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ASUS Z170 Deluxe Motherboard Review

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Hardware Installation

Hardware Installation


In order to test how different hardware combinations will fit onto the ASUS Z170 Deluxe, we installed a Noctua NH-U12S, an 8GB dual channel kit of G.Skill DDR4-3600 RipJaws V memory, and an MSI GTX 980Ti Lightning video card.


The MSI 980Ti Lightning is not only a perfect match for this motherboard, it is also a long length, tri-slot GPU so it should so it should provide a good reference for other premium video cards and highlight any spacing issues. The NH-U12S is a moderately sized aftermarket CPU cooler so it should provide a good reference for other coolers so we can see if there any clearance issues around the CPU socket. We installed the memory in the two sockets closest to the CPU to ensure clearance with 4 DIMMs.

air2_sm.jpg
air3_sm.jpg

Because the Deluxe is an ATX form factored motherboard the amount of room between the memory slots and CPU socket is limited, but there should be no clearance issues with all slots populated with standard height RAM. By the same token, very deep CPU cooling solutions will overhang the first and possibly second slots, so proper heatsink selection will be as important this generation as it was the last.

air5_sm.jpg
water3_sm.jpg

Users who are interested in memory cooling devices should be aware that you will likely run into clearance issues with any air-based CPU cooling solution - even thin profile ones. There just is not enough room to properly mount both a CPU cooler and memory cooler. This is not surprising as it was par for the course last generation, and nothing has drastically changed for this generation on the board design and layout side of the equation. If your RAM truly needs active cooling we recommend taking the plunge into water cooling to reduce compatibility problems.

On the positive side, our Noctua NH-U12S had no issues with physically clearing the MOSFET heatsinks, but once again proper CPU cooling selection will be an important as not every tower cooler will be as forgiving. Since the heatsinks, heatsink fascia, and the 4 RAM slots encompass all four sides of the CPU socket the amount of room between them and a typical heatsink's mounting bracket is limited. So while larger CPU cooling solutions will technically fit, many will take a contortionist to install all four mounting bolts. Even the smaller Noctua U12 took a lot of patience to get all four bolts and two mounting brackets installed.

water1_sm.jpg
water2_sm.jpg

Switching from air to water cooling proved much more uneventful as there is more than enough room between the waterblock and its adjacent components. Once again the gap is rather small and larger water blocks could be a tricky proposition, but installing a typically designed block should prove to be a much easier proposition than installing a tower cooler.

air6_sm.jpg
air7_sm.jpg

Thanks to the PCI-E slot layout there will be plenty of room between the CPU socket and GPU. By moving the first 16x slot down one space, and using an x1 for the first slot instead, ASUS has neatly sidestepped any potential problems between the two core components. We wish more companies used such a layout as it should be the de-facto standard.

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air_prob3_sm.jpg

With that being said while this motherboard can easily accommodates dual and even triple slot graphics cards, longer cards will overhang the edge of the motherboard. This will make accessing some of the SATA ports more difficult and we recommend installing your SATA cables before installing your GPU if you opt for dual GPU solutions.

air_prob_sm.jpg

Another minor issue that while the 4-pin fan header locations are much better on this board than some other ASUS motherboards we have recently look at, their location is still less than optimal. The above picture is the worst case scenario, and as long as you do not opt for overly large air based coolers consumers will not run into too many issues.

Overall, the layout and design of the ASUS Z170 Deluxe is everything we have come to expect from their Deluxe line. That is to say it is well above average with a layout that allows for a fairly hassle-free installation; albeit one that is not completely issue free. As long as you are aware of the few minor potential problems and take them into account when making your other hardware component section, you shouldn’t run into any major problems. We wish all motherboards we are as easy to work with.
 
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AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Test System & Testing Methodology

Test System & Testing Methodology


To full test the built in overclocking abilities of a given motherboard, we have broken down testing into multiple categories:

Stock Turbo Boost - To represent a 6770K at stock with turbo enabled.

5-Way Software OC - To represent a Z170 Deluxe at best proven stable overclock achieved via included software based overclocking (4.7GHz).

Manual OC –To represent an experienced overclocker that is looking for the optimal long term overclock to maximize system performance while keeping voltage and temperatures in check (4.8GHz).

We chose benchmark suites that included 2D benchmarks, 3D benchmarks, and games; and then tested each overclocking method individually to see how the performance would compare.

