ASUS Z97-Pro Wi-Fi AC Intel Z97 Motherboard Review

Jump To:

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

ASUS Z97-Pro [Wi-Fi ac] Performance Review

The ASUS Z97-Pro [Wi-Fi AC] Intel Z97 motherboard has a lot going for it, it brings a handful of features with it that weren’t available on the Z87 predecessors. When comparing the performance of the ASUS Z97-Pro [Wi-Fi ac] to the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD5H like I did, I wasn’t expecting any significant performance difference. All of the other hardware between the two systems is the same. Sure there may be some slight gains from process refinement, but ultimately that isn’t the point of the Intel Z97 chipset. The Z97 chipset brings a couple of new features like SATA Express and support for Intel 5th Generation Broadwell processors, which is going to be good in the long run.

The ASUS Z97-Pro [Wi-Fi ac] falls right into the middle of the ASUS Z97 mainstream offerings with a suggested retail price of $219.99. More than likely we will see that price come down a touch once it’s on the streets and they start running some promotions, but only time will tell if that’s the case. Personally the $200-$250 is the budget I will typically spend on a motherboard, and is usually a pretty sweet spot for a board to be in. This price point typically offers a ton of features but doesn’t break the bank. That’s not to say that I haven’t spent more on a motherboard, because I certainly have, but typically I keep it in this range.

Model Number

MSRP in USD

Z97-DELUXE (NFC & WLC)

$ 399.99

Z97-DELUXE

$ 289.99

MAXIMUS VII HERO

$ 229.99

MAXIMUS VII GENE

$ 219.99

SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK1

$ 249.99

Z97-PRO (Wi-Fi AC)

$ 219.99

SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK2

$ 179.99

Z97-A

$ 149.99

Z97-C

$ 139.99

Z97-K/CSM

$ 129.99

Z97M-PLUS

$ 134.99

Z97I-PLUS

$ 159.99

GRYPHON Z97

$ 169.99

H97-PLUS

$ 109.99

H97M-PLUS

$ 114.99

H97M-E/CSM

$ 104.99

H97I-PLUS

$ 109.99

The ASUS Z97-Pro [Wi-Fi ac] easily handled anything we threw at it today. Granted much of the performance comes from the Intel Core i7 4770K processor and memory rather than the motherboard. Though the performance of the USB and SATA is certainly dependent on the motherboard and Chipset. While that performance may be mostly dependent on the Intel Z97 chipset, there are certainly tweaks that companies like ASUS can employ to improve the performance. From within the ASUS AI Suite the performance of the SuperSpeed USB can be increased by using the USB 3.0 Boost option.

ASUS AI Suite USB 3.0 Boost

Enabling the USB 3.0 Boost is as simple as installing the AI Suite, and clicking Turbo. Once that was done we were ready to see if there were any performance gains!

ASUS AI Suite USB 3.0 Turbo Mode Results

Not that I’m surprised, but there are some pretty solid gains in the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 performance. Without the AI Suite USB 3.0 Boost enabled, my Corsair Neutron SSD was able to hit 428.3MB/s sequential read and 379.7MB/s sequential write. After the USB 3.0 Boost was enabled, the performance jumped to 447.7MB/s read and 393.1MB/s write. That’s a gain of nearly 20MB/s read and a hair over 13MB/s write!

One issue that I’ve had with several of the past LGA motherboards was the automatic overclocking. Not so much that it doesn’t work, but that it put to much voltage to my processor. It wasn’t uncommon to see a CPU VCore over 1.4 Volts which is quite a bit more than needed for my chip and we would run into some temperature issues. ASUS has refined their EZ Tuning inside the UEFI BIOS and you can guide the procedure to a certain extent.

ASUS EZ Tuning Wizard

The ASUS EZ Tuning Wizard asks a couple of questions regarding the planned usage and what type of cooling that will be used. Once it goes through all of that it will tell you what type of gains you might expect to see. Once we got through that and rebooted the system I was able to run the overclock without any temperature issues!

ASUS Z97-Pro [Wi-Fi ac] EZ Tuning Wizard

Although 1.335 Volts is still a little more than I would need to hit 4.6GHz manually with this chip. In fact, this particular i7-4770K is capable of running 4.8GHz at 1.3 Volts routinely. Although it was voltage more than needed, it wasn’t enough that the processor was overheating during the AIDA64 System Stability test.

Not that I expect the ASUS Z97-Pro [Wi-Fi ac] to have any issues down the road, but the ASUS Z97-Pro [Wi-Fi ac] is backed by a 36 month limited warranty. This will help give a little peace of mind when investing your hard earned money on the ASUS Z97-Pro [Wi-Fi ac]. At the end of the day, and it’s all said and done, the ASUS Z97-Pro [Wi-Fi ac] is a great board for only $219.99. If you’re looking to get into an LGA1150 motherboard I would definitely put the Z97-Pro [Wi-Fi ac] on your radar.

LR Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: The ASUS Z97-Pro (Wi-Fi ac) is a great motherboard if you’re looking to get into the LGA1150 Haswell/Broadwell platform. It is packed with enough features to keep most enthusiast happy, but with a price tag of only $219.99 it certainly isn’t priced out of reach.

Jump To: