Features and Motherboard Layout
Courtesy of ASUS
- LGA1150 socket for the 4th Generation and the New 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7, Core™ i5, Core™ i3, Pentium® and Celeron® Processors
- Intel® Z97 Express Chipset
- PCI Express® 3.0
- Intel® Desktop Responsiveness Technologies
- Quad-GPU SLI and 3-Way CrossFireX™ Support
- SATA Express support
- Dual-Channel DDR3 3300 (O.C) / 1600 / 1333 MHz Support
- M.2 Support
- Complete USB 3.0 Integration
- Extra SATA 6 Gb/s support
- DTS Connect
- DTS Ultra PC II
- ErP Ready
The ASUS Z97-Deluxe features a matte black PCB with all ports and slots on the board colored to blend. The VRM and chipset heat sinks are gold chromed to give a nice contrast the black background. Even with the amount of integrated features ASUS packed into this board, all component are well spaced with no real tight areas.
The back of the board is mostly free of components with no components or chips directly behind the CPU socket or in the surrounding area.
ASUS integrated the following ports into the Z97-Deluxe's rear panel: 4 USB 2.0 ports, 4 USB 3.0 ports controlled by the Intel Z87 chipset (located below the GigE NIC ports), 2 USB 3.0 ports controlled by the ASMedia controller (located to the right of the USB 2.0 ports), dual Intel GigE NIC ports, an HDMI video port, a DisplayPort video port, a mini DisplayPort video port, Broadcom-based 802.11ac dual-port Wi-Fi and Bluetooth ports, an optical audio port, and 6 analogue audio ports. The lower USB 3.0 port located under the outer NIC port can be used in conjunction with the USB BIOS Flashback and USB Charger+ functions.
The USB BIOS Flashback button can be used to re-flash the BIOS without having to boot the system into the UEFI BIOS interface or DOS. Simply plug in a USB drive containing the proper BIOS file in the root of the drive into the bottom USB 2.0 port(to the lower right of the button) and press the button for 3 seconds until the integrated LED begins to flash. As the BIOS is updated, the LED flashing frequency increases. Once the LED goes out, the flash operation is completed and the board can be booted. Note that if the BIOS Flashback LED flashes for 5 seconds and then glows solid, it means that something went wrong with the flashback operation. Check the USB drive for the the BIOS file in the root and make sure that the BIOS file is named correctly. BIOS Flashback looks for a specific filename and file format when attempting to replace the on-board BIOS. According to the user manual, the BIOS file in the root of the flash drive must be named Z97D.CAP for the BIOS Flashback applet to successfully re-flash the board's BIOS.
The Z97-Deluxe motherboard has a total of seven PCI-Express device ports – three PCI-Express x16 slots and four PCI-Express x1 slots. For the PCI-Express x16 slots, the board supports full x16 bandwidth with a single card, x8 bandwidth with cards in the primary and secondary slots with two cards populated, and x8 in the primary and x4 in the secondary and tertiary slots with three cards populated. Notice that ASUS designed the board's PCI-Express section layout with a PCI-Express x1 slot to the right of the primary x16 slot so that an x1 slot remains available in all cases. Additionally, there is sufficient space between the primary PCI-Express x16 slot and the secondary PCI-Express x1 slot to accommodate a tri-slot cooler.
To the upper right of the primary PCI-Express x1 slot are two 4-pin system fan headers.
ASUS placed the board's audio components on a physically separate PCB to minimize noise and crosstalk from other integrated components. While the PCB separator line is not illuminated with the board powered, you can easily see the separator. The front panel audio header and S/PDIF output header are located just below the audio subsystem's capacitor bank.
The Thunderbolt header, BIOS Flashback button, CMOS Clear button, and Q-Code diagnostic display are located in the upper left corner of the board, along the outside of PCI Express x16 slot 3. The CMOS battery is located just below PCI-Express x1 slot 4 in between the secondary and tertiary PCI-Express x16 slots. The Q-Code diagnostic display is a 2-digit hex display used for troubleshooting motherboard boot related issues. A table of codes is located in the motherboard manual to interpret the diagnostic read-out. The Thunderbolt header is used to connect to the optional ThunderboltEX II PCIe board using the included board adapter and USB extension cables. The BIOS Flashback button can be used in conjunction with the proper USB 3.0 port in the rear panel to flash the BIOS without having to boot the system into the UEFI BIOS interface or DOS mode.
To the lower left of the CMOS battery are the BIOS Flashback button, CMOS Clear button, Q-Code display, Reset button, power button, and trusted platform module header.
The USB 2.0 headers, front panel headers, CPU Overvoltage header, temperature diode headers, DirectKey header (DRCT), TPU switch, and EPU switch are located in the lower left corner of board. The DirectKey header can be connected to a case button. After triggering DirectKey, the board boots directly in to the UEFI BIOS on next reboot. The TPU switch enables BIOS assisted overclocking with two modes available. In mode 1, only the CPU ratio is changed. In mode 2, both the CPU ratio and the base clock value are changed. The EPU switch enables BIOS controlled power consumption optimization.
The onboard M.2 port is located just above the SATA port block, to the left of the Z97 chipset heatsink. The slot supports both 6 Gb/s and 10 Gb/s style M.2 devices. The M.2 port shares PCIe lanes and bandwidth with the ASMedia SATA Express port. By default, the M.2 port has priority access to the shared bandwidth over the SATA Express port.
The Intel Z97 Express chipset is covered by a large round low profile heat sink just below the PCI-Express x16 slots. The heat sink is gold chrome in color with a white ASUS logo at its center.
ASUS includes a total of six on-board SATA 6 Gb/s ports and two SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports located just under the chipset cooler. The four gray colored SATA ports on the left are tied to the Intel Z97 chipset controller. The two black colored ports in the right of the port block are tied to the ASMedia controller. The lower SATA Express port is tied to the Intel Z97 controller with the upper port tied to the ASMedia controller. Note that ASMedia SATA Express port is disabled when an M.2 SSD drive is placed in the NGFF slot just above the port block.
The on-board DDR3 memory slots are located just below the CPU socket in the lower right quadrant of the board. Dual Channel memory mode is enabled by seating memory modules like colored slots with the gray colored slots acting as the primary slot set. The board supports up to 32GB of memory running at a maximum speed of 3300MHz. Note that memory speeds above 1600MHz are considered overclocked speeds and are outside of the official Intel stock memory speed specifications. Just under the memory slots are the ASMedia controlled USB 3.0 headers, a 4-pin fan header, and the 24-pin ATX power connector. ASUS also includes 2 dedicated power phases for use by the memory.
To the lower right of the DIMMM slots are the EZ XMP switch and the MEMOK! button. Two 4-pin CPU fan headers are located to the upper right of the DIMM slots. The EZ XMP switch allows you to activate the memory XMP speed and setting specifications when enabled, overriding any current active BIOS settings. The MemOK! button can be used to reset memory-related BIOS settings to defaults, useful when the system doesn't boot because of memory options set over-aggressively.
The CPU socket is clear of obstructions with the power circuitry and VRM heat sink surrounding the upper three sides of the socket. The board contains a total of 16 digital power phases to ensure board stability under all operating conditions.
The 8-pin ATX12V power connector is located to the upper right of the CPU socket, sandwiched in between the upper and right VRM heat sinks.