The full list of the applications that we utilized in our benchmarking suite:

3DMark 8
3DMark 2013 Professional Edition
AIDA64 Extreme Edition
Cinebench R11.5 64-bit
SiSoft Sandra 2013.SP4
SuperPI Mod 1.5mod
RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.2.5
Sleeping Dogs Gaming Benchmark
Metro: Last Light Gaming Benchmark
Tomb Raider
BioShock Infinite


Instead of LinX or P95, the main stability test used was the AIDA64 stability. AIDA64 has an advantage as it has been updated for the Haswell architecture and tests specific functions like AES, AVX, and other instruction sets that some other stress tests do not touch. After the AIDA64 stability test was stable, we ran 2 runs of SuperPI and 2 runs of 3DMark to test memory and 3D stability. Once an overclock passed these tests, we ran the full benchmark suite and then this is the point deemed as “stable” for the purposes of this review.

To ensure consistent results, a fresh installation of Windows 8.1 was installed with latest chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) from the manufactures website. The BIOS used for overclocking and benchmarking was version 1301 and the Nvidia drivers used were version 332.21.

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font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} </style> <![endif]--> <div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/proof.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>

Our test setup consists of an Intel Haswell 6770K, ASUS Z170 Deluxe motherboard, one NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 video card, 8GB GSkill RipJaws V DDR4-3600 1.35v memory, a Intel 335 180GB SSD, and a WD Black 1TB. All this is powered by an EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 P2 1000 watt PSU.

For cooling we used a Corsair H110i AIO w/ four 140mm fans attached. For hardware installation testing we also used a Noctua NH-U12S and a XSPC Raystorm waterblock.

Complete Test System:

Processor: Intel i7 6770K ES
Memory: 8GB GSkill RipJaws V DDR4-3600
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780
Hard Drive: 1x 180GB Intel 335 SSD. Western Digial Black 1TB.
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 P2
CPU Cooler: Corsair H110i AIO

Special thanks to EVGA for their support and supplying the SuperNOVA 1000 P2.
Special thanks to G.Skill for their support and supplying the RipJaws V RAM.
Special thanks to NVIDIA for their support and supplying the GTX 780
 
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AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Feature Testing: Onboard Audio and 802.11AC Wireless

Feature Testing: Onboard Audio


<i> While the ASUS Z170 Deluxe is mainly orientated towards PC enthusiasts, the upgraded onboard audio is one of its main selling features. As such, it behooves us to see exactly what this upgrade brings to the table. To do this we have used RightMark Audio Analyzer.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/noise.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/dr.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/thd.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> </div>

While not quite as good as the RoG Hero, these numbers are still noticeably improved over past generations of Deluxe motherboards. More to the point we doubt the average consumer would be able to tell the difference between this motherboard's sound abilities versus that of any other Z170 we have looked at in the past. By the same token the onboard solution should have come with all the features found on <i>cheaper</i> RoG motherboards.


Feature Testing: 802.11AC Wireless


<i>As with the included onboard audio, the included 802.11AC wireless abilities of the ASUS Z170 Deluxe is one of its main selling features. To see exactly how good this 802.11AC upgrade brings to the table we have used some of our standard wireless testing scenarios. These tests include both real world file transfer performance and real world signal performance. The router used was an Asus RT-AC68U 'AC1900' router.

To test signal strength we use inSSIDer, a program which can graph signal strength of all wireless signals being received by the computer’s wireless NIC. For real world testing we have taken 10GB worth of small file and large file mixture and pushed from one wireless connected computer to a second computer connected via wired Ethernet. Testing will be done via MS RichCopy. For clarity sake we have averaged both the transmission and reception performance into one aggregate number.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/sig_2.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/sig_5.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/real_2.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/real_5.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> </div>

For the past few generations ASUS have consistently included <i>good</i> wireless controllers, but this new Deluxe goes well beyond that. This is because ASUS has finally dumped their antiquated 2x2 design and has gone with a much better 3x3 based unit. The numbers here really point towards utilizing this board in wireless form for most uses.
 
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AkG

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Feature Testing: USB 3.1 Performance

Feature Testing: USB 3.1 Performance


For the USB 3.1 device we have used an ASUS USB 3.1 enclosure which uses a pair of Samsung 840 EVO 250GB drives, and is powered by a ASMedia ASM1352R chipset.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/USB31/ports2.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Unfortunately this enclosure doesn't make use of USB 3.1's increased power abilities and instead uses a second USB (micro 2.0) port that uses the included 2A (10watt) wall adapter.


