August 06, 2015

ASUS Technical Seminar 2015: ASUS Z170 motherboards get not only new features but also major change in the appearance

Intel's 6th Generation CPU, codename Skylake-S will be launched in conjunction with the Intel Z170 chipset motherboards and ASUS has taken the initiative to showcase their latest Intel Z170 chipset motherboard during their Technical Seminar 2015 held in Bangkok, Thailand. 

It didn't take long before we notice the major change in appearance of the motherboards, the banner that was on display gave us the first image of what to be expected from this seminar.  

What's New on the Z170?
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The Intel 9 Series chipset launched last year supports both Intel 4th Generation, 5th Generation CPU and features both M.2 and the SATA Express that that features the 10GB/s of writing speed which deemed as a revolutionary upgrade during the time it was launched. 

Now we take a look at the Z170 chipset. Among all the new features offered, support for PCIE RAID, DDR4 memory and full range BCLK overclock for unlocked Intel Skylake-S CPU - the most notable features that will bring a whole new overclocking experience to those who favors in pushing their system to the limit.

ASUS Signature Series Z170 Motherboards Highlight

Fast lane everywhere - NVMe support, dual M.2, SATA Express, USB 3.1, the Z170 motherboards from ASUS gets you ready with the fastest transfer rate to date to ensure that you're always ready for the 10GB/s throughput.

Our previous experience with onboard audio chipset Crystal Sound 2 was a decent one and things just gotten better as ASUS has came up with a new revision under the name Crystal Sound 3. 

Instead of having to download the latest BIOS and flash it the traditional way, EZ Flash 3 will automatically search and update your BIOS to the latest version available.

Here's a feature that we're really looking forward to - the HyStream. HyStream is a new feature that allows your to mirror the content of your smartphone to your desktop monitor with ease. 

ASUS have included series of RGB LED under the area of the chipset heatsink that can be controlled with the software provided.

The ASUS Pro Clock Technology is a base clock generator that allows you to raise your base clock to a whooping 400 MHz and beyond. Working in pair with the TurboV Processing Unit for voltage and TPU control to increase stability at high base-clock frequencies when you're overclocking the system.

The screenshot above demonstrates the ASUS Pro Clock technology in action. A very significant reduction in the boot time can be seen after the base clock is raised from its original 100MHz to a whopping 400MHz. 

ASUS's mainstream Z170 signature series motherboards shares many similarities with both X99-Deluxe and X99-Pro in terms of appearance and the white colored shield does adds up the fanciness to the board itself and make it more appealing that the previous design we've seen on the mainstream Z87 and Z97 series.

ASUS TUF Series Z170 Motherboards Highlight

While the new features of the ASUS TUF Series Z170 motherboards is roughly the same as the mainstream Z170 signature series, the ASUS's TUF series motherboards which is renown for its reliability to operate under harsh condition uses different kinds of component that is much more durable under harsh condition. 

The heart of ASUS TUF series motherboards, the TUF ICe is a dedicated chip to monitor and manage both the system and thermal status of your system. Paired with the signature Thermal Radar 2 software, you can monitor and customize your CPU fans, chassis fans and assistant fans at will.

The TUF Detective app make its first debut on the Sabertooth X99 for live system information monitoring on Android smartphones. The TUF Detective 2, which appears to be an upgraded version for the TUF Detective is now made available for the Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 as well for the very same purpose.

The Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 is the only Z170 TUF series motherboard that is on display during the seminar, but we can immediately notice the resemblance in its design to the Sabertooth X99 that we've previously reviewed - TUF boards just keeps getting better and better!

ASUS ROG Series Z170 Motherboard Highlight

When ASUS announces the new ROG Maximus VIII series motherboards line up, we're quite surprise with the absent of the representative of the ITX category. ASUS never mentioned anything about the ITX model throughout the seminar, but we're curious to know if ASUS will ever release the supposed Maximus VIII Impact in the near future?   

While both Pro Gaming and ROG is made for the very same purpose - gaming, ASUS drew a clear line in between to clarify that Pro Gaming isn't the same as ROG. This time, the Z170 Pro Gaming product line up consists only 2 model, the Z170 Pro Gaming and the Z170I Pro Gaming. 

Both Z170 Pro Gaming and Z170I Pro Gaming on display seems to have gotten a new striking look in which, looks a whole lot premium that the previous generation Z97 Pro Gaming motherboards.

While installing Intel CPU is a whole lot easier nowadays, there's still a small group of users who seems to have higher tendency in touching and bending the CPU socket pins by accident compared to others. ASUS has came up with an additional CPU installation tool to ensure CPU installation is safe and easy. 

The fan control is totally wicked! Not only that you are allowed to modify the fan mode, you're given an independent water pump fan header for your water cooling system, solely just for that purpose!  

SupremeFX has always been the signature on-board audio chipset for ROG motherboards that is as capable as the Xonar DGX PCIe sound card and ASUS has further improved it with  even better components which give birth to the new SupremeFX 2015.

The new SupremeFX 2015 can be paired with the Sonic Studio II to further enhance the audio quality according to your need. 

Currently available only on the Maximus VIII Extreme is the built-in U.2 connector which yields a whooping maximum throughput of 32GB/s! 

As USB 3.1 are still in its early stage of adoption, ASUS included only one of each USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C on its latest Z170 ROG series motherboards for the early tech adopters to get the first hand experience of the technology. 

Software wise, you'll have the USB 3.1 boost that works pretty much like the USB 3.0 boost for some extra performance but if there's any necessity.

The KeyBot microprocessor was first introduced on Z97 ROG series motherboard as to allows you to record keyboard macros for various purpose without needing any keyboard with specialized macro keys.

The KeyBot II is basically an new revision of the KeyBot that has been further improved. One of the new feature is known as the Directional Exchange, which allows you to switch the direction of your recorded macro so that you can have 1 single set of macro that works on both way. 

Same as the mainstream Z170 signature series motherboards, the Z170 ROG series motherboards comes ready with RGB LED under the area of the chipset heatsink that can be configured with the software available.

The biggest surprise of the day, the once signature red-black theme has been changed to red-grey theme. While the Z170 ROG series motherboards still looks awesome, we're unsure with the outcome of the sudden change in color - as the ROG branding has always been red-black and many has gone accustomed with it might resent the new color scheme?