ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming Review

The Z170 Pro Gaming motherboard is the first entry into ASUS’s Pro Gaming motherboard series. For that, it comes with a  lot of promises. ASUS markets this as an affordable beast targeted at gamers.

ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming Review

So we thought we’d check it out. This review covers everything about the board, from its hardware and storage features to its heavily advertised overclocking capabilities.

Asus optimized Z170 ATX HDMI DVI-D Dual DDR4 3400 LGA1151 socket for...
  • LGA1151 socket for 6th Gen Intel Core Desktop Processors with DDR4
  • SupremeFX: Flawless audio that makes you part of the game
  • Intel Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard: Top-speed protected networking
  • USB 3.1 Type A/C & M.2: Ultra-speedy transfer for faster gaming
  • Gamer's Guardian: Highly-durable components and smart DIY features

ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming Review

Overall Assessment

Hardware and Storage

The ASUS brand has long been known for packing its boards with features, and the Z170 seems to follow the same pedigree. The ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming has four DDR4 DIMM slots in a T-topology design with a maximum capacity of 64GB.

The T-topology design delivers outstanding memory overclocking even with fully populated memory slots. It isolates outgoing signals from other components to reduce coupling noise with higher frequencies.

This allows for maximum performance of the memory and it’s found in other Z-series boards like the ASUS TUF Z270 Mark 1.

The motherboard features an M.2 slot which allows for SSD storage over the slower, mechanical HDDs. Every socket and port is protected with ESD guards. This protects it against any environmental factors like dust or moisture, which keeps all your devices going for longer.

The ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming has two fan connectors that can be used for a liquid cooling system, along with three chassis fan connectors. There are plenty of options to keep your system cool to achieve the best performance.

If that’s still not enough cooling options, the motherboard allows you to use a fan-extension card to add even more to your rig.

On the topic of cooling, the motherboard has a branded heatsink that ensures the VRM doesn’t overheat. It also matches the stealthy aesthetic, giving it that extra bit of flair.

The Chipset

Like the ASUS TUF Z390-Plus Gaming motherboard, the Z170 Pro Gaming boasts an LGA1151 Intel CPU socket that supports Intel i7, i5, i3, and 6th Gen Pentium processors.

This socket allows you to use the 9900k range of Intel processors, making your rig highly versatile and capable of running all the most intensive programs.  It also gives you a high overclocking range for the CPU and DRAM.

Rear I/O

Unlike the ASUS Strix Z270e, this motherboard doesn’t have any integrated Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. You can install a network card, but we would have liked to see a little more attention to detail here.

That’s not to say that the rear I/O isn’t impressive. It has two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, support for USB 3.1 Type-A and C, a PS/2 port for mouse and keyboard, and an Intel LAN port.

A standout feature on this motherboard when compared to the other gaming boards from ASUS like the ASUS TUF B450m-Plus Gaming, is the addition of four different graphics outputs.

An HDMI, VGA, DVI, and Display port can be found on the rear I/O. So you’ve got loads of variety when deciding which monitor to hook up.

Asus optimized Z170 ATX HDMI DVI-D Dual DDR4 3400 LGA1151 socket for...
  • LGA1151 socket for 6th Gen Intel Core Desktop Processors with DDR4
  • SupremeFX: Flawless audio that makes you part of the game
  • Intel Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard: Top-speed protected networking
  • USB 3.1 Type A/C & M.2: Ultra-speedy transfer for faster gaming
  • Gamer's Guardian: Highly-durable components and smart DIY features

Game On

ASUS prioritizes two areas to ensure that the Z170 Pro Gaming stays true to its name. These areas are audio and performance.

The Z170 Pro Gaming makes use of the SupremeFX codec, based on the REALTEK LC1220. It has an ES9023 HD converter and an operational amplifier ensuring that the audio stays crisp.

It has an isolated and shielded audio design. This eliminates any noise interference from the other components, which is crucial for its high-quality sound.

Lastly, it uses Sonic Radar technology. Gamers love this system as it uses advanced AI to provide positional sound in-game.

On the performance side, The ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming has a total of three PCIe slots that support CrossFire and SLI.

This allows you to use three graphics cards simultaneously, giving you your favorite games at their highest settings.

ASUS included the Game First III software that enables you to optimize your network to achieve lower ping for better streaming and downloading.

BIOS and Overclocking

The Z190 Pro Gaming UEFI BIOS has EZ and Advanced modes, both of which offer several settings.

EZ mode is home to the fan control and storage configuration settings, whilst the Advanced mode focuses on overclocking options.

Advanced mode includes an AI Tweaker tab that allows you to adjust CPU and DRAM settings to achieve maximum performance.

Not only can you set the voltage of separate components on the motherboard, but there’s also a Monitor tab that allows you to keep an eye on all your components. You can make sure that everything is running at the right temperature, giving you peace of mind.

A tool tab allows you to change up overclocking profiles and optimize your system without an operating system. Using these settings, you can achieve a stable system overclock at 4.8GHz

If overclocking in the BIOS doesn’t do it for you, Five-way optimization software allows for the overclocking of the CPU, GPU, and other components with ease. It’s a simple way for newcomers to experiment safely with overclocking.

Pros

  • Innovative audio system
  • Affordable
  • A good number of rear I/O ports
  • Variety of software available
Asus optimized Z170 ATX HDMI DVI-D Dual DDR4 3400 LGA1151 socket for...
  • LGA1151 socket for 6th Gen Intel Core Desktop Processors with DDR4
  • SupremeFX: Flawless audio that makes you part of the game
  • Intel Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard: Top-speed protected networking
  • USB 3.1 Type A/C & M.2: Ultra-speedy transfer for faster gaming
  • Gamer's Guardian: Highly-durable components and smart DIY features

Cons

  • No integrated Wi-Fi
  • Few RGB options or color 

Common Questions about ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

How does this motherboard compare to the other z-series gaming boards?

The Z170 Pro Gaming has two major benefits for gamers when compared to the other Z-series motherboards like the ASUS TUF Z370-Plus Gaming.

The first is having a varied number of display options, allowing gamers to use multiple monitors. 

The second benefit is the use of SLI as well as having an additional PCIe slot.

Does this board have a BIOS flashback button?

The ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming unfortunately has no BIOS flashback or a Clear CMOS button.      

Customer Reviews

“This is an incredible motherboard with a BIOS interface that is simple to access. There is a good amount of PCIe connectors and USB ports. I did however run into a problem that caused my BIOS to crash after using my 7th gen processor and therefore a BIOS flashback button would be great, but that is a feature this board lacks. Luckily, I was able to go to my closest computer repair shop and they got everything back up and running again. I am also certain that ASUS will gladly assist if you give them a call.”

Ninjalest

5/5 stars

“In terms of performance, this is a beast of a motherboard. I did however have a problem with the overall shape of the board. I have a Corsair Spec-03 mid-tower ATX case and I had to force the motherboard into the case which couldn’t have been good for the board. The I/O shield also didn’t fit too easily.”

Nikhil

4/5 stars

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