Crystal DiskMark


<i>Crystal DiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and random read/write speeds; and allows you to set the number of tests iterations to run. We left the number of tests at 5 and size at 100MB. </i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/cdm_r.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/cdm_w.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> </div>


Real World Data Transfers


<i>No matter how good a synthetic benchmark like IOMeter or PCMark is, it cannot really tell you how your hard drive will perform in “real world” situations. All of us here at Hardware Canucks strive to give you the best, most complete picture of a review item’s true capabilities and to this end we will be running timed data transfers to give you a general idea of how its performance relates to real life use. To help replicate worse case scenarios we will transfer a 10.00GB contiguous file and a folder containing 400 subfolders with a total 12,000 files varying in length from 200mb to 100kb (10.00 GB total).

Testing will include transfer to and transferring from the devices, using MS RichCopy and logging the performance of the drive. Here is what we found. </i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/copy_lg.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/copy_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> </div>

These results are a touch lower than what an LGA 2011-v3 system is capable of, but still bloody marvelous - and well beyond what any USB 3.0 motherboard can accomplish. Better still is ASUS' implementation of BoT - or what they call Turbo Boost - does indeed boost performance and you would be hard pressed to tell these results from internal solid state drive results.
 
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AkG

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Feature Testing: Auto-Overclocking (Software & Hardware)

Feature Testing: Software Auto-Overclocking


HotKey OC / TPU Setting #1

oc_tpu.jpg

Users have multiple ways of automatically overclocking their Z170 Deluxe. The first and simplest method is ASUS' HotKey OC option. To instantly gain a mild-overclock on a Skylake processor, all you need do is hold down the Control key and the 'T' key during POST. This tells the onboard TPU controller to spring into action and apply its factory preset overclock to the system. This process takes mere seconds, and when completed the system will reboot and show you on the full screen start-up logo and the improvement you have bestowed upon the system.

Honestly, this is the most user-friendly method of overclocking we have ever encountered and while it may not be an overly aggressive overclock, any aftermarket CPU cooling solution will be able to handle it. To be precise this one click, ten second factory preset overclock will net you a 6700K that runs at 4.3GHZ on all four cores, with an UNcore of 4.1GHZ, and your RAM's XMP profile implemented. In our case that meant boosting the RAM from DDR4-2133 to DDR4-3600 settings.

The only real negatives to this method is the fact that it is rather mild in its settings, and is a factory predefined overclock that does not take into account the abilities of your Intel LGA1151 processor. This means that in order to guarantee the overclock being stable on even the most sub-optimal of Intel processors, ASUS did have to push more voltage than is strictly necessary. On the positive side, it does allow for a fully stable overclock that will not burn out the processor.


TPU Setting #2

oc_tpu2.jpg


Anyone who purchases a Deluxe for the included features and not its overclocking abilities will be perfectly happy with the HotKey OC option. For everyone else, ASUS offers two more options, the first of which is the second TPU switch setting. This setting turned the performance dial up to 4.6GHz on our processor, and implements your RAM's XMP profile, but leaves the UNCore at 4.1GHz. This is much, much better than the OC Key / TPU 1 setting, but once again it is a factory preset and thus does use more voltage than is necessary.


5- Way Optimization

oc_soft.jpg

If there's a need for even more power ASUS also offers their best in-class ASUS AI Suite III program. This is the same application as which ships with basically all the ASUS Z170 motherboards we have looked at in the past. Usually this would be a negative since this motherboard is nearly twice the price of the Z170-A but in this case its abilities are so cutting edge and so ahead of the curve that we cannot fault ASUS for using it on their entire line-up (and not just on their Deluxe series).

To use this software's features simply navigate to the 5-Way Optimization section, and either customize a few key settings to save some time, or just press one button and walk away from the system for a few hours. When you come back your system's processor will be pushed to - nearly - the limits of it's abilities.

To be honest the largest difficulty you will have with this program is deciding on which option to choose. Both have their own pros and cons, and it will come down to what you consider is more important: single core performance, or multi-core performance. Neither option really does much more than implement your XMP profile, and neither does more than boost UNcore to 4.1GHz.

The first option is core ratio only overclocking. In our case it boosted all four cores to 4.7GHz, set the UNcore to 4.1GHz, and set our RAM to DDR4-3600 speeds. That is indeed one potent and powerful combination, but one that was easily matched by everything from the Z170 Maximus VIII Gene to the Maximus VIII Hero.

Obviously you will need a good CPU cooling solution to take advantage of this level of performance, but unlike previous generations this does not mean spending a hundred dollars or more. Instead even air based units like the Noctua U12S will do it - albeit with higher temperatures than what AIOs. In either case, thanks to the extended testing it does before considering an overclock stable, this system was rock solid and in all likelihood will stay that way for the lifetime of the system.

