ASUS Z97 Series Motherboard MegaThread: FAQ and Resources




Hello, welcome to ASUS Z97 series Motherboards' MegaThread!



Introduction

This article links and puts all relevant info from various websites about all Asus Z97 boards, sans the Maximus series, which is being done on a different MegaThread. This MegaThread will attempt to put all resources for a given Z97 Asus board (minus Maximus series) under one hood.


Asus Z97 Motherboard MegaThread


Z97 is the latest chipset from Intel, supporting the current Haswell and upcoming Broadwell CPUs. Asus has its own threshold of boards, ranging from entry level budget friendly boards to extreme overclocking and gaming beasts to workstation level boards. This MegaThread covers and links all valuable resources regarding each of these boards, under one hood, minus the Maximus series boards.


Common links:


  • Asus Z97 series boards comparison table: A rough compilation and comparison of all the features each board has to offer:Click me
  • Z97 boards official tech support thread:Click me
  • Asus Z97 boards Haswell Overclocking guide/ impression:Click me
  • VRM info of all Z97 boards:Click me



NOTE: This thread is created to link useful info and resources about Asus Z97 boards under one hood. Technical points and relevant info are always welcome. But absolutely under NO circumstances will flame wars, fanboyism, biased opinions, irrelevant comments be tolerated. Mods will appropriately deal in such situations. Such posts will be deleted and the user, if defualting multiple times, may even be banned. These apply in addition to the general forum and posting rules. Users are advised not to populate the thread with 'Thanks, that was helpful' posts as even they may get deleted. Useful info and points will under no circumstances be sandwiched between not-so-important stuff.


_________________________________________


NOTE: Z97 A and Z97 AR; Z97 Pro and Z97 Pro Wifi AC; Z97 Deluxe and Z97 Deluxe NFC & WLC are respectively the same boards hardware wise. Z97 AR has different color scheme than Z97 A. Z97 Pro WiFi AC has WiFi in addition to Z97 Pro. Z97 Deluxe NFC & WLC has NFC and WLC in addition to Z97 Deluxe. Moreover Z97 Sabertooth Mark 2 is a Mark 1 without the armour. They’re same hardware wise.


Signature Series Boards:


Asus Z97-A



Official board page: Click me

Specifications: Click me

CPU support list: Click me

BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

Review database: Click me

General Overclocking results:
Result 1
Result 2

FAQs:
Click me

Current prices in,
USA: Click me
UK: Click me

Software insights:
Click me

Firmware insights:
Click me


Some useful info/ facts:

The Z97-A's M.2 slot is limited to PCIe drives; it won't work with SATA-based M.2 SSDs. The slot also shares bandwidth with the SATA Express port.

The processor's 16 Gen3 PCIe lanes can be devoted solely to the first slot or split evenly between the first and second for CrossFire and SLI duos. Running double-wide graphics cards in those slots will obscure access to the PCI slots.

Z97-A serves up a third PCIe x16 slot tied to the chipset. This slot is limited to two Gen2 lanes, which is insufficient for multi-GPU setups but just fine for other expansion cards. The PCIe x1 slots are also connected to the chipset. They share bandwidth with the M.2 slot in the top left corner, and they can't be used alongside a mini SSD.

Z97-A has a button for MemOK!, a feature that cycles through different memory profiles for finicky DIMMs. The board also includes onboard switches for system power, XMP profiles, automatic overclocking, and intelligent power-saving measures.


Thoughts and opinions:

The board is a well-built and feature laden board, combined with superb OCing ability, this is a worthy choice for high end gamers on a budget.



Z97-AR


Official board page: Click me

Specifications: Click me

CPU support list: Click me

BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

Review Database: Click me

General Overclocking results: Results

FAQs: Click me

Current prices in,
USA: Click me
UK: Click me

Software Insights:
Click me

Firmware insights:
Click me


Some useful info/ facts:

The DIMMS are color coded black and dark grey for differentiation (dual channel memory operation).

The M.2 slot uses the same lanes as the two PCIe x 1 slots.

The chipset rests below some decently sized passive cooling and just behind the SATA Express and four SATA ports. The Z97-AR supports all the normal RAID levels and SSD performance requirements like TRIM while SSDs are configured for RAID.

Additionally, you will find things like a MEMOK! Button an EZ XMP Switch, an EPU Switch, a TPU Switch, and Power-on Button.
MEMOK! Button – When installing RAM, there are circumstances and situations that may cause a system boot failure. Pressing this button begins automatic memory compatibility tuning for a successful boot.
TPU Switch – Allows the adjustment of CPU ratio and clock speeds
Power-on Button – this is by far my favorite feature of the new ASUS motherboards. This allows you to boot the system without having to wire a switch or short the pins with a flat head screw-driver.
EZ XMP Switch – This allows you to overclock the installed DIMMS.
EPU Switch – allows the automatic detection of current settings and intelligently moderates power consumption.


