ASUS Z87I-Pro Motherboard Review
featuring ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU Mini Graphics Card
There was a time, not so long ago, when going for a mini-ITX board meant compromises on features and performance. Recently though with boards like the Maximus VI Impact we have seen some very impressive engineering to bring an enthusiast level product to the mini-ITX market. Sitting at a more affordable price point in the ASUS product stack than the Impact is their Z87I-Pro and today we take a look at it as well as a product that ASUS feel compliments it nicely, the GTX 760 mini with DirectCU cooler.
The ASUS Z87I-Pro
The Z87I-Pro arrives in a compact box which notes several of the key features such as 4K support when using an integrated GPU. Bundled with our review sample we found product documentation, software CD, SATA cables and a padded I/O shield. ASUS also bundle some case/front panel extension cables and a stylish dual band Wi-Fi antenna.
ASUS go with a black and gold colour scheme on this board and powering the board we have one 8-pin connector and a 24-pin connector which sit on the edge of the PCB. These power the 12+2 phase power design which requires its own mini PCB and sticking with the enhanced design we have a layout which maximises space around the 1150 CPU socket for larger cooler. The Z87I-Pro also has digital VRM, overcurrent protection, ESD guards, solid capacitors and stainless steel back panel to enhance the build.
A single PCIe 16x slot is located on the bottom edge of the PCB and then at the bottom right we find our drive connectors. There are six in total, supporting RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD. Further up the PCB we find an internal USB 3.0 connector and next to that are our two memory slots. The memory slots are split into a dual channel configuration allowing speeds above 2900MHz with XMP profile support also included.
Round at the back panel we have a good number of connectors including fast charging functionality and the connectors start with 4x USB 2.0 before our first display output… a DVI. That sits above the BIOS reset button and a BIOS flashback in case of failure. Next up are DisplayPort and HDMI outputs along with optical out. 4x USB 3.0 are the next column of connectors and then we move on to two more USB 3.0 ports along with Intel GB LAN. A WiFi-n/Bluetooth card sits beside the 3.5mm audio connectors and the board features support for DTS Ultra PC 2 and Connect.
ASUS provide some of their own software with the board allowing us to take control of items such as fan configuration (4 headers) or delve a little deeper to overclock. We also get remote support allowing us to access the PC via smartphone or tablet.
As is expected on an ASUS board we get an advanced BIOS with the Z87I-Pro. All the key options we would expect are available and we can overclock in here too. There are also options for fast boot Finally, as always, ASUS offer USB based BIOS flashes for quick and simple updates.