The second option is BCLK and ratio overclocking. This option netted us a single core speed of 4.8Ghz, but quickly went down from there based on how many cores were active. This too nets a powerful system that was completely stable and actually cooler running than the first option.

Which option is best for you will depend on your particular needs. We prefer multi-core performance over single core so we opted for the 4.7GHz on all core option, but you may feel the opposite is a more optimal solution.
 
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AkG

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Manual Overclocking Results

Manual Overclocking Results


It is no secret that many enthusiasts blamed the onboard FIVR (a fully integrated voltage regulator built into the CPU package) for the lackluster overclocking abilities of the LGA 1150 platform. Put bluntly FIVR negated all the benefits of having a cooler running core and the very fact that Intel so quickly reversed course on that so-called improvement does point towards them actually agreeing with enthusiasts' assessment.

Instead of an FIVR that controls all the major voltage rails, Intel has placed this voltage controller back on the motherboard. This not only reduces CPU temperatures but allows for much more robust voltage regulators that do not all rely on the same input voltage.

In addition to moving voltage regulation beyond the CPU package, Intel also took the time to improve upon the very foundation upon which overclocking is carried out. In the past there were two methods of overclocking Intel processors: BCLK and multiplier overclocking. Multiplier overclocking on K-series processors is the easier of the two, but BCLK did have the potential for wringing out the last ounce of performance.

Unfortunately, in past generations the PCI-E and DMI buses were directly tied to the so-called base clock. This meant that the amount of changes one could make to the BLCK before causing major issues was rather minimal. This all changed with the LGA 1151 platform. Instead of having the BCLK responsible for the timing of all those other various buses, Intel has decoupled it. This allows for rather extreme BCLK changes without extreme issues.

oc_man.jpg

On motherboard's which respect Intel's reference specifications a BCLK of 170MHz is not only possible but downright easy. The ASUS Z170 Deluxe doesn’t respect Intel's wishes in this regard and instead uses a custom solution they call "Pro Clock". This is a custom dedicated base-clock generator that works in tandem with ASUS' TPU controller.

This combination gives the ASUS Z170 Deluxe the ability to offer a BCLK that can run all the way into the high 400MHz range. That does sound rather insane, and is indeed overkill for most consumers, but this added freedom will grant even mainstream users the option of getting every last ounce of performance out of their LGA 1151 processor.

Since we already had a good idea of what our particular 6700K ES processor was capable of before running into a wall, it was actually not all that difficult to find a better overclock and then dial it in with BCLK refinements. To be honest, we are not even sure if we would have bothered with manual overclocking on this motherboard as the software based solution ASUS offers is really that good. However the combination of unhinged BCLK, a FIVR-free CPU, plenty of cooling, a robust VRM, and a decent processor meant that overclocking this new generation is actually more fun than it was on the LGA 1150 platform.

Thanks to the refinements in the BIOS and underlying technology this motherboard is not only extremely easy to work with is also extremely forgiving of mistakes. While we certainly did hang the system more times than we care to admit to, not once did we corrupt the BIOS. Instead the system would simply hang, metaphorically sigh in resignation at our stupidity, and then revert back to the standard levels with the standard "overclocking failed, press F1 to enter BIOS” message.

If by some combination of horrible luck we had corrupted the BIOS all that would take to get it back is to plug in a USB drive to the BIOS Bounce Back port on the rear IO, press a button andit would be (probably) be back up and running. This combination is impressive, but we did miss having the confidence boosting Retry and Safe Boot options that Republic of Gamer motherboards offer. The lack of this buttons is not big enough for us to classify the Deluxe as a 'poor' board for novices, but it is not the absolute best solution either. For true novices we would strongly recommend a RoG motherboard -even if it means giving up 8 virtual phases on the power delivery subsystem.

On the positive side CPU overclocking is only half the equation and on the RAM side of the equation the Deluxe is sure to please. Just as Intel unhinged the BCLK from the other buses timing, they also include more RAM ratios than ever before. As our overclock requires an 'odd' ratio of 100 instead of 133 we were very glad to see that ASUS at least included this feature! This allows for rather fine tuning memory frequencies. So much so that if you have access to the right RAM sticks you will find the limits of your processors integrated dual channel controller. We know we did.