Thoughts and opinions

This is a well rounded board for a high end user, with good aesthetics and excellent placement of components. A great board for the price.



Z97-PRO



Official board page: Click me

Specifications: Click me

CPU support list: Click me

BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

Review Database:
Link 1
Link 2

General Overclocking results:
Result 1
Result 2

FAQs: Click me

Current prices in,
USA: Click me
UK: https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/asus-motherboard-z97pro]Click me

Software insights:
Click me

Firmware insights:
Click me


Some useful info/ facts:

The SATA ports are arranged such that the SATA Express port is nearest the 24-pin ATX, followed by four chipset SATA 6 Gbps ports and two SATA 6 Gbps from the ASMedia controller.

The PCIe slots are arranged in a typical fashion, with an x1 at the top followed by x16, x1, x1, x8, x1 and an x4. When a device is placed in the x8 slot, the x16 will reduce down to x8 to compensate.

VRMs and capacitors info: Click me

Bandwidth layout explained: Click me


Thoughts and opinions:

This is a great board for multi GPU fun and OCing alike, albeit at a premium price, but you get high quality components in return, a good deal indeed.



Z97-PRO(Wi-Fi ac)


Official board page: Click me

Specifications: Click me

CPU support list: Click me

BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

Review Database:
Review 1
Review 2
Review 3
Review 4

General Overclocking results: Results

FAQs: Click me

Current prices in,
USA: Click me
UK: Click me

Software Insights:
Click me

Firmware insights:
Click me


Some useful info/ facts:

The heatsinks are designed to allow large coolers, however due to the close proximity of the DRAM slots, users with taller memory might have to rely on slightly smaller CPU coolers in order to fit a full set of memory.

At the top right of the motherboard is the MemOK button, used to recover memory settings from a failed overclock without losing the rest of the BIOS settings in the process. Below this is the EZ XMP switch, a new addition for Z97 that allows users to enable XMP at the touch of a button and without entering BIOS.

At the top right of the motherboard is the MemOK button, used to recover memory settings from a failed overclock without losing the rest of the BIOS settings in the process. Below this is the EZ XMP switch, a new addition for Z97 that allows users to enable XMP at the touch of a button and without entering BIOS.

The ASUS Z97-Pro features the Intel LGA1150 socket that is powered by a DIGI+ 12-phase power delivery system. Surrounding the CPU socket is a series of 12 chokes and a handful of high quality solid capacitors, these are all part of the DIGI+ 12-phase CPU power delivery.


Thoughts and opinions

This board has great connectivity options in addition to superb general performance, making it a top buy in the high end segment.



Asus Z97-Pro Gamer


Official board page: Click me

Specifications: Click me

CPU support list: Click me

BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

Review database:
Review 1
Review 2
Review 3

General Overclocking results:
Results 1
Results 2

FAQs: Click me

Current prices in,
USA: Click me
UK: Click me

Software insights:
Click me

Firmware insights:
Click me


Some useful info/ facts:

The ASUS Z97-Pro Gamer comes with a digital 8+2 phase power design. The CPU gets eight phases and the memory can rely on two phases for stable current delivery.

ASUS equipped the Z97-Pro Gamer with four angled SATA ports. All of them are directly wired to the PCH. Additionally you find a SATA-Express port as well as an M.2 slot. There are five fan headers on the Z97-Pro Gamer

Board is in a Red-black ROG theme with black PCB and black heat-sinks with red graphics. The board features a M.2 Socket 3 for M-Key, type 2260/2280 devices. UEFI BIOS is stored in a Winbond 64MB 8-Pin DIP Package chip, installed in a DIP socket 8-Pin for easy user replacement.

Standby Power LED lights up to indicate that the system is ON, in sleep mode or in soft-off mode and four QLEDs checks key components(CPU, DRAM, VGA Card and booting devices) in sequence during motherboard booting process. An error and diagnostic LED flashes, indicating some problem with the corresponding component.

Expansion Slots: 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (Single at x16, dual at x8/x8), 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode, black), 2 x PCIe x1, 2 x PCI slots.


Thoughts and opinions:

The company’s only Gamer series non-ROG board for the Z97 chipset, this board delivers performance for the price asked, and more! A great choice for OverClockers, Gamers and power users.



