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ASUS Z97-DELUXE NFC & WLC Motherboard Review

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ASUS Z97-DELUXE Core Hardware Features

The ASUS Z97-DELUXE series (and also Z97-PRO series) are standard ATX form-factor desktop motherboards designed for the desktop enthusiast channel. By using the entire ATX landscape into their design, ASUS packs on features like Dual Intelligent Processors 5 (which we detail in the next section), dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac wireless, BlueTooth 4.0, DTS UltraPC II audio, dual Gigabit Ethernet adapters, PWM fan headers, a four-digit POST code display, and colonies full of USB and SATA ports.

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As the name suggests, there are some added features which set the ASUS Z97-DELUXE (NFC & WLC) motherboard apart from the rest of the series. A few newly designed expansion adapters comes bundled with the Z97-DELUXE (NFC & WLC) motherboard: an ASUS ThunderboltEX II/Dual adapter that supports Intel Thunderbolt 2, an ASUS NFC Express 2 receiver and an ASUS Wireless Charger station. These may not come bundled with the other ASUS Z97 boards, but they’re all supported by them.

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As you might expect from the top desktop motherboard supplier, ASUS kits come packed with cables and accessories. There are ASUS Q-Connectors for easy attachment of wire leads onto the front panel and audio headers, a flexible NVIDIA 2-Way SLI connector, a combination wireless antenna for 802.11ac and BlueTooth 4.0, six latch-securing SATA 6 Gb/s cables, standard and mini-USB cables, standard and mini-DisplayPort cables, a Thunderbolt header connection cable, wall-mounted AC-USB power adapter, an ASUS Q-Shield I/O panel, and several user manuals for the board and various adapters.

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Utilizing Intel HD Graphics support, the ASUS Z97-DELUXE series offers on-board DisplayPort, mDP, and HDMI video outputs. The other Z97 counterparts offer DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, and VGA (analog D-Sub) connections. The Z97-DELUXE and Z-97 PRO series include support for quad-GPU NVIDIA SLI and three-way AMD CrossFireX. An SLI bridge comes with each kit, however CrossFire bridges are no longer necessary as the technology supports software-based bridging.

Audio support has been strong among desktop offerings for the past few years, and the Z97-series is no different. Realtek ALC1180 eight-channel (7.1) DTS audio comes standard on all ASUS Z97-Express boards, boasting high-quality 112 dB SNR output.

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ASUS Wi-Fi GO! delivers Dual-Band Wi-Fi 802.11ac and BlueTooth 4.0 support  for ASUS Z97-DELUXE and Z97-PRO motherboards (Z97-A lacks this features), and replaces two separate stick antennas issued with previous releases for an integrated Wi-Fi and BlueTooth antenna. Since these boards supports the very latest Wi-Fi 802.11ac specification, by using a matching AC router (the ASUS RT-AC66U would be our first choice) you’ll get great wireless performance. For cabled networking, all ASUS Z97-series boards include an Intel I218-V Gigabit LAN controller, however Z97-DELUXE adds a second network card using the Intel I211-AT controller.

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With storage device capacities ever-increasing, you’ll be surprised by so many SATA and SATA-Express connections. All of the ASUS Z97-series boards include 10 GB/s SATA Express ports and a M.2 SuperSpeed Inter-Chip based on the socket 3 design. ASUS Z97-DELUXE features eight total SATA 6 Gb/s ports and two SATA-Express ports.

In the next section, we dig deeper into the ASUS Z97-DELUXE motherboard and find out what its made of…


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