In the end we obtained a long term stable overclock of just over 4.8GHz on all four cores of the 6700K, an Uncore of 4.3, and 3644MHz on the RAM. Needless to say this is one potent combination that while only a bit better than what 5-way optimization software will give you is still better - and well worth the effort.
 
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AkG

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System Benchmarks

System Benchmarks


In the System Benchmarks section we will show a number benchmark comparisons of the 6700K and Z170 Deluxe using the stock speed (turbo enabled), 5-Way Optimization (4.7GHz), and our manual overclock (4.8GHz). This will illustrate how much performance can be gained by the various overclocking options this board has to offer.

For reference the CPU speeds, memory speeds, memory timings, and uncore speeds used for these tests are as follows:

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/results.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> </div>

SuperPI Benchmark


<i>SuperPi calculates the number of digits of PI in a pure 2D benchmark. For the purposes of this review, calculation to 32 million places will be used. RAM speed, RAM timings, CPU speed, L2 cache, and Operating System tweaks all effect the speed of the calculation, and this has been one of the most popular benchmarks among enthusiasts for several years.
SuperPi was originally written by Yasumasa Kanada in 1995 and was updated later by snq to support millisecond timing, cheat protection and checksum. The version used in these benchmarks, 1.5 is the official version supported by hwbot.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/pi.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


CINEBENCH R11.5


<i>CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation.

In this system benchmark section we will use the x64 Main Processor Performance (CPU) test scenario. The Main Processor Performance (CPU) test scenario uses all of the system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene (from the viral "No Keyframes" animation by AixSponza). This scene makes use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The test scene contains approximately 2,000 objects which in turn contain more than 300,000 polygons in total, and uses sharp and blurred reflections, area lights, shadows, procedural shaders, antialiasing, and much more. The result is displayed in points (pts). The higher the number, the faster your processor.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/cine.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>

Sandra Processor Arithmetic & Processor Multi-Media Benchmarks


<i>SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. The software suite provides most of the information (including undocumented) users like to know about hardware, software, and other devices whether hardware or software. The name “Sandra” is a (girl) name of Greek origin that means "defender", "helper of mankind".

The software version used for these tests is SiSoftware Sandra 2013 SP3. In the 2013 version of Sandra, SiSoft has updated operating system support, added support for Haswell CPUs, as well as added some new benchmarks to the testing suite. The benchmark used below is the Processor Arithmetic benchmark which shows how the processor handles arithmetic and floating point instructions. This test illustrates an important area of a computer’s speed.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/sis.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


PCMark 8 Benchmark


<i>Developed in partnership with Benchmark Development Program members Acer, AMD, Condusiv Technologies, Dell, HGST, HP, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Samsung, SanDisk, Seagate and Western Digital, PCMark 8 is the latest version in FutureMark’s popular series of PC benchmarking tools. Improving on previous releases, PCMark 8 includes new tests using popular applications from Adobe and Microsoft.

The test used in below is the PCMark 8 Home benchmark. This testing suite includes workloads that reflect common tasks for a typical home user such as for web browsing, writing, gaming, photo editing, and video chat. The results are combined to give a PCMark 8 Home score for the system.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/pcm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


AIDA64 Benchmark


<i>AIDA64 Extreme Edition is a diagnostic and benchmarking software suite for home users that provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring. It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives.

The benchmarks used in this review are the memory bandwidth and latency benchmarks. Memory bandwidth benchmarks (Memory Read, Memory Write, Memory Copy) measure the maximum achievable memory data transfer bandwidth. The code behind these benchmark methods are written in Assembly and they are extremely optimized for every popular AMD, Intel and VIA processor core variants by utilizing the appropriate x86/x64, x87, MMX, MMX+, 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2, SSE4.1, AVX, and AVX2 instruction set extension.
The Memory Latency benchmark measures the typical delay when the CPU reads data from system memory. Memory latency time means the penalty measured from the issuing of the read command until the data arrives to the integer registers of the CPU.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/aida.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/aida_mem.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>
 
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AkG

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3D and Gaming Benchmarks

3D and Gaming Benchmarks


In the 3D and Gaming Benchmarks section we will show a number of benchmark comparisons of the 6700K and Z170 Deluxe using the stock speed (turbo enabled), highest stable software overclock of 4.7GHz and our manual overclock. This will illustrate how much performance can be gained by the various overclocking options this board has to offer.

For reference the CPU speeds, memory speeds, memory timings, and uncore speeds used for these tests are as follows:

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/results.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>

3DMark Fire Strike Benchmark


<i>The latest version of 3DMark from FutureMark includes everything you need to benchmark everything from smartphones and tablets, to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. And it's not just for Windows. With 3DMark you can compare your scores with Android and iOS devices too. It's the most powerful and flexible 3DMark we've ever created.

