; this can make a difference in some cases.

    See the following (for the Arion test, my system is no. 18 in the table; also note the table
    has a typo, system 15 is a triple-780):

    A Titan Black does the Blender BMW/Cycles test in 24 seconds. My quad-580 system does
    it in 11.56 seconds.

    Summary: for CUDA, two 580s are quicker than a Titan, making them a good budget option
    for AE users, etc., though of course it makes sense if possible to obtain 3GB models.

    For 3D gaming though, the situation is completely different. Likewise, a CUDA task
    requiring mostly FP64 would be better with Titans.

  • FriendlyUser - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    I particularly appreciate the Intel 218V Lan. An excellent choice. Together with the decent onboard audio, you really get some premium hardware for your money. I don't particularly care for the Wi-Fi AC controller, though. These things change so fast, I'd rather have an expansion card (for example, the 802.11ac spec could theoretically scale up to several Gbs). Plus, I prefer getting WiFi equipment from the same vendor, to simplify installation and interoperability. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    I'm ambivalent about the wifi, since I'd only ever use it as a temporary backup option.

    What annoys me a bit is that it looks like the connector is a PCIe 1x slot that was moved closer to the back edge of the board. If they wanted to play fast and loose with the standard to get wifi out in the IO port area instead of the expansion card area; if they'd put the adapter where the audio out is and at the standard distance from the edge it would be possible to kludge an off the shelf card in as an upgrade by removing it's bracket and either removing the IO shield or trimming it out with a cutting tool.
  • ZeDestructor - Thursday, July 17, 2014 - link

    What's even more annoying is that they're not using a standard miniPCIe or M.2 wifi card instead with some internal U.Fl to RP-SMA coax cabling from somewhere else (right behind the PCIe 1x slots comes to mind) on the board.

    Btw, it seems thay are using something that's more than PCIe x1 but less than PCIe x4.. nice and proprietary.
  • Antronman - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Not even Asus' top end, and it already blows away the competition... Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Yeah I'm surprised what a value it actually is. Sub-$200 and you get Intel Gigabit, Xonar-class audio, M.2, VRM heatsinks and all the typical Z97 stuff. I also like the 90-series motherboard color schemes. They're actually reminiscent of ASRock's. The 80-series Asus boards had a weird color combo (yellow DIMM slots, for example) but ASRock had this Black/Gold theme.

    And I don't care what people say, I've had Asus boards since the i486 days and every single one has been incredibly solid.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Where're you finding it for <$200? Newegg has it at $219. The shopping search in the where to buy link picks up several lower spec models in the same family. Reply
  • owan - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Reading all these z97 reviews only underscores how badly intel needs to increase the number of available PCIe lanes, particularly the 3.0 lanes off the CPU Reply
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    That's why Intel has the enthusiast socket 2011 platform. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Unfortunately Intel's kept it crippled by delaying the enthusiast CPUs using it until they complete all the extra testing/validation they claim is needed for Xeons but not regular consumer parts. If they'd release the enthusiast parts at about the same time as the mass market ones and then the Xeon's a year later it'd get much more respect. As it stands, it's basically just smoke and mirrors. Reply
  • rchris - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Appreciate the fine review. However, I really wish product reviews would include some data or sampling of the manufacturer's customer service performance. I know there are feedback comments on sites such as, but they are all horror stories and it's hard to tell if they represent what typically happens when you get a lemon and have to deal with it. Reply
  • ggathagan - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    What would be better would be an investigative article that dealt solely with the quality of customer service from all the manufacturers over a period of, say 2-3 months.

    There are only a handful of motherboard providers. To add this to every review would be needlessly redundant.

    Customer service tends to be quite hit-or-miss, since so much of it depends on the individual who takes your call.
  • Farwalker2u - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Hysteresis, the dependence of the output of a system not only on its current input, but also on its history of past inputs.
    I had to look it up.

    I never knew there was such a system. Your suggestion for additional fan settings with this as part of the mix makes sense.
  • demonqueller - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    No Firewire ports on this board either. Since they were lacking on Asrock's and MSI's offerings, does this mean Firewire is dead? Those of us with external Firewire audio interfaces have to rely once again on third-party add-on cards. Not a huge deal, but the extra cost (and crowding on the board) is annoying. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Yeah, it's more or less dead. At this point it's not even so much the $5-10 that adding the controller/port increases the retail cost. It's that the controller eats a PCIe lane and Intel doesn't give us enough of them; virtually every mid/high end ATX motherboard is either having lane allocation switched around in software or using a PLX as a port multiplier to add more lanes. FW lingered as long as it did because as long as you had a PCI controller (either in the chipset or a PCIe-PCI bridge chip) you could hang several devices off it for the cost of routing traces to them.

    The rumor is that Intel will be increasing CPU PCIe lanes on Skylake from 16 to 20; but with that ostentatiously being about PCIe based storage; they really need to offer an enthusiast chipset with 12 or 16 lanes instead of 8 too.
  • demonqueller - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Yes, more lanes would be nice. ... I'm building a new rig using the 4790K chip to replace my ancient CoreDuo 8400. I haven't settled on a board yet; I'm wavering between this ASUS or ASrock's Extreme 6. The computer primarily will be used for music recording / mixing, but I also do 3D work. Anyway, my old rig, with a max of 8GB RAM struggled. I hope that won't be an issue anymore with 32GB, even if I'm using a PCI card to support my Firewire ports. Reply
  • AbRASiON - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I see 6 onboard USB ports at the back (header not included) and 2 of the ports are still USB2.
    Can I remind everyone, it's 2014.
    2 0 1 4.

    Let it go Indy, let it go.
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Bring it up with Intel. They only put 6 USB3 ports in the chipset. Just about any board out today with 10+ USB3 ports (and a lot with only 8, but not this one) are putting hubs on the board to get the port count up. Full, and to a less extent mATX, don't have enough pcie lanes for real controllers without spending more on a PLX.

    I haven't seen full specs for x99 anywhere; but looking at the few boards demoed at computex it's not going to be any better there. Maybe we'll get more 3.1 ports with Skylake; none of the leaks I've seen so far have that level of detail.
  • sulu1977 - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I wish they could make motherboards white, so you could see everything better. Of course, if you want to make everything harder to see then black is best. Reply
  • jay401 - Saturday, July 19, 2014 - link

    I can't find the part where you actually test the WiFi, or was your version the one without the WiFi module? Thanks. Reply
  • Wwhat - Monday, July 21, 2014 - link

    So, no USB3.1 addon chips yet then? I hear they had the thing running on FPGA at CES but so far no news on addon cards or motherboards using it as a sales trick. Reply
  • Leandro - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Ian Cutress, please review the Asrock Z97 Extreme9!!
    I´m looking for a review of this board but I don´t find anyone!
    Thank you!
  • cranialsurge - Friday, December 05, 2014 - link

    Hey guys, I have loved this site since time immemorial and have patronized it during my rig building adventures for close to a decade now. However of late the editorial quality of these posts has been pretty appalling. This article for example. I'm barely past the first paragraph and have already spotted multiple structural flaws in the grammar being used, including typos. Please don't let the quality of your language be a martyr to the incisiveness of your content.

    ~a deperate plea from a loyal follower.

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