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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…