Z97 Deluxe



Official board page: Click me

Specifications: Click me

CPU support list: Click me

BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

Review Database: Click me

General Overclocking results:
Result 1
Result 2

FAQs: Click me

Current prices in,
USA: Click me
UK: Click me


Software insights: Click me

Firmware insights:
Click me
Click me


Some useful info/ facts:

The board's bottom edge has a bunch of buttons for those of you that use a test bench or like to reach into the case, as well as a header for that Thunderbolt card and a POST LED indicator.

There are six 4-pin fan headers spaced across the Z97-DELUXE, all with fairly decent fan controls in the BIOS.

The dual-phase DIMM VRM does not get any heatsinks, but feature the same chokes as the CPU VRM.

The first x16 slot has full x16 bandwidth, second has x8 bandwidth and third has x4 bandwidth. Dual GPU config runs at x8/x8, three way at x8/x4/x4. There are four x1 connectors as well.


Thoughts and opinions:

A truly ‘high-end’ board with all major connectivity options, multi GPU ability and excellent software suite to compliment it, this board is great for any power user, with lots of customization options.



Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC)


Official board page: Click me

Specifications: Click me

CPU support list: Click me

BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

Review Database: Click me

General Overclocking results:
Result 1
Result 2

FAQs: Click me

Current prices in,
USA: Click me
UK: Click me

Software Insights:
Click me
Click me

Firmware insights:
Click me
Click me


Some useful info/ facts:

Dropping all legacy connectivity here, The ASUS Z97-DELUXE has three PCIe x16 slots and four PCIe x1 slots. There are four DIMM slots with support for a total of 32 GB at speeds of up to 3300 MHz with an OC.

The 16-phase CPU VRM features the same sort of color with yet another odd mix of shapes comprising that large chunk of metal that sits over the VRM MOSFETs. The dual-phase DIMM VRM does not get any heatsinks at all, but feature the same chokes as the CPU VRM.

Near the top-right corner are physical MemOK! and EZ XMP controls; MemOK! makes sure your installed DIMMs can boot and EZ XMP enables XMP functions of installed DIMMs without having to enter the BIOS.

Once you press the power switch, the system will power up, with a series of LEDs in different places lighting up in succession to indicate which phase of the boot process the board is in, so you will have a good idea of the area with a problem should that boot fail; CPU and DRAM LEDs light up first, of course. After those two, VGA and BOOT device LEDs will light up, although you might miss those if you have Window8/8.1 installed and FAST BOOT enabled, as it all happens so quickly.


Thoughts and opinions

A truly premium which provides all premium features and more for the price tag. Great for OCing and with eye catching aesthetics, this is a great bang for buck.



Z97-K/CSM



Official board page: Click me

Specifications: Click me

CPU support list: Click me

BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

Review Database: Click me

General Overclocking results: Results

FAQs: Click me

Current prices in,
USA: Click me
UK: Click me

Software Insights: AI Suite is similar to that in other Asus Z97 boards.

Firmware insights: Click me


Some useful info/ facts:

The board has PCIe slots in the following from the top: x1, x16, x1, x16. The last x16 slot runs at x4 maximum bandwidth.

The ASUS Z97-K sports a 4 phase power design which is amongst the lowest, although ASUS uses top quality components on their motherboards and this board does have the ability to OC moderately.

It offers ASUS HomeCloud, Turbo LAN and the ASUS AI Suite.


Thoughts and opinions:

Thought not ideal for OCing, this board packs all standard Z97 features for a reasonable price, and the inclusion of some premium features like M.2 slot makes it worth its price.



Z97 C



Official board page: Click me

Specifications: Click me

CPU support list: Click me

BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

Review Database: No thorough reviews found. But gauging from 6 Digi Power phases with M.2 slot, it looks like a good multipurpose board with fair OCing ability.

General Overclocking results: No concrete results found, user discussions indicate it’s a good board for OCing, thanks to 6 Power phases on VRMs and usage of high quality chokes.

FAQs: Click me

Current prices in,
USA: Click me
UK: Click me

Software Insights: AI Suite is similar to that in other Asus Z97 boards.

Firmware insights: The Z97-C’s BIOS is similar to Z97-K and Z97-A. Some sample images:
Click me


Some useful info/ facts:

The M.2 slot shares bandwidth with SATAe slot.

The 2nd x16 slot runs at x2 speeds by default.


Thoughts and opinions

This is a great general purpose boards with a host of features and good OCing ability. Highly recommended for single GPU builds.



Z97M-PLUS




Official board page: Click me

Specifications: Click me

CPU support list: Click me

BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

Review database: No appropriate reviews found.

