As a gamer, you are always forgiven for being choosy about motherboards. See, as much as faults or failures may go unnoticed in simple PC applications, the story isn’t the same for gamers. Any glitch caused by the motherboard can ruin the party immediately in action games, often requiring a system restart and yes – all your game progress went with the wind. Before buying a motherboard, you first have to ensure that it lives up to what it promises, be it overclocking, multiple graphics cards and powerful cooling systems. In this article, we are going to review some of the best Asus gaming motherboards, including what sets them apart from the competition. Are you ready?
Top Asus gaming motherboards
Asus Z170-pro (The best complete Skylake motherboard – LGA 1151)
Waited long enough for Asus to sort their pro gaming series? Not sure about MSI? Worry less, because the Asus Z170 – pro is there to save your day. Although not gaming focused, this no-nonsense motherboard offers advanced VRM hardware than any mid-range boards. Features are pretty decent, as you get intel V219 ethernet, ALC 1150 audio, subdued unique white/silver theme, and the legendary Asus’s signature series Bios. If you are looking for the best experience on LGA1151, no other Bios can rival this.
Not exactly cheap, especially if you don’t want to wait for the beta board, the Z170-pro will set you back about $195.
Looks wise, these boards sports silver heat spreaders and white plastic shrouds which fit all components equally. A color and pulse LED light gives cool illumination under the chipset shield, giving the welcoming character most Z70s lack.
There are modes that control these LEDs, causing them to react to different sound inputs like music, or even when the system heat level changes. You might be a bit disappointed to know those exotic extras like BlueTooth, WiFi, and even hand operated overclocking controls. This is, however, compensated by a 4 lane M.2 slot, multiple USB 3.1 ports and up to 3866MHz memory support.
Asus Z170-pro summary:
- Excellent all round features
- Asus Signature series Bios – Best on LGA1151 currently.
Few gaming specific features available
- No Bluetooth
- No WiFi
Asus Z170-deluxe (Overall top high-end skylake board LGA1151)
Having faced a few problems here and there in the mid range boards, the same cannot be said for high-end Asus gaming motherboards. Above $200, Asus have some really good motherboards that can handle everything you throw at. So how does the Z170 deluxe outsmart the rest? Well, to begin with, it can do far much better what other motherboards you know can.
First things first, the features list on this board makes it a genius just even at their mentions. You have multiple LAN ports, six 10GBps USB 3.1 ports, inbuilt type C connector, and Bluetooth. But hey…we have seen boards have all these specs, I mean…where’s the real game changer, you ask?
The Z170-deluxe sports a three antenna 1.3GBps WiFi, something that sets it apart from other boards in its class. Apart from this and the few mentioned above, you still get Asus’s renowned BIOS – a model followed by other board manufacturers when it comes to user control and options. You can tune any configuration to the deepest level, squeezing every drop of performance out of the Skylake. You also don’t have to worry about overclocking, as the system also takes care of this automatically, delivering impressive results.
A notable missing onboard component is the M.2 slots, though Asus takes care of this with the Hyper M.2 X4 mini kit.
- Excellent overclocking
- Dual Intel Lan
- Triple Antenna WiFi
- Very Expensive
- Bland box and presentation
Asus Z97 pro-WiFi and USB 3.1 (Best Haswell high-end motherboard LGA 1150)
High-end Z97 boards have endured difficult moments trying to stand out. They are overshadowed by the Opulence X99 and the Z97 midrange, often falling in between. The competition its facing is justified, however, because it is ideally not logical to spend over $200 on a board when you have cheaper and sometimes better choices up and down the ladder.
Despite all these negatives, what pushes the Z97 pro to appear in this list is what it focuses on. Not quite the norm, these types of Asus gaming motherboards include useful features instead of following seasonal changes and fashion.
You have essentials like Wi-Fi, drivers, Bluetooth and USB 3.1 integrated on the board, while other ports and slots are also free to configure. A 12 phase power control for the CPU as well as Intel’s gigabit Ethernet ensures you achieve the highest score in LGA1150 overclock. In our tests, we were able to max 4.8GHz using Intel core i7 4790K.
You might be thinking that automatic overclocking doesn’t push the speed as high as manual BIOS tuning would do but guess what? The difference is minimal, almost negligible.
If the board features of the Z97 aren’t enough, there are other variants to go for, one being the Z97WS. This board has I/O PLX chips that support quad SLI graphics for a similar price tag. Gamers looking to add more style to their high-end builds have the option of purchasing the similar priced Maximus VII Hero. It trades the Asus ROG red and black theme, alongside separate audio circuitry and improved BIOS. However, notable absentees are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so you win some, you lose some.
- Excellent overclocking
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth available
- Classy restrained style
- Slow M.2 slot
- Quite expensive
Asus X99 rampage V – (Overall best Intel Extreme Motherboard – LGA2011 V3)
If you are looking for the best of Asus gaming motherboards, your search is over. The X99 is the tip of the berg when it comes to high-end gaming at, well, its “highest end”. Together with the Haswell-E, they give more than is enough for performance enthusiasts such as software developers, videographers, and hardcore gamers.
The Haswell -E currently has the fastest 3rd generation 4 lane M.2 slots, but the problem is with manufacturers, with very few of them implementing it. This leaves you with no option but to go for the X99, especially if you are not willing to bite the bullet and buy an Intel 750 PCI card and go NVME. These drives have a data transfer rate 3X the speed of current fastest SATA SSDs.
The X99 comes with either 28/40 I/O CPU lanes, providing you extra room to add expansion cards without having to use the Z97’s PLX trickery. One field where the X99 really does need mentioning is the cost. If you are looking for a budget gaming motherboard, this is not for you. Basically, there’s no budget Asus X99 build. Every component of this board costs big money thus you really have to want it to decide on purchasing.
Together with the usual extras of Asus gaming motherboards, is the Asus crazy play in X99’s arena, a detachable module with a color screen. Also called the OC panel, it keeps track of real-time system information and allows you to make quick changes for cooling profiles, clock speed and much more.
The overclocking-friendly hardware, 3rd generation M.2, and the RoG BIOS will leave you with little left to try and achieve when it comes to speed.
- Plenty PCI lanes.
- All the power and speed you need.
- Great look and design.
- USB 3.1 available via bundled PCI card
- Very expensive
What are your thoughts? What Asus gaming motherboards have you used or are currently using? we would love to hear from you in the comments section.