Overclocking and Conclusion

Overclocking

To give a feel for the overclocking performance potential of the Z97-Pro Gamer board, we attempted to push it to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. We were easily able to get the board running stable for over 4hrs at a 4.67GHz CPU speed, a 2332MHz memory speed, and a 4.0GHz ring bus speed with a 167MHz base clock. System stability was tested running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with EVGA's OC Scanner X graphical benchmark running at 1280×1024 resolution and 2x MSAA in stress test mode. Note that 16GB (2 x 8GB) of Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3-2400 memory modules were used for the overclocking tests.

Note that this is is meant only as a quick preview of the board's performance potential. With more time to tweak the settings to a greater extent, pushing to a higher base clock and ring bus speed may have been achievable, in addition to an overnight stability run without issue.

Performance

The Z97-Pro Gamer is another feather in ASUS' hat. The board performed well across the board with performance matching that of boards in ASUS' upper echelon product lines.

Pricing

As of May 31, the ASUS Z97-Pro Gamer motherboard was available at Amazon.com for $182.44 with free shipping (not Prime). The board was also available from Newegg.com for $149.99 after $20 instant rebate.

Conclusion

The Z97-Pro Gamers motherboard is a very well designed product, offering an exceptional value proposition for the features and performance housed under the hood. While the board is not part of ASUS' ROG (Republic of Gamers) product line, it shares aesthetics as well as included software with that product line as well as its board design and quality of its integrated components. ASUS kept the red accents muted on this board with its black coloration much more dominant throughout, making for a nice looking product. ASUS kept the board's price point down by not including a lot of the unnecessary nice-to-haves that their higher end board toute – onboard buttons and debug LEDs and overclocking-friendly jumpers and voltage measuring points. However, this does free up quite a bit of space on the PCB so that the Z97-Pro Gamer's surface does not have that overly crowded feel that you get with a lot of products. The board is squarely targeted at the budget conscious gamer market, and hits the mark well. It does include nice to haves like M.2 and SATA-Express ports, as well as some gamer-friendly options like a serial port header as well as a plethora of integrated video-out headers in the rear panel and integrated PCI ports.

Strengths

  • Stock performance
  • Overclocking performance
  • Board layout and design
  • Motherboard manual details and quality
  • UEFI BIOS design and usability
  • Quality of included power circuitry
  • Intel GigE network controller performance
  • M.2 port location
  • CMOS battery placement
  • Gamer friendly integrated ports and features
  • ASUS ROG-like appearance and quality
  • NVMe device support

Weaknesses

  • CMOS battery placement when using two or more video cards with the board

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