General Overclocking results: N/A. Thermals and Power phases indicate it’ll be a good (but not awesome) board for OCing.

FAQs: Click me

Current prices in,
USA: Click me
UK: Click me

Software: AI Suite is quite similar in appearance to other boards.

Firmware insights: Refer to Google images. Sample image: Click me


Some useful info/ facts:

The M.2 slot shares bandwidth with SATA III ports.

The board features 4 phase VRM design, which is not the best for OCing, but fine enough for some moderate OCing fun.


Thoughts and opinions:

The board features great quality for a premium price.



Asus Z97I-Plus



Official board page:Click me

Specifications:Click me

CPU support list: Click me

BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

Review database: Click me

General Overclocking results:
Result 1
Result 2

FAQs: Click me

Current prices in,
USA: Click me
UK: Click me

Software insights: Click me

Firmware insights: Click me


Some useful info/ facts:

The ASUS Z97I-Plus features a fully digital 6+2 phase power design. The CPU gets six phases and the memory gets a stable current supply from two phases.

On the Z97I-Plus the PCH is being cooled by a passive cooling block. A closer look at the area where the VRM is, shows there is one additional heatsink - one is on the front-side and the other is located on the back-side.

ASUS equips this board with a WiFi adaptor. In this case it's a modern dual-band adaptor which supports WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac.


Thoughts and opinions:

The design as well as the build quality is on an excellent level, it OCes like any other high end board, an amazing board of the right size, well, atleast for some!
5 answers Last reply
More about asus z97 series motherboard megathread links faq
  1. TUF Series Boards


    SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 1


    Official board page: Click me

    Specifications: Click me

    CPU support list: Click me

    BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

    Review Database: Click me

    General Overclocking results: Result 1
    Result 2

    FAQs: Click me

    Current prices in,
    USA: Click me
    UK: Click me

    Software Insights:
    Click me

    Firmware insights:
    Click me


    Some useful info/ facts:

    The current converters are being held at adequate temperatures via a passive heatpipe cooling solution. There are two separate cooling blocks covering the area, which are connected via a heatpipe. The southbridge got a cooling block too, which has not been integrated into the heatpipe loop of the VRM. The fact that the cooling blocks around the CPU socket aren't too big, makes it comfortable to install a big aircooler. They are of very high manufacturing quality of the cooling blocks.

    There is two slots space in between the first and the second one. This means, that graphics cards, even in SLI/CrossFire won't run into temperature issues.

    Totally you'll find seven fan headers on the ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 which is more than enough, to provide a well equipped midrange or even a high-end-system with fresh air. Apart from that there are two additional, special fan headers to connect 35 millimeter assist fans to the board.

    The motherboard has an 8 Phase CPU Digital Power Design.

    The black PCIe slot is a mechanical x16 slot Gen 2.0 running a max of 4x lanes. The Brown and beige slots are x16 Gen 3.0 slots. use one expansion card and it'll assign 16 PCIe lanes, use two and that will split into x8/x8 still gen 3.0 though, so that is more than plenty bandwidth. There are 3 x PCIe x1 slots as well.

    Asus delivers dust plugs, tweaked the position of the circuit board's ventilation holes, and added adjustable ducting around the CPU socket.


    Thoughts and opinions

    Excellent quality board with server level performance and tempting aesthetics, this is rightly called the flagship TUF.



    Z97 Sabertooth Mark 2


    Official board page: Click me

    Specifications: Click me

    CPU support list: Click me

    BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

    Review Database: Click me

    General Overclocking results: The majority of OCing reviews are for Mark 1, which features thermal armour. The OCing ability of Mark 2 is similar due to same hardware.
    Result 1
    Result 2

    FAQs: Click me

    Current prices in,
    USA: Click me
    UK: Click me

    Software Insights: The software is same as in Mark 1.
    Click me

    Firmware insights:
    Click me
    Click me


    Some useful info/ facts:

    The TUF Thermal Radar monitors temperatures in critical areas of the motherboard in real time, automatically adjusting fan speeds to make sure the system maintains high stability without overheating. There are multiple sensors for various components on the motherboard, giving users the ability to monitor each one individually. The Thermal Radar calculates ideal fan speeds based on different parameters selected by users for each component, keeping everything cooler and longer lasting.

    Looking inside, the capacitors are rated 10'000 hours operating time, which is excellent. Other than that there are new chokes on this board, which come with increased surface area in order to optimize heat dissipation

    The current VRMs are being held at adequate temperatures via a passive heatpipe cooling solution. There are two separate cooling blocks covering the area, which are connected via a heatpipe. The southbridge got a cooling block too, which has not been integrated into the heatpipe loop of the VRM. The fact that the cooling blocks around the CPU socket aren't too big, makes it comfortable to install a big aircooler. It can be identified that the cooling blocks are of very high quality.