The test we are using in this review is Fire Strike with Extreme settings which is a DirectX 11 benchmark designed for high-performance gaming PCs. Fire Strike features real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/3dm.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> </div>

Sleeping Dogs Gaming Benchmark


<i>Sleeping Dogs is an open world action-adventure video game developed by United Front Games in conjunction with Square Enix London Studios and published by Square Enix, released on August 2012. Sleeping Dogs has a benchmark component to it that mimics game play and an average of four runs was taken.

The settings used in the testing below are the Extreme display settings and a resolution of 1920x1200. World density is set to extreme, high-res textures are enabled, and shadow resolution, shadow filtering, screen space ambient occlusion, and quality motion blur are all set to high.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/sd.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> </div>


Metro: Last Light Gaming Benchmark


<i>Metro: Last Light is a DX11 first-person shooter video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver released in May 2013. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features action-oriented gameplay. The game has a benchmark component to it that mimics game play. Scene D6 was used and an average of four runs was taken.

The settings used in the testing below are Very High for quality and a resolution of 1920x1200. DirectX 11 is used, texture filtering is set to AF 16X, motion blur is normal, SSA and advanced physX turned on and tessellation is set to high.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/met.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> </div>

BioShock Infinite Gaming Benchmark


<i>BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games, and published by 2K Games released in March 2013. The game has a benchmark component to it that mimics game play and an average of four runs was taken.

The settings used in the testing below are UltraDX11 for quality and a resolution of 1920x1200.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/bio.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> </div>

Tomb Raider Gaming Benchmark


<i> Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game. Published by Square Enix released in March 2013. The game has a benchmark component to it that mimics game play and an average of four runs was taken.

The settings used in the testing below are Ultimate default settings for quality, VSync disabled and a resolution of 1920x1200.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/tr.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> </div>
 
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AkG

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Conclusion

Conclusion


We have reviewed a number of Z170 motherboards to date and none of them come close to offering the wide range of capabilities that ASUS has packed into the Deluxe. There are some good reasons for that; we have primarily focused on reviewing more affordable options from the ASUS Maximus VIII Hero to Gigabyte’s Z170-HD3 and MSI’s Z170-A. However, that’s not to say there isn’t a market for boards of the Z170 Deluxe’s stature. On the contrary; this board offers a laundry list of forward-looking features for user who have an eye towards future expansion without the need for pricy add-in cards. Is it expensive? Hell yes. Does it offer value for the money? You bet.

Let’s start things off by commending ASUS for throwing every conceivable feature at this board without sacrificing in two key areas: layout and overclocking capabilities. All too often we have seen one (or both) of those elements offered put on a sacrificial altar in an effort to build superfluous additions into a motherboard. No one spending $320USD on a motherboard wants to feel like they’re resigning themselves to anything less than perfection.

With the Z170 Deluxe ASUS’ engineers took a unified approach by focusing on capabilities end users want while still maintaining a logical, adaptable and accessible component layout. Sure, there are areas where certain add-ons are oddly placed but the number of sacrifices is surprisingly minimal given this board maintains an ATX size. Basically everything you need is right there at your fingertips…other than the debug LED.

On the overclocking side of the equation, we couldn’t have been happier. ASUS has proven again and again that their automatic overclocking software is a class-leader and its implementation on the Deluxe cements that belief. Luckily this board is a willing participant beyond those auto overclocks as well. Now the Deluxe doesn’t natively support some of the more extreme DDR4 frequencies as its RoG siblings, nor does it provide adequate breathing space for CPU LN2 pots but extremely overclocking isn’t what you are paying for here anyways.

With the exception of the missing Retry and Safe Boot buttons and a NEC depop relay (both additions on some RoG lineup products) it is hard to see what ASUS could have added here. It really is the extras that count. There’s a WiFi & Bluetooth module which boasts some impressive connectivity speeds, the PCIe x4 M.4 adapter board, the included HyperKit, a crazy amount of storage options and awesome USB 3.1 support. With all of that, the Deluxe not only easily justifies its asking price, but there’s an argument to be made that it’s actually a pretty good bargain.

For buyers interested in cutting edge performance without the even sharper upgrade price of LGA-2011-v3 the ASUS Z170 Deluxe should be at the top of your short list.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/Z170_Deluxe/dam_good.jpg" border="0" alt="" /> </div>
 
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