    We've got three PCIe x1 slots along with three PCIe x16 slots. As for the setup of those PCIe x16 slots, the bottom most black one runs at just 4x. As for the other two, if you're using just one, your video card will run at 16x. If you're going to be making use of CrossFire or SLI, though, like the Z87 platform, both cards will be running at 8x.


    Thoughts and opinions

    The board features very high quality components with guaranteed durability at a reasonable price, with amazing OCing capabilities and expansions, this is a great board for any enthusiast to own.



    Z97 Gryphon



    Official board page: Click me

    Specifications: Click me

    CPU support list:Click me

    BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

    Review Database: Review 1
    Review 2


    General Overclocking results: Results

    FAQs: Click me

    Current prices in,
    USA: Click me
    UK: Click me

    Software Insights:
    Click me

    Firmware insights:
    Click me


    Some useful info/ facts:

    ASUS has reinstated their phase LED system whereby when the system boots an LED moves from the CPU node to the DRAM node to the GPU node to the boot device node and if it stops at any of them then that particular node is encountering an issue.

    Around the side we find the DRAM LED node, a memOK button, the USB 3.0 header and the SATA ports.

    The CPU socket area has an 8 phase VRM design and is enclosed by a thermal armor cage.


    Thoughts and opinions

    The board is basically the ROG equivalent of the TUF series. With 10K ti-Caps, new alloy chokes, low RDS MOSFETS and an extensive complement of electrostatic discharge guards, this server grade tested board is an amazing mATX board at a reasonable price tag.
  2. Workstation Series Boards


    Z97 WS


    Official board page: Click me

    Specifications: Click me

    CPU support list: Click me

    BIOS and Driver Updates: Click me

    Review Database:
    Review 1
    Review 2
    Review 3

    General Overclocking results:
    [url=http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/6292/asus-z97-ws-workstation-intel-Result 1
    Result 2

    FAQs: Click me

    Current prices in,
    USA: Click me
    UK: Click me

    Software Insights:
    Link 1
    Link 2

    Firmware insights:
    Link 1
    Link 2


    Some useful info/ facts:

    Aside from the circuitry directly under the CPU VRM chips, the boards back is almost entirely clear of components and fragile circuitry.

    The Q-Code Logger button can be used to dump all debug codes cycled through since system startup. Simply plug in a USB drive into the bottom USB 2.0 port (to the left of the button) and press the button for 3 seconds until the integrated LED blinks three times, indicating that the Q-Code Logger functionality is enabled.

    The USB BIOS Flashback button can be used to re-flash the BIOS without having to boot the system into the UEFI BIOS interface or DOS. Simply plug in a USB drive containing the proper BIOS file in the root of the drive into the bottom USB 2.0 port (to the left of the button) and press the button for 3 seconds until the integrated LED begins to flash.

    ASUS designed the Z97-WS with a total of seven PCI-Express device ports - four PCI-Express x16 slots, one PCI-Express x4 slot, and two PCI-Express x1 slots. For the PCI-Express x16 slots, the board supports full x16 bandwidth with a single card in PCI-Express x16 slot 1, x16 bandwidth with dual cards PCI-Express x16 slots 1 and 3, x16 / x8 / x8 in tri-card configuration populating PCI-Express x16 slots 1, 3, and 4, and x8 bandwidth in quad-card mode with cards populating PCI-Express x16 slots 1, 2, 3, and 4.

    Along the lower left of the fourth PCI-Express x16 slot are the two 2-digit Q-Code LED debug displays.

    To the lower right of the DIMMM slots are the EZ XMP switch, the MEMOK! button, a 4-pin chassis fan header, the TPU switch, and the EPU switch.

    The board contains a total of 8 digital power phases to ensure board stability under all operating conditions.


    Thoughts and opinions

    With quad GPU capability and brilliant quality, this board is capable of handling even the most powerful Intel builds with ease.
  3. Add the PRO GAMER too. I know it's not available in the US; but it's a Z97 nonetheless.
  4. cst1992 said:
    Add the PRO GAMER too. I know it's not available in the US; but it's a Z97 nonetheless.


    Added!
  5. Hello. I need some help with my Asus motherboard and getting Raid setup. I already have a thread about this.

    Here is a link: http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-2993932/samsung-850-pro-ssd-showing-raid.html

    Thank